How to Jump-Start a Low-Carb Diet

Erase the pizza delivery guy's phone number from your cell phone memory.
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Taking the plunge and adopting a low-carb diet can be daunting -- no more rice, pasta or pizza? But look at the bright side: limiting your carbohydrate intake, especially of processed and refined carbs, can reduce hunger, quell food cravings and lead to better health. Get on track -- or back on track -- with your weight-loss plans by making a few changes that will kick your low-carb diet into gear.

Step 1

Clean out your cupboards and pantry. Get rid of any low-carb diet no-nos, including bread, pasta, rice and other grains and grain products, sodas and other sweetened beverages and candy. Try not to cry; you'll find other foods you love just as much.

Step 2

Stock your kitchen with delicious low-carb choices. Opt for lean beef, chicken and seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds and some cheeses -- that's right, cheese!

Step 3

Choose non-starchy veggies. A variety of options includes bok choy, mushrooms, celery, tomatoes and bell peppers instead of starchy vegetables like peas, corn and potatoes. Low-carb fruits to munch on include apples, oranges, berries and peaches. Blue and cheddar cheeses are your best low-carb bets with less then half a gram of carbs per 2-tablespoon and 1-ounce servings, respectively.

Step 4

Find low-carb substitutes for your favorite high-carb foods. For example, cauliflower can be steamed and pureed with an ounce of blue cheese to make a creamy alternative to mashed potatoes. You can also grate it into "rice" and saute it with olive oil and other veggies to make a low-carb "fried rice." Roast spaghetti squash, scoop out the strands and smother them with a delicious tomato-based pasta sauce, or layer zucchini slices with ground beef, tomatoes, low-fat cottage cheese and mozzarella for a low-carb "lasagna."

Step 5

Spice up your low-carb diet with herbs. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass says herbs and spices can be "slimming and satiating," which is good news when you're trying to stay satisfied on a diet that limits calories or certain foods, such as a low-carb diet. Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your chicken breast, parley and cilantro on a salad and cinnamon on fresh berries.

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