10 Foods To Include on a Low-Carb Diet
If you’re watching your carbohydrates, don’t fall into the trap of eating nothing but bacon and cheese for all your meals. There are plenty of ways to adhere to a low-carb diet while still getting in plenty of vegetables and other good-for-you treats. It’s all about getting creative. Can you swap a lettuce wrap for bread on your sandwich? Can you melt your cheese and toppings on top of a piece of eggplant instead of a pizza crust? There are so many ways to substitute low-carb foods for high-carb foods. Here are 10 foods to include on your low-carb diet.
Zucchini is the ultimate low-carb food because it works so well as a replacement for other foods, particularly those that contain a lot of starch. Swap pasta for noodles made from zucchini. Instead of frying up potatoes to make hash browns, try zucchini instead. You can even reduce the amount of flour you use in pancake and muffin recipes by supplementing with zucchini. For a low-carb sandwich, nix the bread and use long slices of zucchini instead. The possibilities are endless. If watching your carb intake is important to you, be sure to include zucchini on your list of go-to ingredients.
Cauliflower is another low-carb food that can be used as a replacement for higher-carb ingredients in an array of dishes. Skip the starchy pizza dough and try making a cauliflower crust instead. Use a food processor to break up cauliflower until it has the consistency of rice – use this in your next stir fry. Instead of chips, top cauliflower with other veggies and cheese for a new twist on nachos. Mash your cauliflower instead of mashing potatoes. When it comes to cauliflower, you have an opportunity to get really creative.
Eggs are another incredibly diverse food and they also happen to be packed with protein. Whether they’re scrambled, poached, fried, hard-boiled, baked or thrown into an omelet, quiche or smoothie, eggs will not let you down. Dress them up with herbs, slice them up in salads, and make breakfast portable by creating little quiches in muffin tins.
4. Nuts and Nut Butters
When we think of low-carb diets, many of us picture plates of bacon and pork rinds served with a side of butter. For those looking for a more health-conscious way to cut carbs, there’s good news: nuts and nut butters serve as a terrific source of low-carb, high-protein, high-good fat fuel. Add them to your oatmeal, smoothies, salads, veggie dishes and more. Get your dose of vitamin E and magnesium by including nuts and nut butter in your diet.
5. Chicken Breast
What’s so great about chicken? In addition to being high in protein, it’s also low in fat and calories. This lean meat can become the star of any meal: grill it, bake it, broil it, add it to a salad, put it in a sandwich, or make a lean chili out of it.
You probably know that yogurt can be used for so much more than just snacking. Use yogurt to create a “cheesy” sauce. Combine yogurt with fresh fruit for a delicious breakfast parfait. Put yogurt in a smoothie. Make a dip with yogurt. Use yogurt interchangeably with sour cream and cottage cheese. This is another ingredient that is completely versatile.
Not only is salmon a fatty fish full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium, it’s also a low-mercury fish and can be included as part of a low-carb diet. It’s also another versatile meat that can be baked, grilled, served on its own, used as a salad topper, and more.
8. Dark Chocolate
You know what they say: a chocolate a day keeps the doctors away. (Wait, is that not what they say? Well, maybe they should start!) Dark chocolate has little added sugar, is made with a high ratio of chocolate solids, and metabolizes well – dark chocolate calories are less likely to end up as fat in the body (when consumed on a small basis). Some studies even suggest that including minimal amounts of dark chocolate in your diet can aid weight loss.
9. Portobello Mushrooms
The next time you’re making a hamburger or sandwich, try this: instead of using bread or a bun, use two Portobello mushroom caps instead. Or, instead of putting your pizza toppings on a traditional pizza crust, add them to a few Portobello caps instead. You’ll get even more flavor but with fewer carbs and calories.
10. Summer Squash
The next time you’re in the mood for French fries or hash browns, try slicing or grating summer squash instead. Although the consistency will be a little different, squash has a flavor profile that mirrors potatoes – but it contains only a fraction of the carbohydrates.