Low-carb diet plan

A low-carb meal plan and menu to improve your health

This is a detailed meal plan for a low-carb diet based on real foods. What to eat, what not to eat, and a sample low carb menu for one week.

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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:

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

Low-carb food list — Foods to eat

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

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.

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

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

A sample low-carb menu for one week

This is a sample menu for one week on a low-carb diet plan.

Suggested read: How many calories should you eat per day to lose weight?

It provides less than 50 grams of total carbs per day. However, if you’re healthy and active you can eat slightly more carbs.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Include plenty of low-carb vegetables in your diet. If your goal is to remain under 50 grams of carbs per day, there is room for plenty of veggies and one fruit per day.

Again, if you’re healthy, lean, and active, you can add some tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, as well as some healthy grains like oats.

Healthy, low-carb snacks

There is no health reason to eat more than three meals per day, but if you get hungry between meals, here are some healthy, easy-to-prepare, low-carb snacks that can fill you up:

Eating at restaurants

At most restaurants, it’s fairly easy to make your meals low-carb friendly.

  1. Order a meat- or fish-based main dish.
  2. Drink plain water instead of sugary soda or fruit juice.
  3. Get extra vegetables instead of bread, potatoes, or rice.

A simple low-carb shopping list

A good rule is to shop at the perimeter of the store, where the whole foods are more likely to be found.

Focusing on whole foods will make your diet a thousand times better than the standard Western diet.

Organic and grass-fed foods are also popular choices and often considered healthier, but they’re typically more expensive.

Try to choose the least processed option that still fits into your price range.

Clear your pantry of all unhealthy temptations if you can, such as chips, candy, ice cream, sodas, juices, bread, cereals, and baking ingredients like refined flour and sugar.

The bottom line

Low-carb diets restrict carbs, such as those found in sugary and processed foods, pasta, and bread. They’re high in protein, fat and healthy vegetables.

Studies show that they can cause weight loss and improve health.

The above meal plan gives you the basics of healthy, low-carb eating.

Last updated on October 10, 2021, and last reviewed by an expert on September 28, 2021.
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