SCROLL DOWN IF YOU WANT TO SKIP RIGHT TO THE LIST OF LOW-CARB IDEAS…
Or check out this blog carnival with even MORE low-carb meal ideas and this post: Lose your man boobs, your bagel butt, and your wheat belly! (Or this one with more gluten-free/grain-free ideas.) But first…
A little personal news about my latest dieting endeavors.
The more I read, the more I’m finding that losing weight is more about carbs than anything else. (This is assuming you already do the obvious – eating more whole foods, less processed foods, etc.) Carbs (not healthy fats) are what kick in the insulin response in our bodies, which is what leads to fat in all those nasty places. There’s much more to it, obviously, but lowering your carbs is great not just for weight loss, but especially for Type II diabetics, and for our health in general. (Read more at this GAPS post about how no carbs/low carbs can be part of a protocol to heal your whole immune system.) If you do eat grains, make sure they’re properly prepared, but not TOO many of those, either, and avoid refined sugars, breads, pastas, etc.
As I told you about in this post, Does Fat Make You Fat?, the dieting in my life usually consists of keeping an eye on things (the scales, my clothes, etc.) and when I start creeping up a little, I’ll do something before it gets really bad. It takes a few days to motivate myself, and I always have to plan it when there’s nothing big coming up (where there might be a lot of tempting foods). I’ll watch the carbs for a week or two, and step up the exercising some (when I can), and that’s usually all it takes to get me back where I need to be. (If I’m a huge pig, it comes back on, but most of it stays off for a good while anyway before it creeps back.)
Well, recently it wasn’t so much a big change in the scales, and it wasn’t my jeans (you gotta love those low-waisted jeans, even if they do tend to fall down without a belt), it was when I had a dress on that I hadn’t worn since fall. In the fall when Kent & I were in Chicago to celebrate our 20th anniversary, this dress fit great, and it wasn’t tight at all. When I wore it the other day, it drove me nuts readjusting it over and over because it got snug. As much as I wanted to blame it on the dryer, I knew that I’d also gotten that “thick” look in the middle. With bathing suit days here, I knew it was time. So after a few days of “gearing up” my brain for it, making a list, and then shopping for the right foods, I started Thursday on my no/low-carbs diet for a while.
- One of my favorites: Bunless burger bonanza!
- Stir fry with any meat and veggies you like. Water chestnuts add a nice crunch.
- My sister likes cottage cheese as a low-carb side dish.
- Cauliflower with melted cheese is another good side dish.
- Kent’s Easy Asian Pork Loin – Low carb AND gluten-free!
- This tasty Fried Fish with Fresh Lemon Garlic Pesto
- This Yakisoba recipe is SOOOOO good with extra veggies instead of the noodles!
- Low Carb DELICIOUS Bruschetta Without Bread!
- Fresh veggies and homemade dip.
- Kale Chips – these are amazingly delicious!
- These stuffed jalepeno poppers are one of my favorite low-carb treats. My neighbor friend, Meg, is also cutting back on carbs (read about Meg at this recipe post), so she & I ate a ton of these in the middle of the day yesterday. Besides an egg in the morning, a few veggies and a very little bit of fruit, that’s all I had for the day. My plan worked: I filled up on those, so I wasn’t tempted by all the yummy food and treats at the graduation open house we went to.
- Another favorite are these roll-ups. I’ll make cilantro ancho-chili lime mayo, spread it on a piece of all-natural honey ham, then wrap up the broccoli for a nice crisp and tasty low-carb treat.
- I eat a lot of eggs when I’m watching the carbs – here are all different egg recipes, some with carbs and a few really yummy ones without.
- Joe’s no-carb no-grain Tabouli – yum!
- I love a good fried burger with sea salt, pepper and melted cheese on top.
- If I really needed to drop some pounds fast, I’d eliminate ALL carbs for a while (this is not easy, but it’s a good kick-start for a couple weeks, then you could switch to carbs in “moderation” – I hate that word), but I am snacking just a little this time on fruits. (I’m talking about 3 strawberries twice a day, or 5 grapes, so not a lot.)
- Thankfully, it’s farm market season, so I’ll snack on various veggies that I’ve got all clean and in bowls in the fridge, like pea pods, cherry tomatoes, etc.
- Tonight we’re having steak for dinner, and sautéing more farm market veggies, like asparagus in one pan, and green & yellow zucchini in another.
- Salads are always satisfying, especially if you add chicken or steak. I got fresh greens at the farm market the other day, and I may put a couple strawberries on top, a hard-boiled egg, a homemade dressing with less sugar than I’d normally use, some cucumbers, parmesan cheese, and a few crispy pecans. (But be careful not to eat too many nuts when trying to lose weight.)
- Here’s another good one that I love all the time, and it happens to be very low-carb (maybe no carb?): Caprese Salad
- Even though it’s been warm out and it’s not really chili weather, we all still love it. Soon I’ll make traditional chili and a white chicken chili- both are low-carb. (Update: last night I made chili and tonight we had leftovers on the all-natural hotdogs from Cosco. The fam had the homemade buns I made, but I fried up a couple dogs, cut them up and ate them in a bowl of chili – it was so good!)
- Here are more soup ideas, not all are low-carb, but most are or can be adapted. I don’t know if it’s listed, but a good beef vegetable soup is very satisfying. I usually use round steak (with a bone) for this and add lots of veggies and herbs to give it a great flavor.
- I’ll snack on celery and peanut butter – it’s filling and sometimes I need the crunch. Or if I need a quick snack, I’ll just grab a spoonful of peanut butter by itself!
- I’m really missing my sweets, but if I keep myself from getting hungry, it hasn’t been too terrible. Sometimes just two chocolate chips will do the trick. (And you feel like you’re really “cheating” so they taste extra good!)
- Meg & I are on the hunt for a no carb/low carb alcoholic bevie, does anyone know of any? Keep in mind, while I’ll rarely have a beer, I mostly like the fruity chick drinks, so it can’t be anything too hard.
- Here’s a fairly low-carb dessert! Homemade chocolate or vanilla ice cream – there’s not a lot of sugar in this, but if you’re trying to lose weight, you may still want to steer clear. (However, if you’re going to have a little treat, this is a good choice, because all the healthy fats in this recipe help slow down the insulin response from the sugar. Here’s another good one for the same reason: Crème Brule.)
- This pesto chicken or just cheesy chicken is SO easy, SO good and low-carb!
- Organic Broccoli Salad – full of great flavor!
- Eva told me about these Zero carb crackers for when you need something to eat with dips or for something to spread cream cheese on: Scandinavian Bran Crisp Bread. They didn’t look real appetizing, but I ended up liking them, they just taste like a Triscuit. (They are in a small plastic wrapped package in the ethnic section at our grocery store.)
- Another thing my sister uses for dipping (because there are a lot of good low-carb dips, but the DIPPERS will get ya) is low-carb wraps or tortillas, and she’ll fry them in butter to get them crisp. The only problem is that their ingredient labels aren’t great, but once in a while is probably OK.
- She also makes fajitas with these low-carb wraps. Use chicken or steak, veggies, cheese, salsa, sour cream. Yum.
- 5 minute meal – egg drop soup!
- Fried cabbage is an easy, filling, tasty treat!
- I know I’m odd, but I also love to chop up a whole onion and fry it in butter or ghee until nice and golden brown. A very satisfying snack, believe it or not. (I use a LOT of butter!)
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps like P.F. Chang’s
- Another idea from my sister: use the recipe above for lettuce wraps, but use cold shrimp instead of chicken, and just eat the filling. Delicious.
- Low-carb Tuna Delight
- Shrimp cocktail – cold shrimp on a plate, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top, and a little dab of fresh horseradish. Good flavor and nice bite, without the carbs in the ketchup. ZERO carbs! (My sister loves this.)
- Easy Low-Carb Cabbage rolls
- Low-carb broccoli cheese soup
- A good side dish recipe will be coming with green beans or brussel sprouts.
- Dessert idea: fresh fruits with real whipped cream made with very little sugar.
- A great artichoke dip recipe I found through a Twitter friend, and there’s even a link there for some no-carb cheese crisps for dippers!
- No grain recipes from Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
- Low-carb sausage balls
- Try this Buffalo Dip recipe that you could eat with celery, yum!
- Thai Vegetable and Chicken or Beef Stir-Fry – sooooo delicious and grain-free!
- ***Crispy nuts – an extra healthy, yummy & easy way to prepare nuts. Or even better, try these chili lime almonds. (These are low-carb, but go easy, I’ve heard that cheese and nuts are the biggest threats to weight loss when doing low-carb.)
- Stuffed green peppers - recipe coming soon.
- Halloween pancakes (super delicious: made with squash or pumpkin, and grain-free, too!)
- “Bhurtha” – I love this spicy eggplant recipe from Sonia!
- I am the Omelet Queen! – This is so yummy and satisfying.
- Please comment below if you have other low carb/no carb ideas!
Exercise really kicks things into gear
While it’s mostly all about what you’re eating, of course exercise still has to be in the mix. Until recently I was in a bad streak around here where I felt totally buried under my to-do list, so I haven’t been out in a couple weeks. I finally got out and ran last night…while pushing a jogger, which STINKS I’m here to tell ya. Then I roller bladed today – a lot of it was against the wind, so what I’m saying is that after being good all weekend, I’d better be doing a happy dance after checking the scales and measuring tape in the morning.
- Remember, when dieting or at anytime, get rid of the bad fats in your kitchen!
- Read about a low-carb dieting success story!
- Whether you’re a diabetic, a heart patient, you’re dieting, or you’re just breathing, avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup like the plague!
- When you add the carbs back in, only eat whole grains (as much as possible anyway) – read this post to find out why it is so important
- Don’t forget about the benefits of coconut if you’re dieting- it kick starts your metabolism
- Watch a video about the benefits of low carbs
- Overweight Kids – 16 ways to help
- Read about the first time I ever went on a diet
- Do artificial sweeteners cause weight gain?
- Forget Lassie – Simple Carbs Are Man’s Best Friend – I just found this new blogger and love his writing!
- Here’s another “take” on weight loss: try Intermittent Fasting