Are you trying to limit your carb intake? Trying out a low carb diet? New to the world of low carbs? Well, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got the tips and tricks to make your next shopping trip quick and painless, I’ll show you the essentials of an effective and very useful low carb shopping list.
First things first, let’s do a carbohydrate overview. What are carbohydrates? How do they affect our overall health? Are all carbohydrates bad for you?
Not all carbohydrates are created equal, in fact, there are good and bad carbs! Hey, who knew, right? Well, I did. But that’s besides the point.
How do you tell the bad from the good? Well, all your good and healthy carbs have a high fiber count and because of that it takes that much longer to absorb them into our systems, they don’t cause massive spikes in blood sugar levels. Examples of good carbohydrates with high fiber content are whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables. Bad carbs are VERY simple to spot, they are refined with sugars and processed until they have been stripped of their beneficial fiber content. Examples of carbs you should be avoiding… white breads and white rice (major culprits in blood sugar level spikes).
While most people think that by shopping for low carb foods that you will ultimately strip your entire diet of carbs, this is inaccurate and quite unhealthy. Per the National Academies Institute of Medicine (Article September 2002) “…to meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adult should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein….”
If you want to meet your recommended amounts of carbohydrates in your diet, the only way to accomplish is that is by getting your daily dose of fiber. The best quality carbohydrates rich in fiber come in the forms of fruit and vegetables. Fiber is essential for lowering your risk of heart disease, colon cancer and weight control.
Now that I’ve given you the “science” behind carbohydrates, fiber and how it boosts our overall health. Let me show you how to shop! (my favorite thing to do)
ALWAYS read the Nutritional Facts labels, and when I say always….I MEAN, always! Ensure that you are consuming <15mg of sugar and <60mg of Carbohydrates PER DAY!
Sugar intake example –
- 1 cup of Fat Free Milk (13 grams of sugar) = Eating 3 1/2 sugar cubes
Carbohydrate intake example – (up to 6 servings per day)
- 0 to 4 carbohydrate grams = Does not count toward your intended daily maximum serving
- 5 to 20 carbohydrates = 1 serving
- 21 to 40 carbohydrates = 2 servings
- 41 to 60 carbohydrates = 3 servings
Meaning, you can have up to 120 carbohydrates per day, in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep in mind that you have to limit your sugar intake as well, and keep that to less than 15 grams per day.
Shopping the outside aisles, instead of the middle aisles at the supermarket will ensure you won’t be tempted to indulge in processed, high carb foods! Outside aisles have fruits, vegetables and protein for your to browse through!
Protein (any source of Meat, Poultry, Seafood, Eggs, Legumes):
Lean Beef Lamb
Bacon (use sparingly)
Any Bean Variety (Pinto, Kidney, etc.)
Fatty Fish (i.e. Shark, Tuna, etc.) Should be consumed sparingly
Dark Greens – Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Romaine or Green Leaf lettuce, Arugula Bell Peppers (any variety)
Cauliflower (any variety, orange, purple, etc.)
Berries (Any variety) Melons
Any other fruit, must be eaten sparingly because they contain a high sugar content, which can turn into a bad carb rather quickly
(I do not recommend regular milk, because of it’s fat and sugar content)
Full Fat Cottage Cheese
Sour Cream, but can be substituted by Greek or plain yogurt
2% Milk Fat Cheese (although, I would advise not too eat too often, as I have found that cheese can accumulate unnecessary calories to your meals, if you can, skip it, if not, use very sparingly)
Fats and Oils:
Any protein that is included in the fresh protein list
Any frozen vegetable on the fresh vegetable list
Any frozen berry on the fresh berry list
Nuts and Seeds:
Between 20-30 nuts or seeds of any variety, a day, except for pistachios in the shell, you can have 15 pistachios per day
Any vegetable listed on the Fresh/Frozen list
Mustard (any variety, except honey mustard)
Ketchup (Sir Kensington brand, only 11 ingredients and non GMO, gluten free and delicious)
Mayonnaise (Sir Kensington brand, also all natural)
Soy Sauce (be mindful of your sodium intake)
Vegetable, Chicken or Beef Broth/Bouillon
Spices (any with less than 1 gram of sugar)
Any variety of fresh herbs
Any variety of dry spices (being mindful of sodium and sugar content)
Now that I’ve bombarded you with information. Did you find it helpful? Do you already use a low carb shopping list? What are your must-haves?