When first starting a low carb diet it can be difficult to get used to eating this way. The food tastes great, but you may suffer from some cravings at first, as well as struggle with figuring out what to cook.
While the sample eating plan above is helpful, these tips and tricks to make living low carb easy will also come in handy by providing ideas for quick and easy substitutes and ways to stay motivated.
Rice Replacement — This is something most low carbers miss eventually. Thankfully, there are other foods you can substitute for rice such as cauliflower. Simply steam the cauliflower and then break it up to “rice” like pieces. Since cauliflower doesn’t have much of its own flavor you can dress it up just like rice and it will be delicious.
Avoiding Potatoes — If you are missing recipes like hash browns, try using summer squash instead. Shred the summer squash, mix with eggs, make a patty and fry in olive oil or coconut oil. They are delicious and you’ll save a lot of carbs and won’t miss the potatoes. You can also mash cauliflower to create mashed mock potatoes that are really delicious. Puree them with cream, butter, salt and pepper. Enjoy.
Skipping the Traditional Noodles — Instead of using high carb noodles, eggplant, zucchini and other veggies can be used as noodles. You can use a spiral vegetable slicer to create zucchini spaghetti noodles, and you can also slice egg plant into long noodles for subbing as noodles in your lasagna recipe. You may not believe it, but you really won’t miss the noodles. While there are low carb noodles you can buy today, you can’t sub for the extra nutrition that using more veggies add to your day.
Mac & Cheese — This needs its own space even though it’s a noodle dish. We all love Mac & Cheese but why not just create a substitute by using a lot of veggies instead of noodles. Try low carb egg noodles, with a lot of frozen veggies, egg and cheese to remake mom’s Mac & Cheese to a healthier lower carb version that is just as satisfying.
Use Beans — Anytime you can use beans instead of a higher carb item such as noodles you’ll cut your carbohydrate load in half. Just throw in some cooked beans to sub some of the pasta, keep some of the pasta in so that you get that feeling of eating a full pasta meal. You’ll have more nutrition and less carbs in every bite.
Chips — Did you know that you can use cheese in your microwave to create cheese chips? Well you can. Grate some parmesan with some less salty cheese and place in rounds on parchment paper. Microwave for 45 seconds at a time on high, letting set between rounds until crisp but not burnt. You can also try it in the oven baking until the cheese turns golden brown at 375 degrees. Usually takes 4 to 8 minutes, so keep an eye on it.
Pizza — We all love pizza and you don’t have to give up the flavor of pizza. You can make a very good pizza crust out of portabella mushrooms. There are also some wonderful recipes with almond flour. Experiment. Remember to try to repeat the flavors without the carbs. Bread really doesn’t have much of a flavor on its own; it’s the toppings that make the difference.
Sandwiches — Just use lettuce, portabella mushrooms, cabbage or jicama as the wrapper to your sandwich. Load on the lean meat, onions, cheese, and veggies and enjoy. Nothing could really be easier.
Eating Out — It’s actually easy to eat out on a low carb diet. You can eat everything, hold the bread and potato, and you’re great. You can usually plan ahead by looking at menus online first. But even a fast food place has choices. Remove the bread, the crust, have a side salad, and get apples instead of fries. You’ll enjoy the crunch, with less carbs and empty calories of fries.
Keep Stress Low — One thing that makes any lifestyle hard is stress. If you let stress get to you, you’ll be eating that bag of chips in no time. Keep your stress level low by getting rid of negative people in your life, avoid stressful situations, and learn to look on the positive side of life.
Eat More Eggs — Keep hard boiled eggs in your fridge for a fast snack whenever you are experiencing hunger. The concern about cholesterol in an egg is way overblown, and you don’t need to worry about eating eggs as snacks. One or two eggs will kill your hunger, and taste good too.
Exercise — Don’t forget to add exercise into your day. Exercise can actually keep you more motivated to stick to your new healthy low carb way of life. You’ll also build muscle, improve your lung function and increase your energy by exercising.
Use the idea of substitution instead of deprivation in all aspects of your life. If there is something you really love, you can include it in your diet if you count the carbs, trade off when possible, and find new flavors to excite your taste buds while staying active.
Starting any new way of life can be fun and exciting but also difficult. That’s why it’s important to identify your goals, then create an actionable plan toward reaching your goals. Enjoying a healthy low carb lifestyle is one of the easier ways toward reaching the goals of good health, weight loss, and more energy but it still requires advanced planning, education, and support. Seek out others who share your goals and you will be successful.