A Low-Carb Meal Plan and Menu to Improve Your Health

A low-carb diet is a diet that restricts carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary foods, pasta and bread. It is high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

There are many different types of low-carb diets, and studies show that they can cause weight loss and improve health.

This is a detailed meal plan for a low-carb diet. It explains what to eat, what to avoid and includes a sample low-carb menu for one week.

Low-Carb Eating — The Basics

Your food choices depend on a few things, including how healthy you are, how much you exercise and how much weight you have to lose.

Consider this meal plan as a general guideline, not something written in stone.

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, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods.

Foods to Avoid

You should avoid these six food groups and nutrients, in order of importance:

  • Sugar: Soft drinks, fruit juices, agave, candy, ice cream and many other products that contain added sugar.
  • Refined grains: Wheat, rice, barley and rye, as well as bread, cereal and pasta.
  • Trans fats: Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Diet and low-fat products: Many dairy products, cereals or crackers are fat-reduced, but contain added sugar.
  • Highly processed foods: If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it.
  • Starchy vegetables: It’s best to limit starchy vegetables in your diet if you’re following a very low-carb diet.

You must read ingredient lists even on foods labelled as health foods.

Low-Carb Food List — Foods to Eat

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

  • 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 fish oil.

If you need to lose weight, be careful with cheese and nuts, as it’s easy to overeat on them. Don’t eat more than one piece of fruit per day.

Foods to Maybe Include

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

  • Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes and some others.
  • Unrefined grains: Brown rice, oats, quinoa and many others.
  • Legumes: Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, etc. (if you can tolerate them).

What’s more, you can have the following in moderation, if you want:

  • Dark chocolate: Choose organic brands with at least 70% of cocoa.
  • 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.

Beverages

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Sugar-free carbonated beverages, like sparkling water.