My husband and I have always taken a relatively health conscious approach to eating. We favor whole foods, read ingredient lists for hidden sugars or artificial ingredients and plan meals with plenty of vegetables, but recently we found our eating habits had slipped. A combination of work stress and not enough time in the day had resulted in dining out, often with drinks and/or dessert most days, which was packing on the pounds for both of us.
To help break the habit of reaching for unhealthy foods, we decided to jump start our efforts with a few days of a strict, low carb diet (no dairy, higher starch vegetables, fruits or grains) and then gradually reintroduce healthy versions of higher carb foods over the next four weeks with a few end goals in mind:
- Making vegetables at least half of each meal
- Limiting amounts of animal protein, dairy and other saturated fats
- Eating fish at least once a week
- Eating more nuts and healthy oils
- Avoiding processed foods and added sugars
- Limiting dining out to roughly twice a week
Many of the meals we created over the 28 day period were either low carb or paleo friendly, though we were not specifically aiming to follow those diets - our primary goal was to get back to our healthy approach of eating a broad range of whole foods from mostly home-cooked meals. To make home cooking feasible, we also targeted meals that could be prepared quickly, typically in 30 minutes or less, plus we followed a handy approach we've used for years as a couple of making four servings of dinner and saving half for lunch the following day.
We've both always enjoyed good food, so we decided to make the first few low carb days easier by planning particularly appetizing meals, meals that we'd otherwise consider a bit of a treat. They were turning out so well that I started photographing them and then thought it might be fun to blog our 4 week effort in case others were interested in following along or trying out some of the meals. Note that we are both healthy adults and found these meals suitable for us for the 28 day period, but anyone with health concerns should naturally consult a doctor or nutritionist to ensure this plan would be suitable before trying it.