You’re probably familiar with my Low Carb KISS Method of “keep it simple”.
One of the reasons people struggle, or fail to lose weight on a low carb diet is because they over-complicate it.
Eating low carb is (and should be) super simple. That’s actually why I chose this way of eating when I decided to lose weight and get healthy…
Because it’s EASY. 🙂
If you’re struggling to lose weight, in a “stall”, or just overwhelmed with cooking and meal planning and complicated recipes with weird ingredients… you’re really going to enjoy this post!
What I’m going to share with you here is what I am doing myself, and what I recommend to everyone I meet that is on a low carb diet – but struggling with their health & weight loss. There are two reasons this “rule” works, by the way. And no – it’s not science. It’s a suggestion. But I challenge you to try it and see if you don’t have great results. 🙂
The “3 Ingredients Per Plate” Rule
I eat a lot of “mono meals”, which basically means ONE food for that entire meal. For example I might eat pecan halves for breakfast, or just cottage cheese. I might enjoy a 12 ounce ribeye steak for dinner, or just steamed broccoli for lunch. There is actual science on this, but I recommend something simpler for you to start, which is this:
Keep your plates to a maximum of three ingredients.
At first glance, that may seem difficult to do. But it’s actually EASIER to eat simple. It takes less time to prepare meals, it requires fewer ingredients, and of course it could easily lower your grocery bill.
In addition to being easier, it actually helps with digestion. The less ingredients you consume in one sitting, the easier it is for your body to digest those foods. You’re also less likely to consume foods that conflict with each other, such as alkaline and acidic foods. There is TONS of information on Food Science (which is an insanely interesting topic for food geeks!), such as the fact that acidic foods (like tomatoes or certain fruits) eaten with a protein negatively affect digestion of that protein.
Ever wonder why you get indigestion, acid reflux, or certain meals just “don’t sit right” with you? There ya go. It’s all about Food Combining. Much of the science behind the way the LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet works boils down to Food Combining – and that’s why it works SO well. It’s brilliant stuff.
I’m not going to get all complicated and geeky on you though…
Here’s what I recommend: Try the “3 Ingredients Per Plate” rule for two straight weeks. Just 2 short weeks. That’s it. Cut out all processed products (bars, shakes, prepackaged foods, etc). Only eat real food, with a total of three ingredients or less on your plate, consistently for two straight weeks.
Easy enough, right? 🙂
Of course, you also want to pay attention to your macros and make sure you are eating a true ketogenic low carb diet. There is a difference between eating “low carb”, and a ketogenic low carb diet. The latter has tons more health benefits – and you lose weight a lot faster and much more consistently.
The goal is simple:
20 Net Carbs/Day (max) with 70% of your calories in healthy fats.
How do you track?
I use MyFitnessPal and this is how I have mine set up.
Sometimes I eat a lot less than 20 net carbs per day, some days my percentage of healthy fats is 80% or higher. And I’m not talking bacon grease and mayonnaise, but healthy fats (real foods) like: pecans, walnuts, avocado, salmon, tuna, eggs, etc.
* In my own “3 Ingredients Per Plate” which I refer to as “3IMAX” I consider real butter, Duke’s mayonnaise, and olive oil or coconut oil to be “freebies” (foods I don’t count in my “three”).
Examples of Simple Low Carb Meals
Here is a meal I ordered at a pub while out to dinner with friends. It’s a simple meal of grilled chicken, steamed broccoli & avocado slices. I scour the menu for avocado in other dishes, and often order that as a replacement side. That’s may on the right, which I dipped my meat & veggies in (just because I’m “a dipper” lol):
Here’s one of my favorite low carb breakfasts – 1/3 cup Daisy Brand cottage cheese, 2 strawberries & 1/4 cup pecan halves (6 net carbs):
(That doesn’t really count since Daisy cottage cheese alone has 3 ingredients, but it’s still simple – and depends just how strict you want to be.)
This is not real pretty, but it’s SIMPLE. I had leftover grilled salmon and avocado slices, and warmed them up with a pat of real butter:
This plate has a few too many ingredients (it’s a chicken sandwich, without the bread) but it serves as a visual example of a “simple” plate of food with meat & greens (and healthy fats):
Here’s a super easy one-skillet low carb meal of hamburger steak, sauteed mushrooms and chopped spinach:
Salmon, spinach & asparagus:
Here’s a low carb meal from Captain D’s Seafood Restaurant. It’s whitefish, shrimp skewers & double green beans. I ask for “no rice, no bread stick” and order the extra shrimp skewer:
A very simple (HUGE) hamburger steak with green beans:
One of my favorite low carb take-out orders is grilled chicken with roasted broccoli & cauliflower:
I’m sure you can think of endless delicious combinations. Like chicken thighs baked in their own skin & juices with roasted brussel sprouts. Or pan fried pork chops (in olive oil) with seared squash or zucchini and steamed broccoli.
Simple is GOOD. It’s less prep, less time in the kitchen, easier on your digestive system, easier to track your meals & macros, and it helps you focus on the highest quality foods to possibly put in your mouth. 🙂
See you there! 🙂
Lynn Terry, aka @LowCarbTraveler