South Beach Diet Chicken Recipes: Phases 1 & 2

There are many different diets out there, and while some of come and gone there are others that really stick around and get results for dieters year after year.

The South Beach Diet is one of those that has been popular for many year and stays popular among large groups because of its success in helping individuals cut off weight and keep it off.

The multi-phase approach allows individuals to learn how to become healthy through good eating that allows them to keep focusing on a series of foods and then transitioning easily to maintenance.

south beach diet chicken dinner

The idea behind this is to help the body shift to sustainable eating habits with healthy foods and then move naturally into a long term healthy eating plan that will allow you to maintain these eating plans through all that time. By setting up a long-term framework a person will be able to learn what foods are acceptable all the time, which ones are occasional snacks and indulgences, and which need to be avoided.

Putting up that framework has another obvious benefit: this makes it easy to scale back again when you need to keep losing more weight or scaling forward when you’re at maintenance.

By putting that solid foundation down in place, you then are empowered to repeat or move on as needed to keep yourself in check (read our South Beach Diet reviews to learn more).

South Beach Diet Phase 1 Chicken Recipe Rules

Chicken is a major source of protein and a popular option because there are so many great ways to prepare it.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the phase 1 rules eliminate a lot of popular sides or ingredients that can take away a lot of popular recipes that many people enjoy (good-bye chicken sandwiches, rice for stir fry, and sprinkled bread crumbs!).

However, there are plenty of great options left and plenty of fully acceptable sauces that can result in some stunning and delicious Phase 1 (learn more about the rules of Phase 1 here) recipes.

Baked Pesto Chicken

baked pesto chicken

Start with boneless chicken. If you bought them in strips then this is easy as you can skip forward to step two.

However, if you bought boneless skinless chicken breasts then you will want to cut them into long strips of about equal width (or as close as you can manage) to create a line of chicken breast that fills up your pan or baking dish.

Use your non stick option of choice on the bottom of the pan whether butter, oil, or non-stick spray before spreading a solid coating of pesto over the bottom. Usually a quarter cup will do for the bottom.

Then you want to place the uncooked chicken strips on top, add some salt and pepper, a little bit of crushed garlic (or garlic powder if you want to go easy), and spread anywhere from a quarter cup to half a cup of pesto on top depending on your tastes.

Many people prefer a sprinkling of cheese on top, and it’s not a bad idea but there’s no need to drown it.

Most ovens you go 375 degrees for 30 minutes. If the cheese is browned after 25 minutes the dish is probably ready and you can go from there.

Low Carb Chicken Stir Fry (Remember: No Rice Allowed!)

This is great because while often you put stir fry on rice, there’s actually no rule saying you have to. If you need that texture or mix consider cauliflower rice as a good South Beach Diet friendly substitute. If you were one of those kids who tried to sneak stir fry without rice, good news – that’s allowed now!

A good chicken stir fry will have garlic, pepper, a pinch of salt, soy sauce, and maybe peanut sauce for people who enjoy the flavor and aren’t allergic.

Make sure to include caramelized onions, sliced bell peppers, soy sauce soaked mushrooms, podded peas, and any other easy to slice vegetable you feel like throwing in. You can even throw in a little bit of balsamic vinegar while frying for that extra bit of sizzle and flavor if that’s your thing.

Avoid rice and you’re good to go!

Phase 2 Chicken Recipes

a roast chicken sits on the dining room table

There aren’t going to be a lot of differences between phase 1 and phase 2 chicken recipes, although there are a few common ingredients or supporting side dishes that can be brought in (in limited amounts) on Phase 2 that could not be used in phase one. Keep in mind that these should still be mixed in with recipes from Phase 1 as you don’t want to abandon the original dietary rules completely.

This means sides like rice, brown rice, or mashed potatoes are suddenly acceptable (once again in small amounts). This definitely opens up the options on the types of chicken recipes that can be used as well as the use of ingredients like breading or bread crumbs.

Grilled Chicken Breast w/ Mushroom Sauce

This is a classic recipe. You can grill the boneless skinless chicken breast or you can also bake it in the oven, it’s all about your preference as well as convenience. Start with one or two tbsp of butter to the skillet and heat. Add mushrooms and butter fry them for about three minutes on medium to medium high heat until they all appear solidly cooked. Add another tbsp of butter and garlic. Cook all that for one minute before turning down the burners to medium.

At this point add in a quarter cup of flower and mix for about a minute. You’ll want to add 1/2 cup of beef broth at this point, mixing consistently to help beat out lumps. Then add in the rest of the beef broth and mix. Add a little bit of black pepper and cook for about two minutes. You’re mainly looking for a lack of lumps and a mixed flavor of smells – the gravy does thicken as it hardens.

On your plate add in a small amount of brown rice (yay Phase 2) as a guilty pleasure, place the chicken on top, and gravy it up!

Final Thoughts

There’s a reason that the South Beach Diet has remained so popular over time. The ability to eat until you’re full instead of starving yourself has been a big reason why this diet has prospered and as even these few recipes show – it’s easy to eat extremely well and still lose weight as long as you stick to the Phases and make smart substitutions you’ll be all set to continue your weight loss journey!

Interested in learn more about the South Beach Diet? Check out our full review here.


Get More Diet Tips, Recipes and Reviews at

South Beach Diet’s Recipe Database