A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan and Menu That Can Save Your Life

By Kris Gunnars, authoritynutrition.com
April 21, 2015 Updated: April 21, 2015

The low carb, real food based diet involves eating natural, unprocessed foods with a low carbohydrate content. For a detailed overview, read this.

There is a lot of scientific evidence that this type of diet is the best option for people who want to lose weight, optimize health and lower the risk of disease.

choose-real-food
(By Adam Fields)

 

 A Low Carb Diet Meal Plan

What foods you should eat depends on a few things, including how healthy you are, how much you exercise and how much weight you have to lose.

Consider all of this as a general guideline, not something written in stone.

The Basics

Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, high-fat dairy, fats, healthy oils and maybe even some tubers and non-gluten grains.

Don’t Eat: Sugar, HFCS, wheat, seed oils, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods.

Foods to Avoid

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

 

You should avoid these 7 foods, in order of importance:

  • Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many others.
  • Gluten Grains: Wheat, spelt, barley and rye. Includes breads and pastas.
  • Trans Fats: “Hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
  • High Omega-6 Seed- and Vegetable Oils: Cottonseed-, soybean-, sunflower-, grapeseed-, corn-, safflower and canola oils.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Cyclamates and Acesulfame Potassium. Use Stevia instead.
  • “Diet” and “Low-Fat” Products: Many dairy products, cereals, crackers, etc.
  • Highly Processed Foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.

Low Carb Food List – Foods to Eat

You should base your diet on these real, unprocessed, low-carb foods.

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

 

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken and others. Grass-fed is best.
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, haddock and many others. Wild-caught fish is best.
  • Eggs: Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and many others.
  • Fruits: Apples, oranges, pears, blueberries, strawberries.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • High-Fat Dairy: Cheese, butter, heavy cream, yogurt.
  • Fats and Oils: Coconut oil, butter, lard, olive oil and cod fish liver oil.

If you need to lose weight, be careful with the cheese and nuts because they’re easy to overeat on. Don’t eat more than one piece of fruit per day.

Maybe Eat

(Shutterstock)
Choose organic brands with 70% cocoa or higher. (Shutterstock)

 

If you’re healthy, active and don’t need to lose weight then you can afford to eat a bit more carbs.

  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and some others.
  • Non-gluten grains: Rice, oats, quinoa and many others.
  • Legumes: Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc. (If you can tolerate them).

You can have these in moderation if you want:

  • Dark Chocolate: Choose organic brands with 70% cocoa or higher.
  • Wine: Choose dry wines with no added sugar or carbs.

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and may provide health benefits if you eat it in moderation. However, be aware that both dark chocolate and alcohol will hinder your progress if you eat/drink too much.

Drink

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

 

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Carbonated soda without artificial sweeteners.

Watch This Video

If a picture is worth a thousands words, a video is worth a million.

This short video explains everything you will ever need to know about “real food.”

A Sample Low-Carb Menu For One Week

This is a sample menu for one week on a low carb diet plan.

It provides less than 50 grams of total carbs per day, but as I mentioned above if you are healthy and active you can go beyond that.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch: Grass-fed yogurt with blueberries and a handful of almonds.
  • Dinner: Cheeseburger (no bun), served with vegetables and salsa sauce.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.
  • Lunch: Leftover burgers and veggies from the night before.
  • Dinner: Salmon with butter and vegetables.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch: Shrimp salad with some olive oil.
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with various vegetables, fried in butter or coconut oil.
  • Lunch: Smoothie with coconut milk, berries, almonds and protein powder.
  • Dinner: Steak and veggies.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad with some olive oil.
  • Dinner: Pork chops with vegetables.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Omelet with various veggies.
  • Lunch: Grass-fed yogurt with berries, coconut flakes and a handful of walnuts.
  • Dinner: Meatballs with vegetables.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Bacon and Eggs.
  • Lunch: Smoothie with coconut milk, a bit of heavy cream, chocolate-flavoured protein powder and berries.
  • Dinner: Grilled chicken wings with some raw spinach on the side.

Include a variety of vegetables in your diet. If your goal is to remain under 50 grams of carbs per day, then there is room for plenty of veggies and one fruit per day.

If you want to see examples of some of my go-to meals, read this:
7 Healthy Low-Carb Meals in Under 10 Minutes.

Again, if you’re healthy, lean and active, you can add some tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as some healthier grains like rice and oats.

Some Healthy, Low-Carb Snacks

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

 

There is no health reason to eat more than 3 meals per day, but if you get hungry between meals then here are some healthy, easy to prepare low-carb snacks that can fill you up:

  • A Piece of Fruit
  • Full-fat Yogurt
  • A Hard-Boiled Egg or Two
  • Baby Carrots
  • Leftovers From The Night Before
  • A Handful of Nuts
  • Some Cheese and Meat

Eating at Restaurants

At most restaurants, it is fairly easy to make your meals LCRF-friendly.

  1. Order a meat- or fish-based main dish.
  2. Ask them to fry your food in real butter.
  3. Get extra vegetables instead of bread, potatoes or rice. 

A Simple Low-Carb Shopping List

Organic and grass-fed foods are best, but only if you can easily afford them. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Organic and grass-fed foods are best, but only if you can easily afford them. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

 

A good rule is to shop at the perimeter of the store, where the whole foods are likelier to be found.

Organic and grass-fed foods are best, but only if you can easily afford them. Even if you don’t buy organic, your diet will still be a thousand times better than the standard western diet.

Try to choose the least processed option that still fits into your price range.

  • Meat (Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, bacon)
  • Fish (Fatty fish like salmon is best)
  • Eggs (Choose Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs if you can)
  • Butter
  • Coconut Oil (Choose Extra Virgin)
  • Lard
  • Olive Oil
  • Cheese
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt (full-fat, unsweetened)
  • Blueberries (can be bought frozen)
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Fresh vegetables: greens, peppers, onions, etc.
  • Frozen vegetables: broccoli, carrots, various mixes.
  • Salsa Sauce
  • Condiments: sea salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, etc.

I recommend clearing your pantry of all unhealthy temptations if you can: chips, candy, ice cream, sodas, juices, breads, cereals and baking ingredients like wheat flour and sugar.

This article was originally published on authoritynutrition.com 

*Image of “diet” via Shutterstock

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