How to Space Out Your Nutrisystem MealsArticle posted in: Nutrisystem for Men
Your Nutrisystem meal plan has arrived, and you’re wondering if you’re the only one who’s confused about how to figure it all out. This is probably the first time in your life you have ever had four weeks of weight loss food delivered to your door. It may be the first time in your adult life that you had to follow guidelines as to what you should eat and when. To add to it, there are some interesting terms you are supposed to know: Flex meals, PowerFuels, SmartCarbs…
But don’t worry! Nutrisystem is actually super easy and super convenient once you get in the swing of things. To get you on track and let you know how easy your Nutrisystem meal plan actually is, we’ve asked Brooke Stewart, Dietary Counselor at Nutrisystem, to explain a few things for you.
Here’s what Brooke told us about your Nutrisystem meal plan:
Your first week is designed to help you lose a substantial amount of weight right from the get-go. Studies have found that early weight loss is a predictor of long-term success. It’s immediate gratification, which tells you right away “you can do this,” and keeps you motivated to lose more.
On week one, you’ll be following a special lower calorie meal plan. You will add at least four servings of the non-starchy vegetables that are listed in your grocery guide as “unlimited.” These are veggies like lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes and carrots.
In fact, for your entire time on your Nutrisystem meal plan, you’ll be eating at least four servings of vegetables, and you are encouraged to eat more if you’re still feeling hungry. Vegetables are high in many vital nutrients, including disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus, they’re high in fiber, which will help you stay fuller for a longer period of time. “There is no schedule for veggies,” says Brooke. “You can schedule them whenever you’d like them.”
Also during your first week, you’ll have Nutrisystem shakes as a mid-morning snack. The shakes are fortified with vitamins and minerals and are high in protein and high in fiber to keep you satisfied. Click here to stock up on Nutrisystem shakes >
From week two on, you’re still eating Nutrisystem food, but you’re going to be making some of your own meals. Think of them as part of the learning process that will help you keep the weight you’re losing off for good. After all, you won’t be eating from Nutrisystem packages forever.
“It’s essential to space your meals two to three hours apart,” says Stewart. “Some research suggests that this will ensure that your metabolism is staying revved up and doesn’t have the opportunity to slow down between meals/snacks. If you go longer than three to four hours without eating, the metabolism rate can fall, and the next time you eat, calories might not be burned as efficiently.
This “spacing” rule of two to three hours can serve as a reminder to begin to add in your SmartCarbs and PowerFuels in between your meals. Many customers are so happy with their first week’s weight loss that they don’t want to start adding in more foods like SmartCarbs, nutrient dense carbohydrates that are lower on the Glycemic Index (a measure of how much a food raises your blood sugar) such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, and fresh, whole fruit, and PowerFuels, high quality proteins rich in amino acids, like lean meat, fish or poultry, and nuts and nut butters containing healthy fats.
Skipping these necessary additions comes at a price. “When you extend that period of time with only so many calories, you start to slow down your metabolism and then it becomes counterproductive,” she says. You want to keep your metabolism revved up so it continues to burn calories efficiently. The best way to do that? By eating. “Adding in the PowerFuels and SmartCarbs slightly raises the calorie intake to ensure that the metabolism is just fed well enough that it can efficiently burn the calories it is taking in, rather than storing them for energy,” she explains.
You’ll also be adding in Free Foods, like herbs and spices, salsa, unsweetened iced tea, low sodium chicken and beef broth, tea and coffee with calorie-free sweeteners, and Extras, such as cream cheese, honey, chocolate syrups, ketchup, mayo, popcorn and seeds. Think of Extras as add-ins that give your meals more pizzazz. While some dieters swear by a boring diet for weight loss, let’s face it: Most of us simply lose interest in those types of diets pretty quickly! That’s why we ensure that you are still getting enjoyable, tasty and filling food on your Nutrisystem meal plan, all while shedding the extra weight.
Now, for the big question: What are these PowerFuels and SmartCarbs we keep referencing? Don’t worry—They are NOT some elaborate part of a meal that you have to concoct from intricate recipes. “They can be very simple items that are just as easy to take on the go,” says Stewart. “Things such as 100 calorie packs of nuts, cups of yogurt, fruits (either fresh or no sugar added fruit cups), lean beef sticks, cheese sticks and snack bars are great, easy choices.”
You will be making some of your own meals, but you won’t be using intricate recipes for those either. Just come right here to The Leaf to find hundreds of simple and scrumptious recipes for everything from breakfast to dinner to mid-afternoon snacks. We’ve got you covered!
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about snacks. In addition to the ones you can add in on your own, Nutrisystem has many snacks to choose from, whether you’re in a salty mood or have a yen for sweets. They’re not just part of the program as an added bonus, they’re also nutritionally balanced and a good source of fiber. Add your snacks in between your meals, just like SmartCarbs and PowerFuels.