Your Nutrisystem Getting Started GuideArticle posted in: Lean 13
Excited. Nervous. Cautiously optimistic. Do these words describe the way you’re feeling, now that your very first Nutrisystem shipment has been delivered to your door?
It’s completely normal to be filled with nervous excitement. After all, the arrival of your first Nutrisystem box signifies the official first step toward a happier and healthier you! So take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back, do a happy dance or call all your friends. Then, to make sure that you are set up for success, follow these simple tips:
1. Clear Some Space
The first thing you’ll want to do is to make some room in your pantry or freezer (depending on what you ordered) for all of your food. Choose a spot that’s easily accessible, preferably removed your family’s less healthy stash. If your order includes ready-to-go foods, you don’t need to worry about refrigerating them—they’ve been sealed through a safe, “soft canning” process which locks in their nutrition and flavor. If your order includes frozen foods, you’ll want to place them in the freezer as soon as your delivery arrives to preserve both quality and taste.
2. Sort Your Stash
If your order includes a mix of meal occasions (think breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks), it will be beneficial to group them together by category. To make it easy on you, all Nutrisystem entrees and snacks are color-coded: breakfasts are orange, lunches are blue, dinners are red and snacks are purple. Try placing all of your breakfast items in one spot, all of your lunch items next to those, etc. Knowing which meals are which will be helpful on those busy days you just want to grab and go. If you ordered Lean13, you may want to keep your first week of foods separate as well, as they have been specially selected for your first seven days on program.
3. Get Familiar with the Grocery Guide
While Nutrisystem has your meals covered, you still get to add in some of your favorite healthy foods. In fact, it’s part of the program. Read through the Grocery Guide included in your shipment to get a sense of what types of foods you can enjoy. You can also learn about how to estimate grocery addition portion sizes here. Here is a general overview of what you should be eating in addition to your Nutrisystem foods each day:
You’ll want to add in lots of veggies—at least four servings a day. Generally speaking, one serving is a half cup cooked or one cup raw of non-starchy veggies (think leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers). Try loading up on veggie-heavy salads, sides, smoothies and snacks. You can also incorporate vegetables into your Nutrisystem dishes. For some great ideas on how to do this, check out our Recipe section.
You’ll notice that the Grocery Guide includes something called PowerFuels. This term refers to high-quality proteins and healthy fats, like lean meats, fish, low-fat yogurt and nuts. Get a more in-depth explanation of PowerFuels here.
SmartCarbs are nutrient-rich carbohydrates, which are packed with fiber. Examples of these include fruit, starchy veggies (think corn, black beans and sweet potatoes), and whole grains. Need more explanation? Click here.
These are optional foods that contain fewer than 10 calories per serving. These include add-ons that enhance flavor, like vinegar, spices, herbs and broth. You can have as many Free Foods as you’d like. Some staple free foods you may want to consider having on hand include cinnamon (great to add to apple slices, sweet potatoes or your Nutrisystem oatmeals), black pepper (great on everything!), lemon juice, salsa and hot sauce.
This term refers to mealtime add-ons that are a little higher in calories than the Free Foods; they typically clock in at 11-35 calories per serving. These include things like popcorn, dressings, honey, ketchup, mayo, etc. You’ll just want to limit your Extras to three servings per day. Your Grocery Guide does a great job of explaining what a serving size looks like for common Extras.
4. Get the 411 on Flex Meals
While you’re on the Nutrisystem program, you’ll get to try your hand at preparing one healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack each week. This is great practice for life after Nutrisystem. To make sure you’re staying on track toward your goals, it’s important that these meals still follow certain guidelines:
To make things easier on you, we have a whole section in our Recipes tab right here on The Leaf that’s dedicated to Flex Meal recipes. Just click here to check out some of our delicious meals and snacks.
5. Hit the Store
Now that you’ve gotten the Grocery Guide and flex meals figured out, it’s time to hit the supermarket for all of your essentials. Grab some fruit and starchy veggies to cover your SmartCarb needs, and some non-starchy veggies for your Vegetables. Frozen fruits and veggies are great as well, so if grabbing bags of frozen produce is easier for you, by all means, go ahead! You may want to think about how you plan to eat your produce. If you’re making smoothies, do you need other ingredients, like fat-free milk or almond milk? If you’re going to prepare a week’s worth of mason jar salads, do you need jars or salad dressing? We suggest heading to the store at an off-peak time so you have time to peruse the aisles, and bringing along your Grocery Guide so you can determine which items will work best. Even easier? Figure out what PowerFuels, SmartCarbs, Vegetables, etc. you’d like to purchase before you go shopping, and hit the store with a Nutrisystem-friendly grocery list in hand.
6. Measure Up
The scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Grab a tape measure and write down your stats today, then log your measurements in NuMi, our free online tracker. Documenting your weight is a great way to hold yourself accountable and doing it in NuMi will give you a great visual of your success.
Need some guidance on how to measure yourself? Check out the article below for everything you need to know.
7. Start Tracking
Research shows that tracking your food, activity and weight can help you lose more weight. Maximize your results by downloading our free tracking app, NuMi. Here, you’ll be able to start logging your food, drinks, activity, weight and more. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable, and also a fun way to visually track your progress.