Alright, my low-carb lovers and lifestylers! Where are you? This round up of recipes is for YOU. Seems to be the “trendy” thing to do these days. But just because it’s trendy, does it mean it’s right for you? That’s a twist on the classic “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?” A dose of healthy skepticism is needed any time a trendy new eating fad rears its head. Here’s an intriguing read: “Carb Controversy: Why Low-Carb Diets Have Got It All Wrong” from my very own nutrition coaching certifying body, Precision Nutrition.
It’s not as though low-carb diets are actually new. Each macronutrient (carb, protein or fat) has gone in and out of vogue over the decades. Restricting any one or combination of macro-nutrients to take energy intake below energy expenditure is going to create weight loss. Those are the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. But the question is, what approach is going to work the best for YOU and make you feel, look and perform YOUR best?
Now, if you’ve done your homework and perhaps even consulted with a qualified nutrition coach (like me!), and you want to increase your repertoire of low-carb meals and snacks, who am I to deny you? One of the best ways to determine if a particular eating approach is going to work for you is to “play scientist” and try it out. Even if you just want to include these selections from time to time to create a more moderate intake of carbohydrates in your overall eating approach, you’re going to find these useful.
I think it’s safe to say that in my total repertoire of recipes, I have ideas for meals and snacks that suit just about any and every style of eating (except maybe macrobiotic raw veganism). And of course, as a busy professional working mother myself, these recipes are generally all kid- and husband-tested and approved, like my round up of family-friendly healthy recipes from just a few short months ago. I even went the extra step of going live every time I ate over the course of a “low-carb day” – you can check out my Facebook feed for that.
Now, if you want a single place to easily reference ALL of the recipes, be sure to bookmark this page.
Bring back the bacon! The classic combination of bacon and eggs is a low-carb lover’s dream. I like to serve it with sauteed spinach (a great source of fat-soluble vitamins) and/or fried shredded cabbage or spaghetti squash. Sounds crazy, but fried cabbage is sort of like hashbrowns, especially when you get it golden and crispy by pan-frying it in butter (welcome to the brave new world where butter is NOT the bad guy).
Because we know I’m all about time-saving strategies and meal-time hacks to keep you winning the weeknight dinner wars, I buy pre-washed, pre-shredded salad greens to save time, and throw on leftover meat from the night before (steak strips, pork, chicken – whatever) OR canned meat/seafood in a pinch for a super speedy meal. Make a quick low-carb dressing with equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Easy, delicious and nutritious!
Another choice is to make a sandwich using your favourite sandwich fillings, but replace the bread with a low-carb alternative. Sturdy lettuce leaves or steamed collard greens make for great green wraps. Spread scrambled egg batter thinly in a pan and create an egg roll-up. My newest trick has been to cut a zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the middle, and fill it with sandwich fillings like cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers.
Long live the stir-fry! I buy frozen stir fry veggie blends or fresh, pre-washed, pre-chopped veggies (focusing on “cruciferous” – aka crunchy – green vegetables like broccoli and bok choy) to save time, and I mix up meat like beef strips or chicken pieces or seafood like salmon or shrimp. I season it with Asian-inspired flavours like ginger and fish sauce.
To serve, skip the carb-heavy rice or noodles and opt for cauliflower rice or low-carb noodle substitutes instead. These insanely low-carb kelp noodles* (3g of carbs per serving) passed the kid taste test with flying colours. In fact, I found them even better left over the next day. They were a bit “crunchy” when I first served them; letting them sit in the fridge over night caused them to soak up stir fry sauce and flavour and softened them into delicious noodles.
You may have noticed that a lot of processed “to-go” options contain highly processed carbs and not much else. I’m looking at you, granola bars! What to do? Good news! The snack industry is catching up and there are lots of convenient, portable, low-carb options for low-carb snacking in your day:
Beef jerky (watch out for brands and flavours with added sugars), pepperoni sticks, Babybel cheese mini wheels, cheese sticks and strings, or even a small handful of nuts and/or seeds can give you a low-carb boost.
Okay this is a “special” category, simply because granola is near and dear to my heart. It’s one of those incredibly delicious and yet incredibly calorie- and nutrient-dense foods I hate to love. Let’s just say I have had a history of portion control problems when it comes to granola. My mouth says “more.” With this keto-friendly granola from Julian Bakery* (nope, I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by this company – yet; I buy enough of their granola that perhaps I should be – ha!), I get a great, filling portion (1 cup!) packed with protein and fiber, with way fewer carbs than the traditional stuff (it’s sweetened with monkfruit extract, one of those trendy “natural” alternatives to sugar, without the bad rap that aspartame, Sucralose and the ilk carry).
Now, remember, just because something is low-carb doesn’t mean it’s low-calorie. It’s the same issue we ran into with the low-fat movement (minus the bacon, of course). You still have to be aware of your overall intake in a day to meet your needs. Too much of anything is…well…too much.
Have a fit day!
*Please note that I am currently NOT sponsored by or affiliated with any particular brand, company or product. Any ideas, comments or opinions are my own, as mentioned in my Product Review page. However, if you choose to purchase new-to-you products I recommend using the link(s) I provide, I can earn a small credit. More information on that is available here.