Limiting your carbohydrate and sugar intake can help you drop those unwanted pounds. But without bread, pasta and fruit, you may wonder what you'll eat. While most health-care professionals agree that it's important to eat from all the food groups, you can create healthy low-carb meals using a variety of good foods. Be aware that even vegetables contain a small amount of natural sugar -- even though they're nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods. Eating totally sugar-free meals isn't practical without cutting them out, but you can create low-carb, low-sugar meals and still enjoy veggies. When counting, keep in mind that sugar is one type of carbohydrate, so the total carb grams include sugar. Before restricting your carb intake, consult your doctor to discuss pros and cons of the diet.
Breakfast on Your Low-Carb Diet
Cereal may be out at breakfast, but there are other low-carb options for you. For example, you might make an omelet filled with 1/2 cup of spinach and 1 ounce of cheese, which has 4 grams of carbs including half a gram of sugar. Or make low-carb waffles with coconut flour, egg whites, a little milk and sugar substitute, for about 3 grams of carbs per waffle, depending on how much milk you use. A breadless BLT with turkey bacon and one slice of tomato wrapped in a lettuce leaf also makes a good breakfast with less than 2 grams of carbs and 1/2 gram of sugar. If you're in a hurry, hard-boiled eggs and 1 cup of sliced cucumbers is good for on-the-go, with 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of which are sugar.
Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Lunch Ideas
Salad always makes a good low-carb lunch. Top 2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce with diced grilled chicken breast, five walnuts, red wine vinegar and olive oil. This meal has 6 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of sugar. Canned albacore tuna mixed with mayo and stuffed into an avocado half may be a little higher in carbs, with 9 grams of carbs with 1 gram of sugar, but it makes an appealing lunch. Turkey breast rolled with lettuce leaves, aka turkey roll-ups, also makes a good low-carb lunch. Round out the meal with 1 cup of cherry tomatoes. With four roll-ups, this meal has 9 grams of carbs, including almost 5 grams of sugar.
Dinner Without Carbs
Tofu is a low-carb, low-sugar vegetarian option you can use as your main protein at dinner. Stir-fry 1/2 cup of firm tofu with 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of bok choy, 1/2 cup of mung beans, oil and low-sodium soy sauce for 9 grams of carbs, 4 grams of which is sugar. You can also make low-carb noodles with zucchini. Toss 1 cup of cooked zucchini noodles with 1/2 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes and ground turkey for a low-carb spaghetti. This meal has 8 grams of carbs with 5 grams of sugar. Grilled salmon with 2 cups of kale sauteed in olive oil and garlic creates a very healthy and tasty low-carb, low-sugar dinner with 3 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of sugar.
Lots to Snack On
No meal plan is complete without snacks. Carb-free snack options for your meal plan include hard-boiled eggs, broth and rolled low-sodium deli meat. With 1 gram of carbs per ounce, cheese makes a good low-carb option for your diet plan. Almonds, with 6 grams of carbs, including 1 gram of sugar, per ounce -- about 23 almonds -- are a healthy snack option. Peanuts have 8 grams of carbs and almost 2 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup. Low-carb veggie snacks include mixed greens topped with red wine vinegar and oil, sliced cucumbers, celery sticks or strips of bell pepper.
- New England Journal of Medicine: Comparison of Weight-loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates
- Atkins: Phase One List of Acceptable Foods
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Spinach, Cucumbers
- Foodie Fiasco: Low-Carb Waffles
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Green Leaf Lettuce, Tomatoes and Romaine Lettuce
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Walnuts, Tomatoes, Tofu
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Broccoli, Bok Choy, Mung Bean Sprouts
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Zucchini, Kale, Almonds
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool: Peanuts