Very low-carb diets may be more effective at helping you drop those unwanted pounds than low-fat diets, according to a 2013 review study published in PubMed Health. But when you're limited to only 60 grams of carbs a day, you may wonder what you can eat. A very low-carb diet is filled with animal protein such as poultry, beef, fish and eggs, non-starchy veggies, lower-carb fruits, cheese and fats. To make planning easier, evenly distribute your carbs among three meals for 20 grams each. If you're having a hard time following this diet, consult with a registered dietitian for help designing an individually tailored meal plan.
Low-Carb Breakfast Meals
With 20 grams of carbs, you'll be able to create delicious breakfast meals for your very low-carb meal plan. Your carbs might come from fruit, veggies or even grains. An omelet stuffed with 1 ounce of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of spinach with 1 cup of sliced strawberries has 16 grams of carbs. Low-fat cottage cheese may be a source of carbs, but one cup makes a filling breakfast when combined with 1/2 cup of cantaloupe and 1 cup of sliced cucumbers. This breakfast meal has 20 grams of carbs. With low-carb baking mix, you can have two low-carb pancakes topped with 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries and serve with three pieces of turkey bacon for almost 20 grams of carbs.
What to Eat for Lunch
To up nutrient intake, focus on making non-starchy veggies the star of your low-carb lunch meal. For example, you might make a salad consisting of 2 cups of lettuce topped with 1/2 cup of sliced green peppers, 1/2 cup of alfalfa sprouts, half of an avocado sliced, seven chopped walnuts and grilled salmon with 2 tablespoons of creamy Italian dressing. With 11 grams of carbs, you can add 1/2 cup of raspberries to complete the meal for a total of 19 grams. If you want to take a break from animal protein, make a stir fry using 1 cup of tofu stir fried with 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of bok choy and 1/2 cup of snow peas with sesame oil, ginger and soy sauce. Serve with a fresh plum to make a 20-gram carb meal. A turkey burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf with 1 ounce of Swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes and onions and served with 12 asparagus spears and a small orange has 19 grams of carbs and makes a healthy, well-rounded low-carb lunch.
Instead of pasta, keep your spaghetti low-carb using spaghetti squash. Mix together 1½ cups of cooked spaghetti squash with 10 sliced cherry tomatoes and low-carb meatballs for a tasty 19-carb dinner.
If you'd rather have a dinner with fewer than 20 grams of carbs so you can have more carbs for a bedtime snack, that will work, too. For a 12-carb dinner meal, bake a chicken breast topped with sliced tomatoes and 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese and serve with 2 cups of kale sauteed with garlic and olive oil dinner. Or create a delicious veggie stack with cooked portabello mushroom, grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers, and top with goat cheese. Serve your veggie stack with garlic shrimp for a dinner with 10 grams of carbs.
Snacks for a 60-Gram Carb Diet
To satisfy cravings between meals, keep a few carb-free snacks at hand. Good options include an ounce of mozzarella cheese, hard-boiled eggs, carb-free rolled deli turkey, steamed shrimp or olives. If you have a few carbs left over from dinner, consider an ounce of almonds, pecans or macadamia nuts to snack on. Each has less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. Mixed greens topped with bacon, feta and Caesar dressing also make a filling snack and also has less than 5 grams of carbs.
- PubMed Health: Very-Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet V Low-Fat Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials
- Atkins: Phase One List of Acceptable Foods
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Strawberries, Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe
- Atkins: Atkins Low-Carb Pancakes
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Blueberries, Turkey Bacon and Walnuts
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Raspberries, Tofu and Plums
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Oranges
- Atkins: Baked Meatballs
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Pecans, Almonds and Macadamia Nuts