When you're starting a low-carb diet, finding dinners that the whole family can enjoy may seem like a challenge. With the right approach, you can prepare meals that are as crowd-pleasing as they are healthy. Low-carbohydrate diets aren't necessarily good for everyone, so don't start anyone on a low-carb regimen without first consulting a doctor or dietitian. When you make meals like these, you can eat well all month long without once repeating a recipe.
You already know that salads are healthy, but you may not know that they can also be low-carb. The greens and most veggies you find in salads are reliably low-carb. You can add all the diced or sliced meat you want to a salad, and even some grated or cubed hard cheese. If you add the wrong kind of dressing, though, you may make the meal significantly carb-heavy. That doesn't mean you need to eat your salads naked. Look for low-carb versions of your favorites. Many ranch dressings, for example, only have 1 or 2 carbs per serving, as do some other creamy flavors, such as roasted onion Parmesan or a southwest chipotle.
Family pleasing entrees don't need bread and other carbs to be hearty. Marinated chicken, grilled salmon, pork tenderloin and broiled steaks are all ideal centerpieces for any dinner. They give you energy from protein instead of carbohydrates, but you can still get too much of a good thing. Instead of eating nothing but red meat for a month, alternate with lean meats like grilled chicken breast and seafood additions like mahi mahi and shrimp.
Vegetables are the perfect side dish when you're on a low-carb diet, but that doesn't mean you have to eat steamed broccoli with every meal. Mix things up with a medley of mixed roasted vegetables, or Asian-inspired fare like snow peas and edamame. If you have picky eaters in the family, add cheese to healthy sides or even low-carb versions of tasty dips or dressings. Skillet-seared tomatoes with a dash of melted mozzarella cheese are sweet and savory.
Despite other health benefits associated with fresh fruit, not all of them are low-carb. Fruits such as strawberries and watermelon are among the lowest in carbs, but eating these for 30 days may test your patience. Break up your schedule of all-natural desserts with indulgent treats like coconut cream pie, ricotta cheesecake and chocolate brownies. While they may sound too good to be true, they aren't; low-carb alternative recipes for these and other classics allow you to give your family their favorite desserts without sacrificing flavor.
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- "The South Beach Diet"; Arthur Agatston, M.D.; 2003
- Better Homes and Gardens: Low-Carb Salads and Sides
- Taste of Home: Low Carb Dinner Recipes
- Eating Well: Skillet-Seared Tomatoes with Melted Gruyere
- Diabetic Living: 30 g Carb Dessert Recipes
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images