Those who’ve tried all types of diet plans largely agree: low-carb diets are the fastest and most effective method for safely losing weight.
On average, low-carb meal plans produce double or triple the weight loss as a traditional low-fat diet. Much of that weight is dropped from the belly and the liver, two major problem spots for those who are obese. When rigorously followed, low-carb diets are often able to reduce blood sugar and triglycerides, sometimes preventing or reversing type-2 diabetes. These diets have also been found to help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and often reduce appetite significantly – leading to even more weight loss.
That’s why the high-protein Paleo Diet and ketogenic diet (widely known as the keto diet) are so popular, and why the Atkins Diet has been around forever. They’re all variations on a regular low-carb diet, and they tend to show quick, impressive results.
Why Low-Carb Diets Fail For Some People
There are people who will tell you they went on a low-carb diet but didn’t lose very much weight. The reason is simple. The biggest problem people experience is sticking with a low-carbohydrate diet. When you have to limit sugar, pizza, fries, ice cream, cookies and cake out in your diet (not to mention being unable to substitute whole grains for wheat), it’s understandably hard to stay with the plan.
There are a number of ways to make low-carb diets more palatable, and even enjoyable. There are lots of great low-carb foods you can choose, and many yummy low-carb recipes (even for desserts!) But it’s difficult to stay on a diet with strict limits when you’re “freelancing” in the kitchen, trying to come up with something for breakfast or dinner five minutes before mealtime.
The key is taking a little time each week to draw up a low-carb diet plan and shopping list, so you can have everything ready for a week’s worth of meals before the hectic work and school week starts. A seven-day meal plan takes the panic out of preparing food for the family, and makes it a lot more likely that you’ll actually follow the diet without resorting to frozen pizza or DoorDash.
The Key Ingredients in a Low-Carb Diet
If you can get past the “no added sugar, no processed foods, no bread or pasta, “no soda” hurdle, a low-carb diet relies on a ton of whole foods that would make most people smile. Not every food in these categories is OK, but most are.
Meat, poultry and fish
Fruits and vegetables
High-fat dairy products (including cheese and butter)
Olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil, even lard
Seeds and nuts
If you’re eating low-carb to stay healthy and not to lose weight, you can also eat carb-rich foods like starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and lentils; dry wine and dark chocolate are also fine in moderation.
The Atkins and keto Diets have people counting their net carbs every day, with anywhere from 20-50 net carbs considered ideal. But sensible eating, with close attention paid to the guidelines, can make counting unnecessary.
It may be a pain to come up with a low-carb diet meal plan for an entire week so you can buy all of the ingredients you’ll need for the week on one shopping trip. Luckily, there are lots of printable menu plans and recipes online to help.
Here’s one of them; it’s our favorite 7-day low-carb meal plan, adapted from dietdoctor.com with thanks.
Low-Carb Diet Recipes and Meal Plan for Seven Days
We love this particular menu because it doesn’t require fancy kitchen ingredients like slow cookers, many of the ingredients and meals can be made in large batches and repurposed during the week – and the food is absolutely yummy. It’s also easy to substitute if you don’t like a particular recipe or can think of something better – as long as it fits low-carb guidelines.
Breakfast: Huevos rancheros with sautéed bell peppers, onion, diced tomatoes and jalapenos, served with fried eggs and topped with salsa and avocado – without the tortillas or beans
Lunch: Grilled salmon tossed in a salad with arugula, olive oil and lemon juice, topped with tomato and shredded parmesan
Dinner: Indian butter chicken marinated in tomato, onion, ginger, garlic and Indian spices, served with oven-roasted cauliflower
Breakfast: Coconut pancakes with melted butter and fruit
Lunch: Keto quesadillas made with low-carb tortillas (sold in many supermarkets or homemade), cheddar or another hard cheese, and spinach
Dinner: Cheeseburger patties (no buns) with fried onions and baked Brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Low-carb smoothie with blueberries, coconut milk, vanilla and lime
Lunch: Mushroom soup, made with ham, onion, white wine, cream cheese, egg yolks, and whipping cream
Dinner: Baked cauliflower and broccoli gratin (or other veggies of your choice) with sausage, made with added onion, sour cream and Dijon mustard
Breakfast: Egg muffins, made with a batter of eggs, pesto and shredded cheese, with scallions and chorizo inside
Lunch: Caprese omelet made with eggs, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil
Dinner: Curry chicken made with onion, ginger, chili pepper and curry paste, broccoli, green beans and coconut milk, served with cauliflower rice
Breakfast: Frittata made with eggs, spinach or kale, diced bacon, heavy cream and shredded cheese
Lunch: Greek salad
Dinner: Stuffed cabbage casserole with fried shredded cabbage, sautéed ground beef, white wine vinegar, shredded cheddar cheese and Mexican seasoning, served with a green salad
Breakfast: Pudding made from blended coconut almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla, chilled overnight
Lunch: Avocado boats made with halved avocados filled with a raw egg, baked (topped with shredded cheese added a few minutes before serving)
Dinner: Low-carb taco bowls made with sautéed ground beef, onion, jalapenos and taco seasoning, stirred with shredded lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, sour cream and salsa, served in bowls topped with avocado slices
Breakfast: Keto oatmeal made with unsweetened coconut milk, flaxseed, chia seeds and sunflower seeds, simmered for a few minutes and topped with cinnamon and berries
Lunch: Fried kale and broccoli salad with hard-boiled eggs and fried avocado slices, served with a whole-grain mustard/mayo combination
Dinner: Spaghetti squash carbonara, made from squash cut into noodles and cooked, mixed with bacon, garlic and peas and topped with a sauce made from heavy cream and parmesan
Snacks and Desserts
Frozen yogurt popsicles made from Greek yogurt, strawberries or raspberries, mango, heavy cream and vanilla extract, frozen for several hours
Cinnamon apples with vanilla sauce made with apples browned in cinnamon, topped with a sauce of heavy cream, vanilla, butter and egg yolk
Dark Chocolate treats made from melted dark chocolate, coconut chips, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, poured into cupcake tins and refrigerated until hard
Let Factor Do All That Work
There’s no question about it: making delicious low-carb meals can require quite a bit of work. The best way to avoid all that time and effort? Home meal delivery from Factor.
Factor stands out among home meal kit delivery companies, because they don’t supply “kits” like most services that just deliver ingredients and recipes. They deliver fully-cooked, professionally-created meals cooked by chefs using fresh, healthy ingredients.
Everything is gluten-free, the proteins are grass-fed (best for low-carb diets) and free of antibiotics and other bad stuff, and the meals arrive fresh – never frozen – right at your door, ready to pop into the microwave or oven.
And many of the meal choices that you select from an online menu each week are low-carb; quite a few are even keto- and Paleo-friendly.
All the benefits of a low-carb diet with none of the work; it’s only possible with convenient, healthy Factor meal delivery.
To learn more about Factor, click here.