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Advance food preparation is the one thing that can practically ensure low-carb success.

 Regular, advance food preparation is the single most important thing low-carbers must do in order to succeed. It’s really not difficult, even if you don’t know how to cook, except for being time consuming. A lot like exercise, as far as that goes, but I assure you that both activities are worth your effort! I can’t stress this enough — this can’t be just another “diet”. If you want to feel good, have more energy, better health, and/or lose weight (and most importantly, keep the weight off), then you will need to make lifelong, not just temporary, changes.
Fortunately, hunger is one thing you will NOT need to grow accustomed to when living a low-carb lifestyle. It is imperative that you make good choices at all times, however, and you will only do so when you have plenty of wholesome low-carb food available. Most people will need to dedicate one day per week to food preparation. If you work five days per week, spending an entire day in the kitchen can seem like a burden, but it’s worth it because it can make the rest of your week go so much better. After a while it will become second nature to you to plan ahead and you’ll find you can spread the tasks out over the week, but while you are trying to establish good low-carb eating habits, I recommend a regular, once-weekly shopping and prep session.
First, shop.
Decide what you like to eat best from among your allowable food list, and then shop accordingly. Go to your favorite grocery store or member’s warehouse, and stock up.
  • I suggest choosing some green leafy veggies first from the produce section (romaine or leaf lettuce, endive, radicchio, escarole, spinach, kale, etc.) Next, select what you like from the following: asparagus, avocadoes, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, cantaloupe melon, celery, eggplant, daikon radish, hot and/or bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes, tomatoes, green beans, green onions, regular onions, and chayote, spaghetti, zucchini, or yellow crookneck squash. Avoid all root vegetables and fruits not previously mentioned, as well as any mentioned that might not fit into your particular eating plan.
  • Next, visit the meat section and select some meats you like to eat – perhaps some good cuts of beef, bacon and sausage, some chicken, some ground beef, some pork, and some fish. If you want some more “convenience” type meats, get some cans of tuna and chicken, some deli meats (ask them for nutritional info if it is not posted, since some deli meats are full of fillers and even sugars) or even hot dogs (Hebrew National™ and International Glatt™ brands don’t add any sugar and are both kosher, if that matters to you) or bratwurst. A favorite of mine for low-carb convenience is pre-cooked bacon. It is packaged in layers and you can grab a few pieces anytime to just heat in the microwave — though not as good as what you cook yourself, and not something you should overdo, because of all the nasty nitrates, when speed is imperative, pre-cooked bacon can’t be beat. Rotisserie chicken is usually acceptable, but it may be worth asking to see the ingredient list of any marinade they inject into the chicken before roasting it. Prepared buffalo wings are usually okay, too – just be sure to read every label, and don’t be afraid to interrogate the employees at the deli counter (or anywhere else) for nutritional information.
  • Get some good oils for cooking (grapeseed, macadamia, and olive are the healthy oils that I use for cooking) and for things like salad dressings. Walnut and sesame oil are both great for salads, but should never be heated.
  • Get some salad dressings with full fat but no added sugar (check all labels) or better yet, whip up some home-made dressings. Blue Cheese, Ranch, Caesar, and Italian are usually good choices, as are vinaigrettes. Other allowable condiments include real mayonnaise, seasoned vinegars, mustards without added sugars, hot sauces, and Worcestershire sauce (which has a trace of sugars but in the amount typically used, does not present a problem for most people).
  • If you can eat nuts, get some macadamias, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and/or walnuts – but pass up peanuts, pistachios and cashews. Get some spicy pork rinds (trust me on this; they make a great substitute for bread crumbs in lots of recipes, even if you don’t care to eat them as a snack). Wasa Fiber Rye™ crackers and LaTortilla™ low carb tortillas are available in most grocery stores now and have a high fiber content, making them good choices.
  • Be sure to go to the frozen foods section and get some bagged legal veggies for busy nights when the fresh ones are just too much work. Buy canned black soy beans if you can find them. Canned vegetables such as tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, etc., are always good to have on hand in a pinch. Buy some frozen entrees like chicken tenders, pre-pressed burgers and fish fillets — these can all go on a contact grill frozen and still be ready to eat in minutes! TIP: After cooking on a contact grill, simply unplug it, put a wet paper towel on the still-warm surface, and close it again. By the time you’re finished eating, you’ll be able to wipe the grill surface clean easily so it will be ready for your next quick and easy meal.
  • Don’t leave without a visit to the Dairy section for some sour cream, cream cheese, cream, real butter, buttermilk if you like it, eggs, and cheese.

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