Many of the most successful diet plans, such as Atkins, tell you that low carb meals are the best way to lose weight. There are also many other diet and nutritional books that say basically the same thing, though with some variations on the details.
So I will not go into all the reasons why low carb meals are the way to go. Let’s assume you have reached this conclusion by your own research. That is the first step. The next, and more difficult step is sticking to your low carb diet!
If you want to focus on foods that are low in carbohydrates, that can be very beneficial to your weight loss program. However, it’s important to realize that there are “good” and “bad” carbs. Good carbs are natural ones that are high in fiber. They have a low glycemic index, which means that they don’t elevate your blood sugar rapidly. These include whole grain breads and pastas (though even these should only be eaten in small quantities on a low carb diet). They also include many vegetables and nuts, which are not often thought of as carbs.
A low carb diet should consist mainly of high quality proteins, like lean chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, tofu or tempeh or beans. This, combined with healthy servings of vegetables, including salads, green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale, squash, cauliflower and carrots are all good. Try to reduce or eliminate the bad carbs as much as possible. Foods like white bread, sweets with refined sugar, pasta made with refined flours…these are not only fattening, they have little nutritional value.
There are many meals you can make that are delicious as well as nutritious that will leave you feeling satisfied and not at all deprived. You should take your low carb meal plan one week at a time. Make a plan for a week’s worth of meals and stick to it as much as possible. Substitute high carb items like bread and pasta with low carb alternatives. Some of these are quite tasty, and when you combine them satisfying protein dishes, you will not feel hungry. Here are some tips to keep you on your low carb diet:
* Have a supply of healthy snack foods with you at all times. Carrots and celery, low carb crackers, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are good. Now these may not be as tempting as a candy bar or donut, but they will actually give you more long-lasting energy, not to mention help with your diet!
* Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid soda at all, as this is not a nutritious beverage, even the diet varieties. Even fruit juices and energy drinks are not good substitutes for water, as they contain lots of sugar (even if it’s natural). Water helps to keep your metabolism running efficiently and can prevent you from feeling hungry between meals.
* Experiment with new low carb foods, whether they be protein or vegetable. Be adventurous and find some new dishes, and you won’t miss the carbs so much! Get a recipe book or look online for recipes; try different ethnic foods, but remember to stick to your low carb resolutions.
* Add healthy fats to your diet, whether in the form of foods like olive or coconut oil, avocados or supplements that contain healthy fatty acids, like fish, flax and borage oils.
* Get regular exercise. No diet is going to work if you don’t combine it with an exercise program. It doesn’t have to be grueling, but it should be consistent. Thirty minutes per day at least three times per week minimum.
These tips should help you stick to low carb meals and help you to lose weight!