- Some healthy low-carbohydrate foods are salmon, eggs, beef, and watermelon.
- Eating low-carb foods can help you control your weight and blood sugar.
- A low-carbohydrate diet is usually one where about 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates.
- Please refer to Insider’s Insider Reference Library for more information.
Low-carb foods have become more and more popular as low-carb diets like Keto or Atkins are growing in popularity.
Most people try low carb diets to achieve this
or manage their blood sugar levels, says Natalie Allen, RD, clinical assistant professor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University.
Note: There’s no specific definition of what constitutes a low-carb diet, but it usually comes down to limiting carbs to less than 135 grams per day, or about 25% to 35% of your total calories, says Kailey Proctor, RDN, oncology dietician at Leonard Cancer Institute with Providence Mission Hospital. Typically, the American diet is about 50% carbohydrates.
Depending on how much you limit your carbohydrate intake, a low-carb food is usually less than 15 carbohydrates per serving. Here are some low-carb foods that you may want to add to your diet.
Black olives give the dishes a nice saltiness.
Olives are high in fat and iron, but also low in carbohydrates. You can just eat olives or add them to omelets, tacos, or salads.
Five black olives contain:
- 1.5 g (g) carbohydrates (0.55% DV)
- 29 calories
Almonds are a delicious and easy low-carb snack.
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Almonds are high in fiber and laden
. Take a handful as a snack or add it to a salad.
One ounce of almonds contains:
- 6 g carbohydrates (2% DV)
- 164 calories
- 76 mg magnesium (18% DV)
While almonds have more calories than other low-carb foods, their high fiber content will keep you full longer, which can lead to weight loss.
In fact, a 2014 study found that patients who ate a reduced-calorie diet containing 50 grams of almonds per day lost more weight over three months than those who ate a reduced-calorie diet without almonds.
Cream cheese is a great low-carb snack to take with you on the go.
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Cheese is a delicious low-carb option that can be eaten alone or with meat or vegetables.
One slice of Swiss cheese contains:
- 0.2 g carbohydrates (0% DV)
- 43 calories
- 97 mg calcium (7% DV)
4. Green peppers
Try using green bell peppers for a stuffed red pepper meal.
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Green peppers can be eaten simply or used in a variety of recipes, from sauces and soups to meatloaf and salads. Green peppers are also rich in vitamin C, which supports the immune system.
One green pepper contains:
- 6 g carbohydrates (2% DV)
- 42 calories
- 210 mg vitamin C (233% DV)
Sprinkle the carrots with olive oil and fry for a tasty side dish.
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Raw carrots are crispy, which can help make you feel happier and eat less overall compared to softer foods. They make a great snack themselves or can be roasted and served as a side dish to a meal.
One cup of raw carrots contains:
- 11 g carbohydrates (4% DV)
- 49 calories
- 1,000 micrograms (mcg) vitamin A (111% DV)
Some of the highest sources of protein are chicken, shrimp, and beef.
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Beef is filling and is also loaded with iron, an essential mineral that helps your body produce red blood cells. Most lean meats contain almost no carbohydrates.
One cup of ground beef contains:
- 0 g carbohydrates (0% DV)
- 325 calories
- 3 mg iron (16% DV)
Note: Research shows that consuming large amounts of red meat is associated with an increased risk
, Cancer and
. So stick to lean, grass-lined cuts.
7. Plain Greek yogurt
Topping Greek yogurt with nuts is a healthy, low-carb breakfast.
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Plain Greek yogurt is filled with both protein and calcium, says Proctor. Top it with berries for a nutritious breakfast or add it to smoothies with frozen fruit and spinach.
One cup of fat-free Greek yogurt contains:
- 9.7 g carbohydrates (3.5% DV)
- 95 calories
- 16 g protein (26% DV)
Salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
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Essentially no carbohydrates, salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your heart health.
Grilled or oven-baked salmon is great for lunch or dinner. You can also buy smoked salmon from the store to add to salads.
Three ounces of salmon contains:
- 0 g carbohydrates (0% DV)
- 108 calories
- 17 g protein (28% DV)
Eggs are high in protein.
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Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat, and they are incredibly versatile. Stir them for breakfast or hard boil them to keep in the refrigerator for snacks.
One egg contains:
- 0.5 g carbohydrates (0% DV)
- 78 calories
- 6 g protein, which is about 10% DV
Watermelon is high in fiber and water, which can make it a filling snack.
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Watermelon is a popular summer food with vitamins and minerals. You can just eat it or add it to a tomato and feta cheese salad for fun.
One cup of watermelon contains:
- 11.5 g carbohydrates (4% DV)
- 45 calories
- 12 mg vitamin C (13% to 16% DV)
Insider to take away
Reducing your carbohydrate intake can help you lose weight and control blood sugar levels, but a low-carb diet can be difficult to maintain in the long run, says Allen.
If you severely restrict your intake of carbohydrates and avoid certain foods that contain carbohydrates, you may also run the risk of not getting enough vitamins and minerals, as many fruits contain important nutrients that your body needs. Therefore, to find out what is right for you, consult your doctor before starting any extreme diet, low carb or otherwise.
While reducing your carbohydrate intake can help you maintain a healthy weight, moderation, variety, and balance are keys to an overall healthy diet, says Allen. Take into account your portion sizes, your physical activity level, and the overall nutritional value of the foods when choosing what to eat.