We live in a world of possibilities. From the foods that we eat, to the drinks available to us, the clothing we wear, and our next holiday. There are as many ideas about the world and about fashion as there are diets. One of the most popular (and reliable) diets is low carb. This is a popular diet plan for women, and many use the low carb diet for weight loss.
The best part of eating low carb is that it’s entirely possible, wherever you might be, and wherever you might travel. That being said, I have some tips, tricks, and guiding principles to help transform low carb dieting into delicious, low carb living.
One of the biggest keys to help make a low carb diet successful and even enjoyable, is to nourish your body with delicious, real foods! This is your chance to become a devotee of your local farmer’s market, and learn the joys of eating seasonally. Instead of toast with Nutella for breakfast, consider other options like scrambled eggs, some yogurt with blueberries, sliced peaches and a squeeze of lemon, along with a delicious cup of coffee. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
The best way to focus on incorporating lower-carb practices (especially when looking to utilize a low carb diet for weight loss) is to know simple ways to bring in healthy and delicious options into your kitchen. Leafy green vegetables can be truly delicious when cooked and seasoned properly. Serve alongside a beautifully cooked chicken and some roasted cauliflower, and you’ve got dinner. I personally would pair dinner with a glass of white wine and a square of dark chocolate for later, but that’s just me.
I share about this a bit more later, but balancing flavors, treats, and the rich nutrition of real foods can help you stick to a plan.
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Your food should satisfy!
If you find yourself hungry after dinner, or perpetually craving more, make sure that you’re eating enough food, and that you’re adding in enough proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. If you are perpetually unsatisfied with your meals, it’s likely to push you towards eating foods that you’re not interested in, just because they seem appealing.
Take time to notice how you are feeling, and the ways that you can adjust your low carb choices, in order to keep an overall low carb diet sustainable. This process doesn’t have to be all or nothing, or centered around total deprivation. Satisfying an ice cream craving when it arises can help you stay on track when it comes to an overall lifestyle change.
Healthy fats are also incredibly important when your goal is to cut carbs, but maintain satisfaction. Nuts, seeds, rich oils, some cheeses, and foods like avocado can go a long way towards keeping you happy and satisfied.
Does eating a low carb diet mean that I don’t enjoy a delicious flaky croissant now and again? Of course not! Many have found that and overall lower or low carb diet is sustainable, when there is balance. I do my best to enjoy foods and not restrict myself when it comes to quality treats and enjoying an experience.
This might mean one pain au chocolat on a Saturday morning, instead of one every afternoon when I stop by a local cafe for an espresso.
This could look like enjoying a piece of birthday cake, or a slice of bread with fresh salted butter, when we’re having soup.
I like to be aware of the carbohydrates I enjoy, and find a place for them in the regular patterns of my life, while making other choices to help balance out a once in-a-while plate of handmade pasta and fresh pesto.
It’s also worth adding in that you should find ways to balance out a plate with flavors, colors and textures! Variety can be a powerful tool when choosing a low or lower carb lifestyle.
Meet your spice cabinet! Seriously.
The real secret to enjoying your meals, and reducing your carbs ultimately comes down to flavoring and seasoning your food well. Low carb meals don’t have to sacrifice on flavor, and there is a great big world of herbs, spices and seasonings which can bring your dinner to the next level.
The internet is a wonderful resource when it comes to learning about what flavors pair well together. Additionally, don’t be afraid of cookbooks! There are dozens of classic recipes which be transformed into lower carb meals with some simple substitutions. Pay attention to the spices and flavors those recipes use, and take that knowledge into other dishes that you enjoy.
Fresh herbs are a wonderful way to add a bright kick to a meal, and you could even use this as an excuse to cultivate a small herb garden!
You don’t set out on a road trip without a plan, and you shouldn’t try and incorporate a low carb diet without a strategy! What might this look like for you? This might mean:
- Planning out your meals for the week, so that you aren’t left scrambling in the morning, and grabbing a sandwich for lunch.
- Preparing low carb snacks, and keeping them handy so that you won’t be tempted by a vending machine or local cafe’s pastry case. This strategy is clearly useful at work or when you’re away from home, but keeping low carb snacks and choices in your refrigerator and pantry can also help curb the late night munchies, or that long gap between lunch and dinner.
- Learning the serving size and rough caloric values of foods, in order to make quick substitutions and easy menu planning.
- Create a backup plan, complete with snacks, local restaurants, and what options are available to you, when the need arises. When life gets busy and you find yourself ordering takeaway for dinner, it can be helpful to know what restaurants have low carb choices.
- Connect with others! There are countless low carb communities online, like forums and Facebook groups. Connecting with others who are making similar choices can be a powerful way to stay motivated and encouraged.
Your mentality when it comes to eating can make a huge difference as you make lifestyle changes, or even adapt to a diet in the short term. I choose to focus on creativity, flavor and balance, and many of my friends do the same. We share recipes and ideas, and take the chance to enjoy the experience together, as opposed to feeling tired and hungry and isolated.
If you’re looking to bring joy back into mealtime, consider a cooking class where an instructor walks you through techniques, or even a cooking club with friends, where you cook together and enjoy your meal together. Eating meals which fit a specific requirement can feel isolating and lonely, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
It’s also important to have options available when it comes to a low carb diet, especially after 40. I could cut out my occasional glass of wine with dinner, but I don’t want to, and that’s okay. I have learned to find options – and opportunities – to make this lifestyle work for me. If I’m out to dinner with friends, I might substitute a carb-heavy side so that we can share a dessert after dinner. It is fully worth enjoying a moment and letting your low carb life resume in the morning.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose what works best for you and your body. The low carb diet can be a wonderful tool for weight loss, as well as supporting an active lifestyle.
Have you incorporated low-carp principles into your regular diet? I’d love for you to share with our community any tips or tricks that you might have in the comments below! This journey is best shared with others (like a delicious chocolate cake!) and what works for you might be of great benefit to others.