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The Healthy Low-Carb Diet Plan

iVillage - By Lynn Grieger, R.D., C.D.E.

Tuesday, February 27, 2001 (iVillage) —  If you're interested in cutting back on carbohydrates, but you want to do it in a healthy manner that's not going to drain your energy levels and leave you feeling blah, this plan is for you. We've incorporated foods with protein and the healthiest kinds of fat to keep you feeling satisfied, along with foods rich in heart-healthy fiber and enough carbohydrate to keep you energized. This isn't Atkins -- it's better!

We've divided up the meal ideas into three basic categories: On the Run, Family-Friendly and Cheap and Easy. Stick with one theme, or mix and match the menu suggestions during the day. For example, you could prepare a Family-Friendly breakfast on mornings when you have a bit more time, pack a Cheap and Easy lunch for work and do dinner On the Run on nights when everyone is running in different directions. All meals derive less than 50 percent of their total calories from carbohydrate. Breakfasts are 300 to 350 calories, with lunch and dinner 400 to 500 calories. Snacks are 150 to 250 calories each.
  • Eat regularly spaced meals and snacks, approximately every 4 to 5 hours, to avoid feeling famished and to keep energy levels high.

  • Eliminate as much sugar as possible from your diet: soda, sweetened beverages, fruit juice, cookies, cakes, candies.

  • Choose as many unprocessed foods as possible. Don't worry if you use highly processed convenience foods some of the time -- just minimize the damage as much as you can.

  • Drink water between meals. If you must have flavored water, make your own. (Even sugar-free flavored water is high in artificial sweeteners, which will perpetuate your sweet tooth.) Add lemon, lime or orange slices to plain seltzer water for a refreshing taste without sugar.

  • Take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement for nutrition insurance.