What does a weekly meal plan look like?

A friend asked me for a sample weekly meal plan.  Juliana and I are still eating very low carb, keeping net carbohydrate under 30 grams per day, and this meal plan reflects that.  Most of Juliana’s carbohydrates come from what are called “foundation vegetables” in the Atkins plan–very low carb, very high nutrient vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, green beans, cauliflower.  I eat those as well but get some carbs from almonds and tomatoes, which Juliana does not like.

As Juliana gets closer to her goal weight, we will begin adding back more foods, starting with berries, which are a relatively low carb fruit.

The first thing you’ll see is that breakfast is dinner and dinner is breakfast.  Really any meal can be eaten at any time of day, so the categories “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” are arbitrary.  Juliana likes eggs for breakfast.  Eggs in the morning make me nauseous, but I like eggs for dinner.   We eat hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper or deviled eggs for snacks all day long.  Juliana has eaten cheeseburgers for breakfast, and I regularly eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast and pack them for Juliana in her lunch for school.   We try to eat carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.  Even if you are only eating 30 grams of carbohydrate per day, it is preferable not to eat them all at the same time.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
3-egg omelet filled with leftover roasted cauliflower Pork Chop and mashed cauliflower Pork Chops, broccoli with garlic, mashed cauliflower Deviled Eggs or Hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper
Leftover skirt steak and mashed cauliflower; sliced tomato with salt Cheeseburger with roasted cauliflower Quiche with mashed cauliflower Salami and Cheese Rollups
No-sugar added chicken Italian sausage with mashed cauliflower Salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, salami, cheese and almonds on the side Beef with broccoli, mashed cauliflower Ounce of Almonds
Salami and eggs filled with cooked broccoli Tuna salad* romaine lettuce “sandwiches” No sugar added pork Italian sausage, green beans with garlic, mashed cauliflower Egg Quiche with sausage, broccoli, and cheese
Leftover tri-tip and mashed cauliflower Egg salad* romaine lettuce “sandwiches” Chicken with green beans, mashed cauliflower Scoop of chicken salad* 
Broccoli, tomato, bacon and egg scramble Taco meat with toppings Pizza chicken with roasted broccoli Turkey and cheese rollups
Grilled chicken breast (no-carb marinade is ok) and grilled asparagus Roasted chicken with roasted cauliflower and roasted broccoli Skirt steak, brussel sprouts with tamari, mashed cauliflower Bacon slices

*Made with no-sweetener-added mayonnaise.

Can a child be a low carb vegetarian or vegan?

Can I be a low carb vegan?  Short answer:  No.

How about a low carb lacto-ovo vegetarian?  Possibly, but really difficult.

Most of the low carb eating plans I’ve seen suggest that you can be a vegetarian or even a vegan.  I frankly don’t think this is really realistic even for an adult.  But for a child, a low carb vegetarian eating plan may be setting them up for failure.

There is a dizzying array of high carb food available–most of the food in the supermarket is high carb.  The cereal aisle.  The pasta and rice aisle.  The baking aisle.  The chips and crackers aisle.  The cookie aisle.  The bakery department.  The juice and soda aisle.  When you switch to low carb, your universe of acceptable food shrinks.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that many of the choices are foods you might have wanted to eat but usually didn’t:  pork bacon, steak, cheeseburgers.  At first, the new eating plan is great.  Bacon, again?  Why Not?  After a while, though, you have to get creative with your meal planning.  No one wants to eat cheeseburgers three meals a day.

Now imagine the only protein and fat sources available to you are eggs, cheese and cream, and some tree nuts.   (In my opinion, substituting highly processed soy products, like tofu and tempeh, for animal-based protein is not a good idea).  Try to come up with 3 meals a day where most of your calories come from those fat and protein sources.  You can eat nut butter, but remember you can’t spread it on bread.  Yes, there are a lot of ways to prepare eggs, but probably not enough to keep your child on the eating plan.

My coach at my gym put it well while giving a nutrition talk.  She said she likes animals, and she doesn’t really want to eat animals, but she needs protein and fat, so she does.