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Party Foods Doctors Won’t Touch


Labor Day is approaching, and so is the parade of end-of-summer barbecues and backyard cookouts. Party favorites like grilled burgers, creative dips, and hot dogs will be your go-tos, but you may want to reconsider your menu. We asked medical doctors (and a dentist) from around the world to share with us which party foods they won’t touch and why.

Party Foods Doctors Won’t Touch

To start with, make sure you’re not ruining everyone’s diet with overindulgent condiments. “Flavored dipping sauces, such as ranch, cheese, and buffalo sauces, are full of unhealthy preservatives, sugars, and huge amounts of fat,” Dr. David Greuner, top cardiovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Center says. “Much healthier options include hummus or yogurt-based sauces.”

Before planning the menu for your next party, take a few of these tips into consideration. Find creative ways to make hummus, replace the dessert bar with a fresh-fruit bar, and serve sparkling water instead of sodas. Those minor changes will not only cut calories, but also preserve that summer body you’ve worked so hard to keep in tip-top shape.

From aged cheese to commercial baked goods, here are a few party foods doctors will not touch.

Aged Cheese

"Aged cheeses and cured meats contain an amino acid called tyramine. This amino acid, when ingested, increases the release of a hormone called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a wakefulness-promoting hormone that is part of the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system. I would definitely avoid it close to bedtime if you have problems with sleep." — Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine physician and author of the book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day

Bacon Cheese Burger Sliders

"I will not eat bacon cheese sliders. The foundation of the slider is a hamburger patty. Red meat is high in saturated fats, pro-inflammatory, and increases colon cancer risk. Cheese and bacon may add deliciousness, but also increase saturated fat intake. Bacon is particularly high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and nitrates that convert to nitrosamine (a potential cancer-causing agent) when heated. Buns are high in carbohydrates, which are broken down quickly in the digestive tract.

Those two pieces of bread holding everything together cause blood sugars to spike, increasing your risk for developing diabetes. And we haven’t even discussed condiments. Still want that slider?" — Dr. James Pinckney, a board-certified physician and founder and CEO of Diamond Physicians in Dallas, Texas


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.


18 High-Protein, Low-Carb Meals That Will Keep You Satisfied, According to Dietitians

You don&rsquot have to commit to the keto diet to eat low-carb meals.

You want to lose weight? A low-carb, high-protein diet is a classic method to get there. The logic is simple: Eat fewer carbs, consume fewer calories. And when you simultaneously keep the protein intake high, you'll feel fuller, longer. Bingo.

&ldquoHigh-protein, low-carb diets aim to build muscle mass and decrease body fat and weight," says Katherine Brooking, M.S., R.D., co-founder of the nutrition news company Appetite for Health in San Francisco. "There&rsquos good evidence to support a faster rate of weight loss when people go on a low-carb, high-protein diet compared to people on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet."

But while some people benefit from limiting their carb intake&mdashsay, you have trouble controlling your blood sugar&mdasha keto-style low-carb diet can be tough to follow. (I mean, is a life without sweet potatoes or even blueberries worth living?!) Not to mention, a diet predominately high in protein and fat will likely lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

&ldquoYour gut bacteria feeds on fiber, so a low-fiber diet makes your gut unhappy,&rdquo says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. &ldquoPlus, our bodies primarily use carbohydrates for fuel, so significantly limiting this macronutrient means your body needs to find alternate fuels, such as ketones, which can make you feel lousy.&rdquo

The upside: You can still reduce carbs without going full-on keto&mdashand we have your guide below.

How to build a healthy high-protein, low-carb meal

Aim for balance: Brooking and Harris-Pincus recommend a modified high-protein, low-carb plan with 35% carbs, 30% fat, and 35% protein. (Similar to keto 2.0.) On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that breaks down to: 175 grams of carbs, 67 grams of fat, and 175 grams of protein. Try to balance these macronutrients fairly evenly among your meals for best results, Harris-Pincus says.

More protein isn&rsquot always better: &ldquoSome research recommends 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal to maximize muscle growth and repair, especially if you exercise frequently. More protein is not necessarily better, as we can only really use that 25 to 30 grams at a time. Any extra is just an extra calorie,&rdquo Harris-Pincus says.

Make room for fiber: Seek out meals that have at least half of the total carb grams from fiber, when possible, Harris-Pincus says. &ldquoFocus on fiber instead of cutting carbs. If each carbohydrate-based food you eat is also high in fiber, you will be full and need to consume fewer calories overall&mdashwhich leads to weight loss.&rdquo

Now that you know the basics, we have a bunch of fun recipes. Try a mix of meals below to create a high-protein, low-carb plan that you can actually stick with for life.