A low carb diet plan for vegetarians
Planning a diet that does not include meat sounds difficult, and to make this a low carb diet can be quite challenging. Vegetables, fruits and cereals are the main sources of carbohydrates and energy in a vegetarian diet, so one has to carefully select the food items that are vegetarian and at the same time not very high in carb.
A low carb diet means that an individual has to increase the amount of protein or fat in the diet to meet the daily energy requirements. In vegetarian diets the type of protein is of much importance, because most of the plant proteins are incomplete (lacking one or more amino acid), so it is very important to add a variety of proteins of plant origin and not rely too much on any one source. For example, mixing lentils with cereals can provide essential amino acids in a vegetarian diet. Adding a low fat dairy product to each meal can be a good way to ensure good protein, low carb and moderate protein in the diet.
List of low carb vegetarian foods
Nuts and seeds: walnuts, cashews, almonds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.
Fruits: citrus fruits, berries, pears, apples etc.
Vegetables: carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, tomato, lettuce, etc.
Legumes: black beans, green gram, lentils,
Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, and butter.
Oils: Soybean oil, canola oil, groundnut oil, safflower oil, almond oil, olive oil etc.
Low carb sample diet plan for vegetarians
1 cup low fat milk with ½ cup dry cereal
½ cup mixed berries or a slice of watermelon
Kidney beans salad.
Grilled zucchini, mushrooms and peppers
1 cup scrambled tofu or cottage cheese
¼ cup walnuts or almonds
½ apple or orange
1 plate green salad with light dressing.
1 cup cooked low carb vegetable (like broccoli, green beans, zucchini, cabbage, carrots etc.)
1 cup low fat yogurt
Garbanzo beans patties or vegetable fajita or vegetable casserole.
Also take a look at another version of a low carb vegetarian diet plan!
Now lets take a look at approximate carbohydrate content of different foods
½ cup raw green beans 3 g | ½ cup rice (cooked) 22g | ½ cup lentils (cooked) 12 g | ½ cup raw broccoli 2g | 1 cup raw cubed potato 22g | 1 cup milk 11g | ½ cup tofu 2g | 1 Apple 19g | 1 Banana 27g | 1 slice wheat bread 12g | 1 cup Kellogg’s corn flakes 22g | ½ cup vanilla ice cream 15g | 12 oz Ginger ale 32g | 12 oz carbonated cola 35g | 1 tbsp cream cheese 0.59g | 1 oz feta cheese 1g
Complex carbohydrates should always be first choice in any diet and simple sugars should be avoided. Check labels and buy foods that contain only natural sugar and avoid the ones that have added sugars. While reading labels, pay attention to various forms of sugars added to the product, these may be listed as molasses, powdered sugar, brown sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, confectioner’s sugar etc. Getting an idea about the glycemic index of food is always a good effort towards knowing the difference in good and bad carbs, and choosing the carbs wisely. Good carbs are not highly processed, contain more fibers and do not quickly convert into glucose.
One has to be careful while planning a low carb diet. Usually diets low in carbs can also be very low in fiber, which is mainly provided by complex carbs, so one has to make sure that fiber containing foods are added daily in the diet. The main aim should be to include low carb high fiber vegetables and avoid starchy high carb foods.
Eating too little carbs can have some negative effects which should be dealt with care
Due to low carb and higher amount of protein, large amount of ketones are produced in the body, which can lead to dehydration. Therefore, it is suggested to increase water intake when following a low carb diet. Some people experience headache when they start following a low carb diet, but this usually goes away once they start drinking extra water or add some sodium to the diet.
Here are a few tips for those who want to follow a low carb diet
– Gradually reduce carbs in the diet. A sudden cut down is not suggested, because the body needs to maintain steady levels of blood sugar.
– Read food labels and identify good and bad carbs on the label.
– Do not skip meals, distribute carbs evenly throughout the day and eat at regular interval.
– Increase water intake.
– Eat balanced meals, include complex carbs, low carb fruits and veggies, low fat dairy products or soya milk, lentils, tofu etc.