by Priscilla Chamessian
When the weather gets warmer and Summer rolls around, you can bet that your local farmers market, grocery store, and vegetable garden will be filled with zucchini. Zucchini squash is a favorite in the Keto community as a low carb vegetable that is incredibly versatile. Roasted, steamed, and spiralized are just a few ways enjoy these tasty veggies! Aside from its chameleon abilities, zucchini is also very nutritious and a great addition to any Keto lifestyle.
One cup (124g) of chopped zucchini has 4 grams of carbohydrates and a little over 1 gram of dietary fiber. The unassuming and versatile vegetable is a great source of vitamin B6, which is helpful for healthy skin, digestion, sleep and more! Zucchini provides good sources of other B vitamins, like riboflavin and folate. In addition to B vitamins, a cup of zucchini provides 325mg of potassium, which is about the same amount of potassium as a small banana! This is extremely important as many well known sources of potassium are not Keto, and potassium is critical for heart function, electrolyte balance, and muscle function. Last but certainly not least, zucchini is a vitamin C powerhouse! One cup provides 35% of your daily need of vitamin C, assisting with immunity and more.
Now that we know zucchini is basically a Keto superfood, what are the best ways to enjoy zucchini in meals? We’ve compiled some of our favorite and most popular zucchini recipes below. When selecting zucchini for your meals, look for small to medium-sized squashes, about 4-8 inches in length. Small to moderate sized zucchini will have fewer seeds and typically be less watery. Look for zucchini that are firm and have no dents or soft spots, especially at the ends. If you have zucchini plants in your garden, be vigilant about checking each day for new squashes and picking them prior to getting too large. If you end up with a monster zucchini, no worries! These zucchinis taste best if you scrape out the seeds and cube up the remaining flesh to use in recipes.
Let us know what you think!
1. Low Carb Chicken Alfredo Zoodles
The Keto lifestyle may cut out pasta made from grains, but we promise you won’t miss pasta once you try making zucchini noodles, or “zoodles.” Zoodles are a cinch to make with any type of vegetable spiralizer! When paired with the homemade alfredo sauce, you get a rich and extremely Keto-friendly dish!
2. Keto Zucchini Rolls
In addition to your typical zucchini pasta, you can also slice zucchini into long thin strips to make lasagna or rollatini. These zucchini rolls are filled with a rich and flavorful tomato pork mixture and then baked. Top them with some mozzarella cheese and broil and you’ll forget about regular manicotti and lasagna.
3. Keto Zucchini Stuffed with Lamb
If you want to use zucchini in a more hearty way, you can core out small to medium-sized zucchinis and stuff them. This Middle Eastern-inspired dish pairs ground lamb with tomatoes, herbs and spices in a tender and delicious zucchini boat.
4. Zucchini Fritters
If you have a grater, you can make delicious snacks like these zucchini fritters! Combining zucchini with some cheese and almond flour ensure they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
5. Parmesan Zucchini Fries
Last but certainly not least, zucchini can be used in place of potatoes to make delicious zucchini fries! These fries are coated in a delicious parmesan mixture and baked for a crispy outside and tender inside.
By Jessica Lewandowski
If you have ever been around anyone on a diet before (which you have), you have probably heard the term “cheat day.” When you close your eyes, what do you imagine a cheat day to look like? For most of us, images of calorie-loaded foods like pizza, takeout, and sweets flash behind our eyelids. As appealing as those images are, you’ve probably questioned yourself if a cheat day is worth risking your ketogenic diet.
To put it quite simply: no matter what diet you take part in, “cheat days” are a flat out no-no. Don’t move on to a different article in disappointment just yet! There are plenty of ways to treat yourself while on a keto diet. Let’s go over a brief explanation of why cheat days don’t work on a keto diet and the other ways your can indulge.
Ketosis is Consistent
To put your body in a state of ketosis, you have to remove unhealthy carbohydrates from your diet. This way, instead of your body using sugar for energy, it will use the fats you consume. Instead of fat being stored in your body, that fat will power you through the day, resulting in weight loss. When you “cheat” on your diet, and eat foods with more carbohydrates than normal, you more or less sabotage all the work you’ve been putting into your keto diet. Your body will naturally choose the sugars you consume for energy first. Where does all the fat go then? It gets stored in all those areas you’re trying to lose weight in. This leads to bloating, sluggishness, and sometimes even headaches. So much for enjoying a cheat day, right?
Why We Cheat
The main reason so many people indulge on cheat days is because they are starving their bodies of certain foods they crave during most days of the week. While someone may look happy while biting down into something they shouldn’t on a Sunday, they’re doing more harm than good. Instead of using a cheat day to reward yourself, try reshaping your mindset. Don’t make yourself miserable by limiting the foods you like. This way, you aren’t battling cravings by the end of the week and you can focus on keeping your ketogenic diet consistent. Check out the CarbManager Recipes and Premium Recipes for a variety of ketogenic dessert options. Read on in the CarbManager Blog as well for tips on how to enjoy tasty treats like chocolate, baked goods, and fruit!
Eat to Your Heart’s Desire
You may be surprised at how innovative keto dieters can be! You don’t need a cheat day to enjoy ketogenic pizza, pasta, and burgers. Whatever your taste buds may be tempted towards, there is a keto substitution for it that won’t ruin all your hard work!
The key to avoiding cheat days is to make sure you’re satisfying what your body wants to eat while still following the guidelines of the ketogenic diet. Whether you are craving something sweet, salty, or in between, CarbManager can help you choose the right foods that will keep your happy and healthy.
By Jessica Lewandowski
Whether celebrating a special occasion, or you just happen to have an intense craving, it’s sometimes impossible to get dessert off your mind! It may seem tricky to figure out ways to include dessert in your low carb or ketogenic diet, but it can be done! There are many recipes within the CarbManager app for delicious, low carb desserts that won’t ruin your diet. Read on to learn how to wisely include a few popular types of once-in-a-while-treats while still satisfying those cravings.
When you are thinking of ways to enjoy dessert on a low carb diet, one of the first ideas you may have is chocolate. This is a great starting point, but you’ll be surprised to learn that carbohydrates can sneak their way into your cocoa treats! By learning some basic Chocolate 101, you can avoid overly sweet chocolate desserts while maintaining your diet.
There are three main types of chocolate, which you’re probably very acclimated with: dark, milk, and white. These types are separated by the percentage of dairy mixed in with the natural cacao bean when chocolate is being made. White chocolate has the highest dairy content (in fact, it has no cacao in it at all - it’s just milk solids, cocoa butter, and sugar)! Milk chocolate usually has around 50% dairy mixed in, and dark chocolate will have 40% or less dairy.
To put it simply, the darker the chocolate you choose, the more chocolate you can actually enjoy. There are many great dessert recipes in the CarbManager app, and you’ll see dark chocolate makes multiple guest appearances.
You may notice there is little to no fruit in a low carb or ketogenic diet. Since most fruit is loaded with natural sugars (carbohydrates), it is very tricky to include it in your low carb desserts. While you are unlikely to get your hands on fruit pies and cakes, there’s a couple ways you can sneak in a little fruity sweetness to your dessert.
One way to enjoy a fruit dessert on a low carb diet is with a smoothie. CarbManager has a growing selection of fruit smoothie recipes, and some even sneak in vegetables as a low-carb way to have a sweet treat. If a smoothie doesn’t quite say “dessert” to you, the best suggestion is to include citrus into your desserts. Lemon makes an excellent complement to desserts, such as a low-carb cheesecake!
As mentioned, it will be difficult to include classic desserts, like pies and cakes, into your low carb diet. However, there are alternatives to enjoying the next best thing as a dessert.
If gluten products is your concern when making a low carb dessert, search for gluten free flours, like almond or coconut flour. Even just a tablespoon of these alternatives can significantly improve your baking. If sugar keeps popping up in your dessert ingredients, look for sugar alternatives in specialty baking aisles at your grocery store. You may also be surprised to learn how less common dessert ingredients, such as avocados and eggs, are fantastic substitutes when making dessert favorites like ice cream, mousse, and cakes!
By Jessica Lewandowski
Any exercise or workout can be taxing on the body, no matter what level you’re working at. It’s important to give your body nutrients before and after your workout, so your body doesn’t eat away at your muscles for energy. It’s always a good idea to have a light snack that is dense in quality nutrients before heading to the gym. Below are the best choices for those on a LC or Keto diet.
There are many nuts easily accessible at grocery stores that are low on carbs and high in healthy fats and protein. Generally, nuts make a great snack (especially before a workout) because they’re full of nutrition without filling your body temporarily with empty calories. There are many nuts that are also known for improving your body’s HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and reducing LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
Which nuts should you be grabbing a handful of on your way to the gym while on a low carb diet? Brazil nuts and pecans both have only 4g of net carbs per 100g of munchies. These will be the healthiest option. Walnuts and peanuts are also good choices, at only 7g per 100g. Other popular nuts, like pistachios and almonds, start to tip the scale. While it’s okay to include a small amount of higher-carb nuts in your meals, they’re not the best choice eating a handful of.
The best part about a low carb diet is you can still eat addictive cheese! String cheese makes a great snack before a workout because it’s mainly composed of fats and protein and hardly any carbs. Eating one or two before you change into your gym shorts will provide you with slow burning energy that you can use throughout your workout.
When selecting string cheese at the grocery store, make sure to pick the whole milk brands. Check the ingredients list to make sure you’re picking 100% real cheese and not one of those sneaky brands that tricks you into thinking it’s all natural.
Eggs are a staple of any high protein diet. While frying up a couple eggs before a workout may not be convenient, preparing hard boiled eggs in advance makes an easy go-to snack you can pop in your mouth before you break a sweat!
At the beginning of the week, you can hard boil a dozen eggs for an easy snack. Beet-pickled eggs are also a delicious snack that takes hardly any time to prepare. If you’re just trying to add extra protein to an existing meal, slice up a cooked egg over your afternoon salad. Just make sure you chew a piece of minty, sugar-free gum before you chat up your friends at the gym!
There are many great snack recipes you can find on CarbManager, from easy to more complex and flavorful options, that will be friendly to your ketogenic diet and any low carb lifestyle. Always make sure to stay hydrated during your workout and refuel when you’re done!
By Jessica Lewandowski
Since the ketogenic diet requires a lot of healthy fat and a lot of protein, one of the easiest ways to satisfy both those needs is with meat. A diet doesn’t seem so bad if you can still eat steaks, pork chops, and chicken, right? It’s easy to get carried away, and many people don’t know what the actual recommendation for consumption of meat is. Use this handy guide to plan your weekly meals and still enjoy your favorite foods.
Fish is notoriously known as one of the healthiest meats you can eat on any diet, but particularly for ketogenic diets. Fish provides the body with Omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight bad cholesterol. The meat on fish is also incredibly lean and low in saturated fat. While you can feel safe eating just about any store-bought fillets, the healthiest fish to choose are salmon or tuna.
How often should you be eating fish? The American Heart Association suggests limiting your seafood intake to twice a week.
Unfortunately, you still need to avoid eating fried chicken (sorry, KFC), but chicken is another lean protein that can be enjoyed every week. The healthiest way to devour your poultry is to grill or bake skinless, white meat. Chicken breasts or thighs will be the most health-conscious cuts. Also, try to remove any extra fat before cooking your bird.
Poultry in general is safe to consume 2-3 per week. This includes turkey or game birds.
Red meat can be a tricky subject for dieters, since there is so much to choose from. What cuts of meat are healthy and which aren’t? How much beef should a person really consume? Typically, “lean” ground beef has only 15% fat content or less. Anything higher should be avoided. Also, look for cuts of meat that have “loin” in the name, like sirloin. Additionally, seek out the “choice” and “select” grades of beef. While “prime” grades are technically higher in quality, there is more saturated, unhealthy fat.
Red meat should typically be eaten no more than twice per week. Each serving should be about 3 ounces. You heard that right, the AHA suggests each serving of red meat be about the size of a deck of cards.
The question everyone wants to know the answer to: is bacon healthy for you? The short answer is: it’s okay. Moderation is key when it comes to pork. Pork is one of the lesser healthy options for anyone trying to lose weight, whether they’re on a low carb diet or not. Similar to red meat, you should stick to cuts of pork that have “loin” in the name. Ribs and, yes, bacon have much more saturated fat. While they’re not terrible options for ketogenic diets, they’re not the best choice.
Typically, most should limit their pork intake to once per week. Don’t go over two servings of pork per week.
For non-vegetarians, it’s easy to get large doses of protein in your diet. However, it’s easy to go overboard! Pay close attention to portion sizes, and you can healthily consume your favorite proteins every week.
By: Tiffany D. Davidson
The time of temptation is upon us, keto allies! We've made it past the bags of Halloween candy, and it just gets more difficult from here with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner.
The holidays are a common time of year to fall off the diet wagon, reassuring yourself that you'll get back on track with the new year.
But as we all know - once you fall off, it's not always easy to get your blood sugar, your cravings, your weight, and your health back on track.
That said, let's go ahead and do some preventative planning, shall we? As the saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that's never been more true...
At this point, multiple studies have confidently concluded that low-carb diets truly are the best approach for weight loss, not to mention improving overall health and preventing disease. In this article, we’ll dive into the top 10 low-carbohydrate foods that are especially helpful to lose weight, and that promote optimal health, as well.
Honey has been touted as a superfood in the world of health and nutrition, and it is undoubtedly a far healthier choice than refined sugar. There are conflicting opinions as to whether or not honey really can be part of a healthy diet, or if it is no better than other types of sugar. In this article, we’ll compare the health benefits of honey to more processed sugars, and also consider whether it has a place in your low carb diet.
Did you know that beef can (and should) be considered a superfood? Unfortunately, red meat has been largely demonized as unhealthy and at the root of heart disease, but more recent studies have debunked this myth and we now know that it offers some unparalleled health benefits. However, not all beef is created equal, so here we will take a look at the major differences between grass and grain-fed beef.
Green tea has been used historically in many cultures around the world for its many health benefits. From improved athletic performance to antioxidant support to increased brain function, green tea can definitely be considered a superfood. You might be surprised to know that various studies have now proven green tea’s ability to help you lose weight, which adds just one more impressive health benefit to this tasty beverage.
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.