Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meals for High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

Meals for High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

High-protein, low-carb diets such as the Atkins diet are popular and effective ways for people to lose weight. Although low-carb diets present potential health risks, such as lower fiber levels, high fat consumption and sometimes dangerously low carbohydrate levels, high levels of protein help the mind remain active. If you are just getting started on a high-protein, low-carb diet, it may seem like all your meals consist of mounds of hamburger meat and little else. With a little creativity, you can create a balanced, healthy, high-protein, low-carb diet plan.

Meals with Meat Protein

    The typical image of a high-protein, low-carb diet is meat, meat and more meat. Steak, pork chops and bacon are all regular parts of the low-carb diet. However, all that meat will overload your body with saturated fat. To reduce fat content, incorporate poultry such as chicken and turkey into your diet.

    Italian food lovers will enjoy a low-carb chicken carbonara dish. Simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven heats, saute your chicken in olive oil until slightly brown. Then place the chicken in a buttered casserole dish. Pour a low-carb (or homemade) spaghetti sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake for 40 minutes.

    For red meat dishes, stick to leaner cuts of beef. If you can find it, bison meat is high in protein and surprisingly low in fat. You can make any low-carb steak dish healthier with bison meat. Bison pot roast is especially good. Pour a small amount of oil into a dutch oven and brown your bison. Place the bison aside and add a chopped onion. Saute until translucent and slightly brown. Return the bison, along with 2 cans of beef broth, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 cup of red wine, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire, 2 tablespoons of basil, 2 tablespoons of oregano and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly crushed black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours or until the meat is incredibly tender. This same recipe can be made with beef pot roast as well.

Meals with Seafood Protein

    If you're a fish lover, you have many options for healthy high-protein, low-carb meals. Broiled or baked fish provides a wallop of both protein and healthy fats. Try whipping together a sauce of Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Pre-heat your broiler and then broil the fish for 12 minutes. Coat the fish in the sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve the fish with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.

    If shellfish is more to your liking, try a delicious shrimp scampi dish. To prepare shrimp scampi, melt 4 tbsp. of olive oil and 4 tbsp. of an olive-oil-derived butter substitute (such as Smart Balance) in a pan. Once the butter melts, add 3 minced garlic cloves. Cook the garlic for 30 to 60 seconds. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice and a pound of raw de-veined, de-shelled shrimp. Cook until whitish-pink. Serve with low-carb faux rice or pasta.

    As you marinate your fish, make sure to avoid sauces that have high carbohydrate counts. Many pre-made marinades are high in carbs, so make your own sauce whenever possible.

Meals with Vegetable Protein

    Unfortunately, vegetarian-friendly meals are not often low in carbohydrates. Vegetable protein sources such as beans and soy products can contain high levels of carbs. However, some vegetable protein products, such as extra-firm tofu, actually contain zero carbs. You can cook up tofu with just about anything. For a fast and easy meal, saute starch-free veggies such as broccoli and turnips in a bit of oil. Add some of your favorite low-carb sauce, garlic, onions and tofu. Saute until vegetables are tender.

    Cauliflower is a good low-carb vegetable that can replicate potatoes in some cases. For cauliflower home fries, cut fresh cauliflower into fry shapes and saute with onions, salt, pepper and paprika. Add in some extra-firm tofu for a protein boost.


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