Following a low-carb diet can be an effective way to reduce calories and get yourself trimmed, toned and looking great. It may also help to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The difficulty many women find when embarking on a low-carb diet, however, is a lack of energy. This needn't be an issue though, as you can avoid energy crashes by including plenty of high-energy, low-sugar, low-carb foods in your diet. Higher energy low-carb foods typically tend to contain slightly more calories and a little extra fat, to keep you going for longer.
Fruits and Vegetables
While many plant-based foods like bananas, dried fruit and potatoes are chocked full of sugar and carbs, there are plenty that provide you with more energy without these dieting saboteurs. Olives are a little higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats -- the type you should be consuming on a low-carb diet, as in olive oil. Try coconut or cook with coconut oil too, and add avocados to salads. All of these contain minimal carbohydrate and sugar, but are calorie-dense, so you'll get a big energy boost from just a small serving.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein and healthy fats to increase fullness and energy, yet very little sugar and carbihydrate. Nuts and seeds are often touted as health foods, and while they do have many health benefits, they supply ample calories to provide you with energy, too. "Shape" magazine recommends eating pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts, which pack between 158 and 168 calories per ounce. You could also sub in nut butters or nut oils, and seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin.
Chicken breast and egg whites are fine for low-calorie, low-sugar and low-carb sources of protein, but they don't provide you with much energy. Swap some of your lean meats for higher fat ones, such as chicken or turkey thigh, steak, or whole eggs. Oily fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which provide energy and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer in older women, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines also provide protein and are more energy-dense than non-oily fish.
Aim to consume a wide variety of foods to get an array of health benefits and avoid getting bored with your diet. You should also include vegetables and fruits to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals and make sure you don't exceed your daily calorie intake. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that active women consume between 2,000 and 2,400 calories per day. Consult your doctor before starting a new eating regimen.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.