Transitioning into a low-carb, high-fat way of eating (also known as ‘Banting’) can be challenging: for many of us, carbs make up a substantial portion of our daily intake, and figuring out what to replace them with can be tricky and confusing. That’s why it helps to go into it with a plan – or more specifically, an eating plan – so that your attempts aren’t derailed before you’ve even started.
Here’s a list of things you should be eating on a LCHF diet, as well as some suggestions for each meal.
Eat a lot of: healthy fat. This includes avocados and avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, animal fat (choose organic, additive-free cuts of meat including chicken, beef and bacon), oily fish and fish oil.
Eat some: protein. You need to include fat and protein in every meal, but remember that LCHF is a HIGH fat, MEDIUM protein, LOW carb way of eating. Overdoing it on the protein can impede your weight-loss efforts and also result in nausea. Remember to include eggs too.
Eat few: carbs. Even on a low-carb diet, it’s still essential to include some carbs in your daily intake. Choose lower-carb fruits and veggies like leafy greens, salad greens, cauliflower, berries, melons, cherries, oranges, tomatoes and avocados. You want to exclude starchy vegetables (all of those that grow under the soil, as well as peas) and high-carb fruits like bananas, plantains and raisins.
What about dairy? The right kind of dairy is an important part of a LCHF diet. Choose hard cheeses, cream, butter, full-fat yoghurt and so forth. You want to avoid any ‘low-fat’ items, and opt instead for those with greater amounts of fat and fewer carbs/no added sugar. Learn to read food labels.
The food lists at Originaleating.org are extremely useful if you need a little guidance. View them here.
LCHF meal ideas
- Boiled/scrambled eggs on seed toast
- Avocado on grain-free bread
- Bacon and eggs with sliced tomato and fresh basil
- Poached eggs with ham and asparagus
- Cheese and mushroom omelette
- Meat or egg salad drizzled with olive oil
- Chicken breast with cream cheese and side salad
- Cold meat roll-ups (slices of meat filled with cheddar and tomato and wrapped in lettuce)
- Bacon, avocado and seed salad
- Minute steak wraps made with chopped cucumber, tomato and cheese, all wrapped in lettuce
- Chicken fried ‘rice’, substituting cauliflower for rice and adding your low-carb veggies of choice
- Steak, veggies and slices of fresh avocado
- Roast chicken breasts stuffed with feta and drizzled with olive oil, served with salad or vegetables
- Pan-fried salmon with asparagus and cauliflower rice
- Roast lamb chops with cauliflower mash and veggies
- Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash
- Nuts (especially almonds, macadamias and walnuts – avoid peanuts as these aren’t actually nuts, but legumes)
- Mini meatballs (make ahead and keep in the fridge/freezer)
- Leftover chicken breasts (always cook in bulk when you can)
Here are some more great meal ideas and recipes from Authority Nutrition. The list also includes dressings and sauces to spice up your meals.
Don’t start the eating plan without being fully prepared, or you could become frustrated, bored or under-nourished. Know what you’ll be eating and more importantly, where you’ll be buying your food, so that you’ll never be left hungry. Also, keep snacks in your car, handbag/briefcase, etc so that you never find yourself ravenous and resorting to shop-bought carbs to fill the void.
It’s easy once you’re in the swing of things and you’re bound to feel – and notice – a difference.