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How to Avoid Boredom on a Low-Carb Diet

Keeping Your Low-Carb Eating Interesting

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Updated July 14, 2014

How to Avoid Boredom on a Low-Carb Diet
Stephanie Lynn Warga/Moment/Getty Images

One of the common reasons that people cite for stopping their low-carb way of eating is "boredom" with the food. Sometimes this results simply from a lack of understanding about what a low-carb diet is. There is a popular misconception that low-carb diets involve just eating meat all the time, for example. Unfortunately, people sometimes embark on a diet based on this and other misconceptions. No doubt about it, that would be boring!!

Don't let boredom with the food drive you away from healthy low-carb eating. You will not be able to stay on any diet when you don't enjoy the food. Here are some tips.

Focus on What you CAN Eat

OK, so sugars and starches are limited, but there are still lots of foods left! Meats, fish and other seafood, eggs, vegetables, nuts (including butters, milks, etc), seeds, some fruits, cheeses, yogurt, oils and other fats, soy beans (and sometimes other beans). Add some spices and other flavorings, (unsweetened) chocolate, coconut, and other low-sugar high-flavor foods and you'll find that there really is a wide variety of things to eat.

Find the Right Amount of Carb for You

There's no reason to limit carbs more than you have to. There are many advantages to eating more carbohydrate if your body tolerates it. You just have to be honest about your body's reactions.

Explore New Cuisines

Every cuisine in the world has low-carb options, and other dishes that can easily be made low-carb. Fajitas don't have to include tortillas (or you can use low-carb tortillas). Chinese food is just as tasty without the rice or noodles. Ditto curries.

Make or Find De-Carbed Versions of Your Favorite Foods

Don't feel you have to totally give up on foods you love -- most have low-carb versions. Many desserts can be made with sugar substitutes. Vegetables and low-carb noodles can take the place of regular pasta. Cauliflower can be used instead of rice or potatoes in many dishes (really!). Almond meal, coconut flour, flax meal, and other substitutes for flour can be used in many baked goods. This leads me to:

Learn to Cook

Cooking actually isn't very hard. You can put together some simple meals very easily -- often in less time than it takes to get take-out food, and definitely in less time than it takes to go out to eat. If you learn to cook yourself, you can have control of the ingredients, and once you get the hang of it, it often tastes a lot better, too!

Is it Really Boredom?

Many people only eat a limited number of different meals over and over again. If this has been your pattern in the past, perhaps you only need to find a few meals you like to put into those "slots". But maybe the problem really isn't boredom, it's missing your old favorite foods, or some other issue with the diet. It's a good idea to nail down exactly what you are struggling with so you can address it directly, and not just hang the label "boredom" on it.

If you miss a food to the point of fantasizing about it, try this experiment: Plan to have a small portion at a certain time of the day or week. (For example, my husband has a square of dark chocolate every night.) That way you aren't entirely depriving yourself of the food, and you know you're going to have some. Then, watch carefully for the results. Did it satisfy your craving, or just stoke the fire? If the latter, that is important information about your reaction to high-carb foods. For some people, it's sort of like being an alcoholic -- one bite leads to a binge. Others are like a friend who was really missing French fries, so he made a rule: "Friday is Fries Day". He had a reasonable number of fries on Friday, and that was enough so he could stay away from them the rest of the time. Over time, he stopped having them on Fridays, too, as a natural evolution towards a healthier way of eating. (Once you board the "healthy eating train", you may find yourself eating more and more healthy foods in a natural progression as time goes on.) Are you struggling with boredom or other issues that are making it difficult for you to stay low-carb? Get support in our Low Carb Discussion Forum.
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