Healthy Low-Carb Foods vs. Unhealthy Low-Carb Foods
You may be wondering what has carbs and what doesn’t. To be clear, just because a food or meal is low in carbs doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy! In many cases, the quality of the carbs you eat is even more important than the quantity. For the sake of keeping processed/synthetic ingredients out of your diet, I recommend avoiding low-carb packaged foods — like most commercial protein bars or meal replacement shakes. These may provide fat and protein, and be low in sugar or carbs, but they’re still not beneficial overall if they contain things like processed protein powders, refined oils and artificial sweeteners.
If you’re looking for healthy low-carb snack ideas to bring on-the-go with you, your best bet is to make your own. Low-carb snacks you can prepare yourself at home — using things like nuts, seeds, hummus, coconut flour or coconut oil, protein powders (like whey or bone broth), cocoa “energy bites,” cauliflower tots, and even low-carb “sweets” like cookies, muffins or donuts. And quickest of all are making up some low-carb protein shake recipes.
When cleaning up your diet and trying some new low-carb recipes, it’s also wise to steer clear of “diet” or “light” foods that have reduced or low fat and artificial ingredients. To make up for lost fat, these products are usually made with extra flour or carbs, thickeners, emulsifiers or artificial sweeteners. And although they may not high in carbs or cane sugar, I would definitely avoid foods made with trans-fats or hydrogenated oils, which is mostly junk foods, packaged foods or fast/fried foods.
The 50 Best Low-Carb Foods
Below are dozens of healthy low-carb foods to fill your diet with:
5. Chard or collard greens
9. Green beans
11. Leeks or onions
13. Brussel sprouts
17. Carrots (moderate carbs)
Eggs & dairy
18. Cage-free eggs
19. Full-fat unsweetened yogurt or kefir
20. Raw whole milk
21. Hard cheese, sour cream and heavy cream (all are low in carbs, but very importantly I recommend grass-fed and organic dairy whenever possible, ideally made from raw milk). Cheeses low in carbs include blue cheese, cheddar cheese, goat, feta, Swiss, parmesan and asiago.
Meat & seafood
All the foods below have zero carbs. Note that I recommend always looking for wild-caught fish and avoiding most shellfish such as shrimp, which tend to be higher in heavy metals like mercury. Grass-fed beef and other fatty red meats like lamb are also fine to include, as is poultry and cage-free eggs. While some ketogenic low-carb diets include processed meats like bacon, I don’t recommend eating these unhealthy meats.
29. Tuna or cod (in moderation)
Nuts & seeds
30. Chia seeds
34. Pumpkin, sesame or hemp seeds
35. Cashews and Brazil nuts (and just about all other nuts or seeds too)
Oils & fats (all have zero carbs)
36. Coconut, olive, hemp, flaxseed, walnut or avocado oil
37. Butter or ghee
38. Palm oil
Condiments, herbs and spices
40. Herbs like turmeric, ginger, oregano, rosemary, basil, real sea salt, pepper, etc.
41. Hot sauces
42. Apple cider vinegar and most other vinegars in small amounts (balsamic, white, red, etc.)
43. Cocoa powder (raw and unsweetened is best)
44. Mustard (just avoiding high-sugar kinds like honey mustard)
45. Soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
46. Bone broth (whether to drink alone or use in recipes)
47. Teas including green, black, oolong or white
49. Herbal teas (ginger, chamomile, honeybush, peppermint, chai, etc.)
50. Fresh pressed vegetable juices or green smoothies