I sometimes hear from folks who are a little confused about how to add in the fresh, grocery store side items to their Nutrisystem meals. And there can be some reluctance about even bothering with the sides because no one wants to work hard on the diet just to add in food that counteracts what you are trying to do so that it thwarts your progress. I heard from someone who said “what am I supposed to add in my Nutrisystem meals? I do not want to eat the wrong things.” I'll respond to this in the following article.

The Add Ins Are Broken Down Into 4 Categories. You Can Chose From Any Category Every Day: One of the real goals of Nutrisystem is that you eat a very balanced diet from all of the food groups while eating foods that are glycemic friendly. To that end, the add ins are broken down into 4 categories. as follows: smart carbs; power fuels; vegetables; and extras. Ideally, you will choose from each group each day. This is not as hard as it sounds. You receive a grocery add in guide with your order and they will tell you how much of each category you should have. They also give tons of examples with suggested quantities.

For example, foods under the “smart carbs” category are foods like fruits, juices, whole grains, and pastas. In a real world example, you could have one medium banana or a slice of oatmeal bread with your breakfast from your own grocery stash. Or, you could add in a half cup of pasta or beans at lunch. For dinner, you could eat strawberries on the side.

The next category that we'll look at are the “power fuels” and this is mostly lean protein like cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, and lean meats. A real life option might be adding in Canadian bacon at breakfast, a yogurt cup at lunch or some additional lean meat at dinner. Peanut butter and nuts also counts in the “power fuel” category. Now, the “vegetable” category is reasonably self explanatory. As you might expect, there are a wide variety of vegetables on this list. In general, you are allowed an entire cup of vegetable which is quite a bit.

The “extra” category are things like condiments (mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, salad dressings, oils) and snacks like popcorn and pumpkin seeds. Do not confuse these snack foods with the daily snacks that you eat on Nutrisystem. It works like this. On this plan, you eat three main meals (breakfast, dinner, and lunch) plus side items at every meal (choosing from the categories I just talked about.) In addition to these main meals with sides, you get to have two snacks and a dessert. These are included with your Nutrisystem package. So remember that the grocery sides are just that. They are sides to be ateen on the side of your main meals. But you also get snacks between meals to help keep you from getting as hungry.

So to answer the question posed, the choices for side items are extensive but you are given a lot of good information with your order. Basically, you can pick a side from any of those four categories, depending upon what might go nicely with your meal. So you might have some yogurt (power fuels) with your breakfast bagel, some carrots (vegetable) with your chicken salad lunch, and some pasta (smart carbs) with your steak at dinner. And you would still get an additional 2 snacks and a dessert on top of all of this.