Grocery Add-Ins: What are SmartCarbs and PowerFuels?

Article posted in: Nutrisystem for Men
healthy proteins and carbohydrates on a table for PowerFuels and SmartCarbs

Your Nutrisystem® meals and snacks were created with the optimal balance of nutrients to keep you feeling satisfied as you lose weight.

But because it’s important for you to learn—and practice—healthy eating habits so you can sustain your weight loss for life, in addition to your Nutrisystem foods, you’ll also incorporate fresh foods from the grocery store into your meal plan. We’ve separated these foods into simple categories, which will make it easy for you to complete a well-rounded diet, learn healthy habits and add some variety to your plan! These are SmartCarbs, PowerFuels, Vegetables, Free Foods and Extras:

Nutrisystem grocery add ins

For help identifying the category your favorite foods belong, check out the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide. We’ve also provided some more details about each category below to help you get started.



The foods included in the PowerFuels group include high-quality proteins that contain essential amino acids, as well as healthy fats like nuts and nut butters. PowerFuels are a great addition to your diet because it takes longer for your body to digest them, so they help keep you feeling full as you go about your day.

On Nutrisystem, both women and men should be adding in three PowerFuels a day. If you’re using NuMi SmartAdapt, this number may be different so be sure to check your meal plan in the NuMi app.

To make it easier for you to get your PowerFuel serving each day, Nutrisystem offers optional Protein Shakes that contain 15 grams of protein per serving and count as one PowerFuel.



SmartCarbs refer to a specific group of carbohydrates that are nutrient-rich and lower on the Glycemic Index. These carbs are packed with fiber so they are digested more slowly, helping you feel fuller longer. Plus, they deliver vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients your body needs. Foods like whole grain rice, pasta and cereals, fresh or frozen fruit and starchy veggies like beans, peas, corn and sweet potatoes all fall into the SmartCarb category.

If you’re on a Nutrisystem program that includes Flex meals, you’ll get to add in even more SmartCarbs and PowerFuels to your day! Click here for a full run-down of what your Flex meals should look like! > If you’re using NuMi SmartAdapt, you can find your specific Flex meal guidelines and PowerFuel and SmartCarb goals in the NuMi app.



Since different Vegetables offer up different nutrients, we’ve split them into two main subgroups: starchy and non-starchy. Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes and peas fall under the SmartCarb category, while the non-starchy vegetable group includes familiar staples like leafy greens, broccoli and tomatoes.

Each day on Nutrisystem, you should be eating at least four non-starchy vegetable servings along with your Nutrisystem meals. Since they’re packed with nutrients that are beneficial to an overall healthy lifestyle, many of these veggies are deemed “unlimited”—so indulge the urge to splurge! Be sure to visit our Recipe section for some great ways to prepare your veggies.

Free Foods

free foods

Free Foods are no-calorie or low-calorie optional add-ins that you can use to spice up your Nutrisystem foods or your SmartCarbs, PowerFuels and Vegetables. These optional extras are unlimited when they are less than 10 calories.



Extras are also add-ons you might use to add some flavor to your foods. However, they contain 10 to 35 calories per serving. To avoid loading up on too many added calories, we recommend limiting your Extras to three servings per day.

Looking for more examples? Here are some handy cheat sheets to help you get started:

Nutrisystem SmartCarbs

Nutrisystem SmartCarbs Food List

Nutrisystem PowerFuels

Nutrisystem PowerFuels Food List

All You Can Eat Vegetables

Nutrisystem All You Can Eat Foods List

Nutrisystem Extras

Nutrisystem Extra Foods List