Confused by all of the weight-loss plans out there ?
The good news about low-carb diets is that there are plenty of options, and not all of them involve counting carbs or sticking to a very small amount. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular low-carb diets and what to consider before you decide to follow them.
- Keto Diet: The keto diet, aka the ketogenic diet, originally started in the 1920s as a way to help treat epilepsy, but since then it has become one of the most popular low-carb diets for weight loss. On the keto diet, you will limit your carb intake to no more than five percent of your daily calories. This will help your body hit ketosis, a state in which your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbs. While the keto diet has helped thousands of people lose weight, it’s highly restrictive, which can be hard to sustain long-term.
- Atkins Diet: Another popular low-carb diet, you might remember Atkins from the early 90s. The Atkins diet is a high-protein, high-fat diet that helps you lose weight by filling up on meat, dairy, and fats, in place of carbs. Atkins has three different plans: Atkins 20, Atkins 40, and Atkins 100. All three plans involve keeping your daily carb intake low. During the first phase of the Atkins 20, for example, you will have only 20 to 25 grams of net carbs daily. As you progress within your plan, you gradually increase the amount of net carbs you can enjoy.
- Whole30: The Whole30 diet is a Paleo-inspired eating plan, where you restrict sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, gluten, and legumes from your diet for 30 days. The goal of Whole30 isn’t necessarily to lose weight but to help you combat your sugar addiction, focus on clean eating, and uncover food sensitivities. However, many people follow Whole30 as a way to detox after the holidays or lose weight before a big event, like a wedding. Because it helps you avoid eating highly processed packaged foods and promotes healthy home cooking, you might lose a significant amount of weight, depending on what your eating habits were like before you started the diet. Why 30? Creators of the diet believe that 30 days is all you need to reset your body and improve you relationship with food.
- Paleo diet: The Paleo diet is another low-carb eating plan that focuses on eating lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The Paleo diet mimics eating patterns of our Paleolithic ancestors who ate only foods they hunted or gathered for. This means you can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and lean protein, but dairy products, grains, beans and legumes, and highly processed foods, like sugar and artificial sweeteners, are off limits.
The bottom line is that low-carb diets aren’t meant to be followed long-term
If you want to follow a low-carb diet to lose weight, be sure to talk to your doctor and a registered dietitian to help you find the right diet for you. Restricting carbs can lead to nutritional deficiencies and yo-yo dieting, so you want to make sure you’re still getting a balanced diet that makes you feel satisfied and delivers the nutrients you need.
A Diet should be something you could live with forever. A lot of people say they cheated on their diet or fell off the bandwagon, but a diet you can keep for life shouldn’t feel like you got off of something.
Fruit and Cheese Hors d’oeuvres
This recipe is as easy as it gets! If you need to put together a last-minute appetizer or party snack, look no further than these fruit and cheese stacks. All you need to do is take a bite-size piece of the fruit of your choice, and stack it on a toothpick with a cube of thoughtfully paired cheese. Try out some of our favorites below!
1. Blackberries & Brie
2. Granny Smith Apples & Sharp Cheddar
3. Anjou Pears & Gouda
4. Grapes & Fontina
5. Peaches & Goat Cheese
And for something more substantial:
Seasonal Recipe Roundup: Summer Favorites
It’s finally Summer! We can’t complain from way out West in sunny So Cal, but we know many of you have been counting down the days until the sun peaked through those clouds and your friends started planning potlucks and bonfires. We were so excited that we pulled together some of our seasonal favorites, all perfect for warm weather and fresh feasts. So gather up the avocados, berries, fresh fish and the like, and get ready to impress at your next BBQ!
Paleo-Friendly BLT Avocados
If you’re looking to eat fresh and healthy this Summer, these lean and clean BLT avocados are about to become a lunch staple!
2 Bacon slices, cooked and chopped
1/2 C. Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 C. Lettuce (iceberg or romaine), chopped
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine your bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and lemon juice. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
2. Slice the avocados in half and remove the pit. Using the hole from the pit as a starting point, widen the “bowl” you’re creating in the avocado slightly to accommodate for as much of the filling as you’d like to include.
3. Scoop the BLT mixture into your avocado bowl, and serve immediately.
Teriyaki Chicken Wonton Tacos
Something about tacos just screams Summer, and these teriyaki tacos are no exception. Treat yourself to this fresh and tangy alternative to your favorite guilty-pleasure Mexican cuisine.
15 Wonton Wrappers
1 lb. Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 C. Slaw Mix 1/4 C. Red onion, chopped
1/4 C. Green onions, chopped
1/4 C. Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce
1 tsp. Salt
1. Combine soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salt, and chicken in a large Ziploc bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
2. In a large skillet over high heat, drizzle with olive oil then add your chicken, cooking until it isn’t pink in the center. Remove from heat.
3. Turn a muffin tin upside down, and fold wonton wrappers into a taco shape between the cups. Bake at 350F for10 minutes, until wontons are crisp and golden brown.
4. While the wonton shells are cooking, combine the slaw, red onions, green onions, and cilantro in a small bowl. 5. Remove the wonton shells from the oven and put on your serving place. Place one or two scoops of the veggie mix into the bottom of each, and top with a scoop of chicken.
Ahi and Avocado Bites
Fresh fish demands warm weather and sunshine. Cut up some fresh-caught ahi tuna and share with your loved ones over a good glass of white wine and a sunset.
Ahi tuna, cubed
1/2 Tbsp. Red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice Ginger, thinly sliced Soy sauce, for dipping
1. In a small bowl, mash together the avocado, red onion, and lemon juice.
2. Scoop a bit of the avocado mixture onto a ginger slice, then stick a toothpick through the avocado and ginger and into an ahi cube. Repeat until you have your desired amount.
3. Serve with soy sauce for dipping. You can also add wasabi to spice it up!
Raw Zucchini Roll-Ups
Lighten up your lunches with these raw veggie roll-ups, and we guarantee you’ll have a new favorite warm-weather snack!
Zucchini Red pepper, thinly sliced
Carrots, thinly sliced Purple cabbage, thinly sliced Fresh Basil Greek
Yogurt Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix
1. Slice your zucchini lengthwise into thin strips that can be rolled up. This can also be done easily with a mandolin slicer, if you have one on hand. 2. Following the directions on your ranch mix, combine with the greek yogurt to make your dip. Spread roughly 1 Tbsp of the ranch mix onto one side of each of your zucchini strips. 3. Work on only 1/4 of your zucchini, starting from the end, lay down your basil, then your peppers and carrots, then your sprouts. 4. Roll up your zucchini, starting with the end with the veggies, then secure with a toothpick.
Larry’s Avocado Cucumber Salad
Mix up this fresh chopped Summer salad and bring it to your next dinner party or potluck BBQ!
Red Onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1. Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in a large salad bowl and mix until just integrated.
2. Add your avocado and gently toss, to combine without mashing the avocado.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper, and toss with your hands or salad spoons.
4. Add 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice and gently mix. Serve immediately.
Fresh Fruit Pops
This popsicle-meets-smoothie combo is the perfect sweet and tart treat to keep you cool this Summer.
1/2 C strawberries
1/2 C raspberries
1/2 pineapple chunks
In a food processor or blender, puree each fruit. Be sure to puree the pineapple and mangos together, and strawberries and raspberries together for color consistency. Pour each fruit puree into popsicle mold until you have 3 fruit layers in each mold. Insert a popsicle stick, or place popsicle mold stick/cap on, and place in your freezer for at least 40-50 minutes or until your fruit pop is completely frozen. If they don’t remove easily from the mold, try running warm water over the base of the mold to unfreeze the fruit from the sides, and your fresh fruit pops should slide right out.
3-Ingredient Clean Cookies
Still can’t kick that sweet tooth but want to keep your body in Summer-shape? Thes 3-ingredient cookies are a healthy alternative to a universal favorite, and even make a great on-the-go breakfast!
1 C. Rolled Oats
2 Ripe bananas
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dried or fresh fruit
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas completely, then fold in the oats bit by bit. Once the oats and bananas are combined, stir in the addition of your choice — raisins, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, etc. Scoop onto a cookie sheet and smash into round “cookies,” then bake at 375F for 15 minutes.
Uncork a bottle of Chardonnay and enjoy the sunshine and Summertime with the ones you love. We can’t wait either!
Yum in my tum ! Thanks to the following for these recipes:
The Instant Pot may be the savior of your weekday meals, but summer weekends mean the grill gets to steal the show. Burger patties, corn, eggplant, peaches, pineapple—what doesn’t taste delicious with a little fire beneath it? But as every grill master knows, when it comes to barbecuing meat, fish, poultry, or tofu, the secret to taking the meal to the next level is a finger licking good sauce.
Just like how red wine pairs better with steak while white wine is best paired with salmon, different types of sauces work best for different proteins—which is where this handy recipe guide comes in. Consider it your barbecue sauce cheat sheet. Bonus: all are healthy and a cinch to make.
These are the best sauces to pair with your go-to grilled protein
For steak: chimichurri sauce
It’s a common misconception that because steak is so hearty that it should be topped with a hearty sauce, but TBH, all you really need is a good chimichurri. This one is made with olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and cilantro. Clean, simple, and definitely yum.
For tofu: cilantro avocado cream sauce
Because tofu essentially works as a sponge, soaking up whatever liquid you pair it with, the sauce is a super important component. This dairy-free avocado-based sauce is mild, yet flavorful. Bonus: it gives great healthy fats to your meal.
For salmon: ginger garlic sauce
Salmon has a more delicate taste than chicken or steak, so it requires a more mild sauce. One that works perfectly is this ginger garlic blend, also made with rice vinegar and chili pepper flakes. Add cilantro on top to amp up the flavor even more.
For chicken: maple chipotle sauce
Store-bought chipotle sauces can be loaded with sneaky sugar and sodium, but this recipe accomplishes that perfect balance of sweet and tangy without the additives. The secret: a combo of maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, and garlic. It hits all the flavor notes.
BTW, you should definitely be throwing veggie on the grill too.
By Meghan Holohan
During college, Hannah Lester knew she was the “fat friend” — and she hated it. But that didn’t stop her from living off burgers and fries. She worked at a fast food restaurant, so it was the easiest option on most days.
“I picked up fast food up on the way to class. It really became my go-to,” the school librarian, 31, from Puxico, Missouri, told TODAY. “I didn’t make very healthy choices. I was pretty lazy.”
Thanks to a steady diet of unhealthy food and little exercise, she kept gaining weight. At 5 feet 6 inches tall, she weighed 285 pounds.
After she graduated and started her first job, there was finally an opportunity to make some changes: a weight-loss challenge among her co-workers.
“It gave me a reason to lose the weight,” she said. “I kind of wanted to prove myself that I can do this.”
Lester first set a moderate goal: to lose 35 pounds from January to May 2012. She stopped eating fast food and reduced her soda consumption, going from six to one a day. She increased how much water she drank and started walking more.
“Something just clicked,” she said. “I lost that first 10 pounds and realized I could do it. I kept doing it because I wanted to win.”
Lester shed 35 pounds by March, reaching her goals two months early.
“It came off really, really fast for me in the beginning,” she said. “I needed to lose it so badly, the weight came off easily.”
After losing 50 pounds, Lester modified her habits to stay on track. She started using a stepper at the gym and went from walking one mile to four miles.
“I just started eating at home more. I didn’t actively make that decision to eat healthier,” she said.
In three years, she lost 100 pounds and she has maintained her weight for three years, before losing an additional 12 pounds. She’s proud of how far she’s come.
“I really can do something if I honestly set my mind to it,” she said. “I am truly happy with what I accomplished.”
Lester, who shared her story in the Start TODAY Facebook group, provides tips for others hoping to shed weight.
1. Keep ‘fat’ clothes as a reminder.
Simply glancing at her old clothes helps Lester remember how far she has come and how she doesn’t want to regain the weight.
“I went from a size 22 to a size 12 — a 2X to a medium,” she said. “That is almost more important than saying I lost all this weight. I can visually see (it by) looking at an old t-shirt.”
2. Celebrate non-scale victories.
When Lester was losing weight, she felt frustrated when the number on the scale wasn’t getting smaller.
“The scale was almost my enemy,” she said. “If … I didn’t like what it said, I was going on a downward spiral.”
That’s when she realized she had to focus on how she felt or how her clothes felt as a measure of success.
“These pants were a little snug but now I don’t have to unbutton them. That is what I look for,” she said.
3. Set reasonable goals.
While Lester knew she needed to lose more than 35 pounds, she was overwhelmed by shedding large amounts of weight. That is why she kept her goals reasonable. After she lost 35 pounds, she focused on losing 50 pounds. Then 75 pounds. This kept her motivated.
“Don’t set a big huge goal that you may not reach right away,” she said. “Set little goals. Make a goal just to walk for 30 minutes every day. Make a goal to cut back on something you eat a lot.”
4. Do what feels right for you.
Lester knows a lot of people who are successful with low-carb diets. That doesn’t work for her so she skipped it. Over the years, she learned that working out in the morning, running or walking three or four miles, keeps her energy up for the rest of the day.
“If I wait until the afternoon, I tend to skip workouts,” she explained.
She believes she’s so successful because she does what feels right for her instead of following the pack or seeking out another trend.
“Find what works for you. Not every diet, or lifestyle, works for everyone,” Lester said.