What’s for Dinner?
Episode #6 of the course Basics of low-carb eating by Emily Stone
Yesterday, you got a few ideas for a low-carb lunch, and today, we’ll try to answer, “What’s for dinner?” When eating low-carb, it can be downright confusing: Pasta, pizza, and burgers are all out the window, so what’s left? Luckily, there are plenty of options and even tricks to re-create traditionally carb-heavy foods in a low-carb way.
Key to Success: Meal Planning
If you’ve never meal planned, now is the time to start. When it’s 5:30 and you have no idea what to make nor any ingredients on hand, it’s easy to resort to takeout or an old frozen pizza. Decision fatigue is a real condition. When you’ve been making decisions all day at work or home, your ability to make a good decision about dinner will be compromised. Better to plan ahead.
Meal Planning Tip #1: Use a template. Below is a partial example of how I plan meals for the week with a set theme for each day. I try to use up ingredients already on hand or in the freezer first, to keep the grocery list minimal and avoid waste.
You can get as fancy or as simple with your template and recipes as you like, and if you feel more like tacos on Monday, go for it and save your salad for Tuesday dinner. Your plan can be flexible but ensures you have the ingredients and recipes for something healthy every night.
|Day/Theme||What We’ll Eat||Needed Groceries|
|Make a Salad Monday||baby spinach topped with homemade chicken tenders, peppers, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and homemade honey mustard dressing||1.5 lb. chicken tenders or breasts, cherry tomatoes|
|Taco Tuesday||steak taco bowls with all the toppings (cheese, salsa, avocado, taco sauce)||flank steak, salsa|
|Worldly Wednesday||chicken tikka masala with broccoli on low-carb naan||chicken thighs, broccoli|
|Slow Cooker/Soup Thursday||kale, white bean, and sausage soup||can of white beans, 1 bunch kale|
|Pizza or Burger Friday||grass-fed burgers with caramelized onion, bacon, and cheddar on low-carb buns; homemade sweet potato wedges||sweet potatoes, onion|
|Smorgasbord Saturday (leftovers) or Takeout||eating up leftovers from this week’s dinners or opting for low-carb takeout||—|
|Meat and veggie Sunday||low-carb meatloaf, pan-seared brussels sprouts||brussels sprouts|
Meal Planning Tip #2: Let someone else do the work. A quick internet search for “low-carb meal plans” will result in great resources, often with included grocery lists. If someone else has done the legwork, say thank you and borrow away! There are also sites like eMeals and Real Plans that provide customizable plans for your specific diet (for a fee).
Re-create Your Favorites
If you don’t want to live without some of your favorite dinners, here are low-carb alternatives to try:
Pizza. There are several variations for low-carb pizza crust. One popular method is using riced cauliflower and egg as the base, but my family revolted from the pervasive cooked cauliflower smell that took over our house, so try at your own risk. The other option and my personal favorite is called “Fathead Dough” and uses mozzarella and cream cheese, along with almond flour and egg for the base. This same recipe can also be used to make rolls, buns, and calzones. It’s versatile and easy to whip up.
Tacos. Even your non-low-carb friends will be jealous when you send them a picture of taco shells made from … cheese! It’s as simple as melting piles of shredded cheese in a pan or oven, then bending the melted circle over a spoon handle to get that shell shape (or keep as a flat circle for more of a tostada). Fill each shell with your favorite taco toppings, and you’ve got a super low-carb Mexican fiesta on your hands.
Burgers. For buns, you may use the same Fathead dough as for pizza, or other recipes of low-carb bread.
Pasta. Veggie noodles are all the rage these days. You can make your own with a spiralizer or buy some at most grocery stores. Then top with your favorite sauce, ensuring anything store-bought doesn’t contain added sugar. I’ve also made Keto garlic gnocchi pasta, which is essentially fried cheese (yes, it’s as good as it sounds).
Going low-carb does not mean boring dinners. By planning ahead, you’ll have healthy dinners ready to go each night.
That covers low-carb options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tomorrow, we’ll keep the recipes and healthy swaps coming with a look at what you might eat for a low-carb snack or dessert.
From my kitchen to yours,
What’s for Dinner?: low-carb creative Pinterest board
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