The Carb Cycling Diet for Beginners: 30 Days of Carb Cycling Recipes (2024)

Looking for a new way to lose weight? Consider the carb cycling diet! It’s one of the most popular diets for a reason. You still get to eat your favourite good-for-you carbs, but cycle with low-carb days so you lose weight too! It’s the best of both worlds! If you’re looking into the carb cycling diet, here are 30 days of recipes for beginners.

What is the Carb Cycling Diet?

The carb cycling diet varies your carb intake, allowing you to lose weight without giving up your favourite carb-rich foods. You vary your carb consumption between high and low intakes on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For example, you would eat a low-carb diet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and a high-carb diet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or, you can cycle three low carb days followed by 2 high carb days. Low carb days help with fat loss, while high carb days help muscle growth and performance.

How and Why Does Carb Cycling Work?

Carb cycling works because cycling low carb and high carb days offers your body different benefits. High carb days stimulate an insulin response that helps your muscles grow. High carb days also replenish your glycerin stores that fuel your muscles and make you feel energized! Low carb days trick your body into burning fat for fuel (instead of sugar from carbs), promoting fat loss. As you can see, the cycling increases your muscle and decreases your fat, making weight loss quick and sustainable.

6 Carb Cycling Diet Rules

1. Eat 5 to 7 times a day
2. Don’t drink your calories
3. Eat lots of vegetables for fibre (try to have veggies in every meal)
4. Be prepared! Meal planning will ensure you don’t snack on bad foods
5. Perform intensive full-body weight lifting workouts on high carb days
6. Do cardio or rest days on low carb days

Foods to Eat on the Carb Cycling Diet

Whole Grain Bread
Whole Grain Pasta
Brown Rice
Beans and Lentils
Butternut Squash
Sweet Potatoes
White Potatoes with Skin
Fresh Beets
Carb Rich Fruits like Blueberries, Bananas, Pineapple, Peaches, Oranges, Plums, and Mango
Starchy Vegetables like Corn and Peas

Foods You Cannot Eat on the Carb Cycling Diet

White Bread
White Rice
White Pasta
Tortillas and Wraps
French Fries
Refined Cereals

RELATED: Chris Powell’s 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution

30 Carb Cycling Diet Breakfast Recipes

1. Creamy Bacon Egg Cups | Whole Lotta Yum
2. Mexican Breakfast Bowls | Keto Connect
3. Sausage Ball Puffs | Kasey Trenum
4. Savory Breakfast Cookies | Amee’s Savory Dish
5. Keto Cinnamon Roll Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Broke Foodies
6. Oven Baked Eggs | Savor + Savvy
7. Low Carb Breakfast Casserole | The Diary of a Real Housewife
8. Sausage Egg Muffins | Joy Filled Eats
9. Coconut Low Carb Breakfast Porridge | Low Carb Yum
10. Keto French Toast | Kasey Ternum
11. Cauliflower Hash Browns | Keto Connect
12. Low Carb Bagels with Almond Flour | Wholesome Yum
13. Breakfast Chili | Jones Dairy Farm
14. Herb Baked Eggs | Dragon’s Kitchen
15. Cream Cheese Pancakes | Wicked Stuffed
16. Keto Berry Mug Cake | Keto Diet App
17. Blueberry Pancakes | Keto Cooking Christian
18. No Bake Cinnamon Vanilla Breakfast Protein Bites | Cotter Crunch
19. Bacon and Guacamole Fat Bombs | Keto Diet App
20. Noatmeal | Screwed on Straight
21. Low Carb Pumpkin Waffles | Noshtastic
22. Chorizo and Pepper Egg Muffin Cups | Keto Cooking Christian
23. Cheesy No Egg Sausage Mushroom Breakfast | Kalyn’s Kitchen
24. Low Carb Breakfast Pizza | Not Feed Daily
25. Baked Tomato and Egg Breakfast | Fed + Fit
26. Kale and Chives Egg Muffins | Paleo Flourish
27. Baked Eggs in Avocado | Pop Sugar
28. Baked Eggs in Sweet Potato | Inspired Edibles
29. Chicken and Apple Sausage | PaleOMG
30. Baked Eggs in Ham Cups | Oh Snap! Let’s Eat!

30 Carb Cycling Diet Lunch Recipes

1. Avocado Bacon Crustless Quiche | The Wholesome Dish
2. Keto Fathead Pizza – BBQ Pulled Pork | How to This and That
3. Sweet Potato Basil Soup | The Keto Diet Cafe
4. Chickpea, Spinach and Sweet Potato Brown Rice Bowl | Green Evi
5. Green Healthy Salad with Chia Seed Dressing | As Easy as Apple Pie
6. Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowls | Fox and Briar
7. Grilled Salmon Kebabs | SkinnyTaste
8. Avocado Chicken Salad | Family Fresh Meals
9. Asian Edamame Salad | Ambitious Kitchen
10. Salmon Noodle Bowls | The Blond Cook
11. Crustless Spinach Bacon Quiche | Low Carb Maven
12. Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats | The Wholesome Dish
13. BLT Spring Rolls | White on Rice Couple
14. Shrimp and Cauliflower Salad | I Breathe, I’m Hungry
15. Soy-Free Sushi | Mel Joulwan
16. Shawarma Chicken Bowls with Basil Lemon | The Iron You
17. Thai Stuffed Avocados | Eat, Live, Run
18. Paleo Stuffed Peppers | My Paleo Life
19. Buffalo Chicken Wraps | Ella Claire Inspired
20. Shrimp Salad Cabbage Coups | Kalyn’s Kitchen
21. Vegan Nori Wraps | My Fresh Perspective
22. Tempeh Sandwich | Margaret’s Dish
23. Crab Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes | Nom Nom Paleo
24. Asian Cabbage Stir-Fry | Diet Doctor
25. Stuffed Pepper Soup | Glue Sticks and Gumdrops
26. Cauliflower Fried Rice | Amuse Your Bouche
27. Zucchini Pad Thai | Homemade Interest
28. Broccoli Cheese Soup | Erren’s Kitchen
29. Cucumbers Caesar Salad | Kayln’s Kitchen
30. Asian Chicken Zoodle Soup | Almost Supermom h

30 Carb Cycling Diet Snack Recipes

1. Chicken Zucchini Poppers | One Lovely Life
2. Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Kevin is Cooking
3. Parmesan Zucchini Chips | Frugal Living Mom
4. Yellow Squash Fritters | Healthy Recipes
5. Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots | Gimme Delicious
6. Avocado Fries | Keto Cooking Christian
7. Low Carb Cheese Crackers | I Save A to Z
8. Broccoli Fritters | Low Carb Maven
9. Low Carb Big Mac Bites | Homemade Interest
10. Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Fries | Wholesome Yum
11. Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots | Kalyn’s Kitchen
12. Pizza Dip | Keto Connect
13. Cheddar Garlic Biscuits | Creative People
14. Baked Cucumber Chips | Low Carb Yum
15. Bacon Wrapped Pickles | Dinner at the Zoo
16. FatHead Crackers | Ditch the Carbs
17. Mini Bell Pepper Nachos | 33 Recipe
18. Oven Fried Garlic Mushrooms | Beauty and the Foodie
19. Bacon Guacamole Fat Bombs | KetoDiet App
20. Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Mushrooms | Savvy Honey
21. Turkey Meatballs | A Healthy Life for Me
22. Turkey Bacon Ranch Pinwheels | Joy Filled Eats
23. Jalapeno Cheese Crisps | Delish
24. Antipasta Skewers | Homemade Interest
25. Cheesy Cauliflower Onion Dip | Ruled.Me
26. Buffalo Chicken Dip | Keto Connect
27. Tuna Zucchini Boat Melt | Organize Yourself Skinny
28. Meatloaf Minis | Megan Seelinger
29. Zucchini Pizza Bites | Easy Low Carb
30. Peanut Butter Fat Bombs | What Molly Made

30 Carb Cycling Diet Dinner Recipes

1. Low Carb Hamburger Sausage Broccoli Alfredo | Just a Pinch
2. Deconstructed Pizza Casserole | Kalyn’s Kitchen
3. Low Carb Vegan Ramen | Meat Free Keto
4. Low Carb Noodle Bowls with Creamy Curry Sauce | Healthful Pursuit
5. Cream of Mushroom Soup | Wholesome Yum
6. Sweet Potato Black Bean Vegan Burritos | Kim’s Cravings
7. Mini Bell Pepper Loaded Turkey Nachos | Skinny Taste
8. One Pot Teriyaki Chicken Zoodles | Life Made Sweeter
9. Whole Grain Penne with Spinach, White Beans and Garlic Oil | The Joy of Eating
10. Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken | Skinny Ms.
11. Garlic Mushroom Quinoa | Damn Delicious
12. Pizza Cauliflower Casserole | Peace, Love and Low Carb
13. Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes | Diethood
14. Spinach Cilantro Meatballs | Savory Lotus
15. Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti Squash | It’s Cheat Day Every Day
16. Deconstructed Gyro Salad | Mel Joulwan
17. Mediterranean Zucchini Noodle Pasta | The Roasted Root
18. Cauliflower “Cous Cous” with Leeks and Sundried Tomatoes | A House in the Hills
19. Spaghetti Squash Quiche | I Food Real
20. Low Carb Beef Satay | Low Carb Maven
21. Veggie Mini Meatloaves | The Natural Nurturer
22. Keto Chicken Casserole | Diet Doctor
23. Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry | Glue Sticks and Gumdrops
24. Grilled White Fish with Zucchini and Kale Pesto | Diet Doctor
25. Spaghetti Squash with Kale, Hazelnuts and Chickpeas | My New Roots
26. Low Carb Tacos | Homemade Interest
27. Keto Lasagna | Diet Doctor
28. Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken | The Recipe Critic
29. Chicken Enchilada Bowl | Hey Keto Mama
30. Pesto Chicken Casserole | Diet Doctor

30 Carb Cycling Diet Dessert Recipes

1. Keto Butter Tarts | I hacked Diabetes
2. Chocolate Fudge Donuts with Peanut Butter Frosting and Salted Caramel | Keto Incognito
3. Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Cake | Mouthwatering Motivation
4. Flourless Peanut Butter Muffins | My Whole Food Life
5. Paleo Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread | Bakerita
6. Sugar Free Brownies | The Sugar Free Diva
7. Low Carb Pumpkin Cupcakes | Keto Cooking Christian
8. Low Carb No Bake Chocolate Coconut Bars| Primavera Kitchen
9. Keto Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Keto Summit
10. Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies | Wholesome Yum
11. Low Carb Lemon Cheesecake | The Sugar Free Diva
12. Chocolate Avocado Mousse | Keto Cooking Christian
13. Keto Chocolate Donuts | Sugar Free Londoner
14. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars | Peace, Love and Low Carb
15. Ricotta Lemon Poppyseed Muffins | Two Sleevers
16. No Bake Chocolate Cake | Keto Diet Channel
17. Paleo Apple Fritters | Forest & Fauna
18. Jello Pops | My Life Cookbook
19. Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse | Keto Cooking Christian
20. Banana Bread Muffins | Gimme Delicious
21. Fudgey Brownie Cookies | Mouthwatering Motivation
22. Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies| Seasonly Creations
23. Sugar-Free Tiramisu | Broke Foodies
24. Carrot Cake with Cheesecake Filling | Simply So Healthy
25. Strawberry Vanilla Muffins | Divalicious Recipes h
26. Maple Pecan Pie | All Day I Dream About Food
27. Low Carb Creme Brulee | Wholesome Yum
28. Strawberry Shortcake Mug Cake | Keto Cooking Christian
29. Cinnamon Roll Cheesecakes | All Day I Dream About Food
30. Pumpkin Pie Pudding | Two Sleevers

If you’re just getting started with carb cycling, here are 30 days of recipes to get you on the right track!

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The Carb Cycling Diet for Beginners: 30 Days of Carb Cycling Recipes (2024)


How do you carb cycle for beginners? ›

A typical weekly carb cycling diet may include 2 high carb days, 2 moderate carb days, and 3 low carb days. Protein intake is usually similar from day to day, whereas fat intake varies based on carb intake. A high carb day usually means low fat, whereas low carb days are high fat.

How long does it take to start losing weight on carb cycling? ›

“It helps them mentally and emotionally feel like they're never deprived of foods they can't have on a typical diet,” she says. On this and other cycles, individuals will feel results in about a week, and start to see them in two weeks, says Powell.

What is carb cycling and cheat days? ›

Believe it or not, this is an actual dietary approach known as carb cycling, which involves alternating between high- and low-carbohydrate days for six days and including a reward or “cheat” day on the seventh.

What is the best high-carb food for cycling? ›

Sweet potatoes, legumes, pasta, and whole grains are all excellent sources of carbohydrates and great bases for a larger meal. If you have a lower-intensity workout on the Calendar, you don't have to emphasize carbohydrates as much in your pre-workout nutrition.

What foods are good for carb loading cycling? ›

Items such as pasta with chicken and broccoli, porridge with fruit and honey; bagels with peanut butter and jacket potatoes can all provide significant amounts of carbohydrate, without being heavy on sugar, fats or processed ingredients.

How do you carb cycle belly fat? ›

Answer: Yes, carb cycling can benefit fat loss by helping the body to utilize carbs for energy and recovery on active days and switching to using fats for energy on low-activity days. Carb cycling also helps to manage insulin release better, which helps to limit the amount of carbs our body stores as fat [15].

What does 50 carbs a day look like? ›

If you occasionally want to “carb up,” or if you can maintain ketosis at a higher level of carbs, eating 50 grams of carbs means you're still staying relatively low carb. Here's 50 grams of refined or higher carb foods: three slices of bread, three potatoes, a cup of rice and a cup of pasta.

What happens if you eat no carbs for a week? ›

Severe carb limits can cause your body to break down fat into ketones for energy. This is called ketosis. Ketosis can cause side effects such as bad breath, headache, fatigue and weakness.

Is keto better than carb cycling? ›

While carb cycling can help with weight management, blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, it does not necessarily bring all the benefits of a keto diet. The lower-carb days on a carb cycling plan may still exceed the amount of carbs you need to consume in order to stay in nutritional ketosis.

When should I exercise during carb cycling? ›

"Work your way up from there and max out at 200 grams of carbs per day." Day 4 would be your most intense training day (heavy weightlifting, HIIT, or a long run), and day 1 would be your least intense (light cardio, mobility work, or a rest day). After day 5, you'd cycle back to day 1.

What is the basic carb cycling plan? ›

The classic carb cycling schedule alternates between high- and low-carb days, six times a week, saving the seventh day for reward meals. Depending on your health and fitness objectives, however, you might want to alter your setup for the week.

What to eat on low-carb cycling days? ›

On low-carb days, limit fruits and starchy vegetables. You can still eat low-carbohydrate vegetables like leafy greens, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower and avocados. You should also aim to get plenty of protein, as well as healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish.

What is a carb cycling rest day? ›

Carb cycling schedules

"On high-carb days, individuals consume more carbohydrates to fuel intense workouts and replenish glycogen stores," says Messer. On low-carb days, also called a rest or recovery day, "carbohydrate intake is reduced, and the focus is on consuming more proteins and healthy fats."

What should I eat on rest days cycling? ›

A mid-morning snack is important on a rest day to prevent your blood sugar level dipping and you being tempted to reach for sugary snacks, such as biscuits. Nuts, seeds, orchard fruits and natural yoghurt are all good choices. You should also have a similar snack mid-afternoon.

Should you do HIIT workouts on low-carb days or high carb days? ›

"That said, research indicates that carbohydrates are the predominant fuel for working muscles during high-intensity exercise, and consuming carbs before and after a tough sweat session is critical to get the most out of it." It's generally accepted that a low-carb intake will reduce power output during high-intensity ...


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