Diets low in or void of carbohydrates, like the Atkins diet, are popular and effective methods for weight loss. The question is: when eating no carbs, what do you eat? Fortunately there are plenty of food options available to create healthy, flavorful and satisfying meals without carbohydrates.
Unprocessed meats are completely carb-free. This includes beef, pork, chicken and other proteins. The best way to prepare the meats is by baking or grilling, which will ensure that the finished product is a low-fat dish. Meats can be fried, but abstain from using any type of breading or batter, which will add unwanted carbs.
To maintain a healthy diet, try to choose low-fat cuts of meat. Steer clear of processed lunchmeats and fast-food meat sandwiches; these meat products are often packed with a corn byproduct as filler.
Fruits and Vegetables
Many vegetables have no carbs, including lettuce, spinach and celery. As a general rule, most leafy or green vegetables will have zero or very few carbs. The carb content will be the same whether the vegetable is raw or cooked. Cauliflower, broccoli and squash are low in carbs and should be eaten sparingly. A simple and nutritious vegetable menu is a garden salad with low-carb dressing. Stay away from starchy vegetables, like potatoes, corn and carrots. They are very high in carbs.
Low-sugar fruits can be consumed in moderation. These include melons, apples, and berries. Fresh fruit salads or desserts without added sugars or syrups are an ideal treat for your sweet tooth.
Dairy products including low-fat cheeses and yogurt are also low in carbohydrate content. Milk, butter and cream cheese should be limited. The lactose in milk is processed by the body as a sugar, so too much dairy will exceed low-carb diet requirements.
Another option includes lactose-free milks and cheeses or unsweetened soy milk products. Because of the missing sugars, these type of milks will taste different than traditional dairy products and may not please your tastebuds as a standalone beverage. Instead try them in cooking applications for sauces and smoothies.
In addition to meeting your protein needs, fish is high in healthy Omega-3 fats. Many fish have zero carbs including mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon and tuna. Shrimp, crawfish and crab also contain zero carbohydrates. Avoid oysters and clams, as they are higher in carb content. As with meats, seafood will be lowest in carbs when prepared grilled or baked.
When on a carb-free or low-carb diet, proper nutrition is important. Although weight loss has been proven even when practicing a high-fat low-carb diet, certain heart risks accompany a diet high in fat.
Try to prepare balanced menus using vegetables and low-fat meat or fish in every meal. The variety of meal choices is endlessfajitas, soups and salads in any combination. Use low-carb breads, tortillas or pastas to meet your need for a starchy item on your plate.
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