Whether you got off track or your low carb diet failed to launch, having a plan keeps you from spinning your wheels.
This post shares a simple and specific eating plan that you can follow for the next three days to jumpstart your low carb success.
3-Day Eating Plan – At-A-Glance
- Avoid Added Sugar
- Avoid Bread and Breaded Foods
- Eat two hard-boiled eggs per day as breakfast or an afternoon snack.
- Eat a large daily salad topped with protein and fat.
- Eat chicken or hamburger for dinner with a side of non-starchy vegetables.
- Eat enough volume, protein, fat, and fiber to stabilize blood sugar and hunger hormone levels.
3-Day EATING PLAN to Start or Restart Low Carb Dieting [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Two things to avoid during this 3-day period.
- Things you should eat for snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner!
- Additional tips for optimal results.
I am often asked to be specific and mention actual foods to eat. The challenge in doing this for a worldwide audience is that the food choices will not work for everyone. If you prefer a plant-based diet or have food restrictions, I’m sorry that this plan is not for you. However, I have many blog posts you can benefit from.
When you switch to a low carb diet, what you don’t eat is as important as what you do eat. You want to avoid foods that stimulate your appetite and eat foods that quiet hunger. Let’s start with what to avoid.
What to Avoid #1: Added Sugar
Sugar is quick energy. When you eat it, it gives you an energy boost that feels good. This is one of the reasons eating sugar makes you want to keep eating sugar. The problem is that you cannot survive on a high-sugar diet. Although some of us, including my former self, have given it a good try. At some point, you will not feel good.
Ironically, getting away from sugar can also lead to ill feelings. When you go from a high-sugar diet to no sugar, your blood sugar crashes, your energy level plummets, and you may even feel shaky. This happens because the human body runs on what it has available.
When sugar is constantly coming in, your body runs on sugar. When you go low carb, you cut out sugar, so it must use an alternate energy source. The good news is that the alternative is fat, so you will become a better fat burner.
The temporary bad news is that it will take time for your body to create the enzymes and pathways needed to burn fat efficiently for energy. So, your energy level will drop before it goes up, but this transition is well worth the effort.
For the next three days, you want to eliminate added sugar. Specifically, avoid packaged foods and drinks with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients. That is a long list because it includes nearly all of the ultra-processed foods out there. And unfortunately, ultra-processed foods make up over half of the total calories Americans eat.
This one rule eliminates a lot of foods, which is okay because those are the foods that make us sick and fat.
You want to keep in mind that sugar goes by many names. If the food has corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate, sucrose, or another sugar alias listed as one of the first three ingredients, leave it at the grocery store. If you’re unsure if sugar is hidden in a food, assume that it is and leave it at the store.
A piece of fruit has natural sugar. That is okay because the sugar is locked within the fibrous portions of the fruit, slowing its absorption. You don’t have to stop eating fruit to follow this 3-day eating plan.
What to Avoid #2 & 3: Bread and Breaded Foods
Two things that you will want to avoid, in addition to added sugar, are bread and breaded foods. You can find bread that has “zero net carbs” listed on the label or no sugar added. However, these commercial products do not deliver on the promise they make. Bread, along with breaded and fried foods, stimulate your appetite, defeating the overarching goal of this preparation period which is to feel in control of your eating.
As you get more sophisticated with your low carb diet, you will find ways to make acceptable homemade versions of these foods but save that until you feel in control of your eating, and you will be much happier with your results.
Speaking of homemade. Home cooking is a key to successfully launching or relaunching your low carb diet, and it does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. Let’s start building our eating plan.
What to Eat #1: Breakfast or Snack
Start by hard-boiling six eggs. You will eat two each day. When you eat them is up to you. If you’d like to have breakfast, eat them in the morning. If you like to shorten your eating window to practice intermittent fasting, you can have them as an afternoon snack.
Here again, this plan contains specific foods that do not work for everyone. However, if you can eat eggs – they just aren’t your favorite, I encourage you to still give this plan a try. The foods I am including were selected because they stabilize your blood sugar and satisfy hunger for hours. That stability has a calming effect, so you don’t need to rely on willpower to feel in control of eating.
What to Eat #2: Lunch
Lunch is a large salad with protein, fat, and some fiber. The reason a salad works so well is because there is a lot to eat, so your stomach is filled with non-starchy vegetables that take a long time to digest. Salad is also the perfect base for adding protein, fat, and fiber. All four of these elements, volume, protein, fat, and fiber, give you sustained hunger control and blood sugar stability, which sets you up for success with your low-carb diet.
You can follow the recipe for my typical lunchtime salad.
If you just want to build your own, good salad toppers include slices of avocados, raw nuts and seeds, cheese, meat, fish, chicken, and full-fat salad dressing, which can be as simple as olive oil and vinegar.
What to Eat #3: Dinner
For dinner, you are going for the same hunger-satisfaction effect that you went for at lunch. Therefore, you want to have an entree that contains protein and fat and a side dish that adds volume and fiber.
For this plan, make my Easy Keto Chicken Tenders.
Meal prep is as easy as putting all of the ingredients in a bag, smooshing them together, and dumping them onto a baking sheet. I will link to the free downloadable recipe in the description area.
With that recipe, I share how to make an easy side dish using a bag of frozen broccoli topped with cheese. It’s simple to prepare because all you need to do is follow the directions on the bag and add butter and cheese. For that small effort, you add hunger-satisfying volume, fat, and fiber to your meal.
Alternative (or Additional) Dinner
You can make life simple by making a double batch of chicken tenders and eating them each day or mix up dinnertime by buying a frozen package of hamburgers and cooking them to have on one or two of the days. Yes, quality matters and grass-fed beef is your best choice, but if that is a barrier for you, look for 100% ground beef burgers so you can get yourself started.
The burger will be eaten without a bun. You can wrap it in lettuce leaves if you’d like to pick it up and add tomato, onion, and pickles. There are low-sugar ketchup varieties, but you will still be better off going with low-carb condiments, like mustard and real mayonnaise, preferably made with avocado oil, like Primal Kitchen brand. Miracle Whip is not a good choice because it is made with high fructose corn syrup.
If you’d like a different side dish than broccoli, pick up a bag of green beans and prepare them using the package directions.
Will these be the most exciting meals? No. But they taste good, control your blood sugar and hunger, and fill your stomach, which takes us to the next part of our plan, eat enough.
We have been conditioned to equate dieting with low calories. Calories are an important consideration for weight loss. However, cutting calories to eat less of the same appetite-stimulating foods leaves you with nothing but misery, and we don’t keep doing things that make us miserable, at least not voluntarily.
The goal of this 3-day plan is to prepare your body for weight loss. This should be looked at as a time to help your body feel comfortable. That comfort comes when your blood sugar and hunger hormone levels are stable. That stability comes from eating whole foods that have volume, protein, fat, and fiber. If I sound like a broken record, it is intentional.
During this 3-day period, eat big portions at mealtimes. Fill a large salad bowl with three cups of greens, top them with 4 to 6 ounces of meat, along with the other toppers that I mentioned and that you enjoy.
At dinner, if you want an extra portion, eat it. Don’t eat dessert. You want to utilize this prep period to move away from the idea that dessert must follow a meal.
The two hard-boiled eggs can be eaten as a small meal before lunch or in the afternoon, so you have three eating occasions during the day. While it might not always be possible, work on eating enough at mealtimes and eliminate snacking in between. But if you need something, I have a blog post on low-carb and keto snacks. A few choices include raw or lightly toasted almonds, cheese, and no-sugar-added beef sticks.
Diets often fail because they are a knee-jerk reaction to something. For instance, a friend says, “Do you want to go on a diet with me?” Or, you feel uncomfortable in your body and say to yourself, enough is enough.
Those moments can initiate action, but if you don’t have a plan in place, it is easy to get sidetracked, eat too little, or eat the wrong foods. One day of this uncertainty is okay. Two days can be managed with willpower, but more than that leads to havoc and misery, and the diet fails before the rewards are realized.
This 3-day eating plan will get you to the starting line. A well-thought-out low carb diet can get you to the ultimate prize, which is a new way of eating that is easy-to-follow, enjoyable, and effective. When those three E’s are in place, there is no need or desire to return to old habits.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!