It’s been a hot minute since I did a roundup of low carb dinner ideas. This one is centered around low carb eating and a little sugar free drink idea, too 🙂
Why low carb?
Because it’s simple. It’s not as restrictive as keto. It’s super healthy (assuming you’re sticking with real food) and yes - it will help you lose weight. It will also help you reduce inflammation, which is important if you're dealing with chronic stress!
If you want to learn more about how eating low carb can help with fat loss, start here.
If you just want to dive into all the goodness of great food and fun cocktails that won’t spike insulin, create inflammation or add to your waistline, then read on. These are some perennial favorites that I know you’ll love and if you want even more ideas, dig into these low carb options as well.
Here's some low carb dinner ideas - Also great for Meal Prep!
Low Carb Dinner Ideas for Weekends (with a drink idea, too!)
What exactly is low carb?
Now that I've shared a few of my favorite mid-week meals and anytime cocktails, I want to be clear about what I consider low carb. Personally, for an average, active person, this is 100 grams of carbs per day or less, consumed mostly in the form of vegetables. I typically don't recommend going below 50 grams per day, unless you're under the guidance of a health professional (which I am not).
Do you have to eat low carb to lose weight?
No, you have to eat fewer calories to lose weight. However, there's a lot of research that indicates a lower carb (not necessarily keto) can be ideal for reducing overall calories because protein and fats tend to be more satiating. This is not true for all people, but most folks do find proteins and fats to be more satisfying than bread or carrots.
How do I figure out how many calories I should be eating?
If weight loss is your goal, aim to consume 11 to 12 x your current body weight. SO, if you are 150 and you're active, start with 12 x 150 lbs which is 1800 calories. If you're very sedentary you might want to aim for 11 x 150 lbs which is 1650 calories.
How do I figure out how much protein and fat to eat each day?
Figuring out exactly how many grams of protein, fats and carbs you should eat each day is a little more complicated than just counting calories. That said, it's also far more effective and can help you reach your goals faster.
Whether you're aiming for fat loss or lean muscle development, counting macros is the way to do it. I have a quick, inexpensive program if you need some help figuring out your macros and learning the best way to count them!
Is it better to eat low carb at dinner or earlier in the day?
There's mixed research on when the best time to eat carbs are. Obviously, if you're talking about vegetable like kale, cauliflower and broccoli, then you should be eating them at every meal.
However, if you enjoy starchy carbs like potatoes, bread, rice, etc, then the best time to eat them is going to be right after a weight lifting workout. This is when your muscles are most primed to consume starchy carbs.
If you're not working out, but you still want a little bread in your life, then eat starchy carbs when it suits you, but just don't eat them all the time. Personally, if I eat carbs in the morning, it spikes my insulin early and I crave sugar all day, so I never have carbs before 4pm. That works for me, but you might be different.
Anyway, hope that helps and feel free to let me know if you make any of the recipes above. I'd love to know what you think!
To your health,
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.