According to the Harvard School of Medicine, a low carb diet is the easiest to adopt in to a person’s every day lifestyle. This is because much of the person’s old diet can be adapted to make low carb meals.
By replacing certain foods with a substitute, you can still have your favorite meal but with a few minor changes.
This is the most attractive aspect of a low carb diet, as it wasn’t something I wanted to do for a short while to shift a few pounds, it was a much needed lifestyle change to achieve significant weight loss and a healthier way of life in general.
So what do you need to be most aware of when changing your eating habits and following a low carb lifestyle.
Low Carb Meals – The Most Common Mistakes
According to nutrition specialists, many low carb dieters are completely unaware of what choices they have available to them when it comes to foods that are low in carbohydrates.
Worse than that is the fact that more people are unaware of how unhealthy some of their meal choices actually are. For example, it is common for individuals to assume that all fruit is good for you and can be incorporated in to low carb diet meals.
While in theory fruit is better for you than a portion of fries, some fruits are higher in carbs than others. The same with fruit juices, which many would assume would be a much better choice than soda.
However, most fruit juices have high levels of concentrated sugars, to make up for the acidity of the fruit. Basically, you are taking in virtually the same amount of calories in fruit juice as you are soda.
According to information provided by the University of New Mexico, if you wish to eat tinned fruit ensure you purchase fruits in low-sugar syrup or juice.
Fruit juices should be made using whole fruits and contain no sugars at all – do not rely on “no added sugar” labels as this just indicates they haven’t added sugar into the drink, which may already be packed with a sugar substitute.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, low carb diets are the most popular among Americans, and also the most misunderstood. When people consider low carb meals, they do not consider that as well as bad carbohydrates, there are also good, very good, carbohydrates.
People assume their diet means no carbs, when good carbohydrates, such as those rich in fiber and whole grains, help satisfy hunger for longer – meaning people actually eat less.
However, more worrying than the common misconception that a low carb diet means eliminating an entire food group altogether, is the belief people have that they can eat low carb foods in high quantity without affecting their diet.
Much like low fat diets, many people also assume they can eat low fat meals in as much quantity as they like, but if you eat enough low carb meals you will put on weight.
But then as leading nutritionists from Harvard point out, eat enough of any food at all and you are going to put on weight.
Before following a low carb diet, people need to realise that counting the calories is just as important as ensuring they eat low carb meals.
Top Tip – When I first started looking into reducing my carbohydrate intake, I knew nothing about good or bad carbohydrates or which foods were low in carbs and low in calories.
I found keeping a notebook of the foods I liked and which I knew were low in carbs and calories really helped me put together a proper diet without constantly needing to refer to books or the Internet.
Whether you are filling your plate with low fat, low carb, ultra healthy foods you still need to carefully estimate how much food your body actually needs.
Professional nutritionists from New Mexico University note that it is common for people to believe they haven’t eaten enough unless they feel absolutely stuffed. Just because your low carb meals are healthier than the average carbohydrate-filled meal, doesn’t mean increasing your portion size to make up for it.
Exercise serious portion control, following proper measurements when cooking and weigh any foods that require you to do so, don’t just guesstimate. Enjoy your food, but know when to stop, which should be when you are comfortably full.
Believing everything you read.
Just because someone has made a DVD, written a book or created a cookbook doesn’t mean they are an expert in weight loss, nutrition or even healthy living.
You need to look at the book’s author and how much you trust their advice and information. For example, someone who has written a book using educational and medical institutes as a back drop will be much more trustworthy than a celebrity who has written a book purely on their name alone. Expert or not, your low carb meals and diet should be based on solid research.
Even if you are happy the information you have read in a book or watched on a DVD is valid, doing your own research cannot hurt. Look up success stories from people who have successfully completed low carb diets, or find out more about particular areas of the diet you are lacking information on.
When I first started my lifestyle changes, my main concern was finding low carb meals, in particular low carb dinner recipes, that I could cook for myself and my family.
No matter how busy we are as a family, we have always made an effort to eat our evening meal together. In fact, eating together as a family has been proven by leading paediatricians and child specialists to have a positive impact on a child’s development.
However, I was also determined not to inflict too much change on my family, after all it hadn’t been their choice to go on a diet.
While reducing carbohydrates in my children’s diet would not do them any harm, particularly if their previous diet was high in carbs, it was also important that their diet didn’t lack in good carbohydrates.
I therefore decided that twice a week, we would all eat a low carb meal together and the remaining days I would eat a low carb version of whatever I had decided to serve up for my family.
Low Carb Meals to Win Over the Kids
Everyone wants to eat something tasty, after all eating something we enjoy is much more enjoyable than stuffing something mediocre down our necks.
When it comes to children though, taste is even more important, as it takes them longer to adjust to new flavors and foods than the average adult. So, I wanted to find a couple of low carb meals I knew my kids would love and that we could all enjoy together as a family.
Crusty-cornmeal Chicken Nuggets with a Mustard and Blackberry Dip
Chicken nuggets are a tried and tested favorite when it comes to most kids, and mine are no different. I found this recipe fairly early on in my low carb lifestyle change and it has to be one of my children’s favorite low carb meals.
You will need – One Pound of Chicken Tenders, cut in half
Three Tablespoons of Cornmeal
One Tablespoon of Olive Oil
One Cup of Fresh Blackberries
Two Teaspoons of Honey
1 ½ Tablespoons of Whole-grain Mustard
¼ Teaspoon of Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Salt
• In a small bowl, mash the blackberries, honey and mustard together until you have a chunky consistency.
• Sprinkle the black pepper and salt over the chicken tenders before adding to a bowl containing the cornmeal. Toss the chicken tenders in the cornmeal until evenly coated.
• In a non-stick pan, heat up the olive oil over a medium heat and cook the chicken tenders, remembering to turn at least once or until cooked through. This should take between eight and ten minutes, although thinner chicken will cook quicker than thicker pieces.
• Serve the nuggets with a simple salad and the blackberry-mustard dip
Typically, this recipe will serve four, and contains around 185 calories per serving. This low carb kid’s classic contains just two-grams of carbohydrates per serving.
My kids have never really been interested in eating French fries, but if your children do like them try making fries using sweet potato instead of white potatoes.
You can also switch the chicken tenders for drumsticks if you fancy something different for the kids. Not only is this much better for them from a health point of view, my kids have both said this dish tastes better than regular chicken nuggets.
Spicy Pork Tenderloin with bean salad
• 2 pork tenderloin
• String beans, assorted colors, whole
• String beans, assorted colors, beans without pod
• 500 g ripe tomatoes
• 5-10 spring onions
• 1 handful basil leaves
• 200 g Low fat cheese
• 1 table spoon Olive oil
• Tandoori Masala spice mix
• Salt & pepper
• Tenderloin seasoned with salt, pepper and tandoori spice mix, fried in oven for 45 min at 220 degrees Celsius or core temp 65 degrees.
• String beans blanched for two minutes in boiling salted water. Mixed with quartered tomatoes, onions and basil leafs, cheese (optional) and oil. Seasoned to taste.
Low Carb Take on a Fast Food Favorite
We have never really been fast food junkies in my house, my husband and I would have the odd Chinese takeaway and my kids would love having a burger or chicken nuggets at one of the fast food chain restaurants when we went for a day out.
I decided I would like to add a burger recipe to my low carb meals collection, while it wasn’t strictly the same as going to a fast food restaurant, it was something we could throw on the barbecue and enjoy as a family.
Very Easy Low Carb Burger Recipe for the Kids…..and Adults Too!
You will need – One Pound of Ground Beef (as lean as you can find)
One Large Onion
Ground Black Pepper and Salt
• In a large mixing bowl, mix together your ground beef, onion, pepper and salt until combined.
• Form into patties of roughly the same shape (you should get six good size patties)
• Place on a preheated grill for around 4-6 minutes per side. Bear in mind, thicker patties will take longer to cook.
• Take off the grill and leave to cool for several minutes before serving with a whole-grain bun and salad.
These have to be the tastiest burgers I have ever had and are much better than any I have had in fast food chains – my opinion obviously. These patties are also great for freezing and I usually make a batch so we have something in the freezer should my husband decide to throw an impromptu barbecue.
Top Tip – When you remove the burgers from the grill, sit them on top of paper towels – this allows any excess fat to drain from the burger. When they cool down you can further pat them down with towel.
If you are looking for low carb meals you can share with the family, don’t worry too much about change. Most meals you eat as a family now will be easily adapted to allow for your low carb diet.
For instance, if you are a big fan of Sunday roasts, there is no need for you to stop eating your roasts altogether – you just need to bear a few things in mind when shopping for the ingredients.
• Look for meat that is as lean as possible, preferably beef. If you want to do a ham joint as a treat, look for a piece that hasn’t been baked in honey or sugar-cured. Lamb is also a good option, again if chosen lean.
• Avoid starchy vegetables as much as possible as these are higher in carbs, instead stick to lighter vegetables such as artichoke, broccoli and cabbage. If you are looking for a good substitute for potatoes, try turnip – as they contain over a third less carbohydrates than the average potato. Mashed cauliflower is also a tasty substitute for mashed potato.
• Low carb meals unfortunately, cannot involve gravy – as this is often made using the fat from the meat you are having. If you miss having something wet on your meal, try a low-fat balsamic vinegar.
One thing I have learned since I started following a free low carb diet is that the only limitations to my food, are the ones I place on myself.
For instance, while we all know deep-fried French fries are a low carb no no, this doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy a low carb alternative – baked sweet potato skins are gorgeous with a low-fat mayonnaise dip.
Therefore, when putting together a collection of your favorite low carb meals, don’t rule out anything until you are absolutely sure you can’t adapt the recipe to suit your dietary needs.
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Visit the other great pages on this site about low carb: Low Carb Foods, Low Carb Bread, Low Carb Desserts, Low Carb Chicken Recipes, Low Carb Food List, Low Carb Snacks, Free Low Carb Recipes, Low Carb Pasta, Low Carb Barbecue Sauce, Low Carb Tortillas, No Carb Diet, Low Carb Breakfast Recipes