Low-carb diets are nothing new: You may remember that the Atkins Diet became incredibly popular during the 90s, but the truth is that the concept of carb cutting for health has been around for much longer. In fact, the very-low-carb diet called the Ketogenic Diet (or simply keto, for short) has been used by doctors to treat patients with neurological disorders since the 1920s. But it seems that more than ever before low-carb diets are appealing to a very wide audience.
Despite this long history, low-carb diets—when done right—are still effective in supporting overall health, with benefits including weight loss, reduced risk for diabetes, reduction of cravings, and improvement in digestive issues such as gas or bloating. This is especially true of the ketogenic diet, which forces the body to use fat for energy, rather than glucose from carbohydrates, or even excessive amounts of protein, which is the basis of other low-carb plans.
That being said, it’s easy to fall into a low-carb way of eating that’s neither balanced, healthy, or sustainable. Failure to properly plan can result in constipation, fatigue, irritability, and a host of other issues that will have you reaching for the nearest slice of bread in no time. But the good news is that, if you fill up on plenty unprocessed, anti-inflammatory plant foods and healthy fats, you’ll be better equipped to achieve the results you’re after. And making these foods a regular part of your meals means that you’ll have to spend some time grocery shopping and meal prepping.
Here is a list of foods I recommend stocking your home with that are both healthy and low carb-friendly:
- Leafy greens— When it comes to getting enough fiber on a low carb diet, leafy greens are king. They’re alkalizing and very low in both carbs and calories, yet provide important nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C. Try to have some every day if you can, incorporating a variety of types (including spinach, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and arugula) into your meals.
- Cauliflower and cruciferous veggies— Considered to be one of the best “carb alternatives,” cauliflower is both versatile and chock full of nutrients. Recipe ideas for using cauliflower include low- carb pizza crust, fried cauliflower “rice”, or buffalo cauliflower bites. If you prefer other cruciferous veggies—like Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage or broccoli—the may not work as grain replacement, but you’ll get the same health benefits, including antioxidants and vitamin C.
- Grass-fed beef— While you don’t need to go crazy with protein just because you’re on a low-carb diet, getting enough is important for preventing side effects like fatigue, brain fog and muscle weakness. And aside from protein, grass-fed beef is one of the tastiest ways to load up on nutrients including healthy fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, and iron.
- Wild-caught salmon— Salmon and other wild-caught seafood are the best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and are associated with improvements in cognitive function, moods, and immunity.
- Cage-free eggs— Eggs, particularly the yolks, may have earned a bad reputation in the past because of their high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, but the latest research shows that eggs are actually beneficial in many ways, including for neurological and heart health. Eggs are a good source of B vitamins, selenium, choline, and retinol, and it’s also important to note that saturated fats—whether from eggs or other foods like coconut oil, cacao, ghee and grass-fed meat— are not the real culprits when it comes to inflammatory diseases. That distinction actually belongs to diets that are high in processed foods like hydrogenated oils, refined grains, and added sugar.
- Coconut oil— Coconut oil (along with real coconut milk and butter) provides medium-chain-fatty acids that are easily digestible, can help boost levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, can curb cravings, and may help improve weight loss. Use some when cooking, roasting, or baking in place of vegetable oils, or try full-fat coconut milk in coffee or smoothies.
- Avocado— With its high amount of fiber, potassium, and healthy, monounsaturated fats, what’s not to love about avocado? Despite technically being a fruit, avocados contain next-to-no sugar and very few net carbs. Sliced avocado is a perfect addition to omelettes, salads, collard wraps, salad dressings, and even green smoothies.
The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.