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  • Revisiting South Beach Diet Phase 1 and a Breakfast Casserole

    Posted on | August 25, 2009 | 50 Comments |

    It’s been almost 5 months since I got off South Beach Diet. It was early March. I had reached my target weight; I was happy with the way I looked and the way my clothes fitted; I had learned all the basics of a good healthy diet which was sustainable; my body was well-conditioned to not crave for bad carbs; my metabolism was at its best. Then came summer, it got really warm around here and my one and only true weakness started popping up everywhere – BEER! There was no escape – barbecue parties, office picnics, happy hour – no matter where I went there was someone enjoying a cold one! I thought to myself – I’ve been so good for so many months, one beer isn’t going to cause any harm! I had forgotten how good a cold beer tastes! Nope, I couldn’t stop at one, or two or three or four. Before I knew it beer had become a way of life again! Since I was being bad anyway, why not enjoy some fries and some occasional white rice and my favorite pumpkin bread and lemon loaf from Starbucks with the afternoon coffee?

    It was inevitable, I can feel them coming – the lbs and the inches! I have only put on 4.5 lbs from the weight I was at the end of SBD and I haven’t really gone up a dress size yet, but I can feel the jeans tightening up and the curves getting a little curvier and worse of all I am seeing a few extra curves which shouldn’t be there. I have to recondition my body again, get these cravings out of my system. At least I know a tried-and-tested method to get back to where I was! Yep, I am back on SBD phase 1 again, in fact today was my first day on phase 1! 

    Since I have done it once before, I know the most important factor for phase 1 success is planning ahead. To me, breakfast is the most challenging meal of the day, SBD or not. I am not a morning person and cooking breakfast daily is not an option for me. You can have whole-grain cereals and oatmeal in phase 2, but for phase 1 there really aren’t any instant breakfasts. But luckily I had figured this all out the first time around, and Kalyn’s big collection of SBD friendly breakfast recipes is my one stop resource for breakfast ideas.  The best part about Kalyn’s breakfast casseroles is that they refrigerate very well. So before I started phase 1, my first task was to make a breakfast casserole to last us till the weekend.

    Breakfast Casserole with Eggs, Ham, Onions, Peppers and Watercress


    Based on Kalyn’s Basic Instructions for South Beach Diet Friendly Breakfast Casseroles

    For 8 servings


    • 12 large eggs
    • 1/4 cup fat free milk
    • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
    • 1.5 cups grated low fat Mexican four cheese blend
    • 1 bunch watercress, washed, drained and stems removed ~ 3 cups
    • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
    • 1 cup red onions, diced
    • 1 cup ham, diced
    • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
    • Seasoning
      • 1 tsp red chili powder + 1/4 tsp garam masala
      • Or store bought curry powder
      • Or any spicy seasoning of your choice
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1-2 tbsp oil
    • 2 tbsp fennel greens (optional)


    Preheat the oven to 375F.

    Place the cottage cheese in a strainer and pour cold water to wash away everything but the whole curds. Drain well to get all the liquid away.

    In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the ham slices till a little crispy, remove and keep aside. Add a bit more oil if needed and saute the onions till soft. Add the seasoning and stir fry till the raw smell disappears. Add the bell peppers and saute for two minutes. Finally add the watercress and saute till wilted.

    Beat the eggs along with the milk till frothy. Add the cottage cheese.

    Spray a casserole dish with oil. In the bottom of the casserole dish layer sauteed veggies, ham, green onions and cheese. Pour the egg and cottage cheese mixture over and stir gently with a fork to make sure the liquid is evenly distributed over the other ingredients.

    Bake for 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven till the eggs are set. Once cool, cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate.

    I normally cut out a piece in the morning and heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds. The heating time may vary depending on the microwave, do not overheat.


    SBD Phase 1, Day 1 Menu

    • Breakfast – 1 slice of the breakfast casserole, 1 cup black coffee
    • Mid-morning snack – 15 almonds
    • Lunch – Salad + grilled chicken breast from the office cafeteria
    • Mid-evening snack – fat free plain yogurt
    • Late-evening snack – 1/2 cup edamame with salt
    • Dinner – “Cauli-rice” (recipe coming up) + 1/2 a broiled mackerel

    If you are thinking of taking up the diet, remember – the first couple of days are going to be tough, you are going to be cranky and tired and you won’t even feel like cooking. So make sure you at least do some prep work before day 1. If you can actually go a step further and prepare the meals for the first two days in advance, you won’t fail at all!

    Category: Breakfast and Brunch, Breakfast Recipes, Phase 1, South Beach Diet Friendly

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    50 Responses to “Revisiting South Beach Diet Phase 1 and a Breakfast Casserole”

    1. Rooma
      August 25th, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

      umm….. should it be reheat for 60-90 secs or mins? :twisted:

      • sig
        August 26th, 2009 @ 7:36 am

        Oops! Thanks! :)

    2. Dee
      August 25th, 2009 @ 10:57 pm

      Sig ,I have the SBD book , a friend gave it to me a few years ago .. The issue was it didnt have many dishes for vegetarians. Id probably eliminate the ham here and try. Btw love your pictures … Is it with the new lens ?

      • sig
        August 26th, 2009 @ 7:38 am

        Thanks Dee! It is the old lens :( I have given up on the new one for now, I have some studying to do I guess.

    3. sunita
      August 25th, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

      We had something similar for breakfast today-minus the ham. It’s great that you have the patience to go back on the diet.I’ve been letting go of myself quite a lot recently,and yes, the curves, there are popping up al right :sad:

    4. Raaga
      August 25th, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

      Hmmm… the casserole is very tempting.

      I think I may have started putting on the weight again too… too much partying happening… especially on the karaoke nights!

    5. Dolon
      August 26th, 2009 @ 12:09 am

      I am a silent visitor of your blog , I never put any comments but I loved your blog ….
      Hey I started SBD one months back ( not to mention inspired by you ). But after 2 weeks I discontinued … Now again I will start … Can you please give the day to day details about your food chart ( if possible through mail ) …. It will be really helpful for me …
      & yes the casserole is very tempting & the picture is as usual perfect ….

      • sig
        August 26th, 2009 @ 7:38 am

        Thanks Dolon! I will try and publish the daily menu as frequently as I can. Good luck with your diet!

    6. arundati
      August 26th, 2009 @ 12:29 am

      i made something similar for dinner a few nights ago… minus the ham ofcourse… it was great with a salad… good luck with sbd!!

    7. Sra
      August 26th, 2009 @ 12:38 am

      Best of luck, Sig! I made one of these from Kalyn’s a long time ago, and added some soya to it – for an event, I think. Good, and filling.

    8. nags
      August 26th, 2009 @ 12:56 am

      Sig! You are back on the diet eh? I just read a book by Rujuta Diwekar and its really really awesome. It talks about very sustainable eating habits and I am waiting to get back after vacation to try it. I know I should start now but kappa and meen varthathu and all, I can’t resist :D

    9. Nirmala
      August 26th, 2009 @ 3:48 am

      Sig! all the best…The casserole looks very filling and doesn’t look like a diet food at all :evil:

    10. Mamatha
      August 26th, 2009 @ 5:44 am

      I hear ya Sig. The days I eat breakfast, I spend about 20-30 minutes in the morning cooking it and end up being late for work. I’ve been planning on making something like this for the last week or so. This post might be the impetus I needed. I was planning to make it with ground meat instead of ham, and adding broccoli, zucchini etc. so it can double as a filling lunch or dinner too. After seeing that picture with the Starbucks coffee, I suspect most would pick this casserole over the SB lemon loaf or pumpkin bread.

    11. Kalyn
      August 26th, 2009 @ 5:57 am

      Good for you getting right back on it again! That’ exactly what I do a few times each year if I’ve been over-indulging. Really does work like a charm. I try to eat the SB way most of the time, and I think I’m glad I don’t like beer, but I do have my own weaknesses!

    12. Bong Mom
      August 26th, 2009 @ 6:13 am

      I have seen this one but my only prob is we have to keep eggs at bay because of D’s cholesterol

      • Mamatha
        August 26th, 2009 @ 6:38 am
        • sig
          August 26th, 2009 @ 7:41 am

          Hey, thanks for the link M, yeah I too have read many articles about how the dietary cholestrol has no effect on the blood cholestrol levels. But the oxidization that this article talks about is new info! Wonder if there is any truth to it!

          “However eggs can become problematic if the cholesterol inside them gets oxidized. This can happen if the eggs are cooked at high temperatures where the york is broken as in frying or omelets”

          • Mamatha
            August 26th, 2009 @ 8:44 am

            Sig, any fat will get oxidized at very high temperatures. But I doubt it would get oxidized at the temperatures we cook. Traditionally, fats like ghee, coconut oil were used for deep-frying because they are very stable at high temperatures compared to poly/mono-unsaturated fats. I’ve read about oxidized cholesterol being present in skimmed and low-fat dairy. Which is why I believe we are better off eating foods as available in nature.

            • sig
              August 26th, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

              Thanks Mamatha! Yeah I know that heating oils beyond their smoking point makes them hydrogenated, but I didn’t know that it applies to eggs too! I’ve got to do a bit more research!

            • Mamatha
              August 27th, 2009 @ 6:02 am

              I must admit I don’t either about the cholesterol part. I reread my comment and clearly I mixed up fats and cholesterol.

    13. Ann
      August 26th, 2009 @ 6:18 am

      Ha,you are back with them..hmm..thats totally an inspiration to me Sig..awesome picture..!!

    14. Lakshmi
      August 26th, 2009 @ 6:21 am

      Oh what a colorful way to get back on diet!! Love love love the casserole..will try it soon.

    15. Arch
      August 26th, 2009 @ 9:29 am

      You’re back on the diet – WOW !! You really have some self-control ! I read this book too that Nags mentioned – its a great book called ‘Dont lose your mind, lose your weight’ sounds very doable, just got to start on it…All the best with your SBD !

    16. varsha
      August 26th, 2009 @ 11:40 am

      Back?? ALl the best Sig..:)

    17. musical
      August 26th, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

      What an enticing picture, Sig!

    18. cheffresco
      August 26th, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

      That’s one good looking ‘diet’ casserole! Good luck w. your new SBD!

    19. Hb
      August 26th, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

      The casserole looks perfect! I am a quick breakfast person and good luck on your mission :)

    20. gee
      August 27th, 2009 @ 8:04 am

      Hi Sig,
      Could you please send me the 2 weeks mail planner with indian menu.

    21. Reena
      September 26th, 2009 @ 9:27 am

      Thanks for the recipe. Have just prepared the casserole- couldn’t find watercress and ham. I live in the Gulf and had been on holiday for three weeks to Aus and Hong Kong and gained loads of weight. It is great to find SBD diet adapted to the Indian taste.I will keep you updated on the progress. I have to lose 6 kilos by November.. have decided not to be realistic.

    22. Reena
      September 26th, 2009 @ 9:28 am

      Oops .. I meant I have decided to be realistic.

      • sig
        September 26th, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

        Good luck with the weight loss plan Reena!

    23. Denita
      April 17th, 2010 @ 7:19 am

      Egg beaters (Egg whites with some flavoring) are a life saver in the morning. I take a carton to work and leave it the fridge. Pour some in a bowl and micro them for a minute at a time till they are done. If I have some available I will add some pre-cooked turkey sausage or even tomatoes.
      Another yummy fast breakfast is tomatoes, mozzarella cheese with basil and a drizzle of lite Italian dressing or red-wine vinegar and oil. Just chop it up, toss in a container with the dressing and go.

    24. kathy kramer
      May 19th, 2010 @ 5:36 am

      i am so desperate to loose weight. i have balloned up to 350 and im 40 on a ton of meds and cant walk and breathe at the same time i am trying this as a last resort and i really hope that it works surgery really doesnt work for me

    25. Ethan Thompson
      June 20th, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

      i am looking for a good list of diet foods, can someone post a link?”,-

    26. Christian Lee
      July 15th, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

      Can anyone give more list of diet foods?”-.

    27. VishnuPriya
      August 30th, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

      Hi Sig, Based on ur south beach diet…which motivated me to be on diet!!! Starting from 1st of coming month…Wish me luck…Thank U in bringing awarness n motivation..:)

    28. Natalie
      January 7th, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

      Thanks for posting. I have always loved breakfast casseroles since childhood. South beach has been really great to my husband and I. He lost 50 pounds last year and hopes to lose 20 more this year. The hardest part is coming up with new ideas each week. Thanks for your help!

    29. Bob
      March 3rd, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

      Possibly the most important aspect of dieting is the lifestyle changes which ought to accompany the start of the diet program.

    30. Mita
      May 30th, 2011 @ 5:38 am

      Just discovered your blogsite.. It is great!! As per a couple of other requests, can you send a two week menu list for phase 1 that is vegetarian? I need to lose about 20 pounds that just will not come off for the last 5 years. Thanks!!!!

    31. Terri's Kitchen
      July 4th, 2011 @ 6:04 am

      I’ve just recently found your website. I’m a SBD’er from when it first was introduced. I went off of it after losing about 15 lbs. and it slowly crept back on…and then some. Last year I decided to get serious and do something about my weight, so went back to SBD. I lost 30 lbs. and have pretty much kept it off, but my weight has (again) slowly crept up again. Even though I’ve only gone up about 5 lbs., it really does make a difference. My jeans have gotten a bit tighter and I don’t like it. I’m trying to get back on it starting with Phase 2…perhaps I ought to go back to P1. I like the idea of making the breakfast casserole…I’m too busy lately in the morning to stop and have any food and by the time I should eat, I’ve got the cravings to eat anything in sight. I think I’ll make the casserole tomorrow morning and see how it goes. Thanks!

    32. Bong Angeli
      August 26th, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

      Required time to analyze all of the reviews, however i very seriously wanted the send. That turned out to be create in to Somewhat beneficial to myself and I?t beneficial to all your commenters correct listed here The idea?utes often wonderful once you can’t try to be educated, but additionally kept amused I?mirielle good you felt the need exciting scripting this distribute.

    33. Anne
      August 5th, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

      Just tried this~with a few substitutes: turkey kielbasa for ham, spinach for watercress, and sweet red pepper for green bell. Yummy!!