If you're planning a low carb pantry makeover, this is the guide that you need to ensure that your kitchen is ready for your new keto lifestyle!
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If you're just starting your low carb journey, you just HAVE to change the contents of your kitchen cupboard. Here's how!
You’re committed to the keto/low carb way of eating. A pantry makeover is required. And a fridge makeover. And a freezer makeover. BUT. How to do that?
If you live on your own, or you and your partner are both converting to this way of eating, your job is obviously easier. If your partner and kids and even your pets steadfastly refuse, a pantry makeover is going to be harder. And yes, I’m joking about the pets. Of course they’ll eat whatever you want them to.
Let’s assume you’re in the first category. Your fridge and pantry will need to mostly contain:
- Protein: meat, eggs, fish
- Green vegetables, cauliflower
- Fruit (limited)
- Dairy (except milk)
- Nuts and seeds
- Fats and Oils
And before I go any further, I want to point out that there are many kinds of low carb diet. This is an overview to help you get the kitchen organization that you need. Stay true to the plan you have chosen, and adapt these recommendations as necessary.
But you might find this FREE printable helpful – it's a handy one-sheet list of low carb food!
So the last list was the easy part. Here’s what you’re going to need to throw out. And yes. That DOES mean wasting food – unless the packages are unopened and you can donate them (If you’re in the US, you can find your local food bank here), or you can give opened ones to friends or family. It’s hard. Especially with food that you love. BUT – having that food there will just tempt you in weak moments. Complete that pantry makeover by removing them right now. Here we go:
- Pasta and rice
- Bread and crackers
- Sugary drinks
- Starchy vegetables
- Most fruit
- Cakes, cookies, and candy
Yes. If one or more of those items in the above list are your downfall, then the unfortunate fact is, that’s why you’re here. Because you NEED a pantry makeover to suit your new diet.
But let’s look at the positives for a second. Low carb and keto diets are NOT “rabbit food” diets. It’s not all bland food and boring dry salad. There are MANY positives and to maintain your motivation you need to concentrate on those.
I always recommend writing a list of your favorite food and meals that are acceptable to your plan. My Low Carb Motivational Pack has a template for this! Pin it to a cupboard door where you see it often. It *really* helps you remember how many indulgent and delicious meals can be eaten without cheating!
Let’s get back to the common issue of you being the only low-carber in the house. This was certainly how I started out – and the situation is still the same over ten years later. Although as the sole chef of the house, I do have a certain leeway in what I cook! 🙂 Plus my carb-loving husband has come to really enjoy (and even prefer!) some of my low carb alternatives (Cauliflower Mash is his favorite!), so that makes things easier.
Each household is different, and I’m not going to suggest you throw out your daughter’s prized high-sugar treats. But there ARE certain strategies. If space allows, consider reorganizing shelves in cupboards or the fridge. One area is for you, and everywhere else is food for the rest of the household. This can definitely be useful later on – especially if your family rejects your “health” food at first, only to find later that it is actually rather tasty! You may well get to the point where you have to STOP them reaching for your low carb food!
Somehow, you’re going to want to make space for acceptable food for YOU. And that means that all other areas might be limited, or completely out of bounds. Think about how your kitchen is structured, and how much can change.
You’ll particularly want to focus on the foods from that second list that are your weaknesses. For me, the craving is always for sugar, so I know to keep those items that my family still enjoys as a treat well away from my temptation. Got a family cookie jar on the counter? Consider moving it into a cupboard. It can make all the difference, because seeing them there on the counter will remind you of their existence.
And lastly: make, buy, or find some great low carb alternatives to those high-carb foods. Fill “your” shelf with sweet and savory goodies that you’ll want to reach for. Luckily, I have lots of ideas for you! Find the full index of low carb recipes on my site!
Do you have any other suggestions? Or need an explanation?
(Main kitchen photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash)