Your Nutrisystem Getting Started Guide

Article posted in: Nutrisystem

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, make sure that you are set up for success, by reading through this Getting Started Guide:

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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.

Note: If you ordered frozen foods, these will arrive in a separate shipment from your Ready-to-Go foods. They will come in a cooler and are marked “Keep Frozen” (see example below).

frozen food

2. Sort Your Stash

The most important thing to do with your first shipment is to separate everything contained within your Week 1 kit from the rest of the box. That’s because the foods contained within the Week 1 box have been specially selected by our team of experts to encourage fast weight loss your first week on the program.* The only thing you’ll need to add during this first week are at least four servings of non-starchy veggies. (Confused about your first week? Click here for a complete overview >)

Once you finish your first week, you will move into the rest of the program, during which you can select any of the meals in your larger shipment to enjoy, and you’ll have more freedom to add in some of your favorite healthy snacks.

Here is a quick glance at what you’ll eat during your first week on Nutrisystem:

  • Nutrisystem Breakfast from Week 1 box
  • Nutrisystem Protein and Probiotic Shake
  • Nutrisystem Lunch from Week 1 box
  • Nutrisystem Snack
  • Nutrisystem Dinner from Week 1 box
  • At least four servings of non-starchy veggies and 64 ounces of water throughout the day

And here is an overview of what you might eat once you’ve completed your first week:

  • Any Nutrisystem Breakfast
  • Any Nutrisystem Lunch
  • Any Nutrisystem Dinner
  • Any Nutrisystem Snack (men, you will enjoy two Nutrisystem snacks per day)
  • Healthy Snacks You Prepare (women you prepare two healthy snacks, men you prepare one)
  • At least four servings of non-starchy veggies throughout the day
  • At least 64 ounces of water

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.

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3. Get Familiar with the Grocery Guide

While Nutrisystem has most of your meals and snacks covered, once you are done your first week, you will get to add in some of your favorite healthy foods. In fact, it’s part of the program. Click here to read through the Grocery Guide 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 about SmartCarbs? Click here.

Free Foods
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.

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4. Get the 411 on Flex Meals

After your first week, you’ll get to try your hand at preparing two healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks in place of your Nutrisystem meals and snacks 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:

flex meals

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 >

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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, whole grains and beans 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! Just be sure to avoid options that include added sugars or sauces, as they can add unwanted sugar, fat and calories. 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 always 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.

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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.

And don’t forget to bookmark this Getting Started Guide on your computer so you can consult it any time you have questions about your program!

*In a study, avg weight loss was 5.4 lbs in the first week. The avg weight for the study participants was 207.3 lbs. Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*Usage of this kit for more than one week in any consecutive 4-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended.  Please be sure to eat all of the food recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all of the food recommended may involve developing serious health complications. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this kit. Please consult your physician before purchasing (or beginning) this kit.