The South Beach Diet has three phases. Plan to stay in Phase 1 for two weeks, Phase 2 for as long as it takes for you to reach your ideal weight, and Phase 3 for the rest of your life. Phase 1 is the most restrictive in terms of the types of food you eat. The key is to eat lots of protein-rich foods along with vegetables. Expect to avoid foods that contain sugar and other carbohydrates.
When you're starting out on the South Beach Diet, you will be able to eat certain foods at liberty while avoiding others. You will eat protein-rich foods such as chicken, beef, turkey, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese and nuts, and lots of vegetables. During this two-week period, avoid ice cream, most dairy products, fruits and juices, foods that contain sugar, certain vegetables, alcoholic beverages, baked goods and starchy foods, including potatoes. During Phase 1 you must eat three meals per day in addition to two snacks and dessert after dinner. This is not a starvation diet: You will eat an ample amount of food but only from recommended food groups. For breakfast eat a protein-rich food (such as eggs) and at least 1/2 cup of vegetables. For both lunch and dinner consume a protein-rich food and at least 2 cups of vegetables, with no maximum. The key here is to mix it up, eating two different vegetables at each meal if that makes it easier.
Here is a list of protein-rich foods for you to enjoy. You are to consume the amount that you need to become full. For beef, choose eye of round, ground beef (90 percent lean or leaner), sirloin, top loin, and top round. Lamb choices include center cut, chop and loin. For pork, you may enjoy boiled ham, Canadian bacon, pork loin and tenderloin. Phase 1 poultry options include chicken breast, turkey breast and Cornish hen. You may have seafood of all types and low-fat tofu. You may include eggs in Phase 1 as well as fat-free and low-fat lunch meats. Limit dairy foods in Phase 1 except for low-fat and fat-free varieties. Protein choices that are not allowed include fatty choices such as beef brisket, chicken wings, chicken thighs/legs, duck and goose. Steer clear of honey-baked ham. Vegetables that you may eat at will include artichokes, asparagus, green beans, wax beans, black beans, chickpeas, pigeon peas, soybeans, split peas, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, vegetable juice (limit to 6 ounces a day), tomato (1 per day), mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onion (1/2 per day), peppers, pickles (dill), radishes, rhubarb, sauerkraut, snow peas, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, spaghetti squash, summer squash, yellow squash and zucchini. Avoid starchy vegetables including beets, carrots, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. Olive oil and canola oil are your best choices of fats. Others include corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, mayonnaise and salad dressing that has less than 3 grams of sugar. You may use the following toppings, some of which must be used in limited quantities: hot sauce, salsa (2 tbsp.), soy sauce (1/2 tbsp.) and whipped topping (2 tsp.). You may use lemon juice and all spices that do not contain sugar. Dessert choices include sugar-free gelatin and sugar-free candy or gum. You are never allowed to eat fruit or baked goods or to have alcohol. Limit beverages containing caffeine to one or two per day.