When it comes to reducing your carb intake, it can be easy to confuse a low carb diet with a no carb diet. As surprising as it sounds, a low carb diet doesn’t actually mean you have to give up all carbs completely.
How low is low carb?
When we talk about a low carb diet, this is a diet with carbohydrate intake of 130g or less per day. You can easily stay within this target and still include an often surprising amount of carbohydrate in your meals.
Of course, the amount of carbohydrate you choose to include in your meals will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. Some people prefer to reduce their carbohydrate intake to around 130g, while others prefer to go much lower.
Also, some people find it easier to start their low carb lifestyle at around 130g of carbs per day and gradually reduce this over time. Other people prefer to cut back a lot more on carbohydrates straight away. The choice is up to you and depends on what you feel most comfortable with.
The other thing to note about a low carb diet is variety. It is important to include a wide range of foods in your diet to ensure you are getting a variety of essential nutrients, including a range of vitamins and minerals.
Often, foods which contain a small amount of carbohydrate, such as low carb fruits and vegetables, are good (and delicious!) sources of nutrients.
How can I include carbs?
Here are some examples of what a day of low carb eating might look like at different carb targets. All three examples we’ve given include some carbohydrate in the meals, but they are all still classed as low carb.
What does 130g of carbs per day look like?
Here we’ve included some higher carb foods such as banana and potatoes, but we have mixed them with lower carb alternatives, such as kiwi and cauliflower to reduce the carb content.
Banana & Kiwi Yoghurt Bowl (v) 37g
Chickpea & Feta Quinoa Salad (v) 48g
Sausages with Sautéed Red Cabbage & Mash 41g
90g per day
Here we have used beans and pulses such as quinoa and chickpeas to bring the carbohydrate content up to 90g per day. Beans and pulses can be a good source of nutrients like fibre and protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
Vegan Quinoa & Chia Cherry Porridge (v) 27g
Minty Bean Salad (v) 29g
Chickpea Tagine with Broccoli Rice (v) 34g
30g per day
In this example, we’ve used plenty of low carb ingredients like eggs, avocado, cheese and non-starchy vegetables to create a varied very low carb day of meals.
Eggy Avocado Boats (v) 4g
Low Carb Broccoli & Stilton Soup (v) 14g
Burgers & Courgette Fries 11g