A low-carb meal plan means limiting the intake of carbohydrates and focusing on high protein and fats. This type of routine is beneficial for specific goals like lowering BMI or controlling sugar/glucose levels in the body. Always consult a nutritionist before switching to any extreme or alternative nutritional meal plans. There are several low-carb meal plans available that can be followed based on the requirement.
Types of low-carb meal plans
This type follows a low-carb and high-protein food plan where the daily carbs intake is limited to less than 10% of the daily calories, which equals to approximately 20-50 gms of carbs a day as opposed to the regular recommendation of 45% to 60% of daily calories being carbs. This meal plan also encourages one to increase their fat intake. The high-fat foods, including avocado, coconut oil, and full-fat dairy, are recommended.
This popular food plan focuses on reducing carbohydrates and sugar-rich foods and increasing the intake of lean meats and heart-healthy fatty food options. There are three phases to this plan, and the first phase recommends avoiding fruits or grains. However, they are slowly introduced back into the plan in the second and third phases. Most food options can be included in the meal plan but in moderation.
This meal plan has different phases, but the goal is to lower carbs and increase protein intake. The first phase includes just 20-40g of carbs daily. However, as you continue to follow the plan, you can slowly increase the carbs amount to 100g.
This type of routine encourages one to follow a low-carb as well as a low-fat meal plan, focusing primarily on high protein intake. Also known as a “pure protein” plan, it is recommended to stick to lean meats for protein. This plan is also divided into four phases to help achieve the desired goals.
This plan is designed to learn and mimic the hunter-gatherer lifestyle followed thousands of years ago. This plan encourages one to include all meats, fruits, and vegetables in daily meals. While it does not specify reducing carbohydrate foods, the plan eliminates carb-heavy food options like legumes, grains, and dairy products.
Regardless of which meal plan you choose to follow, they all focus on low-carb options. Therefore, it is important to know more about food ingredients and the kind of nutrition they provide to the body. Consulting a nutritionist for a change in eating habits will be helpful in understanding if a particular meal plan is sustainable and healthy for your body or if it may have any side effects.
Tips to curate a meal plan
This can be especially difficult if you are on a restrictive meal plan, so it is always a good idea to do your research. Have several snack options ready, so you do not end up giving up mid-way. This includes stocking up on Greek yogurt, baby carrots, nuts, some cheese and lean meats, and egg options.
Weekly meal preps
This may sound easy, but it is difficult to follow since most people tend to leave this off till the last minute. A busy schedule and hunger pangs can easily derail you from your healthy journey, so make sure that you prepare your meals.
Here are some recipes you can include:
- Turkey meatballs along with sauteed veggies and some couscous
- Steak with stir fry broccoli, carrots, and snow peas
- Burrito bowl using cauliflower rice, black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and some pico de gallo to go along with it
- Ground beef stuffed bell peppers with sour cream, and some shredded cheese
Opt for healthy food options at restaurants
This isn’t easy to avoid, so you can prepare to order foods like meat or fish-based mains. Choose not to drink fruity or sugar-rich drinks and stick to soda. Try not to overeat; simply take the leftovers home for the next day.