Put These Low Carb Foods In Your Diet
Are you cutting carbs? Going gluten-free? Trying yet another way to get rid of that spare tire? Transitioning to a ‘low-carb lifestyle‘ isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve consulted with a medical professional and you’re ready to start changing the way you look at low-carb foods, keep reading.
Low Carb Foods Can Be Fresh and Delicious
You don’t need to sacrifice raw and whole foods just to maintain a lifestyle low in carbohydrates and healthy nutrition.
If you’ve been reading about personal experiences with the Ketogenic Diet1 (not quite the same as Atkins, but very similar), you’ll see lots of cheese, heavy cream, grass-fed butter, bacon, and eggs.
While bacon, eggs, and cheese are delicious, there is a distinct lack of variety – not to mention a lack of nutrients – when you limit your intake to just those few foods that have little to no carbs.
Here are some fresh ideas for low-carb foods you’re probably not eating – but should!
Low Carb Fruits and Vegetables
1. Spaghetti Squash
If one of your weaknesses is pasta, you can keep eating spaghetti, but there’s a healthier option than refined wheat pasta. One cup of spaghetti squash has 7 grams of carbohydrates and 1.5 grams of fiber for a net of 5.5g carbs per serving2.
Here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart for Sautéed Scallops over Spaghetti Squash.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are part of the same fiber-packed family as broccoli and kale. Even if you hated them as a child, you should check out some new recipes that will definitely have you reconsidering your opinion. With 3 grams of protein and 4.7 grams of carbs per 88g serving, as well as tons of Vitamin A and C.
Brussels sprouts are nutrition-packed additions to dinner meal plans3. For a keto-friendly twist, try roasting them with cubes of pancetta.
This cousin to the rose is significantly lower in carbs than most fruits and lets you keep all colors of the rainbow4 in your diet. With high fiber5 and only 1.1 net carbs per 10 individual berries, you can have a sweet snack and still stay low-carb.
4. Cucumber Slices
At 1.5 grams of net carbs per ½ cup of slices, you should be eating more English Cucumber. It has more fiber and a better flavor than a regular cucumber, without the waxy coating on the skin.
Add slices to water throughout the day for a zero-calorie flavor boost or combine with a few cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a filling and flavorful salad.
Low Carb Nuts and Seeds
5. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a complete protein, are loaded with healthy fats, and are naturally low in carbohydrates. With only 1g of carbs per ounce6, you can add hemp seeds to smoothies, salads for a great protein boost with barely any effect on your carb count.
Here’s a great recipe for Mushroom “Rice” Pilaf using hemp seeds instead of grains.
Packed with rare antioxidants, Vitamin B6, magnesium, and omega 3s7, walnuts only have 2 net grams of carbs per serving of 14 halves. Great to snack on, they are also delicious when roughly chopped and lightly toasted before being mixed into yogurt in lieu of granola.
7. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts have some of the best fat-to-fiber ratios and a delicious one-ounce serving only contains 2 net grams of carbs. High in healthy fats, naturally low in carbohydrates8, even though they’re on the expensive side for snacks, for a healthy diet low in carbs they’re excellent to have on hand.
Here’s a great recipe for Low Carb, Gluten-Free Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.
Low Carb Dairy Products
8. Parmesan Cheese
Not only does parmesan cheese taste amazing on top of ‘pasta’ dishes made with spaghetti squash, with only 0.2 grams of carbs per tablespoon9, but you can also find ways to use it in many dishes without significantly impacting your carb count for the day.
For the ultimate in low-carb snacking, try using these Parmesan Crisps to scoop up homemade guacamole.
9. Heavy cream
Instead of milk, add two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream to your morning coffee. You can also whip up an alternative dessert by whipping the heavy cream with any no-calorie sweetener that doesn’t affect your blood sugar.
Top with a few raspberries and walnuts for a filling, low-carb, and sweet-tooth-satisfying dessert.
10. Clarified Butter or Ghee
You may never have heard of ghee, but it’s a staple in Indian food, and a nutritional powerhouse to boot. If you’re already using coconut oil, you’ll like Ghee because it is also rich in medium-chain fatty acids which some studies have shown can help burn excess calories10 – which in turn causes weight loss.
Low Carb Snacks
11. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a great low-carb snack to keep on hand when you’re busy and on the go. Many brands are low in carbs, but not all of them are.
Keep an eye on the nutrition label and your portion size, but beef jerky is an excellent choice for a low-carb snack.
12. Air-popped popcorn
Not all of your favorite pre-low-carb lifestyle snacks are off-limits! Air-popped popcorn has only 5 grams of net carbs per cup and you can drizzle a little clarified butter over it for a healthy and delicious snack.
Steer clear of the prepackaged and microwave popcorns – those salty snack packs are not low in carbohydrates and they tend to be hard to portion control.
Maintaining a low-carb lifestyle isn’t easy, and there’s no end to ways the food industry will try to add sugar, making most pre-packaged foods off-limits.
What low carb foods do you normally reach for that satisfies your cravings?
1. Hussein M Dashti, Naji S Al-Zaid. ‘Long-Term Effects Of A Ketogenic Diet In Obese Patients’. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology 9.3 (2004): 200. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
2. Wikipedia,. ‘Spaghetti Squash’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
3. Whfoods.com,. ‘Brussels Sprouts’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
4. Medical News Today,. ‘Raspberries: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
5. WebMD,. ‘Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
6. Nutritiondata.self.com,. ‘Nutrition Facts And Analysis For Hemp Seed (Shelled)’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
7. Mercola.com,. ‘7 Benefits Of Eating Walnuts | Walnut’s Nutrition’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
8. Paleo Leap | Paleo diet Recipes & Tips,. ‘Eat This: Macadamia Nuts | Paleo Leap’. N.p., 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
9. Google.com,. ‘Carbs In Parmesan Cheese – Google Search’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015
10. Herrington, Diana. ’15 Amazing Benefits Of Ghee’. Care2.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.