All weight-loss diets restrict certain foods. For low-carb diets, this is obviously carbs. However, ketogenic low-carb diets (e.g. Atkins, Keto) are also high in fat, allowing the most indulgent and hedonistic meals while still losing weight. This post focuses on gorgeous low-carb high-fat (LCHF) foods – let’s count our blessings and rejoice! Vegetarians and low-fat dieters: please don’t read this – it might be a traumatic experience for you. Apologies but you have been warned!
Here’s my top list of LCHF foods.
Fatty red meat
For me, nothing beats a gorgeous rib-eye or sirloin steak, cooked so that the meat is rare but the fat is translucent and brown on top. I could literally have this every day, it would make me very happy (maybe one day when I am rich and own a cattle farm). Rib of beef is another favourite – basically a gigantic rib-eye joint – lots of fat and utterly delicious (read more on roasting beef). Lamb shoulder or neck and pork belly also have plenty of fat – I think the best method for those is slow-cooking. Finally, I always keep my eyes open for any hog roast stands– tender pork meat with some crackling, ooh – I have in the past attended music festivals just so that I can get to eat some hog roast. (Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a way to recreate this pork experience at home on a smaller scale).
Mmmm, bacon… Bacon is the carnivore’s candy. I prefer mine unsmoked and have a rather idiosyncratic method of cooking it in the oven – it takes much longer than frying or grilling, but is well worth the wait. Put bacon rashers on a roasting tray, add a couple of spoons of water, stick it in a very hot oven for 10 mins or so, then turn it down to about Gas Mark 4 and roast for another 30 mins.
When eating out, desserts are usually off-limits for obvious reasons, so let’s thank the French for introducing the custom of finishing a meal with a cheese course. Many British restaurants now include this option to their dessert menus, and there are plenty of British cheeses that can rival their continental counterparts. Check out Cropwell Bishop for stilton and Davidstow for cheddar.
Roast chicken – with skin
Low carb high fat means you don’t have to follow that clichéd advice of removing skin from poultry, and chicken does taste so much better for it! Roast chicken is one of the easiest meals to cook – basically just stick it in the oven (20 minutes per 1lb/450g, plus an extra 20 minutes). If you want to jazz it up, experiment with different marinades, rubs and stuffing. Check out my method for slow-cooking chicken. Finally, if you can’t be bothered to do any of that, you can always get a ready-made roast chicken from a rotisserie.
So we can’t have traditional sugary desserts when on a low-carb diet, but who cares when we can have double cream instead! Double cream plus a bit of sweetener forms a base of many low-carb sugar-free desserts, and definitely fills the void. For the simplest option, whip up some double cream with sweetener and unsweetened cocoa powder. You can also use double cream to thicken and add some luxuriousness to sauces and soups.
A close relative of double cream, butter is almost pure fat. I believe it can make anything taste better – literally anything. Use it for frying, spread it on low-carb bread, make gorgeous sauces like hollandaise, add it to boiled vegetables to give them some extra oomph. Can’t go wrong!
Duck breast – with skin
Duck breasts are another example of a food that is clearly meant to be eaten with skin on – discarding it makes the whole experience plummet dramatically. So keep it on and enjoy! However, it does taste better when the skin is crispy, so make some criss-cross scores on the skin and gently fry duck breasts skin-down for about 5-10 minutes, spooning the fat out of the pan. Then stick them in the oven for another 10-20 minutes (depending on whether you like them pink or well-done). This method removes some of the fat but makes the top layer of the skin nice and crispy.
Egg yolks are obviously an integral part of the egg, and in my opinion much more fun than the whites! When on LCHF you don’t have to put up with any nonsense that advises you to discard the yolks and have just the whites. Egg white omelette, haha! Say no and embrace the yolks.
This one is for committed carnivores, and definitely not for the squeamish. Roasted marrow bones make a wonderful decadent treat. Sort of like bacon squared. Bone marrow is basically fat but it tastes utterly delicious and absolutely melts in your mouth. This is the epitome of high-fat food!
Share your low-carb high-fat recipes and tips
Do you have your favourite low-carb high-fat food not listed here? Please share in the comments below, and feel free to include relevant links to your own blog / Pinterest / any other source.
Disclaimer about high fat
I realise that this post is a shameless ode to fat, and reading it alone is probably enough to give a heart attack to a low-fat advocate. To those, and to anyone unfamiliar with LCHF principles, here are some additional points to note:
- LCHF works if you are very strict keeping your carbs low – then you can indulge in having high fat foods. If you are not bothering to restrict carbs, then eating extra fat as described above is likely to lead to weight gain.
- LCHF suppresses appetite so although you would eat high-calorie, high-fat foods, you would be likely to consume less calories overall.
- When on strict LCHF, your body will eventually switch into ketosis, and start burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. This is the key to this weight loss method.