Sugar – Friend or Foe

It is helpful to know which foods contain a lot of sugar so that you can avoid them. There are plenty of foods that are low in sugar and are suitable for a low carb diet. The list of allowed foods includes seeds and nuts, fruit and vegetables, fish, and meats. Eggs and dairies contain small amounts of sugar. Whole grain breads and products contain healthy fiber, a small amount of fat, and some carbohydrate. Whole grains include brown rice, barley, and bulgar. Eggs are high in fat and protein and low in carbs and sugar.

Meats contain essential minerals, fat, and protein and are low in carbohydrate content and sugar. If you are on a low carb diet, you can eat duck, lamb, bison, chicken, and other types of meat. It is recommended to eat fish meat and seafood, including perch, trout, mussels, and oysters. Except for cold-water fish, fish is low in carbohydrates and sugar and high in protein.cookies

Check the label before buying and avoid foods that list sugar as one of their main ingredients. Avoid products that contain agave sugar, beet sugar, brown sugar, and raw sugar.

Avoid desserts with lots of sugar – you can create your own recipe, reduce the amount of sugar, or modify it to make it low carb friendly. You can make low-carb, low-sugar desserts such as jello, fruit smoothies, and sorbets. You can buy sugar-free jello and combine with fruits. It may come as a surprise but many products contain sugar, including breads, crackers, salad dressings, ketchup, and mustard. To cut down on sugar, you should know which products have added sugar and in what amount. A serving of diced pears or mandarins has a total of 17 grams of sugar. Cookies, and chocolate chips have 21 grams of sugar per serving. Some muffin mixes, pies, and snack cakes also contain a lot of sugar. Soft drinks and drink powders have large amounts of added sugar. While most soft drinks contain about 11 percent, lemonade tops the list with over 90 percent.

Other foods that are packed with sugar include nougat and candies, pies, cakes, and dried fruits. Dried fruit and fruit roll ups are loaded with sugar. Dates have 66 percent sugar, raisins are 59 percent sugar, dried pears have 62 percent, and dried prunes – 38 percent. Cereal bars and ready-to-eat cereals are high in sugar. Granolas, fruit and nut bars and cereals contain up to 55 percent sugar, especially the low-fat versions. They contain even more sugar. Flavored yogurts have more sugar than plain yogurt. You can have plain yogurt with fresh or frozen blueberries or strawberries instead of flavored yogurt.

Low Carb Side Dishes for Busy Work Days and Special Occasions

melon-mThere are plenty of filling and tasty side dishes to try on a busy workday or special occasion. Low carb diets emphasize the importance of balanced and diversified menu for healthy weight loss.

Ideas for Low Carb Sides

Sides add flavor, nutrients, and variety to any meal. Dieters can try different low carb recipes and sides or modify classic recipes. There are plenty of low carb options though, for example, mushrooms and green beans, tomatoes and okra, and garlic green beans. You can also try shredded Brussels sprouts, sesame green beans, roasted baby carrots with rosemary, and asparagus parmesan. There are meat and vegetarian options to incorporate in your menu. Low carb diets offer plenty of choice and vegetarian sides are tasty and good for your health. You can have pea and asparagus medley, smothered green beans, tomato and eggplant bake, or broccoli with almond butter. You can also make green beans with lemon and hazelnuts or baked stuffed tomatoes for a special occasion. There are also meat options such as creamed vegetables with ham and almond and bacon green beans. Some sides are easy to make and take no time to prepare while others are great for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other special occasions and formal events. Stuffed artichokes, for example, are an excellent choice for a special occasion and are made using Romano cheese, parsley, oregano, and garlic.

Snacks for Busy Workdays

It is always a good idea to make snacks and have them in between meals, and many popular diets recommend eating two snacks per day. You can choose from a wealth of low carb foods and recipes for a healthy and filling snack. Some snacks are available at supermarkets such as olives, cheese, and nuts. If you don’t have much time, you can buy mini cheese portions or a trail mix with almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Some trail mixes also contain chestnuts, cashews, raisins, and other dried fruits. It is best to avoid them because chestnuts and cashews are high on carbs while dried fruits are loaded with sugar. You can have full-fat yogurt, celery, pepperoni sticks, or berries instead. You will also find diet-friendly snacks at healthy food and specialist stores. You can try protein shakes, pork scratchings and dried meat snacks, and even seaweed. Other snacks can be prepared at home and take little time to make. If you have 10 – 15 minutes, you can make celery sticks with peanut butter or hard boiled eggs with cream, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Some snacks take more time to make, and you may want to prepare in advance. You can make cheddar crisps, cheese straws, flax crackers, or low-carb pancakes. There are great low carb recipes for a lazy weekend at home when you have free time to cook. You can try zucchini chips, broccoli bites, or cauliflower tater tots. There are plenty of options, from premade products to homemade snacks.

Side Dish Ideas:

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Low Carb Restaurants for Employees with Busy Schedules

Employees with busy schedules usually order foods that take less time to prepare. Quick service restaurants and fast food chains are two options, but many restaurants also offer meals that take under 15 minutes to prepare.

Quick Fix Meals

There are plenty of quick fix meals to order at a restaurant. You can have steak with broccoli and onion, beef and mushroom stir fry, broccoli and beef stir fry, and more. Omelets also take less time to prepare and fit into your diet. If you are short of time, a buffet or salad bar is your best bet. There is plenty of choice, from hot and cold salad selections to appetizers and desserts. Some restaurants also have a seafood counter and offer gourmet cheese and meat selections and seasonal fruits. Other restaurants feature themed sections such as Mediterranean, Mexican, salad, Asian, fish market, and others. You can choose from a selection of main dishes, including turkey breast, diningslow roasted beef, smoked and grilled meats, and a lot more. There is a selection of vegetables and other products to build your own salad, including red onion, pickled vegetables, shredded carrot, tomatoes, mixed salad greens, etc. Many buffet restaurants also offer low carb-friendly salads such as green bean salad with olive oil, Greek salad, feta, pecan, and apple salad, and many others. You can choose from a selection of hot meals such as veal and beef meatballs, baked chicken, baked fish, and other options. Salad bars offer healthy and diet-friendly options to busy customers. There is a selection of healthy options such as shiitake mushrooms, jumbo asparagus, smoked salmon, and fresh mozzarella. Salad bars offer diet-friendly items such as sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke, prosciutto, and manchego cheese and parmesan. Some restaurants also offer customized salads and wraps and a variety of fresh toppings.

Many buffet and salad bars offer dinner, breakfast, and lunch menus. They also feature a selection of signature dishes such as pork carnitas, BBQ ribs, and steaks with onion and wild mushrooms.

Mobile Apps and Ordering

Some restaurants are about to offer mobile apps that allow customers to pre-order their meal. This saves a lot of time and waiting in line. Customers pre-order through their mobile phone and pay through a place and pay system. Online ordering is another option for employees with busy schedules. And if don’t have the time to eat out, you can use a catering service. Many restaurants offer a catering menu with snacks, salads, and meals. Some salad bars also offer catering services and customers are free to create their own salad. They offer a selection of cheeses, including Swiss, cheddar, pepper jack, goat cheese, crumbled blue, and others. Diet-friendly salad bars offer a selection of protein sources such as shrimp, tuna, steak, smoked bacon, tofu, and others. Some restaurants even offer protein bars and shakes. You can order an assorted fruit platter as well, depending on your diet. There are many payment options, including Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and pay on delivery. There are catering services that accept large, medium, and small orders.

Fast Food Joints and Diet-friendly Food

Fast food restaurants also offer diet-friendly items to busy customers. There are low carb options (see: such as wings, ranch chicken salad, grilled chicken strips, lettuce wrapped burgers, and salads. Other fast food items to order include skinless chicken, grilled chicken wrap, grilled salmon, and more. Some restaurants even offer low carb burgers. The calorie count ranges from 140 to 570, depending on the menu of choice.

The Cheapest Low Carb Ingredients for a Healthy Meal

There are inexpensive low carb recipes and budget-friendly ingredients for those who are on a diet. Non-meat protein sources, frozen vegetables, and other products are inexpensive and healthy.

Non-meat Protein: Soybeans, Dairies, and Eggs

Vegetarian protein sources such as tofu, eggs, soy-based protein, and dairies are less expensive than meat protein. Soybean, for instance, is high in manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and protein, and fiber. There are many soybean products to include in your diet, for example, soy nuts, soymilk, edamame, and others. Whole soybeans, textured soy protein, and tempeh are also high in fiber and protein. Tofu is also a great inexpensive option to grill or add to soups and stir-fries. There are plenty of tofu recipes to try, for example, tofu steaks, peanut-crusted tofu, tempura tofu with vegetables, and many others. You can also use it for salads, stir fries, and other dishes. Customers can choose from fermented and unfermented soy ingredients, and the latter are used to make soy milk, pressed bean curd, and tofu. Dairies and eggs are also affordable alternatives to meat protein. There are plenty of egg recipes to try while on a low carb diet. Eggs are rich in saturated fat, selenium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. You can make snacks and dishes such as pickled, hard-cooked, scotch, breaded, and hard-boiled eggs. Other meal ideas to try include mushroom and egg salad, tea eggs, and tarragon egg salad. The egg and mushroom salad is a great choice for a light meal. You will need onion, parsley, sour cream, mushrooms, and hard-cooked eggs. meal

Dairy products are also a safe choice and inexpensive alternative to meat. You can have cheese, milk, cream, butter, and other dairies. Retailers offer an assortment of cheeses, including domestic and imported. There is a selection of cheeses from different parts of the world, including farmer cheese, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, Tomme de Savoie, Brie de Meaux, Brie de Bourgogne, and many others. While some varieties are expensive, there are cheaper options such as tetilla, St. Andre, morbier, Irish cheddar, and others. You can choose from different types of cheese made from pasteurized goat, sheep, and cow milk. There are other dairy products for your diet, including clotted cream, butter milk, condensed milk, custard, curd, cottage cheese, and others.

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are less expensive compared to organic produce. You can have green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet peas, Brussels sprouts, chopped spinach and cut leaf spinach, and other types of frozen vegetables. You can also use mixed vegetables.

Other Low Carb Options That Are Budget-Friendly

You can have roasts or buy chicken and bake or cook it in a crock pot. Other cheap options include white fish, canned tuna, ground turkey, and chicken. You can have fish such as perch, tilapia, haddock, and Pollock. Pork loin roast is also inexpensive. Other budget-friendly foods include avocados, peanut butter, and pickles. Even if some foods are not within your budget, you may consider buying in bulk. You will find nuts, spices, and other products at many health food and grocery stores. Check for sales as well. You can always buy in bulk and store in the freezer and fridge. Another idea is to check local markets (for example, the Mexican and local farmers markets) and buy vegetables and marinated meats. There is plenty of choice when it comes to inexpensive food. Seafood is another low carb option. You can include shrimp and halibut in your menu.


Low Carb Recipes:

More Low Carb Recipes:

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Low Carb Options for a Long Haul Flight

travelIf you are on a low carb diet and flying overseas, you probably wonder what your options are. Some airlines serve no carb meals while others allow passengers to bring Atkins protein bars and other snacks onboard. Another option is to pre-order a high-fiber meal.

Airline Carriers

There are many factors that people take into consideration when flying oversees – ticket costs, connecting flights, comfort, passenger safety, and food onboard. American Airlines, for example, offers low carb meals inflight, as well as special meals such as vegetarian, diabetic, kosher, Muslim, and others. A sample list of foods to bring with you may include celery with cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, and protein bars. Airlines such as Alaska Airlines and Air Canada offer low sodium and gluten-free meals while passengers flying with Northwest are served low carbohydrate meals. Low carb meals are also offered by TWA. Another option is to order a diabetic meal. Many airlines offer diabetic meals, including United Airlines, Northwest, Delta, Continental, Air Canada, and American Airlines. Singapore Airlines offer diet-friendly meals with no carbohydrate or starch content. Lufthansa recently announced plans to offer reduced-carbohydrate options on its long haul flights. Passengers flying from Los Angels to Germany can choose this option. Business class passengers will be served a menu that includes a dessert, entrée, and appetizer. British Airways also offers a selection of meals to passengers with special dietary requirements. Customers can order a carbohydrate controlled meal with reduced sugar content.

Some airlines also offer a vegetable and fruit plate and a cheese and fruit plate. Whether you can have fruits depend on your diet of choice. Fruits are not allowed during the Induction Phase of the Atkins Diet.

Other Options

While some airlines offer diet-friendly and diabetic meals, others have a more limited selection of options. In this case, you may want to pack food for your long haul flight. Keep in mind that some airlines don’t allow meat. Pack your food and make sure that the package is sealed. Another option is to buy food at the airport, but this is more expensive. Keep in mind that the rules vary from one country to another. In some cases fruits, cheese, nuts, and other products cannot be brought into another state. Have a big breakfast before your flight. You can have sausages or bacon and a veggie omelet. Other meal ideas for your long haul flight include roasted sweet potato, avocado and raw carrots, roasted chickpeas, and fresh fruits. You can also pack a trail mix with peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Raisins are high in sugar content, however. It is better to have dried berries instead. The type of food to bring along also depends on your route and whether it is a particularly long flight. If it is a 9- or 12-hour flight, you may want to pack food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (depending on your flight time). Make sure you bring high protein and non-starchy vegetables with you. Pack containers with salad, string cheese or sharp cheddar, low carb dips, and some pepperoni. And drink plenty of water while onboard so that you stay hydrated. If you love herbal, black, or green tea, you may want to pack a few teabags for your flight. Just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water.

Avoid foods and drinks that boost your blood sugar levels, for example, noodles, rice, and bread. Sauces served onboard often contain sugar. Make sure you order in advance. Most airline carriers require a 24-hour notice.

Low-carb Take Out Options for Healthy Dieting

takeoutYou can order low-carb take out at many restaurants and fast food joints, depending on your taste and preferences.

Take out That Can Be Modified

While some fast food chains offer diet-friendly food, many add sugar and offer high-carb options. If you love fast food, however, order burgers wrapped in lettuce. Patties are high in carbohydrate content. You may want to check with small, local diners in your community as well. Many of them use fresh ingredients and offer meals that are diet-friendly. Even if they don’t offer low carb meals, most dishes can be modified and de-carbed. For example, you can order an omelet and skip the hash browns and toast. Choose vegetables and green salads instead of macaroni salad or French fries. Avoid deep fried foods as well as breaded meat. Deep fried foods are unhealthy to begin with. They clog the arteries and increase the risk of health problems. If the beading mix combines oat and soy flour, for example, you can give it a try as it fits in a low carb menu.

Indian and Chinese Take Out

There are some options to try if you love Indian or Chinese food. For example, you can have spicy marinated shrimp, tandori chicken, Saag Gosht, or Milagu Curry. Milagu Curry is a tasty and flavorful meal that combines coconut sauce, tomatoes, onion, and lamb. In any case, avoid meals that are made with ground and white rice and refined flours and opt for meals that are high in fiber, healthy fat, and protein. When it comes to herbs and spices, Indian cuisine incorporates spices and ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, coconut, and garlic. They offer many health benefits such as reduced risk for hypertension and heart problems and have anti-inflammatory properties. While Indian food is a bit spicy, you can have meals with garlic, coconut, and other ingredients. There are some takeaway options for fans of Chinese food as well. You can have Egg Foo Yung, Mu Shu, stir-fries, and steamed food. Avoid sweet sauces, egg rolls, breaded meats, white rice, wontons, and noodles.


You may want to order take out from restaurants that are low carb-friendly. What you can have depends on whether you are on the Zone, Sugar Busters, or another reduced carbohydrate plan. Steak diners are a great choice for dieters because they offer nutritious, high-protein meal options. Check with different steakhouses to find out if their menus fit into your diet of choice. In any case, you can have chopped salads, beef tenderloin, baked halibut, and more. Some diners also offer themed, lunch, and deli lunch buffets. Customers can order side dishes, fresh seafood, steak, and delicious desserts. If you are unsure about the ingredients, you may want to order plain meat and a green salad. Skip the salad dressing because many dressings and sauces contain added sugar. Meal salads are also a good choice as well as omelets with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and other low carb vegetables.

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Phone Apps for Dining Out on a Low Carb Diet

Phone apps help low carbers to find decent restaurants and fast food joints that offer healthy and inexpensive food options. Apps allow users to check suggested meals and nutrition data, search for restaurants, and read user comments.

Features and Extras

smart-phoneDining apps come complete with features and extras such as nutrition guides, list of low carb foods, and browsing capabilities. Users can choose from hundreds of casual dining and fast food restaurants. They can browse by different features such as location, name of restaurant, meal type, carb range, and more. There is an option to read articles in low carb blogs as well. Some apps also list drinks and beverages, including wines, sodas, and beers. Carb counter apps and weight loss trackers are also available for different types of mobile devices. Some apps allow users to find nutritional information on restaurant meals and groceries and offer healthy recipes. They can create a low carb plan or stick to the recommended plan. The app offers recipes, food suggestions, and more. There are additional features that allow dieters to keep track of their progress and count the net carbs consumed with each meal. Information about different foods is also offered, and you can set a daily target. The best part is that some apps can be downloaded for free while others cost a few dollars. They are available for Android, iPad, and iPhone.

Dieters benefit from added features such as:

• Unlimited reminders
• Food database
• Supermarket, common foods, and restaurant suggestions
• Shopping lists
• Graphs showing daily progress
• Carb and sugar content for hundreds of items
• Water tracking
• Information on sodium, sugar, protein, saturated fat, fat, calories, and net carbs in foods consumed
• Choice of food brands
• Set net carbs budget
• Set water budget
• Restaurants listed alphabetically
• Nutrition reports

Low carb dining apps are great for the Zone, Sugar Busters, South Beach, Atkins, and Paleolithic Diet. This is a great tool for persons with a busy work schedule and social life. One app offers an overview of menus at different restaurants so that dieters make healthy choices. Customers can read feedback and suggestions by other dieters and leave their comments to help others. On the downside, the app lists only restaurants but not bakeries.

Other Apps

There are other apps for mobile devices which allow dieters to count carbs and lose weight based on their target and current weight, height, sex, and other factors. Some apps allow users to search for sugar-free, high-fiber, and protein-rich foods and recipes. Users can choose from different gluten-free and dairy-free recipes as well. Each recipe comes with nutrition facts such as total protein, carb, sodium, saturated fat, and fat content. Other apps allow dieters to choose a recipe by main ingredient and course. The app also displays recipes for low-sodium, gluten-free, and other types of diets.

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Fast Food and Chain Restaurants When on a Low Carb Diet

Most people associate fast food with burgers, chips, and coke. However, fast food chains are changing their menus to offer healthier alternatives and foods with less sodium, sugar, and other simple carbohydrates.

Some Tips

IMG_1906It is a good idea to read the nutritional information to find the amount of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. As a rule, dressings are packed with carbohydrates while drinks are laden with sugar. Fat-free versions should be avoided because they contain added sugar. Good choices include the Light Italian, Creamy Caesar, and Ranch Dressing. Avoid mayo that contains corn syrup. If you want to have a sandwich, order without the bun. Some buns include as much as 30 grams of carbs. You can have an omelet sandwich, for example. Another option is to have the filling wrapped in lettuce. Many chains offer this option. While burgers contain no carbohydrates, the extras and condiments do. Onion, tomato, and cheese are good choices as they are low in carb content. Ordering fish is a bit tricky. In some fast food chains, fish fillets are breaded so fish has to go. The same goes for crispy and home style chicken patties as well as chicken fillets.

Salads, Sides, and Drinks

Salads are always a great healthy choice, but watch for certain ingredients. Avoid salads with tortilla strips and croutons and opt for versions with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, hearty greens, walnuts, and sugar-free dressings. Avoid salads that contain breaded chicken. Most salads offered by chains such as KFC contain breaded chicken. When it comes to low carb sides, there isn’t much of a choice. You can have cole slaw or green beans, for example. There are some low carb drinks such as diet soda and unsweetened iced tea but some chains offer sweetened ice teas that are loaded with sugar. Coffee and water are safe choices.

Alternatives to Fast Food Chains

If you don’t have the time to cook and love ready made foods, go to the convenience or grocery store. The salad bar is one option to consider. Or you can buy pre-made salads and deli foods. And you can always have meal replacement bars between meals. Check the label for sugar alcohols when buying snack bars. Some products contain maltitol which is a sugar substitute. The problem is that maltitol contains carbohydrates and has a negative impact on blood sugar levels. It has a high glycemic index value. When it comes to fruits, consumption depends on your diet plan. Some diets allow low-sugar fruits while others ban them during the introductory stage. Low-sugar fruits include blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and others. Check the ingredients if buying a ready made fruit salad.

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Making Wise Low Carb Choices when Dining Out

Sticking to a low carb diet is more difficult when dining out, especially if you are going to your favorite restaurant. Of course, it all depends on whether you are out with friends on a special occasion or business dinner, whether you love Indian, Italian, Mexican, Greek, or any other cuisine. Some restaurants offer plenty of choice when it comes to low carb meals, while others offer mostly carb-heavy meals.

Italian Restaurants

Even if you love pizza and spaghetti, they are not the best choices. The problem with Italian food is that bread, pastas, and pizzas are loaded with carbohydrates. Still you can choose from a selection of meals when dining out. Order dishes with lean meat, seafood, and fresh herbs, vegetables, and seasonings. There are some don’ts as well, including eggplant parmesan, breaded foods, crostini, bruschetta, polenta, risotto, and others. The foods to avoid also depend on the plan you follow. If you are in the induction phase of the Atkins Diet, for example, you should avoid foods that contain bread crumbs. The good news is that many antipasti contain a mix of vegetables, seafood, and lean meats. Antipasto platters include a selection of marinated vegetables, different cheeses, and salami and are suitable for a low carb diet.

Mexican Restaurants

There is a world of meals you can try at a Mexican restaurant. Mexican cuisine is not only about tamales, enchiladas, and tacos. You can have Fajitas, grilled vegetables and meats, and seafood. Mexicans also use mole – this a sauce made of chocolate, seeds, spices, and chili. Breakfast foods are also low carb. The traditional breakfast includes vegetables, beef, and eggs. Of course, there are some foods to avoid, including chimichangas, enchiladas, and quesadillas. They are packed with carbohydrates. You can have the filling, however. Other foods to avoid include burritos, nachos, taquitos, and tacos. You can have low carb tortillas if offered.

Chinese Restaurants

The Chinese cuisine is healthy and tasty, but there are plenty of high-carb meals to be avoided. The list of banned foods includes eggs rolls, steamed and fried rice, and breaded meats. Other dishes to avoid include deep fried wontons and noodles. Some sauces are loaded with or contain sugar. Examples include oyster sauce, plum sauce, and sweet and sour sauce. You can have some, but try to limit consumption. As a rule, thick sauces and soups contain corn starch. The good news is that there are plenty of safe meals to choose from, including barbeque, walnut chicken, and stir fried dishes. Veggie and meat combinations are also safe choices.

Regardless of whether you love Chinese, Vietnamese, Greek, Indian, or Moroccan food, there are safe choices and meals to avoid. If unsure about the ingredients, you can always ask the waiter or request that certain ingredients are not used when preparing your salad or meal.