Low-Carb Life: Why are Low Carb Recipes a Great Idea?

Sustainable Warriors 2021-05-31 12 min

As a fitness lover you may know that low carb recipes are gold dust for a low carb life. There's plenty of options for the ones who prefer avoiding bread, pasta or grains and not to miss them at all. How not to love tasty and healthy food all in one? Low carb recipes are even perfect to take away and vianda options. But, before playing the game of imagination with vitamins and proteins, why low carb recipes are, for sure, a great idea?

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Person holding white ceramic plate with low-carb food

First of All, What Carbs Are?

Carbs are biomolecules that also take the names of carbohydrates, glucides, sugars or saccharides. These molecules are made up of three fundamental elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, the latter in a somewhat lower proportion. Their main function in the organism of living beings is to contribute to the storage and immediate obtaining of energy, especially to the brain and the nervous system. This is accomplished by an enzyme, amylase, which helps to break down this molecule into glucose or blood sugar, which enables the body to use the energy to perform its functions.

There are four types of carbohydrates, depending on their chemical structure: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Each of them have different internal structures, molecules and types of bonds. Also, they can be found in different kinds of food.

Thus, simple carbohydrates that come from foods include fructose (found in fruits) and galactose (found in dairy products); and complex carbohydrates include lactose (also found in dairy products), maltose (found in certain vegetables, as well as in beer made from the cereal malt), and sucrose (found in table sugar or common sugar).

Some foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables, milk and products derived from it such as cheese or yogurt, as well as sugars and refined products (in which the supply of calories also occurs, but unlike the previous ones, they are empty calories because they lack vitamins, minerals and fiber); among them are white flour, sugar and rice. As for complex carbohydrates, these include foods such as legumes, starchy vegetables and breads and other products that include whole grains.

So, something tells me that carbs are not the devil. But, do we have to keep it simple? Or complex? Also talking about low carb recipes.

Then, Why Avoiding Carbs? What are the Benefits of Low Carb Recipes?

What happens is that simple carbohydrates give your body energy in the form of glucose. Your digestive system absorbs glucose, which is carried by the blood to the cells of your body to be converted into energy. But, glucose needs a key for this purpose. A key that allows it to enter the factory located inside all your cells. That key is called insulin. Only with this key can glucose be converted into energy. Glucose is also stored in the liver and muscles (in the latter it is used when we exercise). But, if even more glucose gets into your blood than your cells can convert to energy or your muscles can store, this extra glucose will be stored as fat.

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White ceramic bowl with red and brown beans

So, What About Fiber?

Humans cannot digest fiber, although bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of it. But even if we can't digest it completely, it is extremely valuable. One of these important reasons is because fiber works as a shield for your body to slowly absorb glucose. So it doesn't come in all at once and we avoid storing it as fat. Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet: it promotes satiety, helps maintain good intestinal health, reduces the risk of constipation, and some forms of fiber have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, which is good for your heart.

That is why fruits, even if they contain sugar (fructose), are not harmful, since the fiber they contain makes them absorb slowly. On the other hand, a fruit juice, losing the fiber, has the opposite effect and you know that all the excess glucose can be converted into fat. That is to say that many simple carbohydrates (without fiber) are mostly responsible for having kilos of fat in your body.

Then, in the refined carbs vs integral carbs competition, the refined one's will lose. And there is when low carb recipes become the perfect alternative. Vegetables, fruits like apples, bananas and strawberries, and even leguminous plants such as lentils, beans and peas would be on the winners' side. All of them have integral carbs, the ones that have fiber and are not capable of becoming fat in our bodies.

If you are tending to a plant based diet you can check this article: Plant-based Food. What are its benefits and what recipes can I cook?

An important thing to consider is the personal purpose to opt for a low carb recipe diet. You may choose to follow a low-carb diet for the following reasons:

  • Because you want a diet that restricts certain carbohydrates to help you lose weight.
  • Because you want to change your general eating habits
  • Because you enjoy the types and amounts of foods on low-carbohydrate diets.

It is important to ask your doctor before starting any weight-loss diet, especially if you have any medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

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Person having a low-carb lunch

In general, a low-carbohydrate diet includes low carb recipes that focuses on protein and some non-starchy vegetables. A low-carbohydrate diet generally limits grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables, and sometimes nuts and seeds. However, some low-carbohydrate diet plans allow small amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates account for 45% to 65% of daily calorie intake. So, if you consume 2000 calories per day, carbohydrates account for 900 to 1300 calories per day.

One of the results of a low carb diet is losing weight. Most people can lose weight by restricting calories and increasing physical activity. With low carb recipes diets, especially very low-carbohydrate diets, you can achieve greater short-term weight loss than low-fat diets. Restricting calories and carbohydrates may not be the only reason for weight loss with low-carbohydrate diets. Some studies show that you may lose weight because excess protein and fat help you feel fuller longer, which helps you eat less.

Low-carb diets that emphasize healthy sources of carbohydrates, fat and protein may help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you lose excess weight can improve blood glucose and cholesterol levels, at least temporarily.

Although low carb recipes are a great type of food, severe carbohydrate restriction can cause the body to break down fats into ketones for energy. This is called ketosis. Ketosis can cause side effects, such as bad breath, headache, fatigue, and weakness. It is unclear what kind of possible long-term health risks a low-carbohydrate diet may pose. Long-term carbohydrate restriction may lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some health experts believe that, if you eat a lot of animal fat and protein, you may actually increase your risk of heart disease or some types of cancer. If you choose to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, pay attention to the fats and proteins you choose. Limit consumption of foods with saturated and trans fats, such as meat and high-fat dairy products, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

The secret is to think about low carb recipes that include ingredients rich in proteins and vitamins. And for that, low-carb recipes with chicken are an excellent option.

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Grilled chicken with grilled vegetables

Five Ideas of Low-Carb Recipes with Chicken

Are you afraid of missing bread and pasta? As far as you try these low-carb recipes with chicken , let me assure you, this won't happen. Here you have 5 ideas, one for each work day of the week, all of them far away from boredom and starve.

Monday of Chicken Stuffed Peppers with Cheese

Nothing can go wrong with Parmesan cheese as an ingredient. But, chicken cubes extremely well seasoned, inside half peppers and covered by Parmesan cheese are a promise to perfection.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella

  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan, consider more for serving

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, consider more for garnish

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 12 ounce fresh or frozen diced chicken, pre-cooked as you prefer (boiled or roasted)

  • 4 bell peppers, cut into halves and seeds removed

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (packed or homemade)

For preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a large bowl, incorporate 2 cups mozzarella, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Blend until combined, then gently pour on chicken.
  2. Fill halved bell peppers with the mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
  3. Pour chicken broth into a deep baking dish (to help the peppers steam) and cover it with foil.
  4. Bake until peppers are tender fo 55 minutes to 1 hour. Take the cover off and roast for 2 minutes.
  5. You can add parsley and more Parmesan before serving.

Tuesday of Avocado Chicken Tacos

Avocad-ooooh yeah. Taco + chicken + best avocado ever is one of the low-carb recipes with chicken you were looking for and now you know it.

Ingredients:

FOR THE FILLING
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 1 cup canned corn
  • 1 can green chiles, divided
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar, consider more for topping
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, consider more for topping
  • 3 ripe avocados
FOR THE DRESSING
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

For preparation:

  1. Heat roaster. To make the filling: In a large bowl, blend black beans, 1/2 can green chiles, corn, Cheddar, shredded chicken, fresh cilantro and taco seasoning. Mix until combined.
  2. Cut into halves and separate three avocados, removing bone and hollowing out insides. Mash avocado pulp in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Fill each avocado boat with 1/3 cup of filling. Sprinkle with more fresh cilantro and more Cheddar, then broil for 2 minutes until cheese is melty.
  4. To make dressing: In a medium bowl, mix ranch dressing, remaining green chiles, lime juice, salt, cilantro, and pepper and stir to combine. Add the mashed avocados and mix until smooth.
  5. Once avocado boats are out from the oven, transfer them to serving dish. Sprinkle with dressing and decorate with more cilantro, if wanted. Serve instantly.

Wednesday for Greek style Chicken Stuffed Zucchini

Greek food is well known for being tasty, healthy and Mediterranean. Check this low-carb recipe with chicken for the win!

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini, cut into halves lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Chopped fresh dill sprigs, for serving
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, cut into halves

For preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven until 350°. Mark zucchini and take the insides off and put them into a bowl. Place in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are tender. Take off from oven and turn roaster to high.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, for about 5 minutes. Put the garlic in the saucepan and cook until fragrant, for about 1 minute more. Join the scooped zucchini and cook until light golden, for about 2 minutes. Put the shredded chicken and chickpeas, olives, tomatoes, and oregano and cook until the mixture is heated through, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Fill zucchini with the chicken mixture and add feta cheese on the top. Bake until zucchini is just tender and cheese is melted, for about 10 minutes more. Add lemon juice over zucchini boats, garnish with cucumber and dill, and serve warm.

Thursday of Buffalo Chicken Cabbage Wraps

Looking for a bit of spice in your life? Try cabbage leaves as a wrap for spicy Buffalo chicken. You can also use lettuce leaves.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cup shredded chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large cabbage leaves
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

For preparation:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the hot sauce and honey and mix to combine. Join the chicken and cook until warmed throughout and coated in sauce, for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange the cabbage on a serving platter. Fill the cabbage leaves with the chicken mixture and top with the blue cheese and celery. Sprinkle the cabbage wraps with the ranch dressing. Decorate with chives and serve.

Friday for Enchilada Chicken

Chicken breasts won't seem boring with enchilada sauce. Great option for a low-carb dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • Lime slides, for serving

For preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, put together enchilada sauce, cumin, diced tomatoes, chili powder, lime juice and garlic. Season with salt.
  2. Put chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish and season both sides with salt. Pour over the sauce and bake until chicken is cooked, for 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Bake chicken with cheese on the top until it melts, for 3 to 4 minutes more. Decorate with cilantro, olives, and avocado, and serve with lime slides.

Hope now, you know better why it's a great idea to prepare and eat low carb recipes. Once and again: how nice it´s eating healthy and delicious food! Do you already have the ingredients for tomorrow´s low carb alternative? Start with chicken and season and everything it's going to be ok!

Sustainable Warriors

Typewriter, earth warrior and curiosity lover.

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