I’m starting the new year with intentions of getting leaner, starting by using these 10 Low Carb, Family Friendly Recipes.
At the beginning of last year I was working very hard to stay in shape. Having 2 kids and approaching 40 also has not helped – I was carrying baby weight and was noticing that I can’t rely on my metabolism to help me lose weight any more. I was already eating lots of “health foods” such as brown rice, sweet potato, avocado, nuts and dried fruits. But I was getting more and more frustrated as I was working out harder and harder yet the weight still slowly was piling on.
Little did I realise that those healthy foods I was eating are high in carbs and/or fat, even though they may be better choices. Around March I started making some simple changes to my diet, and to my great surprise the weight just melted off! Not only that, I worked out less. Yes, LESS!
By August I had lost about 20 lbs (10-12 kg) by making these few changes – namely cutting down on my intake of carbs and fat and then increasing the amount of protein. (Not necessarily animal protein. Look out for my next blog post which will be on Low Carb Vegetarian Meals).
Here is a quick list of some of the family-friendly meals I made during that time. I tended to provide some starchy carbs like rice or pita breads for them much of the time, as we all know kids (and husbands) love carbs. But beware – it is very hard to resist if it is there in front of you. So my tip for that is to put out only enough for them so you won’t even be tempted. These meals are full of colours and flavours and protein is very filling, so you will be satisfied!
- A Feel Good Salad – This salad is really vibrant and crunchy with fresh herbs, ribbons of carrot, slices of apple and soft avocado. Customise to make it veggie with chickpeas or using rotisserie chicken. The dressing is simply honey, garlic and lime juice.
- Lemongrass Pork Burgers with Spicy Zucchini, Fennel and Apple Slaw – these burgers have such a zingy flavour – they will brighten up a rainy day as they taste like sunshine! If you don’t have access to fresh lemongrass, just add a good tbsp of thai curry paste, or some grated fresh ginger instead.
- Healthy One Pan Dinner: Hot Smoked Salmon with Lentils and Roasted Veggies – One thing I’ve learned this year is that beans and lentils aren’t that high in carbs! That’s great, as they definitely fill you up and have more of a carb like feel. Be careful with the fat content of salmon – just cut back in other areas that day if you’re having salmon for dinner. For example, a typical day for me before these changes might have included peanut butter for breakfast, 1/4 avocado with my lunch and a portion of salmon for dinner, but with that amount of fat, I was still gaining weight even though they are healthy fats.
- Afghan pumpkin curry (Bourani Kadoo) – This is one of my all time favourite recipes- the taste is insane! This recipe comes from a restaurant I used to go to outside of Washington, DC. If you want to have it as a side dish instead of on it’s own, I recommend serving with these Gently spiced chicken kofte kebabs.
- Meatball, White Bean and Kale Tuscan Soup – this soup has great flavours, a light and clean broth yet is filling with all those yummy little meatballs and white beans.
- Greek Island Chopped Chicken Salad – These types of chopped salads are so pleasing – worth all the chopping I promise! Place ingredients in piles on the plate instead of tossing together and let kids pick what they want on their plate.
- Chicken or Vegetable Burrito Bowls with Creamy Enchilada Sauce – this is one of those meals you can serve with rice for the others and leave low carb for yourself. I didn’t even miss the rice.
- Lower Carb Rainbow Fishcakes with batch freezing instructions – Everybody in the family will love these multi-colour fishcakes. Use extra veggie mash for another occasion with a piece of grilled chicken or fish.
- Marmalade Pork Tenderloin – Use up the jar of marmalade lurking around in the fridge and the result is a juicy piece of pork infused with the delicious taste of orange. Serve it with Super greens stir-fry and rice for those not cutting carbs for a vibrant and delicious family meal.
- Garlic and Rosemary Loin of Lamb with Cannellini Bean Puree – This is simply a beautiful dinner. Loin of lamb is so soft and juicy and cooks in no time! Served on top of a smooth bean puree makes for an elegant dinner for family or guests.