Low-carb food: In last week’s blog, we introduced the idea of Food Tips, Kitchen Tips, and Sleep & Exercise Tips that will help make changing to a low-carb eating pattern easier. Today we’re diving into some detail relating to low-carb food tips.
1. Pre-plan your meals and shopping
Getting to the supermarket without a plan, especially when you’re trying to shop for a new style of eating, will see your good intentions fail. If it’s too early in your change to low-carb, you just have little idea about what foods are low-carb and which ones just say that they are.
Make it easy on yourself: take 30 minutes before shopping to plan your meals. This allows you to write a shopping list that includes everything you need to purchase. Then, at the supermarket, you just go about selecting foods from your list.
2. Buy fresh whole foods
This sounds so simple, but many people new to the fresh foods sections of the supermarket just don’t know where to start. Your meal plan and shopping list will be the lifesaver here.
As a rule, almost all your grocery choices will come from the sections closest to the walls. Vegetables are generally not packaged, so you just load the amount of each item into bags. Meats are usually wrapped in plastic but otherwise unpackaged. Both are fresh whole single-ingredient foods.
3. Minimise packaged & processed foods
Supermarket aisles are reserved for the packaged stuff: food that has a long shelf-life. This includes canned vegetables, bottle water and the like, but most packaged foods are multi-ingredient foods that will not suit a low-carb eating plan. Steer clear of the aisles and it’s easier to steer clear of packaged and processed foods.
4. Herbs & spices create flavoursome meals
Buy a couple of small packets or jars of spice blends that suit your palate: Piri Piri Seasoning, Moroccan Seasoning, and Lemon Pepper Seasoning are examples. Use these blends as a great way to enhance and alter the flavour of your foods.
A simple chicken and vegetables meal, for example, can be changed to Mexican, Thai, Chinese etc just by changing the seasoning. Experiment a little and prepare to be surprised at how easy it can be.
5. Eat every meal from a plate
This sounds really strange, but it stops you from eating on the run. Eating with your hands usually means that the meal is not low-carb: it’s wrapped in bread and the like to hold everything together.
Another problem with eating on the run is that you don’t focus on the food, and the signals your body sends are blurred or not noticed. In short, it’s easier to maintain appetite control when sitting down and eating from a plate, using a knife and fork. You eat more slowly and your brain has a chance to ‘catch up’ to your stomach, telling you it’s time to stop eating.
6. Don’t eat in front of TV or in the car
Distraction = mindless eating. Have you ever become engrossed in a TV program and suddenly noticed that the biscuit plate or popcorn bowl is empty? Eating while not paying attention to the food is a trap for most people, so make it easier on yourself and combine points 5 and 6.
7. Discover your daily carb tolerance
Some people can eat a lot of carb, some a tiny amount, and most in between. We’re all different.
Think of it like this: roll up your sleeves and compare your forearm to that of a friend. One of you will have skin that can obviously handle more time in the sun than the other. One of you would have a lower sun tolerance than the other.
What can you do about it?
Other than following the slip, slop, slap message, one of you will need to get out of the sun earlier than the other or risk getting sunburned.
Carb tolerance works similarly. You and your friend will be different, so it’s essential to find your personal carb tolerance, and then make food choices that help you achieve the results you want.