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If you have just begun a low carb lifestyle, you may be thinking what you can eat on a low carb diet?
While low carb nutrition has many benefits, many people are reluctant to attempt this way of eating long term for the worry missing favorite foods.
To reduce sugar is a major ask is this day and age. It may be a little pricier, but if you can afford to kick the sugar habit, you can lose weight faster while improving health.
Once you establish the food you can eat, it becomes much easier to follow this lifestyle. Low carb eating can be fun and delicious if not more so than typical high carb dieting.
When following a healthful low carb diet, it’s easy to enjoy all your favorite recipes. Savor everything including your choice of meat or fish, veggies, and even fruits.
If you are short on time, simply blend or mix up a protein shake or take a high protein bar with you on the way to work. You can make these yourself ahead of time with low carb flour substitutes such as almond, coconut flour or any nut flours.
Low carb or keto dieting can be good for pre-diabetics or those who have diabetes. It can help prevent symptoms from getting worse from limiting sugar. Be sure to check with your doctor if it is suitable for you or if you have concerns.
High protein intake is also shown to improve satiety, weight loss, and health.(4)
You may not wish to commit to this meal plan and way of eating long term. That’s understandable, but even if you follow a variation such as a carb cycling, you will experience the health benefits.
It helps with breaking sugar habit and sets you on a journey to a healthier lifestyle free of processed and convenience foods.
What Happens When You Don’t Eat Carbs?
When you remove or limit carbs from your diet, you will experience significant changes in the body.
If you remove starchy foods from your nutrition plans such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and cereals your body will release less insulin.
It doesn’t stop just at starchy carbohydrates but also includes, sugar-laden beverages, whole grains, pulses, and sugar spiking fruits.
Quitting carbs improves blood sugar, reduce hunger cravings due to increased protein intake and speed up weight loss.
If you take it a step further and boost fat intake, you can experience the benefits of ketosis. Perks such as better brain function and a cleaner fuel for the body with ketone bodies to name a few.
Restricting carbs open up a new window of food. You could perhaps have nutrient deficiencies you don’t even know about by avoiding protein rich and healthy fats for many years.
Overall, by changing your eating habits and nutrition, it can be a healthier new chapter in your life.
Low Carb Food List
Below is a low carb food list with things to eat separated into different food groups.
Remember, just because some is low carb doesn’t automatically make it healthy. Sometimes the quality of food you are eating is more important than how many carbs there are.
Everyday convenience foods such as high protein bars may include artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives. It is a quick meal replacement low in sugar but is certainly not beneficial for health.
It goes without saying to avoid anything including trans-fats or hydrogenated oils. These tend to include fast, fried and packaged foods.
When beginning a low carb lifestyle, it’s good to ditch the high sugar snacks and load up on filling high protein, high-fat meals.
It is good to prepare these meals at home with whole natural, healthy ingredients, so you know exactly what your eating.
Use products such as coconut oil, almond flour, cocoa nibs to make, nuts and seeds to make cereal or protein bars. Bake them as cookies or whatever you fancy. It always beats the unhealthy processed low carb foods.
Be sure to avoid all low-fat and light products in your meal plan. These foods are merely stripped of healthy natural fats and replaced with sugars, sweeteners, thickener agents, and artificial ingredients.
Low Carb Vegetables
Non-starchy and green leafy veggies are best since it contains the fewest amount of carbs. Some of the best vegetables are:
- Green Beans
- Brussel Sprouts
- Lettuce (All Varieties)
- Sugar snap peas
Meat and Fish
The majority of meat and fish have zero carbs. Remember just because it’s zero doesn’t make it healthy. The majority of people who followed an Atkins Diet ate foods like bacon and sausages on a daily basis thinking it was all fine and healthy. You must look at the quality of the food and make it count for your health.
Ready-made meats or pork products such as bacon are popular on a ketogenic diet to get in the fats but it is pretty much an unhealthy option.
Eat grass-fed meat over factory farmed since the last thing you need is additional omega 6 fatty acids.
Choose oily fish when possible to get the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and fresh over canned always bears the most nutrition.
You can eat bacon if you must but be sure it contains the least amount of nitrites and preservatives.
- Beef Jerky
- Organ Meats
Fish and Shellfish
Fats & Oils
Fats and oils all have zero carbs just make sure you’re eating the healthiest varieties. Coconut oil and MCT Oil are great for quick energy and better mental clarity.
Butter is good for butyric acid which helps with weight loss and reduces inflammation with its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Limit mayonnaise when possible as it contains high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids. Make it yourself at home with fresh egg yolks and extra virgin olive oil for maximum nutritious gains.
- MCT Oil
- Beef tallow
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Butter
- Goose Fat
- Olive Oil
- Duck Fat
- Coconut Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Cocoa Butter
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are great for a low carb or high-fat diet. It’s easy to carry around with you but also easy to overeat. Limit portions when you’re looking to lose weight since calories can add up quite fast.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Pine Nuts
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Dairy is good to consume on low carb diets. Butter, soft cheeses, and eggs are indispensable in your meal plan for cooking high protein or high-fat recipes. Free-range eggs also have the most nutritious value.
Grass-fed and organic sourced dairy is best whenever possible. There are hundreds of cheeses you can sprinkle in salads or main meals to liven up a dish.
- Plain Yogurt
- Soft Cheeses
- Sour Cream
- Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
- Heavy Cream
- Full-Fat Cheeses
Fruits, Sweets, and Snacks
Fruits have there place in the low carb and keto community. Eating no sugar fruits or ones that have minimal impact on insulin work best.
Sometimes you need a pick me up or something sweet tasting to get through the day. Natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Erythritol are great as it contains no calories and is many times sweeter than sugar.
Diet sodas while contain no calories do provide a considerable amount of artificial sweeteners and preservatives. It is shown to raise insulin even though it contains zero calories. Drink in moderation if you must.
Other Sweet Foods
- Diet Sodas
- Sugar-Free Jello
- Dark Chocolate
Low Carb Flours
Recipes made from low carb flours such as almond flour, psyllium husk, and coconut flour are perfect for binding ingredients and reducing carbs. There is nothing worse than regular white flour in baking.
- Almond Flour
- Psyllium Husk
- Coconut Flour
- Other Nut Flours
Drinks and Alcohol
Drinking enough water is crucial for health and fat loss. If you don’t like the flavor of water, then squeeze half a lemon or lime to increase the taste to your liking.
Drink tea and coffee freely just skip on the milk and sugar.
- Bone Broth
- All Teas (Without added sugar or milk)
- Lime Juice
- Lemon Juice
If you’re out with friends or celebrating a special occasion, you don’t want to be the one who doesn’t drink anything. Carb free liquors with a zero calorie mixer are the best choice when drinking alcohol.
Remember, when you drink liquor fat burning is put on hold as the body will burn the alcohol before glucose or ketones.
Condiments are essential to sustain a long-term low carb diet. Tomato-based sauces or gravies have no place on the dinner plate.
There are many options to choose from depending on what the menu is. I like to use dried herbs and spices such as parsley, turmeric and hot sauces on meals.
- Dried herbs & spices
- Soy sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fish Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Cocoa Powder
- Dill Pickles
- Tabasco sauce
- Hot sauces
- Wine vinegars
Is a Low Carb Diet Sustainable
As mentioned before, a low carb diet has numerous health benefits. You don’t need to give up as much as you think but rather change to whole healthy natural foods.
Banishing junk and processed foods are the number one thing you can do for better health and well-being.
The primary goal to set yourself is to eat whole foods and reduce or eliminate prepared, processed meals.
Once adapted to low carb lifestyle you can enjoy faster fat loss and have a much higher chance of maintaining a healthy body weight.
You will experience reduced cravings carb-loaded snacks and greater satiety from meals. Better blood sugar levels and less blood sugar spikes due to better eating habits.
If you’re looking to take it to the next step and try a keto dieting, you’ll want to limit additional foods. Check out how to start an LCHF diet for more info.
Test the diets out if uncertain about this high protein high-fat lifestyle. If you exercise at a high intensity or rely on high carbs foods to power through workouts, then try out a carb cycling or targeted ketogenic diet nutrition plan.
For anyone new to counting carbs it may take time to get the hang of it. Once you get into a routine of preparing meals and develop and healthy eating plan, then nothing will stop the positive health benefits and weight falling off.
Take the time and appreciate the whole natural foods you eat.
What are your favorite low carb foods and it is a struggle to maintain your targets?