Five Go-To Low-Carb Meals

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.

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Homemade Better-for-you Holiday Sweets

I know this tme of year gets even busier for busy professional working moms (just like me).  I was so busy that in last week’s post about Smart Strategies for Holiday Eating, I completely forgot to point out that you can also MAKE your own foods to BRING to the events.  When you’ve got better-for-you recipes like the ones I’m about to share, you can be confident in your food choices because you know exactly what is in them and just how delicious they are!  It’s so disappointing to “waste” calories on a sub-par goodie, isn’t it?  I’ve been known to (discreetly) spit out crappy chocolates and dry cookies.  If I’m eating it, it had better be DELICIOUS!

So, I assure you that all of the recipes that follow fit the bill for both better-for-you than their traditional counterparts AND delicious – AS delicious-tasting as the originals, if not MORE SO!  Some of the recipes are vegan, some are keto- and/or paleo-friendly and ALL of the recipes lack refined/processed sugar. I actually filmed full-length LIVE demos for FIVE of the recipes on  Facebook and I shared those same five recipes as my weekly Instagram video series.

Forgot about a class party?  Need to bring a dish to a potluck (as I suggested above)?  Just want to hide in the basement with some snacks until it’s all over?  I’ve got you covered!  For all of my recipes and MORE of my top picks from my favourite food bloggers, read on!

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High Protein Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

More than a mouthful…let’s just read that title again: High Protein Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.  It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Especially when you consider that it contains NO gluten, NO grains and NO refined sugar. But I’m here to tell you that it’s real and it’s more than good.  Oh yes, this recipe is downright divine.  It’s got a perfectly soft and moist cake around the edges, and a soft, luscious, melt-y chocolate center.  Just like any perfectly respectable lava cake should.  I hope the photos speak for themselves.  But don’t just take my word for it – make it for yourself!

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(High Protein) Healthful Cream Cheese Frosting (or Glaze)

It’s the little things…how many times have you heard that phrase?  But it’s true on so many levels and in so many contexts.  It’s the little rituals that you have with your loved ones that have the most meaning and hold the most space in your heart.  It’s the little adjustments in training and nutrition that set the gold medallists apart from the silver medallists.  And when it comes to food, it’s the little touches of flavour and presentation that can take a meal from merely mediocre to masterful.

I like to think that this healthful cream cheese frosting or glaze is one of those little things.  It’s the perfect little something extra that can be added to enhance just about any dessert, including protein muffins, carrot cake, cinnamon buns, apple pie…oh my!  Heck, it’s so good for you, you could even put it on your oatmeal.  No judgment!

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Low-carb Hot Cocoa

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe.  Long, too long (say that in your best Sean Connery voice).  I’m one of those weirdos who still likes hot beverages even in hot weather (don’t worry if this makes you a weirdo, too; we can be weird together).  Actually, apparently it’s not actually all that weird.  Some of the hottest places on earth (the Equator; African nations) drink hot, HOT coffee and other hot beverages to encourage the body to sweat to help with this body-cooling mechanism.

So, here’s to sweaty days and sweaty nights, and I swear this low-carb hot cocoa is actually really great on cold winter days and nights, as well.  With fewer than fifty calories per mug, it’s basically perfect all of the time. Unlike “regular” hot chocolate, it’s also completely sugar-free, and also dariy-free, gluten-free and vegan.  And you can make it without breaking a sweat.

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Welcome to the SWYPO* Series

Courtesy of whole30.com
Courtesy of whole9life.com

That’s right folks, it’s time for a wink and a nod to the concept coined by Whole30 founders Melissa & Dallas Hartwig of “Sex With Your Pants On” concoctions that attempt to mimic the deliciousness of a “real deal” junk food treat with only Whole30-approved ingredients.

DURING your Whole30, these baked (and no-bake) goodies are explicitly off limits, and for good reason:

…If you continue your Whole30 program eating Paleo pizza, Paleo ice cream and Paleo pancakes, well… all it makes you think about is how less-than-stellar this version is, and how delicious the other version would be. Just like… well, you know.

The problem is, if you continue to have sex with your pants on, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re gonna want to take your pants off. And during your Whole30, that spells trouble…

Do you really want to spend the entirety of your Whole30 obsessed with all the stuff you can’t have, and eating the same foods you’ve been eating all along? We sure don’t! If you come out of your program with the same habits, patterns and food choices you had when you started, what are your chances for long-term, life-changing success? After all, those very same habits, patterns and food choices are what got you into trouble in the first place!

See more at http://whole9life.com/2011/10/sex-with-your-pants-on/.

So, what exactly am I doing? Well, I’ve set out, deliberately and intentionally, to create goodies that use only nourishing and nutrient-filled real, whole food ingredients that are compliant with the Whole30 program and yet are incredibly delicious, better-for-you desserts and sweet treats. Some are so good, in fact, that I’d dare to call them SWYPOFF (Sex With Your Pants Off)! Because there are going to be times in your life after your Whole30, that you’re going to want or need (i.e. to share with friends or family or to mark a special occasion) a certain special something. But after all you’ve learned from your Whole30 about healthy food choices and their impact on your life, you’re not often going to want to stomach (literally and figuratively) the laundry list of gut- and mood-disrupting and downright unpronounceable ingredients that can show up on processed options, or even in your own (or your mother’s own) homemade, from-scratch baking (there’s a time and place for those treats, too).

Still wondering whether a treat is worth it and whether you should just go for it and have the REAL DEAL? Check out: http://whole9life.com/2011/04/whole9s-guide-to-nutritional-off-roading/

And if you’ve made up your mind that one of my SWYPO goodies is just the ticket, then I hope to see you back here soon! (But not DURING your Whole30).

Questions?  Comments?  Criticisms?  I take them all!  Comment below or send me an e-mail per my Contact Information in the side panel.

(High-Protein) Banana-Coconut Cream Pie Bowl (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Banana-Coconut Cream Pie Toasted Coconut ToppingHave you ever gotten into a snacking rut?  Throwing the same granola bars (or Quest bars) into your lunch bag (or purse or backpack) week after week?  Digging the same badly bruised fruit out of the bottom of your gym bag?  Spooning the same pre-packaged single serving yogurt flavours into your mouth while you peruse Pinterest (look for me!) but pretend to work?  SNACK BOREDOM STOPS HERE!  I’m bringing you all the rich, creamy deliciousness of BOTH Banana Cream Pie AND Coconut Cream Pie in one innocent-looking bowl of high-protein, gluten-free, grain-free, refined-sugar free GOODNESS!

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(High-Protein) Fluffer-Nutter Peanut Butter Banana Bowl (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined sugar-free)

Marshmallow FluffOh, Fluff!  That thick, sticky-sweet, syrupy, fluffy, foamy marshmallow-y gooey goodness.  Is it a topping?  Is it a spread?  Is it even a food?  Whatever it is, it sure is delicious (or at least it was – it might be a sad side effect of being an adult that I can’t recall the last time I had a nice blob of Fluff to cram in my craw).  But taste aside, I think we can agree that it is NOT a pinnacle of nutrition.  Well, let me pioneer a high-protein, refined sugar-free recipe that brings you the same satisfying “squish” of Fluff, paired with its classic companions peanut butter (hello, Fluffer-nutter!) and banana!

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(Paleo) Quick and Easy Guacamole (5 ingredients!)

Quick and Easy GuacamoleAh, guacamole. If I’m eating guacamole, I’m eating some version of Mexican food or Tex-Mex and that means I am a happy girl. Sadly, South Korea is a little bit lacking in the Mexican food department (I know, I know – you don’t come to Korea for the Mexican food), although I hear that there are a few notable exceptions for Mexican food restaurants in the foodie districts in Seoul.  At least avocados are readily available at my local Costco.  So, I decided to make my own guacamole at home. When I realized how easily you can make this healthy dip with only a handful of ingredients, I just had to share this recipe with you!

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(Paleo) Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash Soup (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan)

Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash SoupI’m always impressed by a bowl of warm and creamy roasted squash soup.  This soup is no different: the rich, earthy, subtly sweet flavour of the roasted squash is enhanced by a just-right blend of spices.  Adding apple adds an unexpected yet complementary flavour and touch of sweetness to the dish.  No matter what time of year you make it, the taste will make you think of fall with its brilliant-hued leaves and crisp weather.  Savouring a bowl of this soup is just like snuggling into your favourite cozy knitted sweater.

Not only am I impressed by this kind of soup, I’ve also been intimidated by the idea of preparing such a soup.  Not anymore!  I promise that this recipe will show you how easily you can prepare this sophisticated yet comforting dish.

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