Atkins diet foods are many and varied, so much so that many people are surprised at just how many different kinds of foods are allowed on the Atkins diet food plan. You still have the responsibility to select appropriately and double check the actual carb content of different foods, but you will quickly learn just how varied and interesting a low carb lifestyle can be.
The Basics of the Atkins Diet Plan
The basic philosophy behind the Atkins diet plan is that if you switch to a low carb diet your body's metabolism will adjust and start to burn stores of fat. The process starts during the induction phase when you change your eating habits substantially so that you only consume 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day. Net carbs are determined by taking the total grams of carbs in a food and subtracting the amount of fiber grams.
Once you are past the 14 day induction phase you then start to increase your daily net carb intake a little bit each week - starting at 25 grams per day, then the next week going to 30 grams per day, and so forth. As you raise your intake gradually, you pay attention to how much weight you continue to lose, until you find a level at which weight loss slows significantly or stops altogether. When you get close to your goal weight, you move into pre-maintenance and maintenance phases so that low carb choices become part of your everyday lifestyle.
Defining Low Carb Foods
Low carb foods are those that have low enough levels of carbohydrates that they are considered Atkins diet foods. In general, meats, poultry, fish, leafy green vegetables, eggs and butter form the core assortment of your low carb food choices. Some cheeses and other dairy products are relatively low carb but typically are not allowed in huge quantities while on the Atkins low carb diet plan.
Remember, though, a food which is high in carbs but also high in fiber can be eaten as part of a low carb lifestyle because the goal is to keep net carbs low, not just carbs as a whole. Make sure you read the labels of the foods you buy to determine the net carbs, and consider carrying a pocket sized carb counter with you to double check the net carb counts in fresh foods.
As the Atkins diet plan exploded in popularity over the last few years, many food producers have tried to get in on the phenomenon by promoting their products as low carb. The problem is, though, that many of these foods are not really low carb. With the exceptions of certified Atkins diet foods, you should never just believe the large print on the front that says low carb. Always, always read the nutrition label and confirm for yourself whether or not the food is really low carb.
Finding Low Carb Foods
Finding low carb foods is as easy as going to the grocery store, dropping into the convenience store located at your neighborhood gas station, or going to your favorite restaurant. Of course, some places will have a better selection of Atkins diet foods than others will, and some will also have more high carb temptations, but there is no reason for you to visit a specialty store in order to get the low carb foods you need.
Atkins Diet Foods from the Grocery Store
In the grocery store you have a huge selection of foods, ranging from fresh to processed, all of which you can check for net carb count. Processed foods will have nutrition information printed on the outside box or label, making it easy to determine net carbs. Fresh foods are a bit more difficult because that information is not printed on the food item and usually not on the shelf label. You can certainly remember a few core fresh foods that are allowable, but a really good tool is to carry a carb counter in your purse or pocket so that you can check it if you have any questions.
In a convenience store, you have to search a bit more for the low carb Atkins diet plan foods. The big display of chips, candy, cookies and more is not a place you are likely find low carb choices, but if you go a little further in you can usually find official Atkins snack bars, liquid shakes or even some fresh foods that are low carb.
Restaurants can be a bit tricky because you do not always know what is in that great tasting gravy or sauce, but most eating establishments now offer designated low carb choices. If in doubt, order your meal without sauces and other add-ons that may have hidden carbs. When you find a restaurant that serves a good selection of low carb foods that you enjoy, be sure to give the manager or owner positive feedback and make that establishment a primary choice whenever you want to dine out.
Atkins Diet Plan Meals
Atkins diet foods are much more than individual foods. They can be combined in many ways to create tasty and interesting meals, but even the most dedicated low carb follower can get tired of the same old thing. The best way to keep your low carb meals interesting is to seek out a variety of Atkins diet plan meals.
There are many cookbooks and recipe books available that are filled with low carb meal choices using approved Atkins diet foods. All you have to do is mix and match each day or each week to keep a variety of meals on the table. Another reason to have a good cookbook or recipe book on hand is for those times when you are tired, running late or otherwise need to come up with something low carb to eat when maybe you do not feel like putting a lot of effort into it. These are the times when you will be most tempted to grab something that is not low carb, so having a collection of Atkins diet food recipes close by can help get rid of that temptation.