If you are like me, you are a creature of habit. This makes carb cycling quite easy.

On low carb days, I know exactly what I need to eat and I insert my favourite proteins, fats, vegetables and snacks.

Ideally you want to aim for 5-6 lower carb days. However, depending on your goals and level of activity, this can vary.

Why cycle between high and lower carb days?

Low Carb Days:

  • promote fat loss by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of the sugar from the carbs it would normally get)

  • keep your body more receptive to insulin, improving your body’s muscle-building response

Regular Carb/ Regular Macro Days:

  • stimulate an insulin response that shuttles nutrients in your muscle cells, causing them to grow.

  • replenish glycogen stores that fuel your muscles and make you feel good and energized

Below is the layout of a low carb day. Simply choose a food from each category on the substitute list and fill out your day. Pay attention to serving size.

Your number of low carb days in are dictated by your goals. In the beginning, you may wish to have 5 -6 low carb days and one high carb day until you reach your goal. For maintenance, you can reduce to 3-4 low carb, 2 or 3 moderate with 1 higher carb day.

This Example is based on a 5’5’’ woman, starting at 145 lbs.

Low Carb Days

Aiming for 100g Protein, 40g Carb, 115g Fat

  • 11:00 a.m. protein, fat, veggies

  • 2:00 p.m: low carb fat/protein snack

  • 7:00 p.m: protein, fat veggies

Example Low-carb day:

  • Upon waking: coffee, tea, lemon water, bcaa’s, green juice (just cold pressed greens, no fruit added)

  • 11:00 a.m: Eggs or egg whites scrambled (can add veggies like Spinach, cook in coconut oil) with a side of greens

  • 2:00 p.m: 6 oz Turkey with large leafy green salad and avocado or olive oil

  • 4 p.m: Handful nuts, mixed olives, veggies and avocado etc.

  • 7 p.m: 4 ounces grilled chicken or 6 oz white fish with lots of vegetables

Example Substitute foods

Proteins (protein counts/macros)

  • Protein powder (20 grams of protein per serving)

  • Eggs (1whole=7gP, 5gF)

  • Egg whites (1 cup=26g, .5gF, 1gC)

Meat (4-6 oz) (protein counts/macros)

  • Beef, ground, extra lean (4 oz = 16gP, 32gF, 0C )

  • Flank Steak (4oz=32g)

  • Beef, tenderloin, steak, trimmed of fat (4oz=29g)

  • Turkey breast / white meat (6 oz = 29g)

  • Chicken breast / white meat (4 oz = 31g)

  • Extra lean ground turkey (4oz=31g)

Fish & Seafood (protein counts/macros)

  • Salmon (4 oz =23g)

  • Halibut, Cod or Sole - broiled (6 oz = 32 g2)

  • (stay away from Tilapia)

Fats & Oils (Fat counts/Macros)

  • Extra virgin olive, sesame, coconut, grape seed, walnut & avocado oils (1 tbsp=14g)

  • Almond butter, no sugar (2 tbsp = 14g)

  • Avocado (100g=22g)

  • Almonds, unsalted (1 oz/23 almonds=14g)

  • Chia seeds (2tbsp = 8 g)

  • Brazil nuts (1oz/6 nuts =19g)

  • Walnuts (1oz/14 halves = 18g)

  • Hummus (3 tbsp = 3.87 g)

  • To make vinaigrette for salads, mix 1-2 tablespoons of an approved oil with apple cider vinegar.


To help you feel full, load up on greens! You’ll get the benefit of vitamins and fibre. 

Carb counts/macros:

  • Arugula (1cup = 2g)

  • Lettuce - avoid iceberg (1 cup = 2g)

  • Celery (1 cup = 3 g)

  • Asparagus (1 cup = 8 g)

  • Bok Choy (1 cup = 2g)

  • Kale (1 cup = 7g)

  • Collard Greens (1 cup = 11g)

  • Tomatoes (1 cup = 6g)

  • Cucumber (1 cup = 4g)

  • Cauliflower (1 cup = 5g)

  • Beans, , green (1 cup = 10g)

  • Broccoli (1 cup = 6 g)

  • Cabbage (1 cup = 5g)

  • Onions (1/2 cup = 6g)

  • Radishes (1 cup = 4g)

  • Green/Red peppers (1 cup = 9g carbs)

  • Spinach (1 cup = 7 g)

  • Zucchini (1 cup = 4g)

  • Mushrooms (1 cup = 2 g)

  • Beets (1 cup = 13g)

  • Spaghetti Squash (1 cup = 10g)

  • Brussel sprouts (1 cup = 12 g)

Low carb snack ideas

  • Tomatoes and Avocado

  • cherry tomatoes and nuts

  • 1/2 cup berries and 1 oz nuts

  • asparagus wrapped in lean turkey

  • 1 oz nuts, 1/2 cup apple slices

  • boiled egg

  • tuna on celery sticks

  • almond butter and celery

  • stuffed mushrooms

  • tuna in romaine wrap

  • cucumber in ranch dip (look for quality dip or make your own)

  • tuna on cucumber slices

  • veggies and dip

  • celery and cream cheese (watch the amount)

  • protein powder and almond milk

  • dark chocolate (1 once)

  • egg white cups with veggies


The best part of carb cycling is the flexibility it allows. It is much easier to stick to a plan when it fits into your life. It is a strategy that an be used year round and adjusted according to your goals. Is it a lifestyle. It allows you to reach your goal and maintain it. There have been numerous studies that show that low carb eating is beneficial. We are adding in one or two higher carb days to restore glucose and glycogen stores. Also, eating low carb for too long without a “re-feed” day can stagnate weightless.

You may use your higher carb day for a cheat meal or special or social event. Keep in mind, it is better to get your carbohydrates from clean sources rather than inflammation causing, low nutrient foods. Excessive carbs and “junk” carbs can be stored as fat. Carbs are not a villain, but bad carbs are.

If weightless is your goal, if possible, try to start with two straight lower carb weeks or hold off on cheat meals until you are closer to your goal. If you are training regularly and trying to gain more lean muscle, you may want to have a higher carb day the first or second week.

This Example is based on a 5’5’’ woman, starting at 145 lbs.

REG-carb day:

Aiming for 100g Protein, 200g Carb, 44g Fat

Example REG-carb day:

  • 11 a.m: Eggs, large bowl of mixed berries

  • 2 p.m: 3-4oz Turkey salad with Turkey and 1 cup sweet potato/potato, starchy vegetables

  • 4 p.m: Fruit, dark chocolate.

  • 7 p.m: 4 ounces grilled chicken with 1 cup sweet potato, squash, salad and starchy vegetables.

Carbohydrate Ideas

  • Sweet Potato (1 cup = 42g)

  • Potato (1 cup = 28g)

  • Apple (1 med = 25g)

  • Blueberries, fresh or frozen (1 cup = 21g)

  • Pear (1 med = 27g)

  • Orange (1 small = 12g)

  • Strawberries (1 cup halves = 12g))

  • Banana (1 small = 23g)

  • Goji Berries (2 tablespoons = 10g)

  • Blackberries, fresh or frozen (1 cup = 15.7g)

  • Cherries, fresh or frozen (1 cup = 22g)

  • Raspberries (1 cup = 14.7g)