Low carb meal ideas
[V] indicates meals that are suitable for vegetarians
Low carb swaps
There are loads of ways to replace your carb-laden foods with low carb alternatives.
Swap these high carb foods with the alternatives listed below.
Swede (rutabaga) or celeriac (celery root) readily available in supermarkets both make a great mash - prepare just like the potato version, though perhaps with a little less milk as they are less absorbent.
Celeriac chips - brush with oil and roast in the oven.
Cauliflower rice - whizz up the cauliflower in the food processor until the size of rice grains (if you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the cauliflower), then saute in a frying pan with butter and pepper.
“Courgetti” - use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to make long strips of courgette (zucchini), steam for 5 minutes or microwave for 1 minute and serve with your favourite pasta sauce.
Low carb food list
Use this handy list to make your grocery shopping easier.
Spring onions (scallions)
Bell pepper (green is best)
Summer or spaghetti squash
No more than 1 portion a day.
Frozen versions of these fruits are handy as you can defrost a handful every day and mix with full-fat yoghurt for breakfast or a snack
Cheese in blocks – any type but make sure to check the carb count
Cheese in snack size portions – but make sure to check the carb count
Double (heavy) cream
Milk – limit to small amounts in tea or coffee
Milk alternatives such as rice, almond or oat – check the carb count as some types are sweetened
Yoghurt – full-fat Greek style
Meat and eggs
Bacon and ham – processed so don’t eat these too often
Beef – you don’t need to opt for lean unless you want to
Burgers - choose ones with a high meat (over 80%, the higher the better) content
Chicken – preferably whole chicken, thighs, drumsticks and wings
Cured meats and jerky – these are processed and high in salt so don’t eat them too often
Game such as duck, goose or guinea fowl
PorkSausages - choose ones with a high meat content
Prawns and other seafood
Duck or goose fat
Olive oil – light for cooking, extra virgin for salad dressing
Bouillon or stock
Coconut cream or milk – look for the lowest carb versions
Dark chocolate – must be 70% cocoa or higher
Nut butters such as almond or macadamia
Nuts such as almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts
Seeds such as pine nuts, pumpkin, sunflower
Tinned tomatoes – these have very variable carb counts so pick the lowest one
Vinegar – try to avoid balsamic vinegar which is carby
Am I hungry?
Do this exercise when you start to feel hungry to find out whether you really are hungry or perhaps there is something else you need.
- When you notice you are thinking about food and want to eat, pause and ask yourself ‘Am I hungry?’
- Move away from the sight of food and focus on your body. Take a few deep breaths and notice the physical sensations in the body. Picture your stomach and ask yourself again ‘Am I hungry?’
- Do you have signs of hunger? Hunger pangs? Growling or rumbling? An empty or hollow feeling? Weakness or low energy? Light-headedness, shakiness or irritability?
- If the answer is yes, ask yourself how hungry you are on a scale of 1-10, 1 being not hungry at all and 10 being ravenous.
- If you decide you are truly hungry, go ahead and eat something. Or maybe you’ll decide to wait a little longer, or eat a small amount and see how you feel.
- If you realise you are not hungry, try to tune in to what you are feeling, are you anxious? Bored? Stressed? Upset? Sad? Maybe you are thirsty?
- Make a note of your findings: how long since you ate, how hungry you felt, whether you discovered that you really were hungry or not.
Low carb rules
If you’re going to experiment for more than a couple of meals, bear in mind these 5 simple rules for eating low carb:
- Eat 3 meals a day plus snacks as needed
- Avoid grains, sugars and artificial sweeteners
- Limit vegetables and fruits to low carbohydrate ones (less than 5% [look for under 5g on the per 100g nutritional information label] and preferably less than 3%)
- Eat lots of healthy fats (see the shopping list)
- Drink lots of water