Meal Planning Monday ~ Low Carb Meal Ideas

          I love carbs!  I love pasta, bread, rice, pretzels, cake, and muffins!  However, I don’t love the effect of too many carbs in my diet: feeling sluggish, bloated, and puffy.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons they call it a “muffin top”!  I recently read an article in First for Women  magazine that showed carb-cutting for two consecutive days per week (then eating a well-balanced diet the rest of the time) was actually better for blood sugar control and weight loss than constant carb-cutting.  That’s good news, because I wouldn’t give up my beloved spaghetti, tacos, or mashed potatoes.  I thought this week I would share some low-carb dinner ideas that are so tasty, you’ll barely miss the starch!

Veggie Spaghetti ~ Instead of using pasta with my sauce, I will sauté bell peppers, zucchini, and onions cut into strips in a little olive oil.  I will use my veggie strips as the “pasta” and top it with spaghetti sauce with ground turkey or Italian style sausage.

Salad with Beans ~  I like making a big Greek Chicken Salad with baby spinach, garbanzo beans, chicken, cucumbers, feta cheese, and a sprinkling of pine nuts.  The garbanzo beans have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fiber so you feel satisfied, not stuffed.  You could also make a taco salad minus the shell and add some black beans for a filling dinner salad.

 Oven Fried Chicken ~ Find the recipe here.  The chicken is only lightly dusted with bread crumbs and coated with cooking spray.  It seems the bone-in chicken breasts in the stores are colossal, so pairing it with a side salad is plenty of food!

Foil Packets on the Grill ~ These foil packets are great because you can switch up the meat, using chicken, beef, pork, even shrimp. 

Grilled Mushrooms ~ Brush some Portobello mushrooms with a little Italian dressing and toss them on the grill alongside your steak, salmon, or chicken.  Because mushrooms are 80 to 90% water, they help to fill you up with very few calories.

            What is your favorite low-carb meal or recipe?