The Great Debate: Is It an Extra or a Free Food?

Article posted in: FreshStart
ketchup lower sodium healthy burger

On the Nutrisystem program, you add in lots of non-starchy veggies plus your favorite grocery foods in the form of SmartCarbs, PowerFuels, Extras and Free Foods. And while the difference between SmartCarbs and PowerFuels is pretty clear—SmartCarbs are basically nutrient-rich carbohydrates and PowerFuels are high-quality proteins and healthy fats, we get a lot of questions about the difference between Extras and Free Foods.

The term “Extra” refers to low-calorie options that you can use to spice up your meal plan or satisfy a craving. To be deemed an Extra, a food will have between 10 to 35 calories per serving. But because too many servings of low-calorie foods can easily lead to diet destruction, you are advised to limit your Extras to three servings a day.

“Free foods” are condiments, beverages and spices that add flavor to your dishes, but have fewer than 10 calories per serving. Because these foods are so low calorie, and because it isn’t likely that you’re chowing down on condiments, these foods are unlimited.

While you can use the parameters above as a guide when trying to determine if a food should count as an Extra or a Free Food, we’ve broken out some common add-ons you may use on Nutrisystem, and how they stack up here.