Grocery Add-Ins: What are Nutrisystem SmartCarbs?Article posted in: Guides
Carbs. It seems like anytime the topic of weight loss arises, carbs immediately become the mortal enemy. But did you know that you can actually still drop pounds and get healthy while enjoying carbs like bread, crackers and pasta?
It’s true! The key is selecting nutrient-rich carbohydrates that contain fiber and sticking to proper portion sizes.
What is a SmartCarb?
Here at Nutrisystem, we call these nutritious carbs “SmartCarbs.” You will add these healthy ingredients into your meal plan each day. While the number of SmartCarbs will vary based on your specific Nutrisystem meal plan (Check the NuMi app for your plan guidelines!), the definition is the same for everyone:
SmartCarb grocery add-ins are carbohydrate sources that register low to medium on the Glycemic Index. That means they are digested more slowly, helping you to keep fuller longer. They contain fiber and consist of things like brown rice, wheat pasta, grains and fresh fruit, plus starchy vegetables and legumes such as beans and potatoes. One SmartCarb serving is between 80 to 120 calories with at least one gram of fiber.
When choosing your SmartCarbs, keep in mind that the more fiber a carbohydrate has, the better!
What do you do if a carb doesn’t fit into this calorie or fiber range? You can adjust the serving size as needed. For example, if you find a cracker that is 200 calories with 2 grams of fiber per serving, you can split the serving size in half so that it meets the SmartCarb requirements. However, if this same cracker only had one gram of fiber per each 200-calorie serving, it would not count as a SmartCarb and we would recommend finding another option.
Examples of SmartCarbs
From fruit and starchy vegetables to pasta and bread, there are so many different types of SmartCarbs to choose from. Check out the list below for examples of SmartCarbs that you can include in your weight loss plan. We also provided the proper portion sizes for easy measuring!
- Apple or Orange, 1 medium
- Banana, 1 medium
- Berries (blackberries, blueberries, whole strawberries), 1 cup
- Cantaloupe, cubed, 1 cup
- Cherries, 1 cup
- Dried Fruit, no added sugar, ¼ cup
- Fruit Cocktail, canned, in water, 1 cup
- Grapefruit, 1 medium
- Grapes, 1 cup
- Mandarin Oranges, 2 medium
- Peach or Pear, fresh, 1 medium
- Pineapple, 1 cup
- Watermelon, cubed (limit; high Glycemic Index), 1 cup
- 100% Fruit Juice, ½ cup
- Barley, cooked, ½ cup
- Bread, whole grain, 1 slice
- Couscous, whole grain, cooked, ½ cup
- Crackers, whole grain, ¼ cup
- Oatmeal, prepared with water, ½ cup
- Pasta, whole wheat, cooked al dente, ½ cup
- Pita Bread, 6-inch whole wheat, 1 pita
- Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup
- Sweet Potato or Yam, cooked, ½ cup
- Corn, ½ cup
- Winter squash, 1 cup
Beans and Legumes
- Beans, cooked, ½ cup
- Hummus, ¼ cup
- Lentils, cooked, ½ cup
- Peas, green, ½ cup
View a list of our top 16 most logged SmartCarbs in NuMi as well as some recipes you can make with each of those ingredients. You can also find plenty of recipes using SmartCarbs on The Leaf or in the NuMi app.
A Note on Glycemic Index
The Nutrisystem weight loss program integrates the science of the Glycemic Index, which measures the quality of carbohydrates and how they impact your blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrates that break down slowly encourage stable blood sugar levels, so they rate “low” on the Glycemic Index. The slow and steady breakdown of low glycemic carbs helps to sustain energy levels and promotes a greater feeling of fullness.
On the other hand, carbohydrates that breakdown quickly cause your blood sugar levels to rapidly spike and crash, so the carbs rate “high” on the Glycemic Index. The rapid spikes in blood sugar levels from high glycemic carbs leave your body primed to store fat, while the crashes that follow leave you tired and hungry.
Food high in protein, fat or fiber typically have a lower Glycemic Index. Food high in refined carbs and sugar have a higher glycemic value. Foods that contain no carbs (meat, herbs, spices, and oils) do not have a glycemic value because of their minimal impact on blood sugar levels.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you should minimize high glycemic carbs and instead, seek to incorporate more lower glycemic options into your diet to help keep your blood sugar levels stable and your appetite in check. With the recommended combination of low to medium glycemic grocery items (Hint: SmartCarbs!) and the high protein, high fiber Nutrisystem meal plan, we do the work for you.