Low-carb diets tend to decrease refined carbohydrate consumption, which means less processed food and less sugar. Low-carb diets also generally call for an increase of other macronutrients such as healthy fat and protein, both of which keep your tummy full, increase muscle mass, decrease adipose fat, aid in healthy weight management, and help your body absorb more nutrients.
No matter the reason for the switch to a low carb diet, one of the most aggravating issues is hunger.
Carbohydrates have a way of satiating hunger, yet, with carbs, how long that satiety lasts depends on the type. While healthy carbohydrates — think squash, quinoa, and oats — extend satiation via protein, healthy fat, and high dietary fiber, the wrong carbs — think white flour, refined carbs — can make you feel full initially, but will make you hungrier in the long run.
So you want to give the whole low carb lifestyle a try, but you don’t want to be hungry all the time?
All you gotta do is increase your consumption of healthy fat, protein, and dietary fiber!
Luckily, there are a host of plant-based, low-carb options that are also super filling. When it comes to fruits, go for “blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, peaches, kiwis, grapefruit and clementines.” Looking at non-starchy veggies? Try integrating “celery, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, mushrooms, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, radishes, and asparagus,” as well as “green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens.” Think you’re never going to have grains again? While grains are technically a high carb food, there are a few varieties that have high fiber content, which counteracts and slows the digestion of carbs. These grains include oatmeal, bulgur, and buckwheat.
These foods are also high in protein and healthy fats and are also generally nutrient-rich, so you’re not only cutting carbs and filling your tummy, but you’re also giving your body all sorts of plant-based goodness.
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!
1. Blueberry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark
Maybe you think low-carb means giving up on that delicious chocolate that you’re so in love with? Not true! Just make sure to choose at least 80 percent or higher without any added sugars. This Blueberry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark recipe by Cathy Elton is the perfect mixture of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and carb-friendly blueberries.
Celery is a great go-to low-carb veggie to keep in your fridge for those times when you just need a crunchy snack! To make celery filling, you’ll need to put a little more work into it, such as this Pickled Celery recipe by Magdalena Pienkos. Pickled foods go through a fermenting process, meaning it’ll move slower through your digestive tract making you feel fuller longer!
Even though low-carb means cutting most of those grains and wheat-based products, oats are a great grain option that happens to be lower-carb and incredibly rich in fiber. This Savory Mushroom Oats recipe by Meredith Youngson mixes oats with low carb favorite mushrooms for a savory dish to be consumed every once in awhile on a plant-based, low-carb diet.
This Lemony Berry Salad recipe by Jesse Lane Lee is the perfect sweet treat without the sweet sugar! It’s filled with all those wonderful low-carb fruits including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, plus there’s still a slightly sweet and spicy kick from the mixture of cinnamon and lemon. Add the optional full-fat coconut milk for that satiating healthy fat!
Talk about the best of all worlds! This Pesto and Olive Stuffed Mushrooms recipe by Evi Oravecz contains low-carb (yet filling!) mushrooms stuffed to the brim with wonderful (and, yes, filling!) healthy fat-filled olive oil, olives, and walnuts.
Cantaloupe may surprise you as one of those low-carb diet-friendly foods, but it’s a great sweet treat to have on hand to kick off that low-carb, low-sugar diet! This 2-Ingredient Cantaloupe Ice Cream recipe by Bianca Haun is incredibly simple — there really are only two ingredients, cantaloupe and banana — and four easy steps!
One of the friendliest, easiest-to-use, and diverse veggies on the low-carb menu, this Artichoke Pesto Zucchini Noodles recipe by Julie Zimmer is that perfect substitute for those high carb pasta dishes you crave! Filled with flavor and paired with low-carb and fiber-rich artichokes, this is a great go-to recipe to keep you true to a low carb diet.
Yes, grains are higher in carbs. Yet, if you need that filling texture to keep you on the low carb path, integrate a lower-carb grain such as bulger. This Baked Spinach and Bulgur Veggie Balls recipe by Sophie Yotova is a bit higher on the carb side — with both bulgur and chickpeas — yet offers a powerful dose of protein, fiber, and healthy plant-based fat to counteract those healthy carbs.
Most of us are aware that kiwis can keep you … ahem … regular, but they also happen to be a low-carb diet-friendly fruit! This Kiwi Avocado Juice recipe by Gabriela Lupu is the perfect combination of low-carb kiwi, potassium-rich banana, high fat and nutrient-dense avocado, and fiber-filled flaxseeds. If you’re going super low-carb, think about ditching the banana for another low-carb sweet fruit such as cantaloupe or strawberry.
Dark leafy greens are great for any diet including a low-carb diet. That’s because they’re naturally low in carbs, naturally high in nutrients, and one of the best inflammation fighters in the plant-based world. This Green Collard Wrap recipe by Rebecca Leffler takes collard greens to the next level by mixing these low-carb, filling veggies with superfood spirulina, healthy-fat filled avocado, naturally sweet carrot, and, yes, more healthy fat from hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil! A super satiating, super light, super wonderful little on-the-go recipe!
Along with the sweet fruit that will help stave off those sugar-cravings, it’s great to incorporate some citrusy fruits for all of their wonderful vitamin-rich goodness. This Avocado Grapefruit Jicama Salad recipe by Viktoria Radichkova creatively uses the tart, low-carb grapefruit with healthy fat-filled avocado both of which are complemented by crunchy jicama!
Looking for the perfect nutrient-rich, low-carb snack to take the place of those potato chips? Look no further than this Spicy Kale Chips recipe by Andrea Biethman. With a bit of cumin, garlic powder, and a dash of cayenne, these are a great treat that also happens to be super filling!
This Green Soup recipe by Rosie Daykin combines all the goods that low carb eaters need! Based around leafy greens — kale and spinach — this recipe also integrates filling healthy fats, — almond butter and olive oil — lots of flavor, — leeks, fresh ginger, miso paste, and lemon — as well as some filling vegan yogurt. Make sure to choose smart with the yogurt, such as a high-fat coconut-based yogurt with zero added sugar!
Incredibly diverse in a plant-based kitchen and happily low-carb, cauliflower is the must-have to replace high carb favorites such as rich and pizza crust. A great example is this low-carb, cauliflower-rich based Curried Cauliflower Rice Pilaf recipe by Lisa Lotts. Get that traditional curry dish without the extra sugar and carbs!
Last, but not least, the final of the lower-carb grains! Buckwheat is the highest of the three mentioned on the list, so consume sparingly on a low-carb diet, yet don’t feel guilty. Buckwheat is actually a seed, — not a grain and not a wheat product — is nutrient-dense, and is great for the health of your heart and blood sugar. Pair your buckwheat with lots of fiber and healthy fats such as in this Buckwheat Granola recipe by Natalie Yonan. For the lowest carb option, opt-out of the oats and raisins and only use one tablespoon of that maple syrup.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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