Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

Posts Tagged ‘south beach diet

After having some practice with eating well, I’ve noticed what helps and what doesn’t help me stick with my goals…here are a few tips!

  1. Plan ahead! This is the most important. We’re all busy and we all have limited time so we need to make the most of it! For example, I had an hour and a half gap in between a meeting this morning and the rest of my work day this afternoon. If I wasn’t prepared with a bag of work out gear and a healthy lunch, I 1) wouldn’t have time to fit both a run and lunch in because I’d be figuring out what to do and/or making my lunch and 2) may have given in to the convenience of a less healthy store or restaurant bought meal (which is also pricier). Last night, I packed a bag of running shoes, running clothes, deodorant, make up, and anything else I thought I might need to run and get freshened up after. I also pre-made my lunch (tip: save the containers from the lunches you do have to go. I used a container specifically used for the pre-made salads in the grocery store.) and left it contained together in the fridge. That way I didn’t have to run around this  morning coordinating everything before my meeting and the day went smoothly.
  2. Pack snacks. This also ties into the planning bit. I also packed some snacks along with my lunch last night. It’s healthier to eat many small nutritious snacks through out the day to keep your blood sugar (and therefore insulin levels) constant. When our blood sugar and insulin levels are stable, we don’t get the sick feelings or hunger pangs associated with sugar and insulin dips. In addition to avoiding these negative experiences, it decreases the chance that we will grab for the first snack we see in a desperate attempt to satiate ourselves or feel better.
  3. Make extra food to ensure left overs. Surprise surprise this also fits into the planning ahead scheme! When you make a healthy meal and have left overs in your fridge, it’s convenient to eat healthy! I like making dinners with separate pieces so that I can pack the left overs in the fridge separately and make new meals out of them when I want quality food in a pinch. For example, I roasted a whole chicken for dinner last week and made separate sides and a sauce to go with it. After dinner, I sliced the left over chicken (white meat, please!) up and packed the sides and sauce separately. That way, I had the choice of re-living that dinner experience by combining everything and/or using the slices of chicken to make a sandwich, a chicken salad, or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it and have it with veggies.
  4. Drink non caffeinated tea. On South Beach, we can’t have fruit the first two weeks in order to reduce the glycemic load our bodies are handling (more on glycemic index soon!) I LOVE fruit and I’m used to having it all the time so this has been really hard for me. Something that helps when I want something sweet. I have decaf fruit tea with a packet of splenda. It’s made from fruit, it tastes like fruit, yet it has no calories, carbs, anything! Drinking non caffeinated tea has the added bonus of filling your belly to make you feel fuller to help with portion control and is also hydrating.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff…sometimes. You can’t count on using this one all the time, it’s only for unique circumstances!  If you find yourself in a situation where it’d be a complete inconvenient stretch for you to stick exactly to your diet, don’t! Being so stringent will only stress you out, hate your healthy lifestyle (you don’t want that!), and make you less likely to stick with it. For example, I went out to eat with some friends the other night with great intentions. After perusing the menu I realized that restaurant food is not conducive to the strictest phase of the South Beach Diet (duh!). I could’ve asked the waitress to bring me a sad piece of boring grilled chicken but I didn’t want that, I’m out with my friends having a good time! So I ordered a big Caesar salad with grilled chicken, which with all the cream is not exactly an award winning meal but it was the best choice I had to satisfy both my taste buds and my health (protein and greens…check!). When it came to the table I handed the roll (surprise! I didn’t ask for that!) on the side of the plate to a friend. I promptly dug in, guilt-free, and savored the moment.

What has helped you? Please share!


You really have to try this. I thought it sounded gross when I read this recipe but it’s actually quite yummy! The taste reminds me a bit of rice pudding. The ricotta cheese is high in protein and the cinnamon is a good antioxidant. It is also suitable for Eating Clean and All phases of the South Beach Diet


  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 package sugar substitute (I like Splenda)

Directions: Mix ingredients together and serve chilled.

Nutrition Facts per Serving

178 calories, 14 g protein, 7 g carbs, 10 g fat, 6 g saturated fats, 155 mg sodium, 38 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber


  • Instead of vanilla, use almond extract.
  • Add unsweetened cocoa!

Suitable for a clean eating lifestyle and/or all phases of South Beach Diet!

8 Wedges/Servings


1 Small head green cabbage (about 2 ½ pounds) cut into 8 wedges, core intact
½ teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse Salt
Freshly Ground pepper
1 Lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Arrange cabbage on a rimmed baking sheet
  3. Brush both sides of wedges with oil
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Roast, flipping half way through, until edges are brown and crisp, 25-30 minutes
  6. Squeeze lemons over cabbage

Nutritional Information for one serving

Calories: 27, Calories from fat: 0, Total Carbs: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 1 g

Got a question from Spagate. She’s a newlywed who began her weight loss journey in January 2010. In her own words, this has been her plan.

“My gimmick – if you will – is simple. WeightLOSS is a simple equation, one must consume fewer calories than they burn in order to lose weight. Because I wanted to lose weight “relatively quickly” but healthfully and in a “lifestyle change” way – I made it a goal to consume 700 to 1000 calories less per day than I burn. For a girl who loves food, who married a man who loves bad-for-you food – this requires time at the gym!

Here are her questions:

“What’s the deal with Southbeach? My fear with anything with a name is that it’s going to make it so that I can’t eat something – and I like to be able to eat… well everything. Not unlike you apparently, I am a hungry girl. I am just learning that the “healthier” I eat, the more I can eat (without gaining weight)!

What kind of weight do you think you’ll be looking to lose? I’d love a motivation buddy! I need as many people kicking my butt and holding me accountable as I can get!

If you don’t mind me asking – what kind of health issues do you have to contend with? So far, I’ve had my thyroid tested, and nothing’s wrong there. My dad is diabetic, so I am trying to avoid that… and there is a potential threat of Huntington’s Chorea that even though I just don’t dare to get the genetic testing, I’d like to be as healthy and fit as possible when and if bad news strikes…”

My Answer: Read the rest of this entry »

On Tuesday night I read enough of the book to decide I was going to try to start today. Wednesday morning I woke up ready and rarin’ to go!



Although I don’t really like eggs, I have always wanted to like them. The perfect protein, right? So I decided I would make my own adaptation of a phase one “Vegetable Frittata with Parmesan”. I used the vegetables I had in the fridge and subbed in Mexican blend cheese for Parmesan. I also used egg whites instead of whole eggs. It was absolutely delicious! Here’s what I did. (You can sub in any vegetables you may have in your fridge for the ones here).


Then I had peanut butter with flax seed and salad with italian dressing and chicken for lunch.


I didn’t have a mid morning snack so I was very hungry after lunch. I made the yummiest roast cabbage. Try the recipe (from Martha Stewart Magazine)! I don’t eat cabbage any other way! It’s so good I CRAVE it.


Dinner was yummy roasted balsamic chicken using this clean recipe (from clean eating magazine). Great for left overs!


For dessert I had the most surprisingly yummy concoction: Vanilla Cinnamon Ricotta Creme. I adapted this from a recipe in the South Beach book and I didn’t expect it to be so good because I’ve always thought ricotta cheese was gross. It’s not! Here’s the recipe.



Same frittata for breakfast–made some for Dan. He got full really quickly!


For lunch I steamed some zucchini in the micro, reheated some cabbage wedges, and reheated some of last night’s chicken with balsamic vinegar on top (so good). I also broiled tomatoes in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes. I put balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper on them. Really really yummy.


Dinner was some yummy chicken that Dan made (his grandma Abuelita’s recipe) with black beans on the side.


I snacked on almonds, unsalted peanuts, and sugar free jello today. Also had three cups of non-caffeinated tea with a packet of Splenda for each cup.

I craved chocolate Thursday but I think I can hang in there!

**Check back tomorrow for days three and four!**

In addition, look out for future posts including answers to questions like…

  • What’s made dieting easier for me?
  • I’m sick of eggs for breakfast! What else can I eat that’s no/low carb and protein rich?
  • What contributes more to weight loss? Diet or exercise?
  • What is a glycemic index and why does it matter?

Double click on any picture to see it close up

Enjoy this for breakfast!

Makes 2 Servings


1 tablespoon trans-free margarine or smartbalance spread
½ Onion, chopped
1 Zucchini, thinly sliced
2 Portobello mushrooms, chopped
½ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Dried thyme, crushed
¼ teaspoon Ground black pepper
4 or 5 Large egg whites
1 ½ tablespoons Shredded Mexican cheese


  1. Place the broiler rack in the lowest position (6 to 7’ from the heat source) and preheat the broiler.
  2. Melt ½ tablespoon of the margarine in a large oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, mushrooms, half the salt, half the pepper, and the thyme.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and no juies remain in the pan.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half the salt, half the pepper, and the cheese.
  5. Melt the remaining ½ tablespoon of margarine in the skillet with the vegetables over very low heat. Pour in the egg mixture.
  6. Cook, uncovered and without stirring, for 15 minutes, or until only the top remains runny.
  7. Place the skillet under the broiler and cook for 2 minutes, or until the eggs are just set.
  8. Slide the frittata onto a large serving plate to serve.

Nutritional Information (For one serving)

Calories: 200; Fat: 12 g; Cholesterol: 215 mg; Sodium 510 mg; Carbs: 9 g; Fiber: 2 g; Protein: 16 g

You may also be interested in:

Recipe for Wild Mushroom Frittata – Self Magazine

Today was INSANE. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I’m working as a Personal Care Attendant for the State of Vermont which means I work for families who need help with their mentally ill children. I’m also a youthworker/companion for Casey Family Services here in Vermont. So far I love my job but today was just crazy. Not because of the nature of my job–just because it was one of those days. I don’t have to bore you all with the details but I’m thinking that it’s going to be way harder than expected going on this diet. Previously I’ve been excited thinking about how well I’m going to eat and how happy I’m going to be but today it hit me that after a tiring work day I’m not going to want to spend my time cooking the perfect meal for dinner and the next day’s breakfast and lunch. I’m probably going to have to start planning my meals for the week out on Sundays if I’m really serious about this. I have the day off tomorrow so I’m thinking about starting my diet tomorrow and doing all the necessary prepping.

I went to the library today and checked out the South Beach Diet book to refresh myself on the principles as well as the South Beach Diet Cookbook. Step one is knowing what I have to do! I plan on reading/skimming enough tonight to make a decision whether starting tomorrow will work or not. I’ll keep you all posted!


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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at You can also anonymously ask me questions at I would love to hear from you!

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