Does the low carb/ketogenic diet work for busy Mom’s?
Of course it does. But let’s be honest – you may need some special considerations. I’ve got you covered.
Most Mom’s don’t have time to count macros – I lasted 3 days.
You probably want a way to incorporate your kids into the diet – you can do that.
You probably want to be able to eat out some – you can make that work.
What’s the Best Part of A Low Carb Diet for Busy Moms?
As a family physician and busy Mom, I know that making dietary changes comes with extra considerations. So, on my quest to determine the best diets out there, I developed a rating scale for my busy Mom’s to follow.
Here’s how the low carbohydrate/ketogenic diet ranks according to
Doctor Mom E’s Diet Scale:
What I LOVE about Low Carb Diet for Busy Moms:
- No calorie counting. Studies show that you cut back on calories by going low carb because you get full faster but you don’t have to worry about counting calories. The less work, the better.
- It’s pretty easy to follow – once you adjust. Staying low carb is fairly easy once you adjust to the dietary changes.
- It’s easy to adjust for your family. Unlike some diets, you can simply add a roll or pasta for the kids and have a meal that fits for everyone.
- The cost is reasonable. If you stay with the simple low carb options, you won’t need to add too much to your kitchen.
- The weight loss is GREAT. That’s the best part really.
What I Don’t LOVE about Low Carb Diet for Busy Moms:
- For busy Moms, going full-blown macro-counting fat pumping ketogenic is just too much. And you don’t need to do it to lose weight. Believe me, I lasted 3 days of counting macros before quitting. For more, check out my post on low carb vs ketogenic diet (https://doctormome.com/post/should-you-go-low-carb-or-keto/)
- Fat bombs – adding high fat treats to increase your fat levels. It just seems silly and they don’t even taste that good.
- It takes days to get back into weight loss mode if you seriously break your diet. Many of you will actually go into ketosis by going low carb. And ketosis takes days to get back into if you break your diet. That can be really frustrating. You need to be consistent in your low carb diet for it to work.
What the Experts Are Saying About Low Carb Diets
- Harvard Nutrition Source – “There is evidence that a low-carbohydrate diet may help people lose weight more quickly than a low-fat diet and help maintain the weight loss.” Consider the POUNDS LOST and DIRECT studies. (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/low-carbohydrate-diets/)
- Mayo Clinic – “A new Mayo Clinic study shows low-carbohydrate diets are slightly more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets.” (https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-low-carb-diet-findings-and-cautions/)
Mom’s Who Shouldn’t Choose a Low Carb Diet
If you are currently pregnant or breast-feeding, going REALLY low carb or ketogenic is not recommended. Don’t get me wrong, my diet as a gestational diabetic in pregnancy was low carb BUT I was not watching it closely for weight loss. Just wait until you finish breast feeding before you start being aggressive about carbohydrate restriction.
Low carb/ketogenic diets are tricky for Mom’s who are vegetarian/vegan as well. You absolutely can do it for health purposes but your diet will likely become very limited as even beans are off the table for the most part. Consider that before starting.
Tips for Making Low Carb Diet Work for Busy Moms
Make it work for your family (not just you!)
Kids don’t need to go low carb but a decrease in carbs for the average American child will not be harmful. I have found making meals that allow for an easy carb addition for the kids is ideal. That would look like a side roll, pasta, or a potato. Of course, the addition of vegetables or some fruit is enough as well. Go with something that will be easy for you to skip.
Skip the snacks altogether
When starting low carb, those tempting snacks that are around the house will be a challenge. You have 2 options: find low carb solutions (cheese, veggies, Ranch dressing) or just skip the snacks for a bit. I prefer the latter as it takes less time and is less tempting.
Research before eating out
There are TONS of options for eating out low carb these days. Moms may not be frequenting these establishments. Your child’s mac-and-cheese fixation is not going to be helpful. Neither is McDonalds. Chipotle you can make work. As will Zoe’s Kitchen. Preparing is key in the eating out crunch. More tips below …
Go lettuce-wrapped for burgers and sandwiches
Whether eating out or at home, lettuce wrapping your protein will allow you to take out the vast majority of your carbs.
Go veggies over fries
Potatoes are a starch and higher in carbs. Corn is as well. Stick with the vegetable options instead.
Think creamy dressings over the fruits
Crazy, right. Cream has less carbs than milk even. You will find yourself switching to the Ranch options, Caesar with bacon, etc. Bringing me to …
Keep it healthy please
You can lose weight by eating steak smothered in butter with a side of bacon on the low carb diet if you want. BUT should you really? Is that the example you want to set for your kids in terms of health? A steak with grilled veggies and a salad – much better.
Allow for fiber
There is a big debate in the low carb world between watching “total” carbs versus watching “net” carbs. I am on the “net carbs” team. The difference is fiber. Allowing yourself fiber by watching your NET carbs instead of total carbs is healthier and more filling. 20 net carbs daily as a goal is an aggressive diet for weight loss.
Make this a lifestyle change
I don’t give much weight into the whole “diet” versus “lifestyle change” debate except to say this: it needs to be something you can stick with. Ideally, for life. My husband told me one day that he ate low carb but had a work lunch of pizza. My response, “Now, you have just gone high fat and high carb. That’s a recipe for disaster.” It that happens occasionally that would not be a deal-breaker but if you do that regularly you are just setting yourself up for failure.
Consider adding Intermittent Fasting to speed up weight loss (or get back on track after a set back)
Intermittent fasting fits nicely with a low carb diet. The added benefits of shutting down your body’s insulin production by not eating for an extended amount of time will speed up your weight loss. It also allows your body to return to weight loss faster if you have a slip up. For more, check out my post on IF for Busy Moms: https://doctormome.com/post/intermittent-fasting-for-busy-moms/
A Busy Mom’s Low Carb Meal Plan Favorites
No, I’m not a chef on top of my Doctor and Mom duties. I do LOVE Pinterest, though, and have saved many of my favorite Low Carb Recipes on my site. Check out my low-carb Pinterest board!
Low Carb Breakfast Favorites
Egg scramble with a splash of cream, bacon, avocado, cheese, and onions
Egg on Ezekiel Bread
Low Carb Lunch Favorites
Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs and Pico de Gallo for dressing
Low Carb Dinner Favorites
Lettuce-wrapped Burger with cheese, onion, tomato and a side of veggies
Low Carb Eating Out Favorites
Chipotle/Qdoba – Bowl with chicken or steak, grilled veggies, cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole
Zoe’s Kitchen – Cauliflower bowl with chicken
Chi-fil-a – Grilled nuggets (Sometimes I just splurge for the regular nuggets!)
Jimmy John’s Unwich
Simple Solution: Busy Mom’s can go low carb and be successful with a few accommodations. Give it a try!