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What's for Low-Carb Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner? #1 (Through July 18, 2013)

There was some recent discussion of starting a low-carb cooking thread on a diabetes-related thread, so I decided I'd get the ball rolling! Taking a cue from the Home Cooking board, I thought it would be good to number the threads and start new ones as they get long and unwieldy - I'll be glad to keep track of that if there's enough interest to keep the threads going.

Anyway, as I mentioned on the diabetes thread, my 15-year old stepdaughter is staying with us this summer, and has decided to try LC with me and her dad. She has probably 100 lbs to lose and has had very limited success with Weight Watchers and the like.

I lost about 60 lbs on Atkins 13 years ago, and have kept it off (mostly) with a low-carb lifestyle. DH has also had success with Atkins, although his weight has crept back up a bit of late (too much beer!). However, DSD is not a huge fan of meat, especially fattier cuts, so we thought a South Beach approach might work better for her. We're starting Phase I today - it's going to be a major shock to her system, I'm sure.

Given that she is lazy about food prep and also a complete disaster in the kitchen, I prepped some things for her last night to eat for breakfast/lunch while we're at work - hard-boiled eggs, pre-washed/sliced lettuce and salad veg with blue cheese dressing, fully-cooked chicken burgers that she can nuke. Dinner will likely be Asian chicken lettuce wraps with peanuts, vegetables and a spicy sauce.

What's cooking in your LC kitchen today?

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  1. I am LCing along with my H, who has to do so to keep his blood glucose in check.

    We love eggs, so breakfast usually is an egg of some sort. Today we had hard boiled eggs with grilled tomato slices. I'll sometimes do a kind of egg "burrito" with cheese and roasted red peppers in a lc wrap.

    Lunch for me was a caesar salad with feta cheese at work. H had his minus feta plus tuna.

    We grill all year round. We're going to grill zucchini (ours is not up yet) with marinated steak tips tonight that we got on the cheap from our local market. We make our own marinade so that we can control the sugar.

    We have a salad with every lunch/dinner. Last night it was dinner, with leftover cooked shrimp over wilted greens with grape tomatoes.

    There are lots of "picky" foods that can be lower carb. Colorful veggies and dips, mini frittatas (frittate?) in muffin tins, a couple of squares of good dark chocolate (70% or higher).

    What will she do to keep occupied during the day? Are there tasks/hobbies that she can do that will keep her away from sugary foods? Dog walking? Plant watering?

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Well, thus far she has been mostly sleeping during the day, LOL. She just got here, so we haven't come up with a schedule yet, but we'll be assigning her some chores to do while we're at work for sure. There is a nice park within walking distance of our apartment, so she can go over there anytime she likes for some exercise. She's generally pretty happy to practice her guitar and surf the internet during the day, though.

      As for staying away from sugary foods, there aren't really any in the house, or at least not any that are easy to eat. I do bake occasionally, so I have flour/sugar/etc., but since she can't really cook, I doubt very seriously that she's going to go get creative with my raw materials. I should probably find a hiding place for the chocolate, though, at least for the time being - it's 80%, which is fine for Phase II, but not for Phase I.

    2. I bet she would like Buffalo chicken wings. The butter and hot sauce are carb free. Just bake the wings in the oven using a cling free foil. I use " release" , but i think they discontinued it. You may need to broil them at the end. I pour off the fat about half way through. Blue cheese dressing is carb free, too. A little celery won't hurt much.

      Left overs make a good lunch or snack.

      3 Replies
      1. re: barbaract

        I just bought the Reynolds Release (on sale, even!), so it is still being sold. It makes so much difference when cooking things like chicken wings.

        1. re: Terrie H.

          Just read this. I LOVE the Reynolds Release.
          Carry on with this thread now. (slinks away)

          1. re: pinehurst

            I actually checked the box, and it is now labeled "Heavy Duty Non Stick" rather than "Release," but it appears to be the same product.

      2. South Beach is just a lower fat, higher grain version of Atkins, Agatston used to work for Dr. Atkins.

        I think the low fat and reintroduction of grain is why so many folks fall victim to cravings so soon after they go off the induction weeks.

        That said, you can just do a lean meat and reduced fat dairy version of Atkins and skip the additions of grains in South Beach, maybe?

        I had another thought about baking CarbQuik or other low carb type breakfast muffins or a casserole dish. I mix about 10 eggs, some ham or pancetta dice, onion, shredded cheese, s and p and bake til getting firm, but not dry, so it can be reheated without getting dry one serving at a time. Or muffin.

        7 Replies
        1. re: mcf

          Yes, I actually reread the South Beach book today and was reminded of why I didn't like the plan in the first place - the induction phase is a blatant rip-off of Atkins, with a totally arbitrary insistence on lower saturated fat. For instance, full-fat mayonnaise is allowed (because soybean oil is a "good" fat) but full-fat yogurt isn't. Ridiculous. I also think he allows way too many carbs way too soon, especially if you're dealing with cravings.

          That said, semantics are important to DSD - her mother has told her over and over again how Atkins will kill you, so we need her to think she's on South Beach (and she will be, since the induction phase of SB is basically the same as Atkins, with leaner meat). We'll definitely hold off on adding grains much longer than SB dictates, but we'll be a little looser with vegetable carbs and dairy carbs than required by Atkins after the first two weeks.

          Anyway, tonight's lettuce wraps were a hit, and I made some taco meat and tuna salad to stick in the fridge for easy meals tomorrow. I love your breakfast muffin idea - I actually do something similar but without the CarbQuik, so it's more like a crustless quiche. I haven't used low-carb baking mixes very much, but I'll definitely give CarbQuik a try if this diet seems to be sustainable for her.

          1. re: biondanonima

            I like many of the SB recipes. I don't eat grains (in general) and I find a lot of interesting recipes in there. I think I have 2 of those cookbooks. They have good ideas for meat and veg dishes.

            1. re: sedimental

              Changing her diet is going to be really hard for her. I like to reward myself with treats such as the occasional piece of dark chocolate. Somewhere in one of those SB books is a recipe for crustless quiches made in small muffin tins. They were pretty good and you can make a batch for the week. It was an omelet mixture with spinach and nonfat cottage cheese. The cottage cheese adds protein and gives the eggs a creamier texture. If she's always on the Internet, ask her to research recipes for you. Give her the protein and the total number carbs. Ask her to find a recipe and come up with a shopping list. Then ask her to go shopping in your kitchen so that she can cross those off her list. The only way you improve your cooking skills is by doing.

              At 27, I became a type 1 diabetic and my life changed overnight. It was really hard and I can't imagine trying to do that at 15. Good luck!

            2. re: biondanonima

              I've done a modified SB thing on and off over the years, and I recently did a check-in with the SB program - it has changed a lot in some ways since the original book. The big change that stood out for me was the fact that skim milk is now a major player during Phase 1. I was happy to see that, since I have always allowed myself more dairy than they originally recommended.

              1. re: Wahooty

                That kind of thing is why so many folks never lose their cravings on SB, though. The lactose that's higher in skim milk is on a par with orange juice for pulling hypoglyemics out of a hypo, it's that spikey.

                1. re: mcf

                  Curious - where did you hear this, mcf? Because everything I have read says that lactose has a very LOW glycemic load, since it isn't actually broken down until it reaches the intestines.

                  1. re: Wahooty

                    The ADA recommends it for hypos.

                    I've often seen type 1 diabetics discuss it as one of two options for raising bg during a hypo in forums. I know from experience of my own in the past, when lactose intolerant, that it takes mere minutes to feel very uncomfortable after eating or drinking something with lactose, too.

                    Milk sugar may be slower than juice to be fully digested, but the protein in milk should prevent a plunge back down, unlike juice.

                    GI charts do not accurately predict how individuals respond to various carbs. But skim milk is higher in sugar than full fat. A lot of low carbers water down half and half to the fat content they want rather than buy skim for that reason.

          2. Tonight I made a cubano pressed sandwich. I used those sandwhich thins (20 carbs minus fiber and 100 calories) thin sliced pork, ham, pickles, cheese and mustard. Wrapped in foil and pressed with two cast iron skillets until flat and melty toasty. Yum. Sides were salads of heirloom tomato/burrata/basil and one of Persian cuc's and a dip of yogurt and tahini with a bit of braggs and garlic. I was all over the map "ethnically speaking"! Delish. My "pairing" was LC beer...yes...it was a good choice :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              You reminded me, been keeping salad made from small mozzarella balls in the fridge, containers were on sale at Fairway. I just halve some grape tomatoes, add fresh basil, garlic (optional) EVOO s and fgbp.

              1. re: sedimental

                That sounds awesome. Pork tenderloin is on the menu for tonight so now I know what to do with the leftovers - breadless Cubanos!

              2. I did a little protein powder experiment this morning - I have a vanilla flavored powder that has only 1g of carbohydrate per serving, so I whizzed a couple of scoops of that with some eggs and cream cheese in a blender, then cooked them like pancakes. They're actually not bad - a little fake sweet, but ok. She was definitely jonesing for a sweet/carby treat last night before bed, so hopefully these will do the trick.

                22 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima

                  Next time you are at the store, get some ricotta. Ricotta cheese "pancakes" are lovely with a pat of butter or some sliced strawberries.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    Yes, they're very much like the texture of grain pancakes, too.

                    Also, breadless pudding, not my recipe and I had to cut the sweetener a lot for my palate, so taste test as you go and use drops if you want to, not a half cup:

                    3 eggs
                    3/4 cup heavy cream
                    3/4 cup water
                    1 cup cottage cheese
                    1/2 cup artificial sweetener or equivalent
                    1 teaspoon vanilla
                    cinnamon -- to taste

                    Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and blend several minutes until as smooth as possible. Pour into a 8X8 buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until well browned on the top.
                    Note from Contributor: The texture is so much like bread pudding that it is bizarre--also makes the house smell awesome.

                    For the pancakes, you can make sugar free maple syrup taste so much better by adding some natural maple extract to the bottle... really richer, more like the real thing.

                    Some Atkins dieter used to just add a spoonful of sf instant pudding powder to whipping cream for a fast mousse like dessert. One could probably use cocoa and liquid sucralose, maybe a tiny bit of corn starch?

                    1. re: mcf

                      Hm, this sounds interesting - and something that could be made in quantity and reheated in small portions. I'll have to give it a go!

                      1. re: mcf

                        mcf, that pudding sounds wonderful! But I need you to enlighten me on the sweetener amount, if you would? My experience with artificial sweeteners all came from growing up with a Type 1 diabetic sister, and the sweetener in our house was the Sweet-10 liquid, so I can't even imagine how to figure equivalency with any of the newer sweetening products. I generally use coconut sugar for sweetening; would your given amount of 1/2 c be roughly what I'd want of the coconut sugar? (I share with you a preference for the less-sweet.)

                        1. re: cayjohan

                          I have no idea, only that the recipe calls for the equivalent sweetening of 1/2 cup of sugar and that's too much for me. I know that liquid sucralose I buy (sweetzfree) has the number of drops per cup on the bottle. I think you can just taste test the batter after each small addition; that's about how sweet it's going to be when it's cooked.

                          I haven't used coconut sugar, or I might be able to comment on that.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Okay, gotcha...I was confused as to whether it was the equivalent of a half cup of artificial sweetener or the equivalent of a half cup of sugar; thanks for clearing that up. I'm told the coconut sugar measures like sugar, so I'll start low and see. Sounds like a delicious recipe, and one that has a lot of potential for switching up flavors!

                      2. re: pinehurst

                        Great idea. Ricotta is too high in carbs for Atkins induction but it works for South Beach, and I'm sure DSD would enjoy them!

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          It occurs to me that Greek yogurt might work, too, and has plenty of protein.

                          1. re: biondanonima

                            Use cottage cheese. More protein, fewer carbs, & it gives the "pancakes" more substance/body than Greek yogurt does.

                            Edit: I just remembered you're in NY, so you can get your hands on Calabro ricotta. Some Whole Foods Markets carry it, or check a local cheese shop. Only 2g carbs per serving. It's good stuff, I wish I could get it out here in LA!

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              In San Francisco, WF and Lunardi carry Calabro ricotta; maybe you could request it from your WF.

                              1. re: walker

                                Really? I was told by Calabro customer service a few years ago that there was no distribution to the west coast. I'll have to look into it again. Thanks!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  On your behalf, I emailed Calabro; here's the reply:

                                  Thank you for your inquiry.

                                  We sell Calabro to:

                                  1. Claro's Markets in Los Angeles, http://store.claros.com/page.htm?PG=L...

                                  2. Bay Cities Italian Deli, (http://www.baycitiesitaliandeli.com/

                                  3. I & M Imports 918 N Lake Ave , Pasadena

                                  (# 2 seems to be in Santa Monica

                                  )

                                  Fiorella

                                  Calabro Mid-Atlantic Office

                                  (856) 642-6277direct

                                  fiorella@calabrocheese.com

                                  1. re: walker

                                    That was SO kind of you. I *just* asked the cheese counter at my local Whole Foods to look into it for me, but I'll be in Santa Monica tomorrow so I'll swing by Bay Cities. Thanks!

                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Fairway and Wild by Nature have Calabro, too.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  How could I forget about Fairway? My favorite supermarket. They need to get going on their national expansion immediately, and I personally think they should start with LA :)

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I know, right?

                                    Wild by Nature isn' much, I drive by it on my way to Fairway and WF even though it's in my neihborhood, but it's a King Kullen store, and my guess is KK may also have Calabro. Fairway has the fresh stuff, in metal containers with drain holes, too.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      Good to know - I generally make my own ricotta, though. I much prefer the texture to anything I can buy in a store. I've never tried the Calabro brand, however.

                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                        The good stuff at Fairway is in the case facing the cheese dept, I think, they keep moving stuff. It's not in the dairy aisle with the less home made ones.

                                        ETA: not 100% sure it's Calabro, may be a brand with a B name. very good, though.

                                      2. re: mcf

                                        Uncle Giuseppe's also carries the fresh Calabro and I think I have seen it at North Shore Farms as well.

                                        1. re: EM23

                                          I verified today that the fresh brand in the tin at Fairway is Calabro. The texture on the drainage hole tin contents is just wonderful.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            Agree 100%! It is absolutely delicious. Because of this thread, I added ricotta to my shopping list:)

                            2. re: biondanonima

                              Try ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese. Add a little splenda. Wisk, don't whiz, add some flax seed for fiber. about a quarter cup of ricotta to one egg, 1 to 2 scoops protein powder and maybe a tablespoon of splenda. You will have enough pancakes for 2 or 3 breakfasts. They nuke just fine to reheat. Good with sugar free syrup, splenda, or whiz some berries in the blender.