Our Guide to a Low Carbohydrate Diet!
As the name suggests, low-carb diets limit your daily consumption of carbs. Instead of eating carbs, you consume more protein, healthy fats & vegetables.
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that your body needs to function effectively. The two others being protein & fat. Your body breaks down carbohydrates to use for energy immediately or later-on. However, if they are not used, they are converted into fat.
8 Simple low-carb diet tips:
1. Be sure you know what kind of foods are low in carbohydrates
- Some of the most common are:
- Meats (chicken breast & steak)
- Leafy green vegetables
- Oils (Olive oil, Coconut oil, Rapeseed oil)
- Some fruit (Berries predominantly)
2. Be aware of carb counts and serving sizes
- The different low-carb diets typically allow you to have around 20-50g of carbs per day. So, because you’re reducing your carbohydrate consumption, you have to make sure you’re choosing foods that are lower in carbs but also have great nutritional value per serving!
- The foods in the given quantities below contain between 10-15g of carbs:
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 1 cup of berries
- 1 small banana
- 230ml milk
- 1 slice of bread
- 1/3 cup cooked rice
- 1/2 cup of legumes or peas
- As you’ll be aware, the items above all contain similar carb contents, however they aren’t nutritionally equal. The fruit and vegetables contain a range of essential vitamins & minerals. It’s also important to consider substituting white bread for whole-grain varieties so you can take advantage of the extra nutrients provided.
3. Always have low-carb snacks with you!
- When you’re out and about it and feeling a bit peckish and can be awfully hard to resist just grabbing a chocolate bar or bag of crisps, so the list below contains a few ideas to keep you focussed & on track on your low-carb diet:
- A Suzero snack bar
- Handful of nuts
- Carrot / cucumber sticks
- Hard boiled eggs
- Always be mindful of portion control to make sure you don’t overeat!
4. Keep your eyes peeled for alternatives
- Making that low-carb swap for a high-carb product can make this kind of dieting much easier to help reduce carb consumption. Why not try:
- Butternut squash chips
- Lettuce leaves taco shells
- Mushroom caps instead of buns
- Cauliflower pizza crust
- Aubergine lasagne
- Cauliflower rice
- Quinoa rice
- Courgette spaghetti
5. Be sure to exercise appropriately
- It is common knowledge that exercise is a necessary component to completing the picture of our overall health.
- It’s recommended that adults do two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week if you want to experience moderate health benefits.
- If you are currently taking part in a low-carb diet, then it’s important you are aware that long periods of running / cycling that you will require additional carbohydrate consumption to fuel your body.
6. Have you heard of carbohydrate cycling?
- Over several days, you will be eating significantly less carbs followed by a day of eating significantly more carbs. WHY we hear you ask? This helps your body avoid those fat burning plateaus that can sometimes come on after being on a low carb diet for a few weeks.
- This comes with a warning though as it's not for everyone. Always consults a doctor or nutritionist first to make sure it's right for you.
- If you’re able to prepare meals over the weekend before you go back to work, you could be stopping yourself making unhealthy food choices during the week, you save time during your precious evenings but you’ll also be saving money!
- It is fairly common now for people to prepare lunches & dinners ahead of time and store them in containers either in the fridge or freezer. Obviously having something pre-made is likely to stop you impulsively making something full of carbs or unhealthy!
- You can meal prep-just about everything, just always be conscious of the shelf-life of cooked meats etc.
8. Create a meal planner
- It can be really helpful to map out what you’re going to be making for the week when going to the supermarket (or ordering online), it’s also great for helping you stick to your diet.
- Knowing what you’re going to be making for breakfast, lunch & dinner will stop you making unhealthy food choices (getting take-away, going out for dinner or just buying junk)
In a nutshell.
Following low-carb diets can be rewarding – they have been shown to help people lose weight and manage blood sugar levels. With careful planning, its relatively easy for you to do by yourself! Whilst you’re following a low-carb diet, it is essential that you’re making health conscious decisions and not overeating certain foods i.e. very fatty meats. It goes without saying, but if you’re looking at giving a low-carb diet a go, you should speak to a qualified nutritionist or doctor before you make any significant changes to your diet.