If you have decided to go low carb or keto and you are a tad worried about starting off, here are some simple tips:
Find a low carb veg list you like online and stick a list on the front of your fridge. If you get your food delivered or pick it up via Click & Collect, put the low carb veg in your Favourites at each supermarket website you use.
The 50 Lowest Carb Vegetables – The Definitive List (lovepbco.com)
Once you have any rules relating to the diet you are following firmly in your head OR have set yourself a daily carb allowance at a number under 130g carbs per day (better if under 100g carbs per day) grab yourself a pencil or pen. Pile up your cookbooks and watch a soap, movie or sports. Put LC next to anything low carb according to the/your rules and ‘tweakable’ if you think you can swap out the spuds, for example or change a sauce.
This should give you a good base of recipes which you, your partner and other close/extended family members know and love, with luck.
When a new low carb or keto diet book is published, no matter how successful it is, don’t buy it. Wait for the inevitable cook book, which will be published 6 – 12 months later. It will recap on the diet’s principles and there will be lots more recipes. You will also save money by buying one book, not two.
If your local library is open, take a smartphone and get a photo of any recipe you like. If you have Evernote or similar, you should be able to email the photo straight into your notes. If needs be, make sure you note down recipe title. total servings per recipe, carb count if there is one, whether it’s net carbs or total carbs and the title of the book it comes from, with author. This avoids photocopy charges. Or you could just take books home on loan and write down or scan the recipes.
Charity shops (where open) are useful, because you can flick through cook books and decide whether they are worth buying. Online charity shops and eBay are useful too and can be even cheaper than ‘chazzers’ (charity shops)
Eggs are so nutritious and versatile. They make great breakfasts and portable snacks. E IS FOR EGGS
Oven chips need not be off the table, if you use swede or turnips, instead of potatoes. 3.7g of carbs per 100g and 41% of your daily vitamin C for swedes. 3.4g of carbs per 100g, for turnips. Summer turnips are really good, peeled, sliced and sautéed.
If you run out of organic milk after 4pm on a Sunday in the UK and don’t live near a convenience store which sells it, do you live near a McDonalds ? British McDonalds outlets sell 250ml bottles of semi-skimmed organic milk.
However, milk can be frozen, as long as it has a bit of an air gap at the top, for expansion. Don’t try it with glass bottles ! Blocks of lard and butter can be frozen as well.
If fast food is your downfall, you may be surprised to learn that Dr Eric Westman MD at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, allows his patients to eat at fast food restaurants. They must have the burger wrapped in lettuce, not buns. They can have the gherkin pickles, cheese, tomatoes plus salads, but not the fries, muffins, McFlurries and ice cream.
#Research If you are travelling and are bewildered by the brands in food courts, then check out their websites beforehand and have a note on your phone, so that you are aware of your options.
Fruit yogurts even organic ones, often have a lot of added sugar. You can buy pouches of organic fruit purées for babies eg Ella’s Kitchen, without added sugar or additives and just stir some into plain yogurt. One pouch will do two breakfasts for an adult. Or unused portions can be transferred to a container and frozen for use in a low carb fruit crumble. Aldi has their own Mamia organic brand. ALDI UK
Some jars or pouches of vegetable only combo baby food can be used as a sauce, by heating, adding to 40% fat crème fraîche and adding seasonings.
Courgettes (zucchini) can be spiralized and cooked in place of spaghetti for Bolognese. Spaghetti squash doesn’t always work as sometimes they are quite fibrous.
Always keep a look out for new vegetables and products which fit in with your plan. Examples of these for us, have been konjac rice, mashed potato squash, frozen roasted onion gravy and Polish gherkins.
These Polish gherkins are incredibly cheap at 1.40 for 700g with 0.1g carbs per 100g and zero sugar. Made in Poland to EU standards, without artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Ideal for a family or barbecue. Available in ASDA and Morrisons Kuchnia Polska Gherkins – ASDA Groceries
Konjac pasta tends to be much chewier than pasta.
Holland and Barrett seems to have rejigged the recipe for their own brand konjac rice, as instead of being smaller than a rice grain, it’s now bigger. It is possible therefore, to make a decent risotto, if you use the non-traditional quick method. £1.10 cheaper than a brand for same amount, the H&B is organic too and <0.1g of carbs per 100g. Holland & Barrett Organic Konjac Rice We have these on monthly order and recommend them.
Since Iceland declared itself to be pro-Brexit, I haven’t bought Slimming World Roasted Onion Gravy 350g Iceland Foods but it’s a decent gravy, not too salty with a barely there taste of HP sauce, which I imagine comes from the tamarind and Worcestershire sauce. No nasties either. A 350g pot shared between two people works out at 9.6g carbs each, but it could serve a larger number of people. Frozen, so handy to stash in the freezer. There are other sauces when available eg peppercorn sauce and tikka masala sauce.
Much of Iceland’s fish comes from China but Iceland Fish Pie Mix 450g Iceland Foods is wild caught and great value for £4 (sometimes 3 bags for £10). Besides a fish pie with a swede and Cheddar cheese mash topping, the fish is suitable for soup and any other fishy risotto or curry type dish.
Mashed potato squash is a menu changer ! In the UK, Abel & Cole and Riverford both sold this off-white, ridged organic squash in 2021 and sold out. They will store outside of a fridge, for months, which is useful.
To cook, pre-heat oven to 180C or Gas 4. Half the squash lengthways, remove the seeds, drizzle with a little oil of choice, season if you wish and place on a baking sheet on foil or parchment, cut side down.
Cooking time will vary depending on size so 30-40 minutes for smaller, maybe 50-60 mins for larger, until tender enough for a fork to pierce the skin.
Two ways to finish. First, as mash, just scoop the flesh out and fold through butter, salt and pepper and maybe some fresh herbs. Serve with anything you would have mash with eg bangers (sausages) and onion gravy.
Second way, is to flip the squashes over and add some fried onions and sausages on top, or grated/sliced cheese.. in fact you can pretty much treat these as jacket potatoes – and the skin is edible.
Some people take the approach that low carb (under 130g) or keto (20-50g) is the only consideration. Others decide that if they are cutting down the carbs, they may as well go clean. Generally that means no artificial colours, flavourings, sweeteners or preservatives and no GM ingredients. Some people will also try to avoid processed food or limit it to foods containing five ingredients or fewer. Some people will take this further and go organic.
Prosciutto also known as Parma ham, if authentic (look for the gold crown) has just two ingredients, pork legs and salt. Look for it in Aldi and Lidl for a good price or ASDA ASDA Extra Special Parma Ham To read more about it,
FOODIE FIND: PROSCIUTTO PARMA HAM
Previously reviewed, ELLA’S KITCHEN 4 x 80g APPLE AND CINNAMON CRUMBLE is £2 at Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and 2.05 at Waitrose. Currently 1.75 with a Clubcard at Tesco for deliveries to 30/11/2. 8g carbs per pot. Reasonable size 80g pot, can be mixed in with yogurt for breakfast, eaten as a snack on the go and mixed with cream for a cold pudding. Doesn’t need to be stored in a fridge until open. Organic.
Biona organic sliced beetroot (340g) | Abel & Cole 9.1g carbs per 100g because of the organic agave syrup, which isn’t too clever. However, as the beetroot is sliced, the consumer can use a few slices in a salad, lowering the carbs therefore. Whole beetroots, be they pickled, or cooked and vacuum packed, would be too wasteful, especially as fresh cooked beetroot can go mouldy real fast, even when in a covered container.
Biona also makes an organic Kimchi, 4.3g carbs per 100g. Ifyou need to add some bulk to a salad because so much fresh produce is caught up in #BrexitShortages, try some kimchi.
Biona Organic Kimchi – Biona
From Iceland, I found Appetease, made with French cheese. 3g of carbs for the entire pack, no preservatives, colourings or added sugar. Appeteasers Mediterranean Magic 100g | Cheese Snacks & Spreads | Iceland Foods 1.79 per pack. Appeteasers Provence Mix 100g | Speciality Cheese | Iceland Foods is on offer at 1.79 per pack (normally £2) at 13/12/21. ‘Mediterranean Magic’ does include a little sunflower oil. The cheeses are really tiny, but can be used in packed lunches or as a portable snack.
This post will be updated and there may be a Getting Started page and a Tips page later.