The Atkins diet reached peak fad status in 2004, and while it has since been superseded by new modern ways to lose weight, it has had a lasting impact on the way people view weight loss. Atkins recommended that dieters reduce their carbohydrate intake. But that can be more difficult than it seems. Here are some easy ways to cut carbs from your diet without sacrificing all of your favorite foods.
1. Lose the juice: Fruit juice is not as healthy as people thought. It lacks the fiber of whole fruit, and even 100% fruit juice is loaded with sugar and carbs. Eliminating fruit juice from your diet can eliminate a source of carbohydrates that you may not even have been looking for.
2. Cut the crust: While pizza is an undeniably delicious treat, most pizza crusts are high in refined white flour, which is a major carb culprit. If you can’t resist pizza, opt for the thin crust variety instead of the deep dish. You can still get your fix of cheese and tomato sauce without eating as many carbs.
3. Wrap it up: Sacrificing sandwiches and burgers is one of the hardest things about cutting carbs. But if you “think outside the bun,” you can still enjoy many of the flavors you love, just low carb. The solution? Substitute lettuce wraps for your hamburger bun or turkey sandwich bun. You’ll drastically reduce the carb content and still have something to grab onto.
4. Substitute Your Spaghetti: A spiralizer is the kitchen invention you never knew you needed, and it’s surprisingly affordable, with many costing less than $30. This nifty contraption can transform squash, zucchini, and other low-carb veggies into spaghetti. (or other forms), making it a great substitute for that carb-rich pasta you miss eating.
5. Replace your rice: Rice, like pasta, is a carbohydrate-rich starch that is ubiquitous in many cuisines. But you don’t have to give up Chinese or Indian food entirely just because you’re counting carbs. Try substituting it for curly cauliflower. It has a similar texture and absorbency, and when loaded with curry or broccoli beef, you’ll hardly notice the difference.
6. Switch up your French fries: French fries are one of those snacks that is really hard to stop eating. If you’re craving that crunch, try kale chips, which offer the same snacking power with fewer carbs and a host of other health benefits. You can even make your own by tossing chopped kale in olive oil, separating the leaves on a baking sheet, and tossing them in the oven until crisp.
7. Go protein for breakfast: Even healthy breakfast cereals like granola and oatmeal are high in carbs. But if you start your day with a protein, especially eggs, you won’t start off on the wrong foot. Eating protein early in the day also activates your digestive system and helps you start burning fat when you exercise.
8. Skip the starchy: While you need vegetables to stay healthy on your low-carb diet, you want to avoid the more starchy varieties. Potatoes are an obvious reject, but so are sweet potatoes, even though they’re healthy. Other secretly starchy vegetables include carrots, peas, and corn. The next time you need a vegetable side dish or want to add something to a salad, reach for bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus or artichokes.
The paleo and keto diets take a page out of the Atkins book by suggesting that you cut carbs. If you’re following any of these diets, or the many others that recommend reduced carbohydrate intake, the tips above may help!
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