Tips for getting started on a LC diet

I’ve decided that I pretty much have to go LC if I want to get my blood sugar and weight under control. Ever since my diagnosis with thyroid issues (well, actually even before, but especially since), my insulin resistance and weight has gone up. Strategies that used to work for me this time last year, when I had an A1c of 6.0, such as pre-bolusing and sticking to low GI foods and “surfing” strategies, are no longer working. No matter what I do, I’m on a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows, and it’s exhausting. I also need to lose weight or I am positive my health will go downhill.

My biggest obstacle, however, is time and energy. It seems to me that most people on a LC diet do most of their own cooking. I’m not a huge cook, and especially during the week, I don’t have a lot of energy to cook when I work full-time, have a two hour commute, and volunteer. I also have food allergies which restricts my diet even further, including being unable to eat milk in any form (cheese, cream, yogurt), which seems to be used in a lot of LC recipes. I’d like to learn to cook more, but right now seeing a lot of the fancy LC recipes are overwhelming. I don’t have a spouse or family to cook for, so I don’t need huge fancy meals, just quick and easy things. (It also doesn’t help that I have an aversion to cooking meat, but I’m working to overcome that!)

So I’m curious how those of you who eat a LC diet got started. I’m thinking of starting with breakfast, finding a few things I can pre-make on weekends and put in the fridge or freezer so they’re quick to prepare in the morning, and then expanding it to snacks, and then lunch, and then dinner. Travelling is another area of difficulty, mostly due to my allergies and finding things I can actually eat at restaurants. I eat a packed lunch eat day and when I’ve travelled for business or to conferences in the past, I usually bring most of my own food just in case I can’t find anything safe to eat.

So, I’d be interested in stories of how you all got started, how you overcame challenges, and strategies you used that worked for you during the early days.

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just keep in mind, no sugars, no starches. eat everything else. example, a big mac without the bun.
when dining, leave the starch on the plate and add some real butter to the rest.

soups, stews and casseroles. freeze off in portions

a dozen boiled eggs on hand for snacks and easy to take with you when out. It comes in it’s own hygienic container and doesn’t need refrigeration for the few hours it will be out of the fridge.

pre cooked breakfasts, a frittata was my go to. I like mine soft set, so I used sliced deli meat as a crust, cooked in muffin tin. they freeze very well


Thanks. I do plan on boiling up a bunch of eggs to keep in the refrigerator for a week or so. Can frittatas be made a week ahead of time? I’ve never made them, so I googled, and it said they only last up to a day refrigerated.

I pretty much never eat out due to allergies, and I think this is where part of the time and energy piece comes from. It would be so nice to be able to pick up a burger somewhere and just leave the bun and eat the rest, but that’s not an option. I bring most of my own food when I’m out during the day or when I’m travelling, becasue it’s virtually impossible to find anything at coffee shops or convenience stores that I can eat safely, and even restaurants are a struggle.

Usually, when I’m out I’m out for the entire day (ten or more hours), since I don’t drive and commute everywhere on transit, so I think I’ll need to find a way to keep things like eggs cool. But that should be fine, since I have an insulated lunch bag and ice.

I’m not able to eat most pre-made soups and stews (especially when eating out, won’t touch those with a ten-foot pole due to past severe reactions), although I’ll keep an eye out for any that I can. I think learning to make them from scratch would be a better option.

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@Jen…I had to figure out emergency snacks back in '96 due to fibromyalgia, which can mimic a low if not handled right…

Anyway—better than ice cubes–keep a frozen bottled water in the freezer at all times, ready for your lunch bag. Lasts longer…

I put in it string cheese, nuts of some kind, my 4-carb pitas (flax, stone ground wheat and oat bran–not sure you can eat those), and/or Flackers flax crackers, which I like, but a lot of folks don’t…Almond butter with no added sugar works for me…some slices of no-nitrite deli meat (you need a good protein source with a bit of fat to sustain lo-carb)…a little fresh spinach in a baggie. Yes–ditto on hard boiled egg—my sister in law calls them Little Protein Pellets! A couple slices of red bell pepper. And after 10 years, I recently, accidentally, found that those old French’s fried onion rings like our moms dumped on green bean casseroles don’t give me a spike. First salty snack in a decade!..

I’m 3000 miles from home with my ailing sister and with spotty internet connection. I’ll follow as I can. It’s doable…You’ve probably seen my old blog on the subject, but since I have a connection, I’ll try to post it here…Blessings all…

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Hi Jen. I dont do strict low carb but i depend heavily on salads. in the warmer months my lunch and dinner are the same every day, more or less. it sounds boring but there is nothing i want to eat more than cool veg in the heat. i always use spinach instead of lettuce and throw in whatever ive got from the greengrocer.

a couple of months ago i was really into caprese salad-just the tomato and mozarella- and just ate it every day for ages. i threw in some sun dried tomatoes or avocado or tuna sometimes and so its never really the same.

I make a big salad on the sun or monday, it lasts till tues or wed and then i do it again for the rest of the week.

in the winter, i depend on salads and soup that i make myself-marinated chicken thrown into a pot with whatever veg i have and some cooking wine and rosemary and thyme. it takes very little time to chop up the veg and freezes easily. i was a vegetarian for 9 years and i understand the meat cooking aversion. i just have my butcher chop everything up for me.

i hope you are able to get some better control going lower carb. it must be really hard being allergic to so many foods and have diabetes!

oh and i also make lots of fritatta. it will def stay good in the fridge for a couple of days!


I suspect that you could make great progress on low carb if you could just figure out the breakfast, lunch and snack thing. I almost always eat eggs and meat of seafood for breakfast. I’ll often just cook eggs sunny side up or in a quick omelet. And I buy a big bag of precooked sausages that just need reheating. And I like fish, I keep lots of canned fish around.

For lunch you may find that low carb wraps let you make a bunch of wraps that are easily portable and can be made with lots of fillings. In addition to luncheon meats you can put lots of different veggies, avocado and other things in them. I also find that leftovers go well (like leftover meatloaf).

And for snacks you can have nuts, jerky, cut up veggies with dip or other things.

Hope that helps.

ps. I believe it is important when starting a low carb diet to start really low carb and give yourself 2-3 weeks to adjust. You may not feel well during that time, sometimes salty bouillon will help. After that transition you will feel a lot better.

pps. I make big batches of meals and then pack them in individual servings in plastic to be refrigerated or frozen for later reheating.


The low-carb pitas sound good—I can’t have wheat, but I bet I could use some other type of flour instead. Also, the Flackers sound good (I looked them up), but it looks like I can’t get them in Canada. :disappointed:

Salads are a great idea and so easy. I’ll probably do something like salads for lunches, since they’re also really easy to eat on the road (I’m sometimes travelling about the city for work).

I actually don’t plan on eating ultra LC if I can avoid it, but I agree with you, I think I need to go low and then work up from there and see what works in the end. I like a lot of your ideas, I found some pre-cooked sausages that we’ll see if I can eat them (I think I’m allergic to “smoke” in foods—whatever that is—and these were the only ones I could find that didn’t have wheat or potato, but they do have “smoke”, so we’ll see), and I’m going to try and get in the habit of making a bunch of food on the weekend that I can freeze or refrigerate and eat throughout the week (though I don’t have a microwave, only a toaster oven).

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Jen, I share some of your challenges. I live alone and don’t enjoy food preparation. For me simple is better. My go to food is eggs. I eat them prepared by almost every method. You’ve already received many good suggestions, some that I need to explore as well. Brian’s suggestion to add extra sodium during your early days is a good one. Other than that, I was surprised at how easily I adapted.

My original motivation for committing to low carb was BG control, not weight loss. The weight came off, however, with less effort that I could have hoped for.

I just listened to a podcast on healthy eating and they cited a study about the large benefits of a 5% weight loss. Five percent doesn’t seem like much to me but apparently it has an outsized positive metabolic effect for most people. Don’t just set large weight loss goals or you may become discouraged if/when you plateau. Notice the positive early benefits like more energy and greater cognitive clarity and use those as important milestones to help you keep yourself motivated.

Good luck! For me, adopting low carb four years ago is the single biggest factor in my better health today. I look forward to reading your updates.

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It’s more expensive but you can buy cooked peeled boiled eggs, Bell and Evans makes frozen precooked chicken which takes 6 minutes to nuke, it has a lot of salt added though. There are lots of non processed low carb snacks to eat, berries/fruit/nuts trail mix type snacks, flax seed crackers and such. If you’re still eating cheese it’s a great low carb snack. Buy the veggies pre cut/washed, that saves a lot of time too. I don’t do that all the time but I do it for certain things like lettuce or when I just don’t feel like chopping things. Green beans often come in bags pre-washed and can be easily steamed. For eating out stick with salads and meat etc. Canned foods like tuna and various lentils/beans are easy. Lately I sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for flavor. I tried an unsweetened coconut milk yogurt recently that was pretty nice with fruit. There are plenty of ice cream versions of non dairy varieties too. I’ve started having Garden’s Alive grain free plant protein shakes made with almond milk. They’re fast and easy.

I’m not super low carb anymore but I do consider myself to be low carb still and I’ve eliminated grains and plenty of other foods for quite a while now. I would have thought treating your Grave’s disease may help with the bg issues, but it does make it all more difficult. I just started by eliminating everything that spiked my bg like crazy.


Frittatas are wonderful----so many variations, one never tires of them!


@Jen…Joseph’s Middle Eastern Bakery in MA where I order my flax-dominated pitas by the case has some gluten-free versions. Would that help? They make things simple for me. Including as a crust for individual pizzas!..

I don’t have any additional medical conditions beyond T1, so my LC journey took a different path to yours. I started on a really strict LC regimen for BG reasons, not for weight, but the weight came off anyway, which was an unpleasant surprise. I’ve found a balance now, but it’s a good thing I like the taste of olive oil. I don’t know whether staying on a very strict diet for years was a good idea in terms of forming the habits I wanted, or whether I’m just rationalising my obsessive tendencies. After 10 years or so I’m trying to loosen up, and finally, my personal ‘lesson learnt’:

Better BG numbers are better, even if the improvements come in small increments. Eating to someone else’s ideal LC numbers might be great for them, but I have a different endocrine system, and thus my LC needs will be different. So, learn from my mistake and don’t focus on the ideal LC, rather focus on the results you can see on your meter.


My blood sugar is better than it was two months ago, but in general it just seems more volatile than it used to. Any little provocation (carbs, exercise, stress, often unknown) sends it high or low, and my insulin sensitivity often changes by large amounts for no reason. I mean, it was like that before, just seems worse now. But, my thyroid is also still out of whack. I’m learning that treating Graves’ disease is a bit of a balancing act (my numbers have been everywhere from low to high) and not very fast at all.


Thank you for the link! I had a look and unfortunately could not find any information about ingredients. I tried googling and it looks like the gluten-free ones may not be low in carbohydrates, and also looks like they may contain “modified food starch” which I don’t eat unless I find out which type of starch (since it could be either corn, potato, or tapioca). I’ll continue to explore, though.

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im so lucky to love eggs and veg!

I’m glad it is a little better at least…That’s too bad Jen. Volatility is one of the worst things to deal with and there often seems to be no clear or consistent explanation of what is going on. I still can’t figure out how treating my thyroid is affecting my bg- sometimes it seems to lower me and also to spike me but I’m not sure if that is just the usual things that may be affecting it. From what I have read so far, the thyroid issues which also affect cortisol levels and your whole endocrine system balance can have a big impact on bg levels for pwd and for people who don’t have diabetes too.

Yeah, thyroid definitely has a big impact. From reading I’ve done (and also what I’ve experienced), hyperthyroidism leads to high BGs and insulin resistance, so presumably hypothyroidism might lead to more lows. Between “normal” diabetes stuff, the usual female hormones, and now thyroid, it’s definitely a challenge!

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Can you do nuts? There are some tasty recipes using coconut flour and almond flour . There is a cereal I have made that is so yummy and it is mostly nuts. It may be from this site. I will be glad to pass it on. Hang in there. You are one of my heros.

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Yep, I can do nuts! My immune system is tolerating a lot of foods now that it wasn’t tolerating a year or two ago, for some reason. Right now all I’m avoiding is wheat, dairy, potatoes, and some random fresh fruits. This is partly why I’m feeling up to starting a LC diet now as compared to a year or two ago.

So far, first two days has been good! :slight_smile:

I would be very interested in the cereal recipe. I love cereal. Not just in the morning, but any time of day, or even as a snack!


I’m guessing that it would help if you make sure your basal is right, with ‘miss a meal testing’