A day on the Lower Carb / Higher Protein nutrient goal

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 27 Jul, 2022

Typically, a lower carb diet is also a higher protein diet, as protein is increased to balance the reduction in carbs. This nutrient split can suit some people as eating more protein helps us to feel fuller for longer – because protein is very satiating. Some people simply prefer to eat fewer carbs as it suits them better. It's really down to personal choice!

Although lowering carb intake a little is fine, certain carbs are an important part of a balanced diet. Carbohydrate-rich foods tend to be the best source of fibre in our diet – for example wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and pulses – so it's important we still include these.

To ensure your carb and protein intakes remain at a healthy level, we have created some pre-set nutrient goals for you to follow – the Lower Carb and Higher Protein goals. Both will moderately reduce your carb allowance, while increasing your protein target to help you follow this diet approach, while ensuring your nutrient intakes remain at healthy levels.

To get you started, here's a sample menu based on a 1400 calorie diet.

Veggie grill up

Breakfast: Veggie grill-up

Serves 1 - 382 kcals per serving

Kcals 382
Fat 15.2g
Sat fat 3.5g
Carbs 28.5g
Sugar 9.6g
Fibre 10.2g
Protein 27.5g
Salt 1.7g

Ingredients

  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 1 Quorn sausage
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 20ml low-fat milk
  • Black pepper to season
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 200g reduced-salt and sugar beans

Method

  1. Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with low-cal cooking spray.
  2. Once hot, add the sausage and mushrooms to the pan and cook for 14 minutes, turning frequently.
  3. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk, whisk together until well combined. Season with pepper.
  4. When the sausage and mushrooms have 5 minutes left, add the tomatoes to the pan.
  5. Place a small non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and once hot add the eggs.
  6. Cook the eggs for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are no longer runny.
  7. Meanwhile, put the beans in a microwaveable bowl, cover and warm through on high for 1 minute.
  8. Serve everything piping hot and enjoy.

Bagel and cream cheese

Mid-morning snack: Bagel and cream cheese

Serves 1 - 162 kcals per serving

Kcals 162
Fat 2.1g
Sat fat 1.2g
Carbs 26.5g
Sugar 4.7g
Fibre 1.3g
Protein 8.6g
Salt 0.7g

Ingredients

  • 1 bagel thin, halved
  • 30g extra light cream cheese

Method

  1. Lightly toast the bagel to your liking.
  2. Top with the cream cheese.

Paprika chicken salad

Lunch: Paprika chicken salad

Serves 1 - 404 kcals per serving

Kcals 404
Fat 13.6g
Sat fat 3g
Carbs 35.4g
Sugar 9.2g
Fibre 10.3g
Protein 34.7g
Salt 0.3g

Ingredients

  • 100g chicken breast
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Handful spinach
  • ¼ yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 heaped tbsp tinned kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp tinned sweetcorn, drained
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g avocado flesh, cut into chunks
  • 1 slice red onion, finely sliced
  • 60g ready to eat quinoa
  • ½ fresh lime

Method

  1. Place the chicken breast on a chopping board and bash with a rolling pin to thin it a little – aim for around 1-1.5cm thickness.
  2. Season the chicken breast with the smoked paprika.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken breast.
  4. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside).
  5. Meanwhile, scatter the spinach into a bowl, then top with the pepper, kidney beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, avocado and red onion.
  6. Warm through the quinoa according to the packet instructions and add to the bowl.
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, cut into thin slices and add to the bowl.
  8. Squeeze over some fresh lime juice and serve.

Peanut chocolate protein balls

Mid-afternoon snack: Peanut chocolate protein ball

Makes around 16 balls - 102 kcals per ball

Kcals 102
Fat 5.4g
Sat fat 1.7g
Carbs 9.3g
Sugar 5.2g
Fibre 1.1g
Protein 4.6g
Salt 0.09g

Ingredients

  • 80g rolled oats
  • 125g smooth peanut butter
  • 70g honey
  • 40g chocolate protein powder
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 30ml water

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well to combine, forming a dough-like consistency. If the 'dough' seems a little dry, add an extra splash of water.
  2. Using your hands or a small batter scoop, form the dough into small balls, roughly 1 inch in diameter.
  3. Space the balls out evenly on a baking sheet or large plate lined with parchment and pop them into the fridge for one hour to set.
  4. Tuck in straight away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. They also freeze well – store in a sealed bag and defrost before eating.
Meatball courgetti

Dinner: Meatball courgetti

Serves 1 - 432 kcals per serving

Kcals 432
Fat 20.4g
Sat fat 6.8g
Carbs 20.6g
Sugar 17.4g
Fibre 6.5g
Protein 42.2g
Salt 1.39g

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 150g lean beef mince
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • Salt and black pepper to season
  • 200g tomato passata
  • ½ tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Few sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • 150g courgette, sliced into ribbons or courgetti strips
  • 15g grated low-fat cheddar

Method

  1. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and drizzle in the olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
  3. Add the mince to a bowl and add half the onion and garlic from the pan, 1 tsp of tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Shape the mixture into golf ball sized rounds.
  5. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning frequently.
  6. Add the rest of the tomato puree to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Pour in the passata and sprinkle in the dried herbs. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, soften the courgetti in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain and put in a bowl.
  10. Top the courgetti with the turkey balls and sauce, and a sprinkling of cheese. Enjoy!

So with a portion of all the recipes above, here's what your diary would be looking like at the end of the day. The numbers in brackets are your daily nutrient targets for reference:

  • Calories: 1469 (vs 1400)
  • Fat: 56.6g (vs 54.4g)
  • Sat fat: 16.2g (vs 17.1g)
  • Carbohydrates: 117.7g (vs 126g)
  • Sugar: 43.3g (vs 63g)
  • Fibre: 30.9g (vs 30g)
  • Protein: 116.9g (vs 101.5g)
  • Salt: 4.14g (vs 6g)

It's important to remember that everyone's calorie needs are different – if you have been set a higher target than 1400 calories per day, we recommend sticking to that number as it has been calculated based on your personal details to be suitable for you and your weight goals. If you select the Lower Carb / Higher Protein goal, your targets will change in proportion to your calorie target – this is the amount you should be aiming for.

To set yourself the Lower Carb nutrient goal in the Nutracheck app, tap the blue menu button next to the search bar in your diary, then select 'Nutrient Goals'. Choose the 'Lower Carb' goal from the list. Save your changes by tapping 'Set this goal'.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.