What exactly is a carb? A carbohydrate, or a carb, typically occurs naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts and grains, while others are added to processed foods in the form of starch or extra sugars. Our bodies work to convert carbohydrates into sugar, or glucose, as foods are digested, which is the main source of fuel for our body. Carbs can come from foods like whole grains, which contain dietary fiber and are very good for your body – they can even help to lower the chance of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Carbs are often blamed for weight gain, but they are important to your body as the main energy source. What’s important is to select the right carbs and control the quantity that you consume. To help you get started on a low carb diet, here is a list of the best and worst low carb foods to add into your meal plan:
- Any type of meat but try to select organic or grass-fed options. You can choose beef, pork, lamb, turkey or chicken.
- Organic eggs are nutritious and delicious, and can be prepared many different ways – boiled, fried, scrambled, omelets, frittatas and more.
- Fatty fish like mackerel, herring, sardines or salmon are a great addition to a low carb diet, and even offer additional health benefits due to the high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cooking with natural fats like coconut oil, olive oil, butter and cream can make your low carb meals taste even better and will also help you feel fuller.
- Vegetables – all kinds! Vegetables with the lowest carb count include cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers and so much more. You can enjoy these without restriction and cook them various ways with spices and butter for optimal flavor.
- Instead of candy or chips, opt for healthy snacks like nuts and berries. Nut butters are also a great way to work in protein and healthy fats into your low carb diet.
- Go for less refined carbs like whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and cereal, quinoa, lentils and beans. These foods provide a good base for you to eat more vegetables and they are also great sources of fiber.
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. You can even drink flavored or sparkling water but check the list of ingredients ahead of time to make sure there isn’t any added sugar.
- If you need to get your caffeine fix you can still drink black coffee with small amounts of milk or cream. You can also drink black or herbal teas, but make sure to either avoid sugar or use natural sweeteners.
If you consume too many refined and processed carbs, not only will it completely ruin your diet and get you off track for your weight loss goals, but it will also bring on a blood sugar spike, which will later result in an awful energy crash. Here’s a list of foods to avoid when you are following a low carb diet plan:
- Sweetened cereals that try to pass off as healthy, like honey clusters.
- Sandwiches with lots of sauces. Think about it, all of the produce and protein on your whole wheat sandwich is healthy, but once you top it with ketchup, mayonnaise or relish you are adding lots of sugar carbs to your meal.
- Do your best to avoid simple carbohydrates like pasta, white bread or refined grains. Instead opt for whole wheat versions, or vegan selections like pasta made from lentils or chickpeas.
- High starch vegetables like corn or potatoes are very high in carbs.
- Fruit that is high in sugar should be avoided, this includes items like bananas, pineapples and mangos.
- Sweets and desserts like cakes, donuts, candy and soda should be avoided at all times when following a low carb lifestyle. If you have a sugar craving to satisfy you can enjoy a piece of dark chocolate, some fresh fruit or make your own low carb baked goods with whole ingredients like almond or coconut flour.
Committing to a new weight loss program can be challenging, and it’s a big lifestyle change. If you have made the decision to turn your life around and your goal is to be the best version of yourself then please get in touch with our team. We would love to sit down with you to discuss your goals and together come up with a unique approach and plan to help you be healthier, feel better and look great!