If you’ve read any newspaper, magazine or online article, you’ve seen a title like “Easy Low-Carb Recipes!” It’s become a popular way of eating, and for good reasoning as high (unhealthy) carbohydrate eating habits can lead to obesity, diabetes, poor gut health and other chronic diseases. But are you wondering how you can eat low-carb when your family doesn’t? Or maybe you’re worried about what to eat that is low-carb when you’re on the go? What about how to ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients? Well, we’ve answered all these questions and more for you!
Why Is Eating Low-Carb Harder To Do With Your Family?
If you’re trying to eat less carbs, it may seem difficult to do that when you are cooking for your entire family. Your kids might still be growing and require a more balanced macronutrient diet, while your spouse might have a physical job and requires higher amounts of healthy carbs to have enough energy to get through the day. The entire family has different needs but that doesn’t mean you need to stop your low-carb living!
Low-Carb Meals For The Entire Family
When you are cooking for the family, we want delicious, quick and easy low-carb recipes! You shouldn’t have to make different meals for everyone; choose meals where a carb source can very easily be added to or taken out. For example, if the family is having pasta and sauce, make yourself some zucchini noodles on the side and enjoy it without feeling left out. If it’s fajita or taco night in your household, switch out the carb filled tortilla for a no carb lettuce wrap, or a big bowl of romaine lettuce. Cauliflower makes a great healthy swap for any dish with potatoes or rice side dishes. In addition, you can ditch the bun and still enjoy a protein-packed burger. If you’re making a low-carb chicken and vegetable stir-fry, just cook some rice on the side for those family members not participating in a low-carb lifestyle.
Where Can I Get Low-Carb Meals When I’m On The Go?
If you’re out for a majority of the day, we always recommend packing some food, so you’re not left starving and resorting to eating processed, convenience foods. However, if you are stuck, there are definitely some great options out there to get you a healthy, low-carb meal on the run.
Whenever possible, try making a pit stop at your local grocery store. A lot of stores out there now have salad bars where you can build your own salad with fresh vegetables, healthy fats like nuts or avocado and your choice of protein. If there’s no salad bar, most have pre-made salads and some “ready-to-eat” sections where they sell protein sources you could add on top.
If fast-food is your only option, try to go someplace where you can build the meal yourself. If you’re going to a Mexican restaurant, order a burrito bowl and ask for veggies instead of the rice and beans and hold the side of chips! Greek restaurants can add your Gyro meat and filling on top of a huge salad.
Gas stations and coffee shops are usually easily accessible when you are on the go. Some low-carb meal options they might have are hard-boiled eggs, nuts, veggies and protein bars. (We don’t recommend bars often but if you’re in a pinch and starving, it may be helpful – read the nutritional label to make sure it’s low-carb!)
Eating Low-Carb At Restaurants
It is definitely possible to eat low-carb when eating at restaurants, but you might need to make some changes to the meals they offer on the menu. Ask for double veggies instead of rice or potatoes; order a burger but hold the bun, or see if they offer any salads with healthy fat and protein choices. Always be careful about ordering dressings, and opt for vinegar and oil or fresh lemon instead!
Double check what type of sauces they are using to flavor your meal in too, as some contain high amounts of carbs and fats.
Are You Missing Anything In Your Low-Carb Meals?
When eating low-carb, you want to ensure that you are getting enough of all the other nutrients to avoid any deficiencies and imbalances in the body. Vary the types of foods you are eating instead of resorting to the same meal and snacks every day. This also saves you from getting bored of your meals.
Another great way to be sure you are getting all your nutrients is to “eat the rainbow.” This means to include different colors of vegetables in your meals because the more colors mean more nutrients. Green veggies give you iron, potassium, calcium and Vitamin K. Red gives you vitamin C, Lycopene, Quercetin and antioxidants. Orange/ yellow veggies provide beta-carotene, potassium and Vitamin C and A. While blue/ purple give you folate and potassium. Even white veggies like garlic, potatoes and onions provide sulforaphane and flavonoids.
A great way to incorporate the rainbow into your meals is through stir-fries, salads and even smoothies. Smoothies are especially great if you’re in a pinch for time and need a quick and easy low-carb snack packed with low-carb veggies and protein.
Do I Have To Eat High Protein If I Eat Low-Carb?
If you are eating low-carb, it isn’t necessary to eat high protein, but you should aim to get an adequate amount as protein is known as the building block of life. Protein repairs cells, makes new cells and is important for bone growth and muscle development.
However, with low-carb eating, you may want to think about increasing the amount of healthy fat you eat. Carbs are what the body uses as energy, but when carbs are low, the body can use fat as fuel. This will prevent you from getting any low-carb fatigue or moodiness, something I’m sure we all want to avoid. Some fat sources you may want to include are avocado, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Foods To Avoid In The Grocery Store To Stay Low-Carb
Some obvious food sources to avoid when shopping your low-carb meals are grains like rice or quinoa, bread, pasta and all sweets and desserts. But there are probably tons of foods that you didn’t know are filled with carbs and sugar so be sure to keep an eye out for these ones!
- Salad dressing
- Barbeque sauce
- Baked beans
- Jarred pasta sauces
- Stir-fry sauces
- “Fat-free” packaged foods (A lot of times companies will remove fat and add sugar!)
Bottom line, if you’re buying something packaged from the grocery store and you’re eating low-carb make sure to read the ingredients and nutrition facts!
If you’re looking for some low-carb recipes, here are a few of our favorites:
You don’t need to miss out on your beloved pizza with this low-carb recipe! Did we mention the secret ingredient is cauliflower? Yum!
Is it just us or is anything in bite-size form automatically better? You have to try these Mini Cheeseburgers tonight!
Need a Low-Carb Breakfast option to feed your family? They’ll love this Asparagus Omelette and won’t even notice the missing carbs!
These Turkey Zucchini Poppers are the perfect dish to bring to your next potluck. Your friends and family will love them!