Do you look up recipes for low-carb pizza, stack your pantry with low-carb cookies, and binge on nut butters a bit too often? You are probably doing it wrong! Low carb can help you lose weight and perhaps even improve health but only if you understand the basics and integrate them into your regular lifestyle. Let’s look at all you need to know when beginning with a low-carb lifestyle.
Identify carbs in your diet
On a low-carb diet, you will be eating fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat. If you want to do it right, you have to learn which foods are rich in carbohydrates so that you can keep them in check.
Here is a simple guide:
Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground, nuts, seeds, and natural fats like butter or lard.
Avoid: Sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, corn, oats, beans and potatoes.
Plus, you have to read the label any time you’re buying a packaged product. Things like ketchup and other sauces are often full of sugar, just like most low-fat dairy.
Eat more fat
Not eating enough fat is a common mistake beginners make on a low-carb diet. We were told that fats are bad for us for a long time, so it’s understandable that we are subconsciously still trying to limit them. But with new research, we now know that many types of fat are beneficial and pretty much all natural fats are safe to consume. So, if you feel that you don’t have enough energy, here are some good ways to add healthy fats to your diet:
Eat more fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines and fatty cuts of meat
Include full-fat fermented dairy if you tolerate it well
Use more fat when cooking (ghee, butter, lard, or beef tallow are all great options)
Use more fat on salads (olive oil is a great choice)
Garnish with high-fat foods like cheese, nuts, and seeds
Choose fatty snacks like 70% chocolate, nuts, eggs, cheese
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Replace popular carb-rich foods
Anyone coming to low-carb from a standard high-carb diet is probably used to potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread with pretty much all meals. If you want to succeed, you should know how to replace those staples in a tasty and healthy way. Here are a few ideas.
Swap pasta for zucchini
Zucchini can be a great alternative to pasta; it feels surprisingly similar and contains almost no carbs. Plus, you can cut it up to any shape you want. There are other low-carb foods that can be made into pasta, like squash, cabbage, eggs with cream, but zucchini is by far the easiest to use. You can also go with store-bought pasta that’s made with various types of fibre, like glucomannan, which contain zero carbs.
Swap rice for cauliflower
If you’re looking for something that looks and feels like rice, then you have no better option than cauliflower. You can make it look like couscous, rice, or even mashed potatoes, yet it contains no starch and plenty of fibre.
Swap potatoes for green beans
Green beans do contain some starch but far less than any potato. White potatoes have about 22 g of carbs per 100g, sweet potatoes have about 21 g, and green beans only 7 g.
Swap wheat flour for coconut and almond flour
If you need to have bread in your life, then check out nut flours. There are plenty of bread recipes using almond and coconut flour. They usually require a fibre called psyllium, which helps ingredients stick together and feel more like regular bread. Unfortunately, low-carb bread can only get so close to the real thing.
Eat until satisfied
One of the advantages of low-carb diet is the fact that it makes you eat very satiating foods that keep hunger away for a long time. This means that you can start relying much more on your feelings of hunger and satiety to decide when to eat and when to stop. No need to count calories or weigh grams. Just stay away from low-carb junk food and limit your nut intake to a handful a day, and you will be pretty safe from overeating.