Learn the advantages of a low carb meal plan. Recent research has begun to show that it’s not the eating of fat that is making us fat. It’s the carbs.
For many years it has been commonly believed that we need to eat less fat to reduce the fat in our bodies. For most Americans, “low fat” has come to mean “healthy.” Many processed food products changed their ingredients to make them “healthy” by reducing fat, then adding sugar (carbohydrates or “carbs”) to make up for the resulting loss of flavor.
Low Carb Meal Plan: Knowing the facts are important
1. All food is made up of only one of three macronutrients: (1) carbohydrates, (2) fats, and (3) proteins. (Not included in this list are vitamins and minerals, etc., called “micronutrients.”)
• Carbs are the body’s principal source of energy.
• Fats are used to store surplus energy.
• Proteins are used to build up the muscles and other body parts.
What you may not know is that your body can convert any one of these macronutrients to another form.
For example, if your body has more carbohydrates than it needs, it will covert some of those into fat, to store for later. If your body has too few carbs, it will convert them back to use for energy.
2. Since our modern diets include far more carbs than we need, our bodies have been doing what they’re supposed to do: converting that extra carb-energy into fat. We are “fat” from eating too many carbs, not from eating too much fat.
3. Because the body can also turn fat back into carbs, if we stop consuming a lot of carbs, the body will convert fats into carbs to use their energy — either from fats we eat or from fat that our bodies have stored.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a “balanced” diet does not need lots of carbs. Low-carb diets are not only good for you, THEY WORK.
Here are some other advantages to following a Low Carb Meal Plan:
Advantage 1: The Effect of a Low-carb Meal Plan on Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Digestion turns carbs into their simplest form, sugar, which goes into the bloodstream for use by the body (called “blood sugar”). Also circulating in the blood is a hormone called insulin that helps the blood sugar get admitted into cells and utilized by them for energy. Because of the over-abundance of carbs in our diets, we tend to have too much blood sugar. When too much blood sugar has been circulating for an extended period of time, the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, so the blood sugar doesn’t get absorbed into cells as it should. This turns into type 2 diabetes, a national health crisis.
Over time this excess blood sugar can cause many problems such as lowered resistance to infections and inflammation, loss of sensitivity in fingers and toes, eye problems, and heart disease.
Eating fewer carbs means that the body will get the energy it needs by converting fat, usually only converting only as much as it needs. The result is lower blood sugar, which lowers the likelihood of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Advantage 2: A Low-carb Meal Plan is Good for Your Heart.
In addition to helping your heart by avoiding type 2 diabetes, following a Low Carb meal plan will tend to reduce the triglycerides (fats), as well as increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) in the blood. Both of these things work to make your heart healthier.
Furthermore, studies have shown that those individuals following a Low Carb meal plan tended to lose more weight than those on a low-fat diet. This means that a low-carb diet has a greater potential for reducing obesity, another significant risk factor for heart disease.
Advantage 3: Following A Low Carb Meal Plan (eventually) Lowers Hunger Pangs.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but after you eat carbs (especially sugar), you feel hungrier.
Although the processes aren’t completely understood, another hormone, called leptin (LEP-tin) helps control hunger by signaling to your body when you’re full. Just as the cells in your body can become resistant to insulin, your body can also become resistant to leptin, causing you to feel hungry, even when you just ate.
Though a change may not take place as soon as you start your diet, following a Low Carb meal plan will “teach” your body to pay more attention to this hormone, which will, over time, decrease hunger.
Advantage 4: A Low Carb Diet Tastes Great!
One of the strongest arguments for eating a Low Carb diet is that you will be eating fresh, delicious foods at every meal. After the initial adjustment, you will find the heavily processed foods from the grocery store are no longer appealing.
What Do You Eat When Following a Low Carb Meal Plan?
This low-carb diet is called a “low-carb, high-fat” diet (LCHF). An LCHF diet consists of eating lots of animal-based foods (meat, eggs, dairy), as well as micronutrient-rich plant foods (vegetables and fruits).
Take, for example, an avocado. It contains many important micro-nutrients including vitamins B, K, C, E, and the mineral potassium. Avocados are also high in mono-saturated fat, so it not only provides a high-quality fat, it will make you feel more full. When compared to eating the same quantity of bread or rice, the nutrient value is much higher, without the unnecessary carbohydrates.
How Much Should I Eat?
One mistake often made when starting an LCHF diet is make up for the loss of some foods in your daily diet by eating too much. Like any lifestyle change, the diet will take some time for your body to adjust to. Once your body has adapted to the new foods, it will begin to feel satiated (“full”) quicker, and you will find you probably don’t need as much to feel well fed.
Therefore, begin your LCHF diet with quantities at the lower end of the scale until your body has become “tuned” to this new diet. You will then be able to gradually add more if needed.
From the pages of Healthline: 10 Health Benefits of Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets
10 Proven Health Benefits of Low Carb and Ketogenic Diets
A helpful article by WebMd: High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets Explained
Low Carb Meal Plan: Breakfasts
1. Taco Scramble: Quick Eats on Busy Mornings
This Taco Scramble brings together all of the best flavors of Mexican food—cumin and spices, peppers, onion, and flavorful meats. (Without the vegetable oil-drenched corn chips or flour tortillas!)
The stir-fry style presentation opens up all kind of possibilities … like adding in an array of fresh or frozen veggies not normally found in a taco.
2. Keto Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Simple Easy and Ready in Minutes. No bread needed. Perfect for Brunch, also.
Serve eggs between two sausage patties with avocado.
3. Creamy Cauliflower and Ground Beef Skillet
Want proof that ground beef isn’t just for dinner? This one-pan recipe nestles eggs into a skillet of beef and cauliflower and sprinkled with avocado for a hunger-stomping brekkie.
4. Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Scones
from AllDayI DreamAboutFood.com
A great new low carb scone recipe with the delicious combination of hazelnuts and chocolate. Move over, Nutella, there’s a healthier option in town. When I was growing up, chocolate for breakfast was simply not an option in our house. My mother didn’t keep a lot of sweets in the house, and cookies and ice cream were clearly for dessert only.
5. Keto Raspberry Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is perfect for the ketogenic diet. It’s high in healthy fats and will keep hunger at bay. This recipe is based on my Strawberry Breakfast “Pudding” – one of the many recipes in the KetoDiet App. When I first made it I was surprised how filling it was and I ended up reducing the serving size.
6. Low Carb Ham & Cheese Stuffed Waffles
Low Carb Ham & Cheese Stuffed Waffles are grain free, low carb waffles that are stuffed with ham slices and cheese in the center. You can eat these as a grilled ham & cheese sandwich, or eat them with a fork and cover in low carb maple syrup.
It may sound odd, but maple syrup is really delicious on ham and cheese waffles. The maple flavor complements the ham perfectly.
7. Bacon-Studded Maple Donut Holes – Low Carb & Gluten Free
If you’ve been hanging around IBIH for a while, you know that I’ve been a longtime fan of the Jones Dairy Farm pork products. Ham, sausage, bacon, etc. – IT’S ALL GOOD.
Recently, Jones Dairy Farm sent me a cooler full of products (my Fed Ex guy was super jealous) and asked me to come up with a few recipes using them.
8. Blueberry Coconut Flour Porridge
Breakfast Doesn’t Always Have to be Eggs! We’ve been trying to wake up earlier every day now that Spring is here in NYC. Rami is better at this superhuman feat than I am. I must admit it’s easier to wake up to a bright and shining morning in Spring than a dreary winter day (not if you have allergies though I guess).
9. Low Carb Macadamia Nut Granola with Berries & Flaked Coconuts
Macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs collide with freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries to create a great low carb keto breakfast sensation in this Macadamia Berry Blast Granola.
10. Fresh Homemade Chorizo Sausage
Another great recipe from Low Carb Maven. Have control of what goes into your chorizo with the great recipe for homemade, fresh chorizo. Don’t like one of the ingredients? Customize it per your taste – it’s only cooking!
Low Carb Meal Plan: Lunches
1. California Turkey and Bacon Lettuce Wraps
California Turkey and Bacon Lettuce Wraps with Basil-Mayo is a fresh and filling low-carb, gluten-free lunch recipe that comes together in minutes!
2. Oh My Gosh, Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is a staple food for those who follow a low-carb lifestyle with good reason. It’s delicious, packed with vitamins and does a decent job emulating the texture of pasta. It’s good enough to eat roasted on its own, but you’ll feel like royalty when you eat it this way.
3. Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry
The flavors of chicken and lemon just seem to go together, which is readily apparent in low-carb lunch recipes like this one. Stir-frying the asparagus until just crisp gives it that rich, smoky flavor, and the sauce will thicken up with cornstarch. Eat this on its own or with cauliflower rice. Feeling like something a little different? You could also eat this as a wrap using a large lettuce leaf or a store-bought low carb tortilla.
4. Salmon Chickpea Salad
Using canned salmon rather than fresh or frozen, this salad is easy to make and quite versatile. With a big enough portion, it could be a filling low-carb lunch, but it could also be a side dish or a fresh dish to bring to a summer potluck. Use multi-colored mini bell peppers for a nice pop of color. The secret to making this recipe great is to first toss the vegetables with the dressing, then add the canned salmon.
Barbacoa is one of the popular dishes at Chipotle, but you can easily make it at home. While it’s traditionally made by roasting over an open fire, this recipe makes use of the much more practical slow cooker. Simply toss all of the ingredients into the cooker in the evening and by morning you’ll have a basic meat that can go with many different low-carb lunch ideas. Wrap it in lettuce, serve over cauliflower rice or quinoa, or put it in some low-carb soft tacos.
6. BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad
This is a simple no carb lunch that has all the flavors you love, and the rows of ingredients look so pretty you’ll feel happy about eating it. Cook the chicken with your favorite barbeque sauce, then allow it to cool. This salad could also work nicely layered in a jar with the ranch dressing separate.
7. Baked Turkey, Quinoa & Zucchini Meatballs Recipe in Lettuce Wraps
Most meatball recipes include breadcrumbs, which are not low-carb, but this interesting recipe swaps them out for the healthier quinoa. Added zucchini boosts the nutritional content without affecting flavor. While the recipe suggests eating the meatballs in a lettuce wrap, you can also use them in your other low-carb lunch recipes, such as adding them to zucchini “pasta”.
8. Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder
Cauliflower strikes again as the perfect replacement in your favorite low-carb lunch recipes. In addition to being a substitute for rice, it also works well for potatoes, as you’ll see in this low-carb version of a potato chowder. Bacon and cheddar give this soup a flavorful punch, and you’ll love eating this as a side dish with another favorite.
9. Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad
If you’re starting to feel sick of eating the same boring salads for your low-carb lunch, it’s time to think a little differently. This “salad” can be served warm, and it has the taste you love from Chinese restaurants.
It’s a good break from vinaigrettes or ranch dressings.
10. Grilled Chicken Salad
The grilled chicken salad is the perfect staple for those who want a carb-free lunch since it has both vegetables and protein. This recipe takes a twist on the classic Nicoise salad – it has the hard-boiled eggs and potatoes you’d expect in a Nicoise, but it uses chicken instead of tuna and radishes instead of green beans. By taking a favorite recipe and giving it a few tweaks, you’ll never get bored.
Low Carb Meal Plan: Dinners
1. BBQ Chicken Spaghetti Squash
from Peas and Crayons
You guys are totally going to hate me, but I’ve been holding out on you. I have been sitting on a mini-arsenal of recipes for weeks.
Hello worst food blogger ever! I contemplated stashing them away for the cookbook I’ve been dying to write, but I knew that if I didn’t get some of these into your face fast enough, there would be cause for revolt.
2. Steak Rolls
from Maebells.com from MaeBells.com
Everyone loves a Philly cheesesteak. What we don’t love is the soft pillows of bread that come with the tender steak and oozing cheese. Okay, maybe we do love the bread, but we promise you won’t even miss the carbs in this recipe.
These steak rolls are filled with hearty veggies, like green beans, peppers, and onions.
3. Low-Carb Leftover Chicken (or Turkey) Enchiladas
In this Low-Carb Leftover Chicken (or Turkey) Enchiladas recipe, I use sliced deli meat to roll up a savory cheesy chicken filling for a delicious low-carb take on enchiladas.
This recipe yields two casserole dishes (about 8 servings) so in the same amount of time it takes to whip up dinner for one night, you’ll have it ready for a second night as well!
4. Portobello Mushroom Cashew Cheese Burger
This low-carb dinner burger reminds us a little of Shake Shack’s decadent Portobello burger – yet this one doesn’t come with the high-calorie count. Meaty Portobello mushrooms are stuffed with cashew cheese that adds a layer of umami to the dish.
Arugula, green onions, and succulent tomatoes are added at the last minute.
5. Sheet Pan Salmon with Caramelized Winter Vegetables
This quick and easy sheet pan salmon with caramelized vegetables is a simple and healthy one-pan dinner that will get oohs and aahs from everybody at your table.
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage right now, and with good reason. This meal, in one form or another, makes a regular appearance in our house.
6. Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken
And no, we haven’t spent a small fortune eating out. Generally, we try to limit our nights out/ordering take-out to no more than two nights a week, with one being something casual and the other being our “date night”.
We’ve found that eating home is not only cheaper, it’s also much healthier.
7. Easy Paleo Clam Chowder Recipe in 30 minutes
This paleo clam chowder recipe can be on your table in less than 30 minutes! I love hearty soups and chowders as the weather gets colder. There is nothing that warms you up better than a hot bowl of soup.
This paleo clam chowder recipe is hearty, healthy and delicious!
8. Caramelized Brussel Sprouts and Chorizo
We’re always looking for a fresh take on Brussel sprouts. These hearty little green morsels can be transformed into an entire meal with a sprinkle of spicy chorizo.
The fact that this dish only has three ingredients adds to its impressive impact on your taste bud. This dish consists simply of chorizo, olive oil, and Brussel sprouts. These three ingredients go a long way here!
9. Healthy Chicken Alfredo Recipe with Spaghetti Squash
Chicken fettuccine Alfredo has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Growing up, I would’ve had it every day if I could! Fortunately, there’s an easy low carb version that I make these days.
This healthy chicken Alfredo recipe with spaghetti squash totally satisfies that comfort food craving.
10. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crispy Goat Cheese
Portobello mushrooms and goat cheese seem to go hand in hand with each other in carb free dinner recipes. Portobello mushrooms love the sharp tang of goat cheese, and goat cheese loves the deep and meaty flavor of Portobello mushrooms.
The spinach adds protein and a bright color while the panko bread crumbs add flavor and texture.
BONUS RECIPE: Baked Prosciutto Egg Cups
courtesy of Epicurious
BONUS RECIPE: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Finger Appetizers
courtesy of LowCarbYum
BONUS RECIPE: Chicken Salad with Sesame Seed Dressing
courtesy of JoyfulHealthyEats
BONUS RECIPE: Spicy Beef StirFry with Vegetables
courtesy of Omnivores Cookbook