Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that we need for a balanced diet. However, too much consumption of carbs can ultimately lead to many health conditions. Carbs are made of sugars that can be converted to energy so we can perform our daily activities.
It fuels our organs to function and helps the body work optimally. But too much of it can mess up the body’s metabolic rate since it has to deal with excessive sugar. Consequently, several health issues like increased risk of heart disease, high blood sugar, and weight gain, among many others, could arise.
The good thing is that as the owner of your body, you have control over what you consume. We have prepared this guide to help you plan healthy meals for a carb-conscious diet.
Breakfast is known as “the most important meal of the day.” It’s your everyday starter, so make sure to have something that can boost your alertness, concentration, and energy levels.
To kickstart your mornings, pick high-protein meals with the lowest levels of carbohydrates since it will be unwise to get zero carbs for breakfast. As mentioned, carbs are the best energy source, so consuming a fair amount of them in the morning is recommended.
● High-Protein Breakfast with Less Carbs
Say you usually have bread or oatmeal for breakfast. You can cut your daily portion and supplement them with high-protein food like eggs, bacon, Greek yogurt, and tofu. You can also get creative with your food combination.
For instance, you can have Grek yogurt with berries and nuts coupled with a protein smoothie with spinach, almond milk, and protein powder.
● Creative Ways to Cook Eggs
Of course, you can also get extra resourceful with eggs. This breakfast staple has a high concentration of protein. Plus, you have plenty of recipe ideas, so you won’t have to stick with the plain and boring sunny side up. For instance, you can have a bacon-wrapped egg, gg-stuffed peppers, and baked omelet muffins. The options are endless; you just have to use your imagination!
If you are serious about having a carb-conscious diet, lunch should never be an exemption. Make sure to pick low-carb food from the menu. You get less time to decide and prepare what to have for lunch, especially for those working with less than an hour’s noon break.
● Low-Carb Sandwich and Wrap
If you’re eating out, it’s wise to skip the other menu sections and get into the sandwich and wrap section. They are classic food-to-go that you can munch during working lunch or eat as you travel.
Low-carb bread is also available in some restaurants and cafes, so ask about them as you order. Of course, nothing will beat homemade packed sandwiches. You can make your own no-carb cloud bread with just eggs, cream of tartar, and cream cheese. You can just top it with classic ingredients like ham, bacon, tomatoes, and eggs with a chicken sandwich spread.
● Healthy Salad Recipes
Moreover, if you’re leaning towards having more vegetables for lunch, there are plenty of salad recipes you can have for lunch. Say you had salmon leftovers from your dinner last night. You can have it repurposed for a salmon-chopped salad.
You can also have the all-time favorite pesto chicken salad with light lemon dressing, topped with feta cheese. Greek salad can also be an option. To make it healthier, add greens like asparagus for a more delightful combination of veggies.
Healthy protein and vegetable pairings are the best choice for Weeknight High-Protein Meal Ideas. Refer to the following meal options and try to prepare them yourself!
● Protein and Veggies
Chicken and veggie stir-fry is loaded with protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals to help your body recoup what it has lost in a full day of work. You can enjoy a hearty and guilt-free dinner with just skinless chicken breast and some veggies of your choice. Other alternatives, like tofu, beans, and fish, can suffice if you don’t feel like having chicken or just run out of it.
● Low-Carb Side Dishes
Moreover, you can also have easy low-carb side dishes to complement your main course for dinner. You can prepare sauteed veggies, turnip fries, cauliflower tots, oven-roasted asparagus, and more.
● One-Pan Meals
Lastly, you can prepare many one-pan meals for your day’s last meal. They get quickly done in less than an hour, and you only need one pan or pot to cook them. You get less mess in the kitchen and a more flavorful and healthier dinner.
Some one-pot recipes to consider are one-pot garlicky shrimp and broccoli, homemade chicken ramen, eggplant stir-fry, ground beef, and cauliflower casserole.
Meal planning and preparation for a low-carb diet don’t have to be stressful. While it’s more convenient to eat out and order food, especially when you are overwhelmed with so many tasks at work and home, it’s also important to remember that you can stick to a more carb-conscious diet if you prepare homemade meals.
Plot your meals for the entire week and shop for ingredients in advance. Sometimes, it’s really hard to overcome cravings and temptations, but if you’re committed to achieving your diet goals, planning your low-carb meals can be enjoyable!