Get a gas grill.

Skewers on the grill: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.netWe have always liked to grill.  Since starting a low carb eating plan, however, the grill gets used constantly.  It only takes a few minutes to grill 3 pounds of skirt steak, or 6 pork chops, or a tri-tip, and then you have enough for a main meal and leftovers for several days of lunches and breakfasts.  And you haven’t made a mess of your stove top.

We’ve experimented with more complicated grilled items, like dry-rub ribs.  While we enjoy the slow-cooked grilled items, we mostly use it for quick cooking of a lot of food.

I don’t always grill at night, either.  If I’m caught short packing lunches, I might take something out of the freezer and grill it at 6:00 in the morning.

The grill is not just for meat.  Asparagus is a relatively low carb vegetable that is great when par-boiled and finished on the grill with olive oil and salt, but it does not store well, in my opinion–you should eat it right away.  Summer squash, zucchini and mushrooms are low-carb, delicious grilled, and do store well for several days in the fridge.

A charcoal grill will not cut it–waiting 30 minutes for the charcoal to be ready will not make your life easier, especially at 6 in the morning.

Cooking is easy

Cooking low carb food is beyond easy.  Take it from me–a 20 year vegetarian.  All that chopping–fuhgeddaboudit.  Most meals consist of a protein and a vegetable.

For example, an egg quiche made of sausage, eggs, and broccoli.  Active preparation time:  7 minutes.

Skirt steak on the grill with roasted cauliflower.  Active preparation time:  4 minutes.

Pork chops on the grill with mashed cauliflower.  Active preparation time:  10 minutes.

Meatloaf with salad.  Active preparation time:  14 minutes.  Less, if you use a bottled salad dressing (but check for carb content).

Bacon and herbed eggs.  Active preparation time:  8 minutes.

You get the idea.  Food preparation is so simple, that Juliana, at age 13.5, can handle most of it herself.  Even my 10 year old can scramble eggs and fry sausage.  (We have an electric stove, so I don’t have to worry about them starting a fire with a gas stove).

How do I start eating low carb?

First thing to do is to get a book.  You can start with the library, but when you find one you like, you should buy it because you’ll want to refer to it over and over.  Why get a book?  Because so many people think they are eating a low carb diet, but they really aren’t.  Then they think low carb eating doesn’t work.

My own opinion is that the low carb books written for adults can be used for children.  See my posts on safety for more information.  But there are two books I’ve seen about low carb eating written specifically for children and teens.  Both were written by Atkins-affiliated doctors.

No More Fat Kids” by James Bailes, Jr., MD.  Bailes is on the Atkins Science Advisory Board.  He began using low carb diets to treat childhood obesity after a first year resident did a follow up study on about 100 children that Dr. Bailes had counseled about weight loss.  At the time, Dr. Bailes recommended cutting back fat intake diet, 30-45 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and watching total calories.

The resident showed that the children did not lose weight or even slow down their weight gain.  Most gained at the same rate and some gained even faster than before.  Only 1 patient out of 25 lost weight on a low fat diet.

Then he experimented with a diet where children could eat as much as they wanted, but no more than 30 grams of carbohydrates daily.  The average child lost 14 pounds in two months and 24 pounds in four months.  ”No More Fat Kids” was developed from his clinical experience treating obese kids with low carb diets.

Feed Your Kids Well” by Fred Pescatore, MD.  When he wrote this book, Dr. Pescatore was the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine.

Other books about low carb eating that I found useful are:

Living Low Carb:  Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long Term Weight Loss, by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS.  This is a terrific book to start with because it summarizes and critiques many of the low carb eating plans out there.  It also has easy-to-read information about how low carb eating creates weight loss.

The New Atkins for a New You , by Dr. Eric C. Westman, Dr. Stephen D. Phinney, and Dr. Jeff S. Volek

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, by Dr. Stephen D. Phinney and Dr. Jeff S. Volek–If you want to dig deep into the research around low carb versus low fat, this is a good choice.