Vegetarian options for low-carb? A reader asks…

Dear Jamie,

I am curious about the rumor that you have to eat meat all the time. I’m interested in losing some weight but really kind of try to stay away from meat. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ve just never been a fan of lots of meat. Isn’t eating low carb basically just eating all meat?


It is absolutely false that you must eat meat all of the time in order to follow a healthy low-carbohydrate plan. The general consensus among professionals is that any plan which omits any entire portion of the food pyramid probably does not constitute a healthy eating plan for life. Following this logic, omitting anything but meat, except in the most extreme cases of metabolic resistance (and then only under certain very specific conditions, which make true metabolic resistance highly unlikely) would make for not only a potentially lacking meal plan, but would be difficult to follow for any period of time.

While meat provides proteins and fats as the mainstay to many a lower-carbohydrate plan, the fact remains that the body needs roughage in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts and some grains (such as flax) as well. A large number of people are well able to follow a low-carbohydrate plan as vegetarians, and do so successfully and healthfully.

By substituting soy products for meat, and through clever cooking substitutions, you will find that a low carbohydrate lifestyle is not only easy, but delicious and fulfilling.

A note: Don’t neglect those fat and protein sources, as both help to stabilize your blood sugars, causing less of a tendency for cravings, sugar crashes (yes, vegetables can cause hunger) and to help keep caloric intake at healthy levels.

Healthy High-Protein Options for Low-Carbers (USDA):

soybeans: 1 cup nets 29 grams protein
tofu: 4 ounces nets 9 grams protein
spinach: 1 cup nets 5 grams protein
almonds: 1/4 cup nets 8 grams protein
chickpeas: 1 cup nets 12 grams protein
macadamia nuts: 1/2 cup nets 5 grams protein

For more information, visit:
protein data: USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory
The Vegetarian Low-Carber Vegan and Vegetarian Low-Carb

Image: Apu says: Don’t Have a Cow, Man. Literally.

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