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Dip raw vegetables instead of crackers to reduce your carbohydrate consumption.
To follow a low-carbohydrate diet, you need to know which foods are staples so that you can keep them on hand and plan appropriate meals. A low-carbohydrate diet consists mainly of high-protein foods, foods rich in healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables while it severely limits sweets, grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. As you make your choices, keep in mind that a balanced diet is the healthiest approach for long-term health and weight control.
Emphasize Lean Proteins
Eggs and most lean meat, poultry and seafood are virtually carbohydrate free and can be regular components on a low-carbohydrate diet. Fatty meats are also carbohydrate-free, but they should not be staples in your diet because they are higher in cholesterol-raising saturated fat than lean choices. Select cuts of beef and pork without visible fat, skinless chicken and turkey, and egg whites instead of whole eggs to limit your consumption of unhealthy fats and dietary cholesterol. Eat fish at least twice a week as a source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated acids.
Use Oil Instead of Butter
Oils, carbohydrate-free staples for low-carbohydrate diets, are pure fats. Make salad dressings with olive oil, vinegar and herbs and prepare a shrimp and vegetable stir-fry with sesame oil and roast cauliflower brushed with canola oil and sprinkled with black pepper and garlic powder. Butter is also carbohydrate-free, but it is higher in unhealthy saturated fats than most oils and should not be a regular part of your diet. Nuts and avocados contain small amounts of carbohydrates, but include them because of their heart-healthy fats.
Include several servings per day of non-starchy vegetables on your low-carbohydrate diet to help you lose weight and stay well-nourished. Vegetables such as spinach, eggplant, zucchini, cabbage and tomatoes are low in carbohydrates and are also low-calorie, filling options that can help you lose weight, according to the University of Michigan. Try pureed cauliflower or turnip instead of mashed potatoes; have spinach salads with chicken breast and herb vinaigrette; and scramble egg whites with mushrooms and cheese.
Most low-carbohydrate diets consist mainly of carbohydrate-free or very low-carbohydrate foods, such as meats, oils and non-starchy vegetables, but they typically also include smaller amounts of other foods with moderate carbohydrate contents. Low-fat cheese and fat-free yogurt can be important sources of calcium, for example. Beans and lentils, fruit and whole grains are higher in carbohydrates, but you may be able to consume small portions because they are sources of nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium and B vitamins.