The following list is a general compilation of allowed food on Slow Carb Diets, followed by foods to avoid and some ideas for meals.  Most of the information also applies to Low Carb and Keto lifestyles.


  • Eggs
    St Patrick's Day Potluck Brisket

    St Patrick’s Day Potluck Brisket

  • Fish
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Turkey
  • Protein powder
  • Soybean meats
  • Tofu
  • Smoked Oysters


  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans
  • Red beans
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans


  • Sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, olives, fermented foods
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Frozen spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel  Sprouts
  • Spaghetti  squash (no other winter squash)
  • Avocados
  • Bok choy or any greens
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • okra
  • zucchini
  • turnips
  • sprouts (alfalfa, bean, etc.)
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • radishes

Domino Foods (eat in moderation)

  • hummus
  • nuts
  • cottage cheese
  • olives
  • red wine
  • diet pop (one per day)
  • guacamole
  • peanut butter
  • almond butter

Forbidden Foods on Slow Carb Diet (until cheat day)

  • Alcohol (1-2 glasses wine allowed per night)
  • Sugary sweets
  • popcorn
  • bread
  • rice and any other grain
  • potatoes & winter squash & carrots & corn
  • noodles
  • chips, crackers or cereal
  • ice cream
  • more than one diet pop
  • cheese and dairy
  • fruit (eat only on cheat day)
allowed foods on slow carb

Favorite Slow Carb Breakfast

Some breakfast ideas for Slow Carb Diets:

An ideal breakfast of allowed foods on a slow carb diet consists of 20-30g of protein at your first meal of the day. Eggs and bacon are the classic way to do this (and boost success rate by 10%).  Here are some alternatives:

  • Protein shake with 30g of protein powder and 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs (16g) with 3 slices of Canadian bacon (13g)
  • 2 eggs (12g) with 1/2 cup black beans (20g), salsa and guacamole
  • 3 servings of spinach or broccoli frittata (30g or 5-6 eggs plus some protein from the veggies)
  • Caffeine is fine.  You can have up to 2 Tbsp heavy cream in your coffee per day

Lunch and Dinner Ideas for Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets:

allowed foods on slow carb

Moroccan Chicken & Lemon

Most of your meals will be a combination of protein + vegetables and/or legumes from the list above. Here’s a tip: Cook in bulk so that you have leftovers for a couple of days (or freeze individual serving sizes for much later). Here are some dinner ideas:

  • Roasted chicken with mixed vegetables
  • Salad bowl at Chipotle: hold the corn salsa, sour cream and cheese — add guacamole
  • Mustard-crusted pork loin with spinach and mushrooms
  • Steak and asparagus or green beans
  • Tuna with mustard and/or salsa with a fresh spinach salad
  • Homemade burrito bowl: leftover chicken breast, black beans, salsa and guacamole
  • Lentil stew
  • Beef and bean chili
  • Meat and vegetable curry


Drink lots of water and drinks with zero calories. Make these substitutions for beverages with calories that you’d normally drink:

  • Flavor water with lemon
  • Unsweetened beverages like tea are okay. Limit diet soda to one per day
  • Coffee with cinnamon or up to 2 Tbsp heavy cream (not half and half or milk)
  •  tea with lemon
  • Red wine (max 1-2 glasses per day)

 A Few Tips for Succeeding on SCD

When eating out:

Your default strategy should be to replace any carbs with vegetables and beans. Here are some ideas:

  • Burrito salad bowl or any dish with vegetables swapped out for rice/wheat
  • Thai curry or soups without rice
  • Salad without cheese, croutons
  • Indian food: lentils, dairy-free vegetable or bean dishes
  • Grass-fed beef burger without the bun or ketchup
  • Roasted, baked or grilled protein with vegetables
  • Keep a list of Slow-Carb Diet friendly restaurants nearby. Find meals you like and repeat them. Alternate days if it’s too boring. This makes meal planning into a breeze.

Don’t stress on the calories

Don’t worry about calories. Listen to your body and eat until you are full. It turns out that your body digests calories from different macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) differently.  Once you ditch the sugar and refined carbs your body will be much more in tune with hunger signals and that is when it will pay to listen.

allowed foods on slow carb

Protein powder with blender bottle

Get enough protein.  You should be getting around 20 – 30 g of protein at each meal.  This will keep you full longer and help you burn fat as fuel rather than glucose.

The problem with Atkins and some of the Low carb diets is that vegetables and protein are high in nutrient density, but very low in calories.  Hence the beans on slow carb diets.  The beans and legumes make up for the caloric deficit and you don’t get fatigued and tired (and then quit).  If you hate beans, add some of the good fats (eggs, fish, avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.)

Be Careful of Portion Size with “Domino Foods”

Some foods like nuts, chickpeas, hummus, and nut butters are allowed foods on Slow Carb Diets but can stall your weight-loss if you consume too many calories from them. If you’re trying to lose weight, the easiest solution is to limit them or avoid them if you can’t control it.  Although not considered a domino food, I have also witnessed clients that stall out on weight loss with too many beans.  A cup a day is a good limit to beans and that is the only food that the five regions of the Blue Zones had in common.

Eat lots of veggies

allowed foods on slow carb

Nicoise Salad Prep

Not eating vegetables on the diet correlates with less weight loss! You can eat as many of these vegetables as you want: spinach, mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables), sauerkraut, kimchee, asparagus, peas, broccoli, green beans.  Avoid starchy vegetables (hint: the ones that grow underground).

Eat whatever you want on your cheat day

Indulge in whatever you want on your scheduled cheat day.  Ideally, your first meal should still consist of 20-30g of protein, but eat whatever you want after that.  Over time you will probably want to decrease cheat days to a cheat meal, particularly if you stall out on your weight loss goal.

Drink more water than usual on your cheat day

Ferriss also recommends having  grapefruit (not grapefruit juice) shortly before your first cheat meal.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.


  1. Low Carb Mexican Cookies - Farm to Jar Food on June 14, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    […] For a list of allowed foods and tips for low carb and keto diets, click here.  […]

  2. Lo on August 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Dorothy, is it possible to use the Keto meal list (eating cheese) with the slow carb protocol (have an all out cheat day) can you still achieve your weight lost goal this way along with intermittent fasting?

    • dorothy stainbrook on August 29, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Yes, it is possible to cheat occasionally with a keto diet once you are fat-adapted. And yes, intermittent fasting can work with a slow carb diet or a keto diet. Whether you achieve your weight loss goal or not is dependent on a huge range of factors that I can’t answer in a post.

  3. Lo on July 31, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you so much for all the great insight. Do you have any suggestions to help with plateauing on the slow carb

    • dorothy stainbrook on August 2, 2017 at 11:53 am

      There are many ways to get off the plateau. First of all realize that every diet has a plateau. Your body is adjusting to a new way of eating and being and it goes through starts and stops. The first thing is to wait it out a bit. Sometimes people think they have plateaued and they just haven’t really been compliant long enough to call it a plateau. If it is truly a plateau, there are a number of ways to jump start again incluing intermittent fasting, more rigorous resistance exercise routines, decreasing calories some, extending cheat day to once every other week, etc.

  4. Mem Davis on April 21, 2017 at 10:53 am

    how do you prepare the vegetables on slow carb? Do they have to be steamed, or can they be stir-fried or roasted with olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, etc.?

    • dorothy stainbrook on April 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Veggies can be prepared any way you wish….it all works. If you are doing high heat cooking you’ll need to use refined olive oil or ghee. Low heat cooking can be butter, virgin olive oil or coconut oil. The nut oils are best used in salad dressings or drizzeling rather than cooking with heat.

  5. Annie Riley on April 29, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Thanks again, Dorothy. Looking forward to seeing you at the Farmer’s Market again.

  6. Chris Best on April 28, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    This is a lot of great information. I like the focus on what you can eat not can’t. I am also appreciative of the warning about Domino foods. I am trying to cut down on nuts but it is a huge burden for me. It is a habit I will break but a tough one. I am losing weight. Your info really helps.

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