If you are on a low carb diet, you know that carbohydrates are the hardest part of a healthy lifestyle. All the foods we LOVE have them: bread, pasta, sauces, muffins, and so on. The list goes on. Too many carbohydrates lead to increased fat stores. Nobody wants that. Trying new ideas and food items can cut carbs, add flavor, and keep our sanity intact. So what should you eat on a low carb diet and how do you cut the carbs?
1. Wraps to the rescue. Just about every grocery store now offer wraps—whole grain or flour tortillas and flatbreads that satisfy the carbohydrate craving without the extra carbohydrates. Wraps come in different flavors such as Italian herb and sun-dried tomato. These new tastes will give your sandwiches a zing. Yes, they do have carbs, but a lot less than a big slice of bread. If you really want to ditch the carbs, use lettuce for your wrap.
2. Specialty breads. Diet companies like Weight Watchers® have come out with their own line of low-carb diet bread products for those who can’t bear to part with it. They offer sandwich bread, bagels, and English muffins that provide taste and satisfaction. That bagel and cream cheese in the morning is still possible.
3. Cut down on white potatoes. White potatoes should be eaten in moderation. For a flavorful change, add a baked sweet potato to your meal. Sweet potatoes are lower in calories than white potatoes and they provide a source of beta carotene and vitamin A. Even better, substitute cauliflower. Cook cauliflower in some milk and water until soft. Drain, add some butter, salt and pepper and then mash like you would potatoes.
4. Choose Healthy snacks. Think nuts, cheese and protein rich foods. When you eat these type snacks you will feel fuller and more likely to eat less overall. And don’t forget the bacon, a staple on low carb diets. For example try:
- Almonds: 6 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber.
- Peanuts: 6 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber.
- Macadamia nuts: 4 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber.
- Hazelnuts: 5 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber.
- Pecans: 4 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber.
- Walnuts: 4 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber.
- Cheese: Less than 1 gram of carbs
5. An apple or a piece of celery? A favorite snack treat is peanut butter on crackers. Crackers are like potato chips—they are small enough to be easily overeaten without realizing it. If you want the peanut butter, try an apple or a stick of celery as the base. The combination of a tart apple with the sweetness of the peanut butter makes a mouth tingle. Celery never tasted so good.
6.When dining out substitute. Ask for vegetables instead of potatoes or break at restaurants. Potatoes, pasta, bread or rolls can add 30 grams of carbs to your meal or more. It depends on the portion size, which is often quite large and not suitable for a low carb diet.
7. Get Your Pasta Fix the Easy Way. Spaghetti squash is one of our favorites. You cook it and it easily shreds into spaghetti like strands. Plus, it has 7g of carbs per serving – 30g less than the real deal! Other pasta substitutes include zucchini or other summer squash, cabbage, and bean sprouts. Just cook, toss with sauce, and add cheese and red pepper flakes.
(image source DitchTheCarbs.com)
Cutting out Sugar on a Low Carb Diet
Sugar is in everything we eat in some form. Consuming it is okay in moderation, but we usually overindulge. Decide today to search out those hidden sugar sources and eliminate them.
Pre-sweetened foods like cereals and packaged baked goods are loaded with sugar. Taking in large amounts of sugar at one time spike the body’s blood sugar levels. We experience a burst of energy followed by a rapid drop that has our butts dragging the floor thirty minutes later. To counteract this, more sugar is needed to raise the blood sugar levels. This cycle of spiking and plummeting causes people to overeat. By cutting out unnecessary sources of sugar, over time we can lose weight.
8. Sodas are taboo. Diet sodas are just as bad for you as regular ones. They are loaded with sugar. They may contain zero calories, but the sugars will turn to fat if the body doesn’t need it. Sugar makes you thirsty. Consuming more soda to quench the thirst only increases it. Pretty soon the kidneys are screaming because they need water. Many people who drink a lot of sodas complain of back pain. The problem really has to do with their kidneys, which lie against your back.
9. Eat fresh fruits instead of juice. Drinking fruit juice to maintain the daily requirement of fruit is okay in a pinch, but not as the norm. Anything that we drink is absorbed faster than what we eat. Also, most fruit juices have added sugar and calories. Try an apple or an orange. Fruit contains natural sugars that satisfy a sweet tooth without overdoing it. Eating a piece of fruit will fill you up and keep the hunger away longer than a glass of juice. Berries have the lowest amount of carbs, bananas the most.
10.Watch your condiments. You might not realize it, but common condiments such as ketchup and barbecue sauce have a fair amount of carbs thanks to their sugar content. (there’s around 7 grams in a mere tablespoon of barbecue sauce.) Instead, start doctoring up your food with things that add amazing flavor and are also super-low in carbs like mustard, tons of fresh spices, flavored vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and pepper.
11. Substitute Milk with Almond or Coconut milk. Milk is nutritious, but it’s also fairly high in carbs because it contains lactose which is a form of sugar. An 8-ounce (240 ml) glass of full-fat or low-fat milk contains 12–13 grams of carbs. To much for a low carb diet.
12. Say “No” to office goodies. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know that there is always at least one person with a jar of lollipops or a dish of chocolate candies on their desk. The boss may bring in donuts or other sweet treats on holidays or just to be nice. Avoid the office fat trap. These extra sweets add to the bottom line, literally. Eating breakfast at home can head off the need for a donut in the morning. Keep your own jar of healthy snacks on your desk so there is no need to indulge elsewhere and stay sane.
13. Join the Peanut Butter Revolution.Peanut butter is a filling and healthy low carb food especially the all natural kind. We like it straight from the jar, but it’s yummy with vegetables like carrots and celery and on apple slices and is a great idea when are craving something sweet.
14. Chocoholics Delight. If you crave chocolate try replacing milk chocolate and chocolate bars with a smaller portion of dark chocolate. Hershey’s and other “candy” chocolates are mostly sugar and very little actually chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidants in it, like blueberries, so you can justify indulging yourself every now and then. And a little goes a long way.
15. Make Stevia your #1 Sweetener. Among all the low carb sweeteners, Stevia rules. First, it really is the only natural low carb diet sweetener out there – it is made from the Stevia leaf. It does not increase sugar cravings the way consuming too much aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose can. Third, it is by far healthier to consume than those blue, pink, or yellow packets! Stevia can be found online, in all health food stores, and often alongside other sweeteners in any grocery store.
When going on a low carb diet it’s important to not only reduce your intake of carbohydrates, but also be sure you’re replacing the carbs with healthy fat! Healthy fat is essential for keeping you full and providing your body with energy so that you can stick with your low carb diet. One of the most common reasons people don’t stick with it is because they attempt low carb and low fat simultaneously, which is a recipe for disaster!
Carbs don’t have to be scary. After a few weeks of cutting back, your body won’t crave them like it used to. This will lessen the anxiety over them and you will have discovered new food choices in the process