Best Tasting Pantry Staples for the Low Carb Kitchen

(ARA) - As the urge to overindulge is replaced by the need to shed winter weight gain, more and more dieters are turning to a low-carbohydrate eating regimen. The increasingly popular low carbohydrate plans such as Atkins and South Beach diets are based on the premise that carbohydrates cause weight gain and focus food intake on protein.

As attractive as it may sound to eat steak, cheese, eggs and other calorie-rich proteins, many dieters find it challenging to bring tasty variety to their low carbohydrate menus and still stick to the guidelines for these diets.

ďTrying new foods and different food combinations are a good way to keep your taste buds satisfied,Ē says Chef Patrick Finney, national culinary director of American Culinary Institute (ACI). He also notes that since dieters are limited in what they can eat, itís important to focus on the taste and flavor of foods, instead of quantity.

The chefs from American Culinary Institute makes it easy to identify the best tasting choice in just about every food category, from everyday favorites, to gourmet and organic products. For over 15 years, the San Francisco-based organization of independent, professional chefs has provided shoppers with a fast, effective way to select the best tasting foods and culinary products by awarding its Best Taste Award medallion to the overall winner in each product category based on taste.

A recent study done by PARADE magazine confirms that flavor is still the number one criterion for Americansí food choices. In addition, across the board in their own restaurants, the independent judging chefs of ACI see their customers modifying their eating habits to include low-carb plans, but note people will not sacrifice on taste with their new menu choices. Chef Finneyís advice is to purchase the best tasting products you can buy.

Products bearing the prestigious ACI Best Taste Award have been judged superior in taste in the Instituteís rigorous, unbiased five-step judging process. Look for the ACI Best Taste Award on food products at your local supermarket. Itís the fast and reliable way to buy the best tasting food and culinary products for your family and friends.

Here are some menu suggestions from Chef Finney for those eating a low-carb diet, and a list of some of the best tasting low-carbohydrate food brands that earned ACIís Best Taste Awards in their respective categories.


* Eggs are a good start to a low-carb day. Egglandís Best took ACIís top spot for the fresh eggs category. Prepare them scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled or as an omelet. But donít stop with breakfast. Make egg salad for lunch, or whip up Asian egg drop soup for dinner.

* Bacon, which is banned on low-fat diets, is a nice treat for those following the Atkins plan. If youíre in a hurry, Jimmy Dean gets the best taste rating for fully cooked, heat and serve bacon, while Maple Leaf bacon is the best tasting in its category for conventional bacon strips.

Lunch and dinner:

* For a quick, easy protein boost, add the best tasting canned/pouch tuna or salmon to your leafy green salads from Chicken of the Sea.

* Sprinkling a few nuts and seeds on your salad is another quick way to jazz them up. Using delicious Fisher Nuts finely chopped also add crunch, texture and protein to soups, and a surprising crunchy topping for steaks. A small handful of nuts make a great, quick snack.

* Fish and seafood are great lean protein sources. Fishery Products Internationalís frozen shrimp under the Mirabel label make a great quick and tasty meal, or add them to stir fry, green salads and more.

* Cheese gives a flavor boost to any dish. Sprinkle hard cheeses like Romano cheese from Stella USA on salads, soups and side dishes for added flavor and texture.

* Cold cuts such as best taste winner William Fischer premium deli ham make a quick snack or lunch, and are a great addition to a green salad.

* Have convenient pre-packaged leafy green salads on hand at all times in your refrigerator for a handy meal or side dish from Ready-Pac. Top off salads with award winning dressings from Briannaís salad dressings, such as their real French vinaigrette or zesty French dressing, both low in carbohydrates.


* When sticking to any meal plan, variety is the spice of life. Add a small spoonful of Crystal steak sauce to enhance the flavor of your steak or other meats. In addition, add a small splash to zip up sauces and dressings as well. Mrs. Dash grilling blends are a great way to boost the flavor of meat and chicken; try using it as a seasoning in place of salt.


* A little snack or a light dessert of fresh or frozen berries (of course with no sugar added), with a dollop of ACIís award winning Daisy Brand sour cream makes a delicious and satisfying treat.

For a complete list of the American Culinary Instituteís Best Taste Award winners, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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Courtesy of ARA Content