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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
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.
- Ask your significant other to take the low-carb pledge with you. If you're the only person in the household abstaining from carbs, it can be very difficult to stick with the diet. Ask your hubby to give up his beloved potato chips and beer. If he balks, remind him what you looked like in a bikini on your honeymoon.
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.