Low carb doesn’t have to simply be a meal without potatoes, pasta or bread. Food is at its best when it’s interesting!
You’ve heard them all say it. Eat less carbs! Low carb makes you lose weight faster! The mantra goes on and on. It isn’t my place to offer that kind of dietary advice. I am not an expert, dear readers, merely someone who has a vested interest in food – I mean let’s be frank, eating food that either doesn’t taste good or doesn’t leave you full is no fun, so why not make it healthy at the same time. New year is often a time to try and eat better for the year ahead, so here are five of my own low carb meal ideas that are quick and easy to do (aside from the glorious picture of a full English Breakfast that may have led you here) and should leave you full and satisfied.
1. Stir Fry
The beauty of a stir-fry is that you can cook a decent stir-fry in less than fifteen minutes. Also, you don’t have to worry about chopping and shredding vegetables because the supermarkets will do it all for you. If doing a meat stir fry simply chop your chicken/beef/pork/lamb etc. into bite-size chunks and cook until almost done. Then add a pack of stir fry vegetables from the supermarket – they all have a wonderful selection from the basic to the more exotic. Give the pan a good mix and keep the veg moving. When the vegetables are almost done, you can add any flavourings you want. I use a base of 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce then top it with anything else I wish to add – garlic granules, vegetable stock (approx. 75ml). Once you’ve given the flavours a couple of minutes to absorb then you’re done. It’s a fabulous quick and easy meal that is low in carbs and tastes great! You can also do a prawn version – but for this I would buy a pack of cooked prawns, stirring them into the stir fry near the end of the cooking time until they are just heated through.
Another high protein, low carb favourite is the humble egg. There are many things you can do with an egg – boil it, bake it, poach it, fry it, scramble it and so on, but this is another level. Simply take whatever you want to put in your omelette in large pan – it may be some spring onions, peppers and cooked chicken strips; it could be a chilli, some strips of beef and some mushrooms. Whatever flavour combination you want, just get it in the pan until your filling is cooked. Then take 2-3 beaten eggs and pour them on top your filling. Cook until the eggs are set. This is yet again another versatile dish that can be adapted in many ways to ensure you get the best possible meal for you. With the right preparation this can also be an incredibly quick meal as well – another fifteen minute meal idea – who needs Jamie Oliver huh?!
3. Low Carb Roast Dinner
Some may tell me that this is a cop-out meal idea and that a roast dinner should include roast potatoes – however it doesn’t necessarily have to. Perhaps the longest cooking time of all the things mentioned here, this meal idea involves swaps more than it does just ‘leaving things out’. All you do is replace roast potatoes with roasted butternut squash and carrots (simply cut into chunks, spray with oil mister or fry light, and cook on a high heat in the oven until crisp); and if you feel ‘potato-esque’ deprived then cook some swede, blitzing it with a little vegetable stock when cooked to make a delicious mash on the side. Low carb roast – done!
4. Have a curry… with cauliflower rice
Curries are great and come in all different formats. The only thing that usually stops a curry from being low carb is the rice. Therefore you might think the logical thing here is to leave the rice out. Wrong! Just substitute it for something else. I swear by cauliflower rice for this. Buy a cauliflower, chop into chunks and blitz in the food processor until it resembles couscous. Just before the curry is due to be ready, cook this in the microwave, uncovered for about two to two and half minutes. It will leave you full, but not bloated and if you are following a low-carb diet it will keep you on the right track. Word of warning though – this works very well with saucy curries and the like but I wouldn’t want to eat this by itself. I’m just not that hardcore!
5. Have an Italian meal…
Italians are known for pasta – and pasta is no good if you are following a low carb diet. Therefore this meal idea is another simple swap. Having spaghetti bolognese? No problem, just use a spiralizer or other vegetable peeler to create thin ‘spaghetti’ like strands of vegetable then fry lightly in a pan until just tender and you won’t necessarily notice the difference (aside from missing that carb loaded bloated feeling!). Having lasagne? Again, no problem. You can blanch some whole leeks and roll them out into sheets to substitute for your pasta sheets, or alternatively cut an aubergine length ways and lightly grill it before using this as a replacement in the same way. Both ways keep the carbs down but also provide an excellent way of bumping up your vegetable intake.
Have you got any low carb ideas? Don’t forget to let me know via the comments section or on the blog’s Facebook page. Bon appetit guys!