Low carbohydrate foods: they are easier to find than you think. Many food groups are naturally low in carbohydrates: think for example of vegetables, meat, cheese and eggs.
But at the same time, the supermarket is packed with carbohydrate-rich foods such as white pasta, rice, bread, biscuits, sweets, cakes, fruit juices and soft drinks. How do you now make sure you avoid these products as much as possible and always make a good choice?
In this article we give you our favourite low-carb foods, sorted by category and a complete list of healthy and low-carbohydrate foods. This will make your low-carb life even easier!
Go to the complete food list or view all Atkins reduced carbohydrate products.
Discover the low carb Atkins products
Ketosis is a metabolic process and occurs when you reduce your intake of carbohydrates. Normally, carbohydrates are utilised by the body for energy. When you reduce carbohydrates, your body will look for another source of energy. This is when your body breaks down fat as a source of energy. This comes from the fat you eat, plus body fat. This process is called ketogenesis or ketosis. This typically occurs when carbs are reduced to 20g or less, per day, so similar to Phase one of Atkins.
This process is explained in the video below:
Low carbohydrate vegetables
Probably the most important food group in your Atkins lifestyle. Many vegetables are naturally low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins and minerals.
Nevertheless, there are some vegetables with a higher carb content. Vegetables that grow above the ground are low in carbohydrates whereas vegetables that grow under the ground contain more carbohydrates. Think for example, beetroot and carrots.
These are the eight best low carb vegetables.
1. Celery Carb: 1 gram per stem.
Celery is a delicious vegetable and contains about 95% water. So low carb! This vegetable is good with a salad but is also good in casseroles or even in a sauce made with mayonnaise and avocado.
Perhaps the most trendy vegetable of the moment: courgette. And the hype is not for nothing.
This vegetable is so versatile that you can even use it as a base for low-carb pasta dishes. Think lasagne or spaghetti (courgetti). At the same time courgette is delicious in stir-frys. Also try one of our delicious recipes with courgette:
3. Red peppers Number carbohydrate: 4.6 grams per 100 grams
Granted, the red pepper is not the most low-carbohydrate vegetable that exists. But why is it on this list? This is due to the fact that peppers are delicious and sweet tasting and, for a sweet vegetable, they have low in carbs! Plus the red pepper is packed with vitamin C.
Also Cauliflower is a vegetable that's becoming very popular as it's very versatile. This vegetable has a unique texture, making it an ideal vegetable to make a rice alternative - cauliflower rice. You can also use your cauliflower an alternative version of mashed potatoes, sushi or even pizza crust!
Another kind of fruit which lends itself perfectly as a dessert. If you stick to a wedge, you can cantaloupe excellent fit into a low-carb lifestyle.
13. Apricot Carb: 4 grams each
Low carb meat / fish / poultry
Meat, fish and poultry is almost always low in carbohydrates. Another advantage is that you have many other nutrients that are very important to your health. Meat and poultry are rich in protein and fish is often packed with healthy fats.
These are the best meat, fish and poultry for your Atkins lifestyle.
14. Chicken Carb: 0 grams
Chicken is always a good idea! Mix it in a salad, take it on the grill or make one of our favourite chicken recipes.
Turkey is relatively cheap and packed with important nutrients. Try replacing ground turkey for ground beef or turkey instead of chicken.
16. Beef Carb: 0 grams
Beef is packed with iron and vitamin B12 and is also low carb. Note that with cuts of beef, there are often additions which can add carbohydrates. So always try to go for the regular untreated/unmarinated versions of beef.
17. Pork Carb: 0 grams
Pork also fits into a low carbohydrate lifestyle. Look, however, always on the label to check that there are no added sugars. Especially if you choose, for example, bacon or salami.
18. Lamb Carb: 0 grams
Just like beef lamb also contains Vitamin B12 and iron.
19. Herring Carb: 0 grams
Oily fish, such as herring, is a good source of omega 3 fats.
20. Salmon Carb: 0 grams
Salmon is one of the most popular fish and with good reason. It's delicious, it is also very healthy as salmon contains essential omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains vitamin B12, iodine, and vitamin D3.
Because it is so tasty and healthy we have several different recipes prepared with salmon, including:
Just like salmon, mackerel is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin D3. An additional advantage of the mackerel is that it also has additional antioxidants in it.
22. Tuna Carb: 0 grams
A delicious fresh tuna steak or tuna salad, both equally good and both very healthy. Plus it is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
23. Shrimp Carb: 0 grams
Another delicious, healthy and versatile species. Shrimp contain many vitamins and minerals. Think of sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. As well as, vitamin B1, B2, B6, B11, B12 and vitamin C, and D.
Low carbohydrate dairy and oils
Semi skimmed milk has always been the most popular in the UK but now we're hearing more and more about the health benefits of whole milk.
At Atkins, we've known for some time that full fat dairy is the best but great to know that it's becoming common knowledge. Think full fat yoghurt or Greek yoghurt!
24. Cottage cheese Carb: 3 grams per 100 grams
Cottage cheese is a really underestimated product. This cheese is full of protein and is therefore well suited to a low-carb lifestyle. It's great on it's own or put onto celery stalks and enjoy!
25. Gouda cheese Carb: 2 g per 100 g
The famous Dutch cheese fits perfectly in this list of low carb products. Gouda cheese is also delicious as a snack to eat. For example, in cubes, or on top of an Atkins cracker, or on slices of cucumber.
26. Eggs Carb: 0 grams
Which food do you think of when you think low carbohydrates? Right, eggs! Therefore, eggs should definitley not be missing from this list.
How do you prefer to cook eggs? Boiled, fried, poached? Or do you prefer an omelette or scrambled eggs?
Butter is popular again! Spread onto an Atkins cracker, butter is rich in flavour and full of healthy fats.
28. Full fat yoghurt Carb: 5 grams per 100 grams
Yoghurt can be mixed with Atkins muesli or for a light dessert. Yoghurt contains probiotics that are good for your intestinal flora.
29. Greek yogurt Carb: 5 grams per 100 grams
You can substitute regular yogurt with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt tends to have a bit more protein than regular yogurt.
Atkins recipes with Greek yogurt:
30. Cream Carb: 2 g per 100 g
Yes, you read that right. Cream is on this list! Of course we are talking about single or double cream, not the sweetened, aerosol variety. Add a little natural cream in your coffee, Fat is essential on Atkins and make you feel fuller more quickly, and for longer!
Do you have some more time? Whip the cream and sweet this with some sweetener, garnish with cinnamon.
31. Extra virgin and virgin olive oil Carb 0 g per 100 g
If you're going to bake it is probably virgin olive oil you will use as it's good with heat. For cold use, the best oil is extra virgin olive oil. This olive oil is the highest quality but do not overheat.
32. Coconut oil Carb 0 g per 100 g
Coconut oil has been becoming trendy for a while now and every health shop sells this oil. Coconut oil is a stable fat and is excellent for baking."
Dairy to avoid:
All 0%, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. Often these products contain more sugars than full fat milk.
Low carbohydrate snacks
If you think you should not snack on a low-carb lifestyle, then you are wrong. How about a bowl of nuts or a bowl of olives? Or try our super simple recipe for cheese chips? Read below our favourite snacks!
33. Olives Number carbohydrates 6 g per 100 g
Olives are, in our opinion, the best low carb snack. Always read the nutritional value on the label because the number of carbohydrates can vary by brand and type.
Try to buy plain olives, then season them yourself with a few cloves of garlic, thyme and olive oil. Enjoy your meal!
34. Pecans Carb: 4 grams per 100 grams
Most nuts fit the Atkins lifestyle, as does the pecan. Also pistachios and cashews but they contain considerably more carbohydrates.
Note, peanuts are not nuts, but are actually legumes. You can add peanuts from Phase 3.
35. Brazil nuts Carb: 4 grams per 100 grams
The Brazil nut is the largest of the nut family and this snack is perfect for a low-carb lifestyle.
36. Dark chocolate, 86% cocoa Number of carbohydrates: 19 grams per 100 grams
We understand that, now and again, you might feel like a piece of chocolate. Always go for the darker version of chocolate which is lower in carbs and aim for the highest percentage of cocoa per bar. A small piece of 86% chocolate fits well in a low carb lifestyle!
37. Flax Crackers Number of carbohydrates: 0.5 grams per serving
These flax crackers are a great alternative for a high carb cracker. Try it yourself with this recipe.
38. Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks Number of carbohydrates: 1.5 gram per serving
These cheese-topped cauliflower breadsticks have a satisfying crispiness, making them perfect with dips. You can find the recipe here.
39. Atkins Chocolate Chip Crisp bar Number carbohydrate: 1.6 grams per bar
This Atkins bar is delicious and nutritious and great as a snack on the go.
Staying hydrated is very important on Atkins. And it goes without saying that sugary soft drinks and fruit juices do not fit the Atkins lifestyle. Fortunately, there are plenty of drinks you can enjoy.
40. Water Carbs: 0 grams
By far the most important drink on Atkins. Try to drink up to 2 litres of water a day
It can also fine in the form of coffee and tea. You can all count to reach 2 liters per day.
41. Sparkling Water Carbs: 0 grams
Of course you can also opt for sparkling water if you prefer. Check the label to ensure it's no added sugar.
42. Sugar-free soda Carbs: 0 grams
Most diet sodas contain no sugar at all. Usually they are sweetened with sweeteners. Do not be afraid of sweeteners, as they are a much better option than added sugar.
Treat 'light' fruit drinks with caution. These drinks tend to have a fruit juice base so sometimes still contain a lot of carbohydrates. Always check the nutrition label, the fewer carbohydrates, the better.
43. Coffee Carb: 0 grams
Coffee is also a great low carb drink to drink. Obviously without sugar. You may have some single cream in your coffee if you prefer or even a sweetener if you prefer a sweet coffee
Coffee contains caffeine which can adversely affect some people, if you find this is the case with you then you're probably better opting for decaffeinated coffee or other beverage.
44. Tea Carb: 0 grams
Tea also contains caffeine, but in a smaller amount. There is plenty of choice of decaffeinated tea.
45. Broth Number carbohydrate: 0.1 grams per 100 grams
Yes, also broth/stock counts as part of your hydration. You can choose a stock cube that's vegetable, chicken or beef. Also always look on the label to ensure it's really low carb.
Drinks to avoid:
Sugar-rich soft drinks (regular versions of cola, orange, 7-Up, etc.)
Low carbohydrate alcohol?
Some alcohol drinks are low in carbohydrates, which is good news. But they contain alcohol which can affect glucose and insulin levels in the blood. Your body will burn alcohol as fuel before other macronutrients so can slow weight loss alcohol.
If you do have alcohol, plan in advance and accept that you may see a stall on the scale. Once you've reached your desired weight, you can enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer.