We get it. It’s challenging going on a low carb diet, but to make it happen, it means kissing those chips, cookies, and pasta goodbye. The good news is a ketogenic diet — a high fat, low carb diet can help cut carb cravings and help people keep the weight off for good. It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. Learn the tricks of the trade, cut down that carb intake, and reap the healthy benefits! Check out the Body Reboot book on how to start a low carb journey with zero regrets!
Get creative with your “bun”
Eat This, Not That quotes Patricia Bannan who says that in order to get rid of eating a bun with your burger or chicken sandwich, for example, it's time to get creative. Opt for a burger or chicken sandwich wrapped in lettuce. You could also put your sandwich (i.e. chicken and bacon), on top of a salad. Think of creative ways to still enjoy your favorite meal carb free.
“Think outside the bun. Rather than a white refined carb bun, go for a lettuce wrap with big pieces of crispy iceberg lettuce instead of the bread. Or, cut the bun and eat your burger on top of a salad instead.”
—Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D.N., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight
Have healthy snacks on hand
Have you thought about having healthy snacks on hand — in your car, home, and work? Delish provides the tip of having healthy snacks with you while you’re on the go. That way instead of heading to the vending machine you’ll grab something out of your purse that’s healthy instead.
It's tempting to not pack anything and just grab a quick snack from your office vending machine, but let's be real: it's rare that any of those options are remotely healthy. Instead, Heimowitz recommends always having 1-2 oz baggies of snacks on you. In her purse she carries Ziplocs with her favorite nuts or dried fruits (which she makes with her own dehydrator — another gadget you may want to look into if you're into dried snacks) but really, you can do anything, as long as it's low-carb and non-perishable.
Sorry, sugar is a carb
Many people are in denial that if they have some sugar it’s okay because it’s not a carb. That couldn’t be further from the truth! Sorry to break it to you, but as Eat This, Not That reminds us, ‘natural sugars’ are just as bad for you as the real deal. Sugar turns into a carb, and that’s what you need to stay away from to lose weight and get healthy.
“Many individuals don’t realize that natural sugars like honey and maple syrup contain just as many carbohydrates as refined white sugar. Limiting these sugars is key in reducing the number of total carbohydrates in an individual’s eating plan.” — Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, author of Eat What You Love Diabetes Cookbook
Similarly, don’t avoid the reality that bread and pasta are also enemies. Yes, we know that’s a tough pill to swallow. However, that’s precisely why Medium says you should avoid them if you want to stick to a low carb diet.
Perhaps you’re thinking that you can cut out refined sugar but still eat bread and pasta (or bananas for that matter). Good luck with that. Try eating a plate of pasta at lunch and then working for the afternoon. You’re going to want to sleep. It’s okay to want to sleep, but don’t you want to kick butt, take names, and sign contracts?
Bread and pasta, apart from being made from grains, and containing gluten, (which represent a whole other set of problems), are generally extremely high glycemic index foods. This means that shortly after eating them, your blood glucose level will shoot up. Your body will then overcompensate with insulin to bring the blood glucose level down. When your blood glucose level tanks, you’re going to feel really unfocused, unmotivated, and start to fall asleep.
By the way, potatoes and corn are also your enemy for the same reason.
Go crazy for berries
Berries are yummy, and they make an excellent breakfast or snack during the day. Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and so are their friends raspberries and strawberries! Enjoy the berries, because as Delish says, they also happen to have fewer carbs. They’re perfect to enjoy on a ketogenic diet!
While any fruit is better than that bag of Cheetos you'd like to scarf down on as a snack, berries are some of the best fruits you can eat. According to Zanini, not only are they delicious, but they're also high in fiber and lower on the glycemic index, so they won't cause spikes in your sugar levels. Bonus: Due to their high fiber content, they're great if you're having a little trouble going to the bathroom.
Try new gadgets
If you’re craving pasta, Delish gives you ideas on how to make that happen, veggie style. Zoodles are one way to do that — it’s time to get creative!
Next time you're out and about buying things you don't need, you may want to pick up a few tools that will actually help you cut down on carbs.
According to Lori Zanini, RD, CDE and creator of thefree 7-day diabetes meal plan, a spiralizer and food processor should be at the top of your shopping list. Spiralizers are key if you're trying to get in some bomb zoodle recipes (like these caprese zoodles, for example), because they do all the hard work of turning zucchini into long “pasta” strings for you.
Food processors are another must-have: “I love using a food processor to finely shred veggies to add to my dishes, and to make cauliflower rice,” she said.
Crowd out other foods
If you put more veggies and meat on your plate, then there won’t be any room for carbohydrates. We know that’s not what you want to do, but it’s what you should do! Crowd out those foods as Eat This, Not That recommends.
“Instead of thinking about the fact that you’re trying to eat fewer carbs, focus on how to add more veggies—which are low in carbohydrates—to your plate. By doing this, you’re naturally increasing your fiber intake which boosts satiety and thwarts carb craving.” —Yasi Ansari, MS, RD
Use intermittent fasting to your advantage
Once in a while (or quite frequently) you might want to give intermittent fasting a shot. Diet Doctor discusses different methods and how you can use them to your advantage. It can help expedite weight loss and provide more energy (Yes, if you do it correctly it can give you more energy).
There are few methods that are as effective for weight loss as intermittent fasting, especially when combined with a low-carb diet. It causes insulin, the fat-storing hormone, to drop drastically while fat burning is accelerated. Adding intermittent fasting is like turbocharging a low-carb diet.
Many people find it much easier to do than expected. They also find that they’re not very hungry.
There are many methods that you can try – everything from short fasts, e.g. a 16-hour fast, to longer fasts that last for several days.
Choose yummy, low-carb veggies
Vegetables and the word “yummy” together?! What on earth are we thinking? You may not like vegetables, but your body does, and perhaps over time you’ll get inventive and make some pretty great meals with vegetables. To stay low carb, here are a few great vegetable options from a dietitian on Self:
“Load your plate with low-carb vegetables. Think leafy greens, green beans, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, and eggplant. These only have about 25 calories and 5 grams of carbs per serving (1/2 cup cooked), so you can load up on them and keep your calories and carbs in check. I like to include a veggie-based soup or salad at each meal and cooked veggies too. I aim to eat six servings per day.”
—Sharon Palmer, R.D.N., The Plant-Powered Dietitian, author of Plant-Powered for Life
And let’s not forget about vegetable noodles (which we mentioned earlier in the article). They’re an excellent way to get your pasta fix veggie style!
“Make pasta out of vegetables using a spiralizer! You can often find hand-held versions for less than $10 if you don’t already have one and you can use it to turn zucchini into spaghetti for a low-cal, low-carb alternative to traditional spaghetti. For these hot summer days, skip the cooking step and eat the zucchini raw! Get creative with the sauces you use to keep the dish fresh and exciting.”
—Jen Flachbart, M.S., R.D.N.
Focus on the time
If you do eat a limited amount of carbs (if you’re on keto that means fewer than 30 carbs a day), don’t eat your carbs in the evening. Keep in mind that everyone’s carb intake is different. In other words, you may or may not get kicked out of ketosis by eating too many carbs. Eat This, Not That recommends focusing on veggies, healthy fats, and proteins.
“I like to tell clients to consume carbohydrate rich foods such as rice, pasta, and bread earlier in the day when they’re most active. Closer to bed I advise that they focus on veggies, proteins and healthy fats. This way, clients can eat less of the nutrient, without feeling deprived of carbs.” —Yasi Ansari, MS, RD
Eating low carb is the goal, and the good news is if you stick to the program it’ll have serious benefits! It’s not as hard as you think — cut the carbs, as the Body Reboot book recommends, and should stop craving sugar altogether! If you want a free copy of the Body Reboot book help us cover the cost of shipping and get a free book! Check out this page and find out whether we still have any copies remaining.
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