A low-carb meal contains very few carbohydrates and is instead made up mostly of protein and fats.

A low-carb diet can help people with diabetes manage their condition or help people lose or maintain weight more effectively.

Examples of low-carb foods include:

  • meat and poultry
  • fish
  • nonstarchy vegetables, including leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fats, including oils, butter, and avocado

If a diet provides fewer than 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, it can cause ketosis. Ketosis is a regular metabolic process that the body performs when it does not have enough carbohydrates to use for energy, so it starts burning fat instead.

A lower intake of carbs can help reduce the amount of insulin that the body produces. It may also help prevent hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and, possibly, some cancers.

According to the Obesity Medicine Association, people typically consider 20–50 g of carbohydrates each day to be a “moderate” low-carb diet.

Below are some examples of healthful low-carb meals for any time of day.


Total carbohydrates per serving: 10 g


  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • onion
  • zucchini
  • cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper
  • plum tomatoes
  • eggs (1 per serving)
  • feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro or basil


  • Sauté the chopped onions and zucchini in a frying pan.
  • Add the garlic, then the spices and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer until the mixture thickens.
  • Add the feta cheese slowly, stirring.
  • Add the eggs, arranging them evenly.
  • Place the pan in the oven to bake until the eggs have just cooked.
  • Season with the herbs and serve it right away.

Spinach and tomato baked eggs

Total carbohydrates per serving: 1 g


  • cooking spray
  • finely chopped fresh spinach
  • diced tomato
  • fat-free feta cheese
  • fresh oregano
  • eggs (1 per serving)


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Thinly coat one ramekin per serving with cooking spray.
  • Mix the spinach, tomato, feta, and oregano and pour into the ramekins.
  • Crack an egg over the mixture.
  • Bake until the egg whites cook, but the yolks should be soft.

Berry and spinach smoothie

Total carbohydrates per serving: 25 g


  • frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • blueberries
  • chopped banana
  • sliced kiwi
  • fresh spinach
  • ice cubes
  • fat-free dairy or nondairy milk
  • 100-percent apple juice


  • In a blender, combine the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Cauliflower rice

Total carbohydrates per serving: 8 g


  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • chopped green onions
  • low-salt soy sauce
  • low-salt vegetable stock
  • ground ginger
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped cauliflower
  • black pepper to taste


  • In a food processor, blitz the cauliflower until it has a consistency similar to rice.
  • Sauté the green onions and carrots in an oiled pan.
  • Add the cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cook until the cauliflower is tender but not too soft.

Chickpea salad

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Chickpea salad

Total carbohydrates per serving: 11 g


  • cooked or canned and drained chickpeas
  • diced green bell pepper
  • peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • diced tomato
  • dill
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Mix the ingredients.
  • Refrigerate the salad for a few hours to bring out the flavors.
  • Serve the salad on its own or on romaine lettuce leaves.

Black bean miso soup

Total carbohydrates per serving: 34 g


  • canola or olive oil
  • chopped yellow onion
  • chopped carrot
  • minced garlic
  • grated ginger
  • black beans
  • low-salt vegetable stock or water
  • red miso paste
  • lemon juice
  • chopped cilantro
  • thinly sliced ginger root


  • Sauté the carrot and onion in an oiled pan until soft.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the stock and the beans.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Drain one-quarter cup of the liquid, then combine with the miso paste.
  • Add the lemon juice and make any seasoning adjustments.
  • Mash the beans and vegetables to thicken the soup.
  • Add the cilantro and sliced ginger before serving.

Spinach, tomato, and walnut quinoa

Total carbohydrates per serving: 30 g


  • quinoa
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic
  • water or low-salt stock
  • fresh spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • raw walnut pieces
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • fresh basil leaves


  • Rinse and drain the quinoa and add it to an oiled pan
  • Over medium heat, cook, and stir the quinoa until it is golden.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
  • Add the water, and bring it to a boil
  • Reduce the heat, cover the quinoa, and let it cook until it absorbs the water.
  • Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach almost wilts.
  • Stir in the walnuts and then the cheese if using.
  • Add the basil leaves to each serving.

Grilled salmon salad