A low-carb diet sometimes lacks ideas. However, eating low-carb is not as complicated as you might think at first, because there are countless great alternatives. Quick low-carb recipes are now a dime a dozen - you just have to pick the right ones, because you can fall into a few traps here too. This article presents many ideas and tips for low-carb dishes - because low-carb cuisine has a lot to offer.
What is low-carb nutrition & what can quick low-carb recipes do?
The low-carb diet is similar to the keto diet - although the latter is a really extreme form of this diet. With the keto diet, no more than 10-40g of net carbohydrates are eaten daily. On the other hand, the low-carb diet allows a little more: With 100-120g of carbohydrates, you don't have to give up vegetables that have a somewhat higher carbohydrate content, such as carrots.
The low-carb diet has the advantage of keeping blood sugar stable because carbohydrates - especially faster sugars - can lead to unwanted blood sugar spikes, which have a variety of undesirable consequences: If the blood sugar level is spiked at regular intervals, this leads on the one hand to the need to constantly release a lot of insulin. In the long term, this can lead to insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Cell ageing is also accelerated, more oxidative stress is triggered and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases increases massively1.
In the short term, blood sugar spikes lead to the body being overwhelmed with all the sugar, so it cannot even incorporate the sugar mountain properly into the cells, causing a lack of energy there. This leads to fatigue and concentration problems. In addition, after the blood sugar spike, you often feel cravings because the blood sugar level is lowered too much and the body needs much more sugar again.
The solution to this starts with the proper breakfast:
The low-carb breakfast is the best basis for the day to keep blood sugar stable. With a breakfast consisting of good fats, fibre in the form of berries and vegetables and protein, cravings can be counteracted. Some interesting ideas for low-carb recipes for breakfast follow in the next section.
Foremost, it should be briefly mentioned that carbohydrates are not bad or evil, but it is much more about the conscious use of them. Low-carb dishes are a great tool if you want to exercise less or first get rid of the flab in your midsection.
The low-carb diet has a quick effect on reducing body fat in the middle of the body. Especially the hips become slimmer quickly when low-carb meals are consumed for a while.
But carbohydrates can also be used very cleverly to promote muscle building and boost energy levels during training.
A quick low-carb breakfast
Ideally, a quick low-carb recipe is always used for breakfast - regardless of whether you also eat more carbohydrates in other ways. Breakfast is the basis for a stable blood sugar level throughout the day. However, if you exercise right away in the morning, you can refrain from doing so. Low-carb breakfast recipes don't have to be complicated, and with the right ideas you won't want for anything.
Hearty, delicious low-carb dishes for breakfast can look like this, for example:
- Scrambled eggs with sautéed vegetables
- Low-carb bread (gluten- and soy-free) with pasture butter, smoked salmon, cucumber slices and tomatoes (the quick low-carb recipe for this follows below)
- Beef steak with nuts and berries
- Beef carpaccio with olives, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and virgin olive oil
- Seed crackers with turkey breast, snack carrots and cucumber
- Low-carb French toast with avocado and goat cheese
The low-carb breakfast should not contain sweeter fruits such as banana and co. Berries, however, are considered an exception because they are low in sugar and have little effect on blood sugar levels. For those who prefer a sweeter breakfast and like to eat oatmeal, muesli, pancakes or fruit bowls, for example, there is of course a healthy and delicious alternative here too: all these dishes are also available in a low-carb version.
Some quick low-carb recipe ideas for a sweeter low-carb breakfast:
- Coconut yoghurt with rice protein powder (sweetened only with stevia or erythritol), strawberries and nuts.
- Sheep's curd cheese with blueberries and roasted sunflower seeds
- Unsweetened almond or cashew drink (cow's milk alternative) with low-carb muesli (a great recipe for this can be found in the book FIT@HOME, more on this below)
- Low-carb pancakes made with almond flour
- Low-carb breakfast casserole made with coconut yoghurt, frozen berries, egg and a few slivered almonds
- Berry-based smoothie bowl
Eating without carbohydrates - this is how it works quite simply
Basically, it's not that complicated because you can simply replace certain carbohydrates with vegetables and others with a low-carb variant. You can always find something on the go, too, you just have to put out your low-carb recipe feelers a little.
Again, for basic understanding: carbohydrates that are only consumed in petite quantities in a low-carb diet include bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, millet, muesli, porridge, any form of sugar (including sugary fruits like banana and co.) and anything containing starch.
So, all low-carb recipes have to do without sugary and starchy foods. However, this is all doable, with the following alternatives to the above carbohydrate-rich foods, low-carb recipes are guaranteed not to be boring:
Rice substitute: Instead of rice, broccoli or cauliflower "rice" can be used. This is very finely chopped broccoli or cauliflower, which is already available ready-made in the freezer in many supermarkets. Alternatively, the vegetables can be shredded in a food processor. Below is a super tasty and quick low-carb recipe with broccoli "rice".
Pasta substitute: There are now many alternatives to pasta that are great for low-carb recipes: low-carb shiraraki pasta is made from konjac flour, which actually only consists of fibre and therefore contains no usable carbohydrates/calories for us. However, these fibres are great for our microbiome, they nourish the good intestinal bacteria, make us feel full and stabilize blood sugar. In addition, vegetables can be made into spaghetti using a spiral slicer. This creates thin strands that can be used like pasta, a low-carb recipe for a beef bolognese goes very well with this. So, there are plenty of low-carb pasta recipes. Courgette, carrots and the yellow spaghetti squash are suitable for this - by the way, you don't even need a spiral cutter for them. Pasta with low carbohydrates is also available in flaxseed meal, which is also full of fibre.
Bread substitutes: For bread, there are now many great bread baking mixes that you can even bake without special low-carb recipes. Make sure that they contain only natural ingredients and are soy- and gluten-free. Low-carb flours such as almond flour, apricot kernel flour and coconut flour can be combined with egg, psyllium husks, chia seeds and many other seeds and seeds to make great crispbreads and breads. A simple low-carb recipe for a low-carb bread or roll follows after the next heading.
Sugar substitutes: Sugar substitutes can be used for sweet low-carb dishes such as desserts, chocolate, cakes and the like. However, it is important that these are of natural origin and have no influence on the blood sugar level or insulin secretion1. Sucralose, acesulfame-C, aspartame, maltitol are some examples that should also be avoided in low-carb recipes. Instead of these, erythritol, stevia, monk fruit or possibly xylitol can be used for cakes and sweets. Delicious low-carb cake recipes for desserts. Fructose, honey and maple syrup definitely do not belong in a low-carb diet either. Low-carb dishes should therefore only contain berries, if at all, as these are the only fruits that do not affect blood sugar levels and generally contain little sugar.
The cooking and nutrition book FIT@HOME, which has already been described in more detail in "Fit in the Home Office", contains numerous delicious, quick low-carb recipes that are easy and quick to prepare, fresh and healthy. There are also many ideas for quick low-carb recipes on numerous Instagram channels and on the web. However, these public low-carb recipes should always be checked for the following claims above:
- Are only natural ingredients/ no artificial sweeteners used?
- Are the oils and fats virgin and non-hydrogenated?
- Are the low-carb recipes without cow's milk, gluten, soy?
- Is the low-carb recipe rich in protein, and does it contain enough satiating fibre?
The low-carb bread recipe for strength & endurance
A bread without carbohydrates? No problem! This quick low-carb recipe for bread rolls (can also be prepared as a whole loaf if the baking time is longer) is wonderful for low-carb breakfast recipes, in everyday life, for on the go as a sandwich or as a small snack. By the way: A great tip for a special low-carb recipe for breakfast is low-carb French toast. And here is another low-carb bread roll recipe:
Makes 10-12 rolls - these can also be easily frozen in stock.
Place in a large bowl and whisk well
300g cashew coconut
Add, mix well until a homogeneous mass is formed
60g almond flour
20g linseed flour
20g psyllium husks
15g coconut flour
20g sunflower seeds
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp ground linseed
1 tsp salt
Mix everything well in a separate bowl, then add to the egg mixture & mix well.
Leave the dough to swell for 10 minutes
Then form 10-12 rolls, place on a baking tray & bake in a preheated oven at 180⁰C for approx. 20 min.
Delicious low-carb dishes for everyday life and to take away
Low-carb recipes can also be prepared effortlessly as meal-prep dishes. This makes them ideal for everyday meals and when you're on the go. A lunch without carbohydrates - even unprepared - is no problem if you know how.
The following ideas are very suitable as quick low-carb dishes in hectic everyday life, for lunch and on the go:
Greek salad with cucumber, tomato, olives, feta (made from goat's and sheep's milk), fresh tomatoes, plus a few low-carb seed crackers (recipes can be found in FIT@HOME, for example).
- 1 pack of beef ham with snack carrots and a handful of nuts (if you're just popping into the supermarket and don't have anything with you).
- Low-carb bread sandwich with smoked salmon, cucumber slices, butter and a little fresh pepper on the side.
- Low-carb dish of noodles without carbohydrates (see above), fresh vegetables and chicken breast
- Fresh salad with cucumber, carrots, peppers and boiled eggs (dressing made of vinegar, oil and an Italian spice mix)
Quick low-carb recipes for dinner
Dinner without carbohydrates? This can also be done without any problems. Low-carb dishes in the evening can look similar to those described above for lunch. However, in our experience, quick low-carb dishes are mainly needed during the day. In the evening, you can sometimes take a little more time. Low-carb pasta or a low-carb casserole, as well as low-carb pizza are cool ideas for the evening. The following ideas for quick low-carb recipes in the evening are protein-rich, delicious and versatile:
Quick low-carb recipe for the oven: oven vegetables with salmon fillet and sheep's curd cheese.
- Low-carb pizza, with a base made from flaxseed and almond flour or a baking mix, topped with tuna and vegetables
- Vegan low-carb pizza muffins with olives and tomatoes
- Beef rump steak with vegetables and herb butter
- Salad with goat cheese
- Beef patties with iceberg lettuce, mustard and salad dressing
- Chicken breast from the oven with spinach
- Fried "Rice" made of broccoli "rice", Asian vegetables and eggs, the recipe from FIT@HOME comes right here:
Bild & Text aus: "Fit@Home" von Ines Schulz © Jochen Arndt und Verlag: GU
Bild: Jochen Arndt und Verlag: GU
Conclusion on low-carb recipes
Low-carb recipes are now a dime a dozen. Many of them are super tasty, easy to implement and easy to integrate into everyday life. A few things should be kept in mind so that you don't fall into the "low-carb marketing trap" - especially with convenience food: ready-made low-carb sweets contain many allergens such as gluten, milk, soy or artificial sweeteners, which can have an effect on blood sugar levels and are therefore not suitable for a low-carb diet. The best way to do most of this is to make suitable, quick low-carb recipes yourself from fresh, natural foods. Low-carb dishes should always contain high-quality proteins (meat, fish, eggs), vegetables/fibres and good natural fats.
1 Inchauspé, Jessie (2022): Der Glukose-Trick. München: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag.