Bowls of breakfast cereals, loaves of crusty bread and loaded baked potatoes will never be listed on a non-carbohydrate food menu. Carbohydrates are sugars and starches, and are easily processed by the body as fuel. Proteins and fats are the two major food groups that are carbohydrate-free, while many vegetables contain minimal amounts of carbohydrates.
Fats, such as canola, vegetable and olive oils, do not have any carbohydrates and can be used for frying, sautéing or as a salad dressing. Regular stick margarine and salted butter are also carbohydrate-free fats, and are often used for frying, baking or as spreads, according to Nutrition Data. Other fats that lack carbohydrates come from meats and include bacon grease and fish and chicken skin. Eating bacon grease or animal skin alone may not be appetizing, but they can be left on meats for a flavour enhancer. Pork rinds, made from pig skin, are a carbohydrate-free snack option.
Several beverages have zero carbohydrates include the most well-known fluid, water, which can be served from the tap, spring or as mineral water as a carbohydrate-free food. Alcoholic beverages include spirits that are 100-proof alcohol do not contain carbohydrates, such as rum, whiskey, vodka and gin according to Sugar Bane. Club soda, black coffee, herbal teas, flavoured waters and diet sodas with no added sugars or fruit juices are also carbohydrate-free beverage options.
Proteins that are from animal sources are almost all carbohydrate-free foods. Poultry, including eggs, chicken and turkey do not contain any carbohydrates and are versatile, inexpensive protein sources that can be prepared baked, fried, roasted or boiled. Some fish do contain sparse amounts of carbohydrates, so be cautious when choosing these foods. Fish that contain zero carbohydrates include tuna, salmon and sardines, either raw or canned in oil, according to Nutrition Data. Processed meats are often cured with sugars and therefore will contain carbohydrates and should be avoided.
Diets that lack carbohydrates do not sacrifice on flavour and several ingredients can be added to fulfil the taste palette. Most spices are carbohydrate-free, just as long as they do not contain added sugars. Cilantro, basil and sage are common herbs that can be purchased in their fresh form, dried or as a granulated powder. Ginger and cayenne pepper will add heat to any dish without adding carbohydrates. Other options for tasteful toppings include crumbled, crispy bacon, chopped hard-boiled eggs and grated natural cheeses.
- SugarBane: Low Carb for Life
- Nutrition Data: Butter, Salted
- Nutrition Data: Margarine, Regular, Stick, Composite 80% Fat, with Salt
- Nutrition Data: Fish, Salmon, Atlanta, Wild, Raw
- Nutrition Data: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Oil, Drained Solids
- Nutrition Data: Fish, sardine, Atlantic, Canned in Oil, Drained Solids with Bone