Unless you are very diet-savvy, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about food groups. In fact, you probably just think about meat, fish, bread, vegetables, eggs, etc. However, all the food you eat will fit into one of three food groups, those being:
Protein is important for things like growth and repair, whereas fat gives you energy. Carbs give you energy too, but too many carbs can also lead to weight gain. Cutting carbs is a great way to lose fat quickly and easily – especially if you are mostly sedentary.
Of course, to effectively cut carbs and follow a low carb diet – such as my 7 Day Low Carb Challenge (soon will be published) – you need to be able to identify high carb foods. If you can do this, low carb dieting is really straight forward! Simply replace those high carb foods with naturally low carb veggies. Find my easy low carb diet, it’s 100% Free and you can find it here.
Here are THREE ways to identify low carb foods.
1. Food labels
If you buy any packaged groceries, their food labels should provide you with all the nutritional information you need to identify foods that are high in carbohydrates. As well as telling you how many calories your food contains, the nutrition label will also reveal how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs it contains.
It is crucial that, when you read these labels, you look at the number of grams per serving and that, when you eat your food, that is the amount you eat. You’ll need to keep track of the amount of carbs you eat from one meal to the next to ensure your day’s carb total falls within the range of the diet you are following. Most low carb diets keep your carb intake to around 100 grams per day or less.
This means that for a food to be considered low carb, a serving should provide somewhere in the region of 5-20 grams of carbs per serving.
You’ll also see some foods are labelled specifically as low carb or even carb-free. However, make sure you still check the nutrition label to see just how low the carb content really is. The term low carb is not regulated, and can be misleading. A low carb cookie, for example, can still contain a lot of carbs, but it might contain fewer carbs than a regular cookie.
2. Use a nutrition tracker
Nutrition trackers are websites and apps into which you can enter the type and quantity of the food you eat. They then compare your entry to a database to reveal how many grams of carbs are in your food. These sites and apps are very useful and can help you identify low carb foods even if you don’t have a food label.
Some of these sites and apps record the amount of carbs you eat during the day, acting as a food diary. This makes staying on a low carb diet much easier, as you will be able to see how many carbs you have eaten and how many you have left to eat for that day.
Some nutrition trackers are free, while others cost a few dollars to use. Good options include:
- My Fitness Pal
- My Plate
- Lose it!
- Fat secret
- Spark people
3. Low carb food lists
The increasing popularity of the low carb diet for both health and weight loss means that there is an ever-growing number of online lists and books loaded with databases of low carb foods. Just type “low carb food lists” into your search engine and you’ll get 829,000 results! You can also check my article Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs and Simple Vs. Complex Carbs.
Depending on the list chosen, the foods will be listed alphabetically, or by the amount of carbs they contain. I like to use lists like this when I’m stuck for something to eat. I just call up a list and scan down it until I find something I like the look off. Then, I’ll either add that food to my shopping list for later or, if I already have it, work it into my next meal.
You could even put a list of low carb foods together on a spreadsheet, upload it to your phone or tablet, and carry it with you so you always have low carb food ideas available.
Successful low carb dieting requires planning but, in time, you’ll soon find identifying low carb foods much easier. Instead of seeing bread, rice, vegetables, dairy and so on, you’ll see high carb, high carb, low carb, medium carbs instead! Once you crack the carbohydrate code, low carb eating and weight loss are much easier!