Healthy Eating

Low-Carb Food List (Plus Free Printables!)

August 26, 2019

Low-carb diets have seen a spike in popularity in recent years, in part because of their ability to help people lose weight quickly. However, low-carb diets are home to a host of other health benefits including reduced appetite, increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, reduced blood sugar and insulin levels as well as lowered blood pressure. To follow a low-carb diet, simply limit your carb intake to around 50–100 grams per day, with the exact number dependent on your weight and health history. 

With all these benefits, you may be asking yourself “Why isn’t everyone low carb?” But low-carb diets aren’t for everyone! If you are pregnant, suffering from adrenal fatigue, or if you have a digestive disorder, you may want to avoid following a low-carb diet in the long term. Carbs are essential to the development of a fetus, assist in the function of the thyroid gland and an absence of carbs can actually alter the diversity of the bacteria present in the digestive tract.

If you are interested in diving into the world of low-carb eating, it’s vital that your diet is well rounded in whole, nutritious foods. Since reducing carbs often means eating less calories, it’s helpful to fill your plate with plenty of veggies, healthy fats and protein to ensure you’re eating enough. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of low-carb foods in every category, as well as high-carb foods to avoid. And to help you create healthy and delicious meals, we’ve also provided free printables of what to buy at the grocery store.

The Ultimate Round Up Of Low-Carb Foods

To help you transition into a low-carb diet with ease, we’ve rounded up the ultimate list of low-carb foods separated by category. It’s important to note that portion size and cooking methods may impact these numbers. In addition, many of these foods are high in fiber which may decrease the net carb amount — or the amount of carbs absorbed by the body — even further.

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Vegetables

 

  • Asparagus – Carbs: 3 grams per cup
  • Broccoli – Carbs: 6 grams per cup
  • Cauliflower – Carbs: 5 grams per cup
  • Cucumber – Carbs: 4 grams per cup
  • Eggplant – Carbs: 5 grams per cup
  • Mushrooms – Carbs: 3 grams per cup
  • Radishes – Carbs: 4 grams per cup
  • Tomatoes – Carbs: 7 grams per cup
  • Zucchini – Carbs: 4 grams per cup

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Leafy Greens

 

  • Arugula – Carbs: 0.8 grams per cup
  • Cabbage – Carbs: 5 grams per cup
  • Kale – Carbs: 7 grams per cup
  • Lettuce – Carbs: 2 grams per cup
  • Spinach – Carbs: 4 grams per cup

header image of avocados cut in half, some with pit some without a pit

Fruits

 

  • Avocado – Carbs: 13 grams per cup
  • Blackberries – Carbs: 6 grams per cup
  • Olives – Carbs: 16 grams per cup
  • Raspberries – Carbs: 15 grams per cup
  • Strawberries – Carbs: 11 grams per cup
  • Blueberries – Carbs: 21 grams per cup

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Meat

 

  • Beef – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Chicken – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Lamb – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Pork – Carbs: 0 grams per oz

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Seafood

 

  • Salmon – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Sardines – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Shellfish – Carbs: 2–4 grams per oz
  • Trout – Carbs: 0 grams per oz

header image of a bottle and bowl of olive oil, with olives scattered throughout

Healthy Fats and Oils

 

  • Avocado Oil – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon
  • Coconut Oil – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon
  • MCT Oil – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon

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Diary

 

  • Butter/Ghee – Carbs: 0 grams per oz
  • Cheeses – Carbs: 0–1.5 grams per oz
  • Eggs – Carbs: 0 grams per egg
  • Full-Fat Yogurt – Carbs: 6 grams per cup
  • Heavy Cream – Carbs: 8 grams per cup

header image of nuts and seeds in bowls and scattered on the ground

Nuts and Seeds

 

  • Almonds – Carbs: 6 grams per oz
  • Cashews – Carbs: 9 grams per oz
  • Chia Seeds – Carbs: 12 grams per oz
  • Peanuts – Carbs: 5 grams per oz
  • Walnuts – Carbs: 4 grams per oz

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Seasonings

 

  • Cinnamon – Carbs: 0.7 grams per tablespoon
  • Common Herbs – Carbs: 0–0.3 grams per tablespoon
  • Pepper – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon
  • Salt – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon
  • Vinegar (White, Apple Cider) – Carbs: 0 grams per tablespoon

header image of a mugs of coffee and coffee beans

Drinks

 

  • Almond Milk, Unsweetened – Carbs: 0 grams per cup
  • Bone Broth – Carbs: 0 grams per cup
  • Coffee – Carbs: 0 grams per cup
  • Tea – Carbs: 0 grams per cup
  • Water – Carbs: 0 grams per cup

What Not To Eat On A Low-Carb Diet

While some foods like chips, candy and other sugar-filled snacks are a no brainer to steer clear of on a low-carb diet, you might be surprised to learn that some healthy items made the list as well. Generally, anything high in starches like potatoes, grains and bananas are high in carbohydrates. Sweet (and artificially sweetened) foods also top the list. And while some of these foods can be eaten in moderation, it’s best to eliminate them from your diet altogether if you are taking on a low-carb diet to lose weight or balance out your blood sugar levels.

High-Carb Foods To Avoid:

 

  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Chickpeas
  • Chips
  • Corn
  • Grains
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins
  • Sugary Drinks

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Low-Carb Sample Menu

Low-carb foods cover a variety of categories, making it easy to whip together a meal in no time. And while not all of these foods require a recipe to enjoy, we put together a sample list of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so you can stay full and focused all week long (and even longer with leftovers!). We also created a downloadable grocery list so you can get everything you need to create these meals at home!

Monday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes

Lunch: Sliced turkey and cheese lettuce wraps

Dinner: Beef and cheese stuffed bell peppers

Snack: DIY Nut mix

Tuesday

Breakfast: Spinach, egg and cheese muffins

Lunch: Chicken, spinach and berry salad with apple cider vinegar dressing

Dinner: Zoodles and meatballs topped with marinara sauce

Snack: Garlic kale chips 

Wednesday

Breakfast: Omelette with spinach, bell peppers and radishes

Lunch: Leftover turkey and cheese wraps and a spinach salad

Dinner: Salmon cooked in ghee with mixed vegetables

Snack: Hard-boiled eggs

Thursday

Breakfast: Leftover spinach, egg and cheese muffins

Lunch: Buddha bowl with mixed veggies, kale, turkey and avocado

Dinner: Leftover zoodles and meatballs

Snack: String cheese

Friday

Breakfast: Chia seed pudding (made with unsweetened almond milk) topped with coconut flakes

Lunch: Taco salad with beef, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and avocados

Dinner: Turkey-stuffed mushrooms with brussels sprouts

Snack: DIY Nut mix

Saturday

Breakfast: Smoothie with coconut milk, berries and protein powder

Lunch: Avocado tuna salad

Dinner: Cheesy chicken and broccoli with cauliflower rice

Snack: Carrots and ranch

Sunday

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs

Lunch: Zucchini, tuna and avocado roll-ups

Dinner: Leftover chicken, broccoli and cauliflower rice stir fry

Snack: Veggies and guacamole

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Going low carb doesn’t have to be difficult. By focusing on filling your plate with a variety of healthy, low-carb, high-fat and high-protein food, you can easily improve your health while keeping your stomach (and wallet!) happy. If you are interested in the low-carb diet, but simply don’t have time to cook every night, we offer a variety of low-carb lifestyle plans (including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks) perfect for those looking to stay healthy on-the-go.

Sources: Healthline | Medical News Today

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2 Comments
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    Reply Gerry September 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    This info is very easy to understand & will help me avoid high carb foods. I will ck out Sam’s blog. I love Snap Kitchen & they are my “go-to” place for take out food.

  • Reply Helpful Hacks for Eating a Low-Carb Diet {Printables} September 19, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    […] These printable food lists and shopping lists will make things easy! Simply print, keep them on your fridge, or take them with you to the grocery store. […]

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