The foundation of any healthy low-carb eating is in its vegetable content. Any low-carb eating which does not include enough vegetables to provide the vitamins and minerals lacking in high-protein foods may lead to weight loss, but it will also lead to trouble if it continues for more than a few weeks.
Many people today, however, are not big veggie eaters; the fast food culture has often restricted the daily vegetable intake of millions of rushed diners to the pickles, onions, wilted lettuce, and barely pink tomatoes on their burgers or chicken sandwiches. So it’s not surprising that those who decide to try low carb diet eating neglect the veggies.
But after a few days of low carb diet eating of nothing but meat, eggs, and cheese, even lettuce may start to look good. So when you feel the cravings for carbs kick in, be ready to head them off with a power salad, which will not only be a tremendous treat after all that protein. You can get pre-packaged salad mixes at the grocery store, so you don’t have to buy huge amounts of different salad fixings. And if you go for organic salad mixes, and dress them up with organic ingredients, you’ll have sweeter vegetables than you ever imagined.
One of the most nutritious ingredients you can add to any meal is spinach. This superfood has been shown to support eye health, as well as the brain, skin, and cardiovascular and immune systems. So be sure you salad mix contains spinach; even better, you can buy a bag of organic spinach leaves.
Diversify Your Choices
You have a wide selection of low carb vegetables to add to your salad, from red, green and yellow bell peppers to onions to broccoli and celery to tomato; you can also add nuts or a little bit of low carb fruit like grapefruit or berries. Sunflower seeds can add some nice crunchiness without a lot of carbs and make a great replacement for croutons. If you simply have to go the crouton route, limit yourself to the equivalent of a half slice of bread. You can also sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on your salad for an interesting contrast to the sweetness of the vegetables.
Because you’re on a low carb diet eating plan, you can treat yourself to some fat when you choose a dressing for you salad. And one of the most delicious, and healthiest, dressings you can make is an olive oil and fruit–raspberry or strawberry are wonderful– vinaigrette mix. Olive oil is a fat that actually helps your cardiovascular system instead of clogging it, and you can feel good about eating it.
You salads will have to be your main source of carbohydrates for the duration of your low carb diet eating plan, so it’s essential that you take the time to make them taste good. You can even add cooked meat or fish to your salad base, and have a complete low carb diet eating treat. Here’s a recipe to get you started:
Spinach Raspberry Chicken Salad
1 tsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3/4 lbs.) cut into bite-size strips
1 cup thinly sliced onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach or organic baby spinach salad mix
1/4 cup bottled raspberry vinaigrette dressing
1 cup fresh or fresh frozen raspberries, partially thawed
1/4 cup feta or bleu cheese
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet or wok; add chicken strips and onion and stir-fry over high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Season chicken to taste with salt and pepper.
Turn off heat. Add spinach and vinaigrette to skillet; toss well.
Divide mixture among plates. Sprinkle each salad with raspberries and feta cheese.