Logging your carbohydrates in a journal helps you stay on track.
You have several options if your health care professional has recommended that you limit yourself to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day. Very-low-carbohydrate diets, also known as ketogenic diets, may help with weight loss and are believed to help control medical conditions ranging from high blood pressure to epileptic seizures. Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, turn your mind to the low-carbohydrate meals that you can enjoy.
Keep foods that don’t fit your low-carbohydrate diet out of sight so it’s easier to keep them out of mind. Give away or discard your sweets, grains, pastas, breads, cereals, fruits and starchy vegetables if you live alone. Separate the high-carbohydrate foods from your own if you live with someone not following a similar low-carbohydrate diet.
Determine what distribution of carbohydrates in your daily meals works best for you. For example, divide your 30 grams into three meals, with limits of 10 grams of carbohydrates each, or divide it into three meals of 8 grams each and one snack with 6 grams of carbohydrates. Keep the grams of carbohydrates in every meal and snack as close to these predetermined numbers as possible.
Stock your refrigerator and pantry with low-carbohydrate foods such as avocados, butter, nuts, seeds, olives, unsweetened peanut butter, fish, seafood, beef, pork, poultry, eggs, nonstarchy vegetables, full-fat dairy, broth and unsweetened tea. Make a list of the foods you have on hand and the grams of carbohydrates per serving. For example, a large egg has 0.35 gram of carbohydrates.
Design meals based on the ingredients on your list, or search online for recipes that use your available ingredients. Add the carbohydrates from each ingredient to determine how many grams are in your meal. For example, a scramble with two large eggs, 2 cups of spinach and half an avocado has just under 9 grams of carbohydrates. Record each meal and its carbohydrate content for reference later.
Pick options from your meal list at the beginning of each day and add the carbohydrate total for each to be sure you’re under 30 grams for the day; alternately, make a weekly meal planner to save time. Adhere to your meal plan as strictly as you can each day to stay within your 30-gram carbohydrate limit.
Improvise when you can’t make your meals at home or take them with you. The produce sections of grocery stores always have something that will fit your diet; choose foods like celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower or spinach for a snack when you’re out and about. Check the snack aisle of the grocery store for foods like nuts, seeds, seaweed chips, kale chips or beef jerky if you need a grab-and-go food.
Things You Will Need
- Low-carbohydrate ingredients
- Ask for the nutritional information for each item on the menu when eating at a restaurant. Look for low-carbohydrate choices such as salads without dressing or croutons, broth-based soups and meat-based dishes without breading.
- Look up the carbohydrate content of foods on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database or a similar program if a food does not have a nutrition label.
- Never limit your diet to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day without medical supervision or recommendation.