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Simple List of Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets (aka 4-hour body)

Simple List of Allowed Foods on Slow Carb Diets (aka 4-hour body)
Home » Diets » Slow carb » allowed food – slow carb diet

The following list is a general list of foods that are compliant with a Slow-Carb Diet, followed by foods to avoid and some ideas for slow-carb meals.  Most of the information also applies to low-carb and Keto lifestyles.

My detailed post on Slow Carb, Low Carb, and Keto diets and lifestyles gives you more comprehensive information about these 3 similar diets and how they differ..

Jump To: Allowed Foods | Forbidden Foods (except on Cheat Day | Meal Ideas | Tips for Success

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Allowed Foods


  • Eggs
  • 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
Basket of fresh vegetables from the garden.
Basket of fresh vegetables from the garden.

Domino Foods (eat in moderation)

  • Hummus
  • Nuts
  • Cottage cheese
  • Olives
  • Red wine
  • Diet pop (one per day)
  • Guacamole
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
Full fat cottage cheese for a slow carb diet
Full-fat cottage cheese for a slow-carb diet

Forbidden Foods on Slow Carb Diet (until cheat day)

  • Alcohol (1-2 glasses of wine allowed per night)
  • Sugary sweets
  • Popcorn
  • Bread
  • Rice and any other grain (corn is a grain)
  • Potatoes & winter squash & carrots & corn
  • Noodles, pasta
  • Chips, crackers, or cereal
  • Ice cream
  • More than one diet pop
  • Cheese and dairy
  • Fruit (eat only on cheat day)

Some Breakfast Ideas for Slow Carb Diets:

Tip: An ideal breakfast of allowed foods on a slow-carb diet consists of 20-30 grams 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 30 grams of protein powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs (16 grams) with 3 slices of Canadian bacon (13 grams)
  • 2 eggs (12 grams) with 1/2 cup black beans (20 grams), salsa and guacamole
  • 3 servings of spinach or broccoli frittata (30 grams or 5-6 eggs plus some protein from the veggies)
  • Caffeine is fine.  You can have up to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in your coffee per day

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

Most of your meals will be a combination of protein + vegetables and/or legumes from the list above.

Tip: Cook in bulk for leftovers, or freeze for later.

I have quite a few low-carb dinner recipes on this site that you can explore for ideas.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Roasted root veggies with pork chops or chicken
  • 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

Beverages for Slow-Carb Diets

Tip: High protein diets can be dehydrating. Be sure and get plenty of water when following a high protein-low carb lifestyle.

Make these substitutions for beverages with calories that you’d normally drink:

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

 Tips for Succeeding on Slow Carb Diet

1. When Eating Out

Tip: Your default strategy should be to replace carbs with vegetables, beans, or more protein. Most restaurants will have options here and after a while, you don’t even notice the bread, rice, or potatoes.

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 nearby restaurants with slow-carb options that you like and can repeat. This makes meal planning a breeze.

2. Don’t Stress (too much) on the Calories

Don’t worry too much 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.  

Take Note! When you ditch the sugar and refined carbs, the calories will decrease. Your body will be more in tune with hunger signals after this adjustment period.

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

Protein powder and blender bottle
Protein powder and blender bottle

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, which can keep you hungry.  Hence the beans are on slow carb diets.  

The beans and legumes make up for the caloric deficit and you don’t get fatigued or tired (and then quit). 

If you hate beans, add some of the good fats to stay satiated (eggs, fish, avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.)

Avocados, beans and salsa for slow carb lunch
Avocados, beans, and salsa for slow carb lunch

3. 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 of beans a day is a good measuring stick for the optimal daily amount.

Take Note! Eat lots of veggies! 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 and kimchee
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans 

Avoid starchy vegetables (hint: the ones that grow underground).

4. 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.

5. Drink More Water than Usual on your Cheat Day

Sparkling Water with Lemon Ginger Syrup
Sparkling Water

6. Have Grapefruit (not Grapefruit Juice) Shortly Before your First Cheat Meal

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  1. Chris Best says:

    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.

  2. Annie Riley says:

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

  3. Mem Davis says:

    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.?

    • 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.

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