Sunday, February 24, 2013

Low Carb Menu (less than 50g/day)

I ate too many Christmas cookies. (In fact, I think I ate all of them myself.) And I need to lose at least 9lbs before we head to Jamaica March 2nd! So, I browsed the internet looking at low carb/no carb diets, recipes, pins, tips, and comments. I decided I would try to devise a menu, or at least a few meal options I could tolerate, and see if I could give it a go to try and lose a few pounds before then. Now, I'm a carbaholic, so there is no way I could do without carbs. In order to be successful with my first ever "diet," it would have to be tolerable. So I decided 50 grams of carbs a day would do. And there had to be options. And meals with flavor.

Here's the menu I came up with...

(click on the picture for a bigger view)
For the Carb Counts I used, see the post here.
I evaluated my pantry and fridge and wrote down what items I still needed. I bought my groceries and did all the prep work last Sunday afternoon/night. I'm not going to lie, it took about 3-4hours. But, I didn't really have to cook much the rest of the week, and I think we tend to be more compliant if the foods are already ready to go.
What I did...
I bought two value packs of chicken. I put one in the crock pot, and my husband grilled the other pack. We used this chicken for our chicken meals, and for the chicken on our salads. We had leftovers for the freezer too.
I cooked 2 packages of bacon and 1 large roll of breakfast sausage. The sausage made 24 patties. (I like bacon, the hubby likes sausage.) Both went in tupperware containers in the fridge.
I bought 4 cartons of eggs + 1 free one I got from Kroger with a coupon. Turns out, my gut can only tolerate 1 egg at a time, so we didn't need near this many. Rather than 3 eggs each, we had 1 each morning and 1-2 bacon/sausage, and we both felt plenty satisfied. I hard boiled 6 eggs for salads. And used 8 for the cheesecake. The rest are still in the fridge. I am certain they will get used.
We had polish sausage, sliced ham, steaks, and fish in the freezer, so I didn't have to buy those. I thawed and divided the ham (for snacks/salads) ahead of time. The rest of the meats I cooked the night I needed them for dinner.
I chopped the fruits & veggies. I put lettuce in mason jars, but left the rest of the veggies in individual containers so they could be added to the salad when wanted. (Got to have options). The night before, my husband would assemble the salad he wanted for work the next day. I usually just ate my morning snack and/or leftovers for lunch, rather than a salad.
For the dinner recipes...
Day 1
 Sausage & cabbage saute: I sliced the sausage in 1/2 rounds, cooked by themselves in a pan until browned. I actually just used Benil's Pancit recipe for the cabbage saute. I basically threw all the same vegetables into a pan with a tiny bit of butter and sauteed them until soft. I added salt, pepper, and a splash of soy sauce at the end. Sliced strawberries. And brownie bites for dessert. *Now let me tell ya about these brownie bites... The cake mix package has 29 carbs. Eggs don't have carbs, and oil doesn't have carbs, but this recipe leaves them out. Instead you add 2 containers of greek yogurt (which has 8 carbs each), so you end up adding 16 carbs! I don't get it. Don't ask me, I'm not a food guru. And I didn't realize it until after I made them. Anyhow, it makes 48 mini cupcakes that are supposedly 2 carbs each. (My calculations...29 + 16 = 45 carbs. 45 carbs divided by 48 mini cupcakes is less than 1 each). For the sake of arguement, I considered them 2 carbs each, and only ate 2 at dinner.
Day 2
Chicken & oriental ramen noodle salad: We used the crockpot chicken for this meal. And this recipe for ramen noodle salad. Now, the ramen has carbs...and the dressing...and the broccoli keep an eye on it! ; ) Canteloupe chunks. And brownie bites for dessert.
*Remember, this was a low carb diet, not a NO carb diet :)
Day 3
Soft beef tacos: Just like it sounds. Ground beef with taco seasoning. I bought the low carb tortillas. We sauteed some peppers and onions, and topped them with sour cream and cheese. You could use salsa, but we skipped it. Sliced strawberries for a side. And brownie bites again for dessert. (I was going to make the cheesecake, but we still had so many brownie bites left.)
Day 4
Steak & PW green beans: My husband grilled the steaks. I made my favorite Pioneer Woman Green Beans. We had canteloupe and strawberries for a side. And I made this low-carb cheesecake. But, we didn't eat it. We were still working on the brownie bites. :)
*Note about the cheesecake... I had never made one before. I didn't care for the taste of the no-carb sugar I bought because I thought it was too sweet, so I only used 1/2 of what was called for. It needs it, so make sure to use it all. Also, I think I beat the mixture too long. And I only cooked it 1 hour and it was already overcooked... golden and cracked. I wish I would have read these tips here before I attempted to bake this! Next time, I'll keep a closer eye on it. Overall, it didn't taste too bad for a low carb cheesecake.
Day 5
Chicken & spaghetti squash: We used some of our grilled chicken for this meal. I roasted the spaghetti squash for about an hour, then scooped out the seeds, shredded the squash into a pan and sauteed it a bit more with butter, salt, and pepper. You could add parmesan cheese if you want, but watch out for the stuff in the green plastic jar....TON 'O CARBS! Use the real stuff instead. We opted for neither. Strawberries and canteloupe for a side. And cheesecake for dessert!
 Day 6
Fish packets: I found this recipe for Foil Packet Tilapia and I was intrugued. Whipped it up and threw it in the crockpot. We skipped the couscous because it has WAY more carbs than I thought it would, and substituted homemade cresent rolls I had in the freezer instead (about 11g carbs each). (If you didn't have any earlier in the day, you could of course have some). We had zucchini & summer squash saute, and strawberries/canteloupe. And I think we skipped dessert this day, but the plan was to have cheesecake.
*Note: the fish packets were blah. They actually produced a lot of water inside the packets, which diluted the "sauce" I think it was intended to have. Basically, it washed the mayo/cheese mixture off the fish so you were just eating fish. I didn't really care for it, and it grossed out my kids, so I probably wouldn't make it again. I think I would just bake it next time. Might try this recipe here.
My plan now is to try and come up with some more low carb meal options so that we can continue the "lifestyle" without it getting boring or too challenging. I have a couple in mind, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know!
Update: I lost 5lbs in the first 5 days, then it was slow moving since then. We continued the diet with a few change ups the next week (pork chops one night, finished up leftover veggies, etc). Today is the end of the second week and I finally broke through the plateau I was in...and I'm down 8lbs. My husband has lost 13. I'd say we've been successful! :)


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