In my last post, I promised to give you some ideas about what to eat. I want to start with the foods I eat daily, or very regularly. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of what you can and can’t eat, but simply to show you the basics of my diet, based on my personal preferences. If you keep these items on hand, you’ll be able to eat a varied and satisfying LCHF diet:
What I eat every week:
O% plain Greek yogurt
Half and half
Nuts and nut butters
Almonds – sliced and slivered
Natural peanut butter
Bananas (these are high in carbs, so I only eat half, once or twice a week)
Romaine lettuce (organic)
Mini sweet peppers – red, orange, and yellow
Frozen fruits and veggies
Green beans – whole and french cut
NOTE: These are the fruits and vegetables I eat the most, but you can really eat any veggies you like, except for the starchy ones like potatoes and corn (not technically a vegetable, but many think of it as one). You should also eat sweet potatoes and winter squash in small quantities, and most fruits are too high in sugar to be eaten often. Berries are your best bet.
Whole turkey breast
Whole, bone-in chicken breasts
Wild-caught Alaska salmon (frozen)
Flounder filets (frozen)
Ground turkey (for homemade turkey sausage patties, which I make in bulk and freeze)
Beef – we buy a half from a local farmer once a year, so we always have many different cuts in our big chest freezer
Pure maple syrup
Chocolate – 72% cacao
Unsweetened almond milk
Unflavored protein powder
Olives – green, black, and kalamata
Sandwich thins – I eat half of one per day, which is about 14 carbs
Foods I eat less frequently, but keep on hand for variety:
*Canned black beans
*Frozen, diced sweet potatoes
*Basmati and Jasmine rice
Tahini (for hummus)
Canned tomato products – paste, sauce, diced, crushed
Coconut aminos (a soy-free replacement for soy sauce)
Herbs, spices, and condiments of all kinds, as long as they are low in sugar.
*These foods are high in carbohydrates, so when I make them for my family, I limit my serving size to 1/2 cup.
Foods I eat in small quantities rarely, or in some cases never:
Pasta – any kind. WAY too many carbs for me.
Fruit juices – they’re just sugar-water
Bread, other than sandwich thins (see above). I consider these a requirement for me to cope with an otherwise bread-free life.
Any caloric beverages, other than almond milk in smoothies
Processed foods (don’t get me wrong, I might eat a few Cheez-Its or an Oreo every now and again, but I try very hard to avoid packaged chips, cookies, and crackers, because they’re high in unhealthy oils and refined sugar).
Most grains, with the exception of oats and rice on occasion (see above)
Corn and corn products
Soy products – any/all
Refined sugar/high fructose corn syrup
Vegetable oils – this includes corn, soybean, and sunflower
A typical day of eating for me might look like this:
Half a sandwich thin with one fried egg, one slice of Swiss cheese, and 1/2 of an avocado, sliced
Coffee with 2 tablespoons half and half
13 grams usable carbs (total carbs minus fiber)
14 grams protein
25 grams fat
Taco salad made with:
2 ounces leftover taco-seasoned ground beef
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon full fat sour cream
2 tablespoons taco sauce
1/2 sliced avocado
6 crushed tortilla chips (just enough to add a little crunch)
14 grams usable carbs
22 grams protein
40 grams fat
4-ounce portion Alice Springs chicken (my low carb version)
1 cup baby Brussels Sprouts sauteed in coconut oil
23 grams usable carbs
41 grams protein
26 grams fat
50 grams usable carbs
77 grams protein
91 grams fat
I drink no calories from beverages, because I typically just drink water or seltzer. Also, you may notice that there are no snacks mentioned, but that’s because consuming 91 grams of healthy fat in a day makes you so full that you don’t need any! I’m not saying that I never eat snacks, but on a higher fat day, such as this one, it would be very typical for me to not require a snack.
Next week, I’ll record a week of eating at our house, and I’ll also include links to some favorite recipes, as well as recipes I’ve come up with myself. Until then, here are some typical breakfasts, lunches and snacks for me (dinner varies wildly, depending on many factors).
Avocado, egg and swiss sandwich thins (see above)
Plain greek yogurt topped with low carb, grain-free chocolate granola
Smoothie made with almond milk, unflavored protein powder, frozen raspberries, and half a banana
Buttered sandwich thin with sliced hard-boiled egg, salt, pepper, and sometimes hot sauce
Bulletproof coffee (my version): This is 2 cups coffee, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/4 cup half and half. Blend in a blender. On days when I drink this for breakfast, I’m rarely hungry before 2:00 P.M.
Salads of all kinds, usually with cheese, meat and olives, and always with full-fat, homemade dressing
Low carb leftovers from dinner
(It’s not unusual for me to not be hungry at lunch and skip it in favor of a small, late-afternoon snack).
Snacks (I’ll try to post many of these recipes next week!)
Low carb peanut butter bars
Raspberry cheesecake fat bombs
Pizza fat bombs
Cheddar cheese, with dill pickles or green olives
Energy balls (these are a higher carb snack made with oats and natural peanut butter)
Buffalo chicken dip with celery sticks – this is a huge family favorite. My girls love it.
Finally, a note about the “low-carb flu:”
You may notice when transitioning to a low carb diet that you temporarily feel like crap warmed over. Many people experience headaches, nausea, irritability, and low energy. These symptoms are usually much worse for those who typically ate a very high carb diet. For me, the low carb flu was fairly mild, lasting only 2 days, but I did have headaches, and even a weird, slightly tingly feeling in my arms. This is all normal, and nothing to worry about. These symptoms will go away as your body adjusts to burning fat instead of carbs. Stay well-hydrated, take some Advil, and don’t give up! Most importantly, be sure you’re eating enough salt. When you first begin eating low carb, you’ll notice that you pee more often, and this temporary increase in urination can cause your sodium stores to be depleted. Even now, if I start feeling like maybe I want cookies at night, I can often alleviate my hunger with a pinch of sea salt! Also, make sure that you’re counting usable carbs, not total carbs. Fiber cannot be broken down by the body, so it’s not included in your carb count. So, if you eat a cup of green beans, the total carb count is 8 grams, but you must subtract the 4 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 4. It’s the total usable carbs consumed each day that count!
For those who are anxious to get started with low carb cooking, this recipe web site was a lifesaver for me at first, until I got used to developing low carb recipes. It’s like a LCHF bible!
Make sure you pay attention to the star ratings at the bottom of her recipes. The 4 and 5-star recipes are the ones she likes best! I’ve created many of my own favorite recipes using hers as a jumping-off point.
Up next, living with carb lovers, dealing with skeptics, and RECIPES![print-me/]