Developing a varied menu of low-carb meals and snacks can help make being on a low-carb diet easier for both dieters and those who have to cook for them. While traditional low-carb meals tend to include lots of animal products, such as meats, cheeses, and eggs, there are several different types of vegetables and even fruits that can be included in low-carb meals and snacks. Other options include prepared and processed specialty foods that are low in carbohydrates.
For many people who are on carbohydrate-restricted diets, low-carb meals and snacks often incorporate meat, poultry, or eggs, as these foods, with a few exceptions, are either carbohydrate-free or very low in carbohydrate. The exceptions include some organ meats as well as some types of seafood. Meals are typically based around a meat or egg dish, either of which may be seasoned with low- or no-carbohydrate seasonings and condiments. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of different ways, such as omelets or quiches. Hard-boiled eggs can also be added to salads or consumed on their own for quick protein and energy. While meat dishes are typically eaten as full meals, there are several different types of low-carb meat jerkies and sausages that also work as between-meal snacks.
Many vegetables can also be included in low-carb meals and snacks. Most green, leafy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and high in nutrients and can be added to omelets or crustless quiches for additional flavor, color, and nutrition. Salad greens such as romaine lettuce or baby spinach can make the basis of a low-carb lunch or dinner salad. Dieters can choose to enjoy grilled chicken breast, salmon, or even steak in a salad made from greens and toss with a sugar-free salad dressing. Some low-carb dieters also include moderate amounts of low-sugar berries in their diets. These can be added to low-carbohydrate cereals and smoothies, although some may prefer to simply snack on fresh or frozen berries.
While many people feel that the basis of a low carbohydrate diet should be whole foods, there are numerous different types of low-carb prepared foods that are also available. Some low-carb snacks include sugar-free hard and gummy candies that do not contain starches. Some companies have developed low-carb shakes and nutrition bars that are very similar to higher-carbohydrate products. These can make ideal low-carb meals and snacks for individuals who don't have time to cook or who are craving something sweet. Other options includes sandwiches made with low-carbohydrate breads made from soy, almond, or coconut flours, which are naturally low in carbohydrates and often contain additional nutrients that are not present in standard grain-based flours.