If you are trying to cut down on your carb intake, it may seems like every food at your grocery store contains carbohydrates, from breakfast cereals, granola bars, breads, cookies and muffins to pasta, potatoes, rice, crackers and fruits. Although your grocery shopping may seem overwhelming when first getting started on your carbohydrate-restricted diet, you will find that it takes less time every week as you know what foods you can eat.
Avoid starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas and carrots, if you are cutting down on carbs. Instead, fill up on non-starchy vegetables. For example, spinach, kale and Swiss chard are an excellent addition to a low-carb omelet. Mushrooms, broccoli and onions can make an easy stir-fry for a quick dinner, and pre-washed leafy greens with a few cherry tomatoes are a convenient option to prepare a low-carb salad for lunch. You can also snack on cucumber slices sprinkled with salt and pepper or celery sticks spread with peanut butter.
Fish, Seafood, Poultry, Meat and Eggs
If you are adopting a diet that cuts down on carbohydrates, it is important that each of your meals contain a source of protein. Fish, seafood, poultry, meat and eggs are all excellent sources of protein. Avoid protein options that are battered, prepared with a sweet marinade or served with a sugar-containing sauce to keep your carb intake down.
Cheese and Nuts
Cheese and nuts are both appropriate for a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and cashews are slightly higher in carbs, so keep the serving small or opt for other types of cheese or nuts. For example, you can sprinkle your omelet with Cheddar cheese, add feta cheese and almonds to your salad or gratinate your vegetables with mozzarella cheese. A handful of macadamia nuts with a few slices of Brie cheese also makes a satisfying low-carb snack.
Butter, Coconut Oil and Avocado
If you decide to cut down on your carbohydrate intake, it is important that you up your fat intake. A diet that is lower in carb should be higher in fat to provide your body with all the energy you require to function properly, even if you are trying to lose weight. You should add 1 to 2 tablespoons of either butter, coconut oil, cream, mayonnaise, salad dressing, olive oil or half an avocado to your meal, according to Dr. Eric C. Westman, co-author of "The New Atkins for a New You." For example, cook your omelet in coconut oil, prepare a vinaigrette with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, serve your green beans with butter, dip your vegetables in guacamole or drizzle your steak with a mushroom and cream sauce.
If you feel like having a little treat without compromising your intention of cutting down on your carb intake, you can include small amounts of berries, dark chocolate or unsweetened coconut chips. Although these options contain small amounts of carbs, they contain a lot less carbohydrates than what is found in most fruits, chocolate bars or desserts. You can dip a few strawberries in dark chocolate, sprinkle raspberries with unsweetened coconut flakes or nibble on a few squares of 85 percent cocoa.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data Laboratory
- "The New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great"; Eric C. Westman, Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek; 2010
- "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable"; Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek; 2011