We are confronted by so much information about carbs and low carb diets – but what are carbs? Below is a brief intro to carbs and some everyday recipe ideas for low carb meals.
Carbohydrates are an energy source for our bodies (specifically for our brain and muscles) that we get from food and drink. Like any energy source, if consumed in excess it is stored in our body as fat. This is where the bad reputation comes from! Yes eating lots of carbs will cause weight gain, but it's more about consuming more kilojoules than you're using up that causes you to put on weight, regardless of what form they're in (have a look at this previous blog post on Energy
for more info on kilojoules).
Carbs are most commonly found in foods with grains like bread, pasta, rice and biscuits. There are plenty of these foods with heaps of added sugar, but there are also some other, healthier, options which can be high in fibre and other beneficial nutrients. However, not all foods containing carbs release energy the same way. Low G.I foods release energy slowly, making them a better source of energy to keep you going for longer. Try and choose low G.I foods as they will help you stay focused and last longer between meals.
Image via www.sheknows.com
As mentioned above, a diet high in carbohydrates will also need to be high in exercise or physical activity to use it all. Professional athletes or those training for a specific event often eat more carbs to ensure they have the energy to train. But for most of us that sit at a desk during the day, it is important to regulate what you eat so you aren’t causing a build up of carbs (which results in a build up of fat!).
Some people go to the extreme and completely remove carbs from their diet – but you don’t necessarily need to do this. Just make wise choices when preparing and buying food. Balance is the key! Have that slice of birthday cake, but leave the biscuits at morning tea. Enjoy some pasta on your date night, but have a good salad for lunch the following day.
It’s also very important to read the labels of what you’re buying! Low fat does not mean low carb, in fact it’s usually the opposite! Low fat products are often filled with more carbs due to added sugar. Be aware of what’s really
in your food, rather than just what the packaging tells you.
There can also be other nutritional benefits from foods containing carbohydrates – they are often high in fibre or protein. Don’t choose food based on one nutritional benefit, but rather look at it as a whole and make choices based on all
the facts, not just one.
So you’ve got the basic info, now for some practical help! Below are a few recipe and meal ideas that are low carb, but still delicious and give you plenty of energy.
- Chia muesli (this one looks delicious!)
- Egg white omelette with spinach and tomato
- Poached eggs and avocado on Protein Bread (one of our faves!)
By Lee Freeman - from DARE
- Salads! Which are highly underrated. They don't have to be boring - choose vegetables with lots of colour to make it look interesting, add some nuts for texture, and include a protein source to keep you full. Here are some brief ideas, but be creative and add anything you'd like! If you cook the meat on the weekend, you can whip up the salad in the morning in just a few minutes.
- Rocket, fetta, pumpkin and lamb salad
- Baby spinach, chicken and avocado salad
- Broccoli, bacon and pine nut salad
- Sandwiches or wraps - are again underrated. Dump the ham and cheese and do something exciting! We'd suggest to use our Protein Bread as it's a great source of protein to keep you full for longer, without the usual carbs you find in bread. Although we don't make any wraps at the moment (let us know if this is something you'd be interested in!), simply using a wrap instead of some bread can make lunch seem a lot more exciting! Just check the macros and choose a low carb option.
- Tinned salmon, mayonnaise, avocado and baby spinach
- Grilled Chicken, avocado and salad
- Lamb, kale, baby spinach, red onion, feta and cucumber
- Meats and vegetables - if you're unsure, grilled meat and some veggies will always be a good option. Just be careful with what sauces you might use - a lot of the canned sauces can be very high in both salt and sugar!
- Grilled Salmon, asparagus and brown rice
- Baked eggplant stuffed with mince
- This recipe for crumbed lamb cutlets (sent in by one of our amazing customers!)
- Pizza - using our Protein Bread Mix to make the base. There's a great recipe for a Lebanese Beef pizza on our recipe page, but choose your favourite toppings and enjoy it with a good glass of wine!
Let us know you're favourite low carb recipes and meals! Share with us on Facebook or Instagram (@proteinbreadco), we'd love to hear from you!