A healthy low-carb diet isn’t as boring as many think it is. In fact, it’s packed with protein and delicious vegetables that can make any meal a tastebud paradise. In essence, such a diet will turn your life around, as it allows you to lead a healthy lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed or unsatisfied.
However, in order to follow it, you have to know what you can eat and what you will have to avoid. While our low carb store is a great place to get what you need, there’s a lot of science behind our products, which we want to distill here. In general, a low-carb diet puts an emphasis on protein, healthy fats, and vegetables that are low in carbs and high in fiber. What it mostly lacks is fruit, as well as starchy, sugary and processed food.
The pillars of a healthy low-carb diet: protein, healthy fats, and vegetables
Since this diet doesn’t involve a lot of grains, you would have to switch those out for larger portions of vegetables. Those who follow a ketogenic diet (aka ‘keto diet’), which is extremely low in carbs, will eat non-starchy veggies — leafy greens, for example. However, if you’re less strict, you will have more options. In any case, the most important thing is to prepare the vegetables properly to make them as delicious as possible without adding anything unnecessary.
Unhealthy fatty foods, like pies and chips, are not on the menu here. It’s the healthy fats you should pay attention to, such as those that come from meat, dairy, nuts, and oily fish. Avocado, olives and a variety of oils are also allowed, such as coconut and olive oil.
All of these foods will gradually energize you, and since they take longer to digest, you won’t feel hungry fast. But, don’t go overboard with nuts and cheese — they might hinder your weight loss if you don’t manage your portions.
Finally, for this diet to work, you’ll need a fair amount of protein too. You should mainly opt for lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and nuts. Legumes, beans, and lentils are also an option, but these contain carbs too. So, if you want to drastically lower your carb intake, try to eat them sparingly.
Foods you have to avoid
A less strict low-carb diet will allow small portions of grains. Still, a very low-carb diet excludes starchy foods and grains completely. You’ll also want to avoid sugar and foods that contain sugar whenever you can. If you’re not that strict, though, allow yourself one cheat day once in a while. Additionally, consider dark chocolate with 85% cocoa content or more. That is the “good” kind of chocolate that’s low in carbs.
Even seemingly healthy food such as fruit is not a great option when you’re following a low-carb diet. Some fruit is high in carbs, and most of it is also high in sugar. As such, opt for small quantities of fruit that’s low in carbs, such as berries.
And of course, processed food is a big no-no in every healthy diet. It doesn’t have enough nutrients nor does it provide you with enough energy. Also, by eating processed foods, you will take in a lot of calories but will feel hungry fast. In fact, these might not even fill you up.
What about salt and your water intake?
Salt has a bad reputation because it’s used in huge amounts in processed food. However, when you’re on a low-carb diet, you need salt (not too much though!) because a low carb diet may deplete water and sodium from the body.
As such, don’t worry about it too much and ensure you have enough salt in your diet. Also, remember that you should stay hydrated too. Lowering your carb intake can result in some side effects, such as brain fog and constipation. However, water and salt in your food will help you overcome those.
In fact, you can even make bone or vegetable broths so as to avoid side effects to some extent. These will also allow you to take in enough vitamins and minerals, which will, in turn, boost your health.