When you hear “carnivore diet,” a plate full of juicy steaks might flash before your eyes. But what about the sides?
Your plate may feel as if it’s missing something as you transition to this diet from a more traditional modern American diet. Where are the potatoes, or the rice? What about the veggies? Perhaps you’re missing your favorite dinner rolls.
The journey of a carnivore dieter often means bidding adieu to the traditional, vibrant variety of side dishes that once adorned the plate. But what if there was a way to add a little pizzazz without breaking the rules? There is - carnivore diet sides!
We’ll share our favorite carnivore diet side dishes to help you keep yourself sane as you journey through the world of carnivore. First things first - can you have sides on a carnivore diet?
Can You Have Sides on a Carnivore Diet?
Absolutely! The idea of the carnivore diet is rooted in simplicity, but that doesn’t mean your meals should be monotonous.
Just like in any dietary plan, sides play a pivotal role in not just satisfying your taste buds but also providing a sense of completeness to your meals.
Traditionally, side dishes have been used to balance out flavors, add texture, or introduce variety to the plate. Think of a side as the supporting actor that can sometimes steal the show!
The principle remains the same on the carnivore diet - it's just the ingredients that differ. To understand why we must talk about what foods are avoided on the carnivore diet - essentially, anything plant-based. We encourage you to read our carnivore diet food list if you’re new to the diet.
While you won't be reaching for that bowl of greens or grains, there's still a world of meaty and animal-derived delights waiting to be explored. The key is to be smart about your selections, ensuring you stick to the diet's guidelines while still indulging in some flavorful additions.
As you’ll discover below, though, there are quite a few challenges in finding worthy carnivore diet side dishes…
The Challenge With Finding Good Carnivore Diet Sides
Navigating the terrain of the carnivore diet can feel like a culinary tightrope at times. While the foundational principle is simple - eat only from animal sources - the practical aspect can become tricky, especially when it comes to side dishes.
After all, a majority of the classic sides we’ve come to love and cherish, from mashed potatoes to fresh salads, are plant-based. This is where the challenge lies.
The Limited Landscape: Why Traditional Sides Don't Fit the Bill
Many are taken aback by the realization of just how plant-centric our traditional meals are, especially when it comes to accompaniments.
Think about it: A juicy steak is often accompanied by a bed of greens or a heap of fries. A succulent piece of fish usually rests next to a dollop of tartar sauce with a side of coleslaw.
Most sides you’re accustomed to have plant ingredients as their primary component, and this poses a clear challenge for the carnivore dieter.
Moreover, the shift isn't just about avoiding vegetables and grains. Many commonly used ingredients like certain spices, herbs, and condiments also fall outside the carnivore umbrella.
So, it's not just about removing the veggies from the plate, but also rethinking how we flavor and complement our primary dishes. Our guide to carnivore seasoning can help you find approved seasonings.
The Importance of Variety: Keeping Your Plate Exciting on a Restricted Diet
A common misconception surrounding the carnivore diet is that it's dull or restrictive. And while it's true that the diet limits certain food groups, it doesn't mean your plate needs to be a repetitive array of the same cuts of meat day in and day out.
The human palate craves variety, not just for the sake of flavor but also for psychological satisfaction. Changing textures, flavors, and presentation can be vital in ensuring you stick to the diet long-term without feeling deprived.
That being said, follow along as we introduce you to a whole new world and unveil our favorite carnivore diet side dishes below.
Our Favorite Carnivore Diet Side Dishes
Who said reaping the carnivore diet benefits had to be boring? You can still enjoy some delicious, nutritious carnivore diet sides that won’t force you to compromise on the diet.
From eggy delights to cheesy additions, seafood sides, and more - here are the best carnivore diet side dishes to add to your diet.
Bone Broth or Bone Marrow
Bone broth is not just one of our favorite side dishes for carnivore diet - it's a nutrient powerhouse.
Simmering bones for extended periods releases minerals, collagen, and amino acids, offering a myriad of health benefits from joint support to improved digestion. Sipping on a cup of warm bone broth can be both therapeutic and nourishing.
On the other hand, roasted bone marrow provides a rich, buttery accompaniment to steaks and roasts. Spread it on carnivore bread or enjoy it straight from the bone - its luxurious texture and deep flavor are sure to elevate your meal.
Eggs: Deviled Eggs, Egg Muffins, etc.
Eggs, in their myriad forms, make excellent side dishes for the carnivore diet. They're not just breakfast material. Deviled eggs, with their creamy yolky filling, can be a delightful side or appetizer. Consider adding some finely chopped bacon or ham to the mix for a meatier twist.
Egg muffins, essentially mini frittatas, can be loaded with various meats and cheeses, offering a protein-packed bite that's both savory and satisfying.
The beauty of eggs lies in their adaptability. They can be scrambled, fried, poached, or baked, each method offering a unique texture and flavor profile to accompany your main dish. This versatility is why they’re a staple carnivore diet side dish.
Seafood Sides Like Shrimp, Oysters, Clams, and More
While the carnivore diet predominantly focuses on land animals, let's not forget the treasures the ocean offers. Shrimp, whether grilled, sautéed, or boiled, can be a light and flavorful side, especially when seasoned minimally with salt.
Oysters are not only a delicacy but also a rich source of zinc, vital for testosterone production and overall health. They can be served raw with a squeeze of lemon for flavor.
Clams are one of our favorite carnivore diet sides too. We love them steamed and served in their own juice, as this can provide a briny taste of the sea that pairs wonderfully with meaty main dishes.
Incorporating seafood not only diversifies your palate but also ensures you’re reaping the full spectrum of nutrients the animal kingdom has to offer. Don’t neglect these side dishes on carnivore diet!
Cheese Crisps & Other Cheesy Sides
Wait - can you eat cheese on carnivore diet? Yes, it’s an animal source after all! The only challenge is in that you end up consuming carnivore diet carbs, which may interfere with carnivore diet weight loss goals - so enjoy in moderation.
With that said, cheese is the cornerstone of some of the best carnivore diet sides. If you've ever craved a crispy texture while on the carnivore diet, cheese crisps are the answer to your prayers.
They’re made by baking or frying thin layers of hard cheese like Parmesan or cheddar until they turn golden and crisp. These carnivore diet snacks offer a satisfying crunch reminiscent of traditional chips.
It’s not just about adding crunch to your plate, though. Cheese can be melted and draped over meat for a luxurious, creamy finish, adding a depth of flavor that only dairy can provide.
And let's not forget the classic grilled cheese, made with carnivore-friendly bread, giving you that gooey, melty satisfaction. We’ll talk more about carnivore bread shortly. The inclusion of cheese as a side or ingredient offers a calcium-rich, flavorful addition to the strict meaty regime.
Whipped cream is a delightful treat for those with a penchant for something creamy and slightly indulgent. While most might relegate whipped cream to the realm of desserts it can serve as a lush, velvety accompaniment to fruits for those who slightly modify their carnivore diet (more on that in a moment).
It's also a great topper for coffee, turning your regular brew into a carnivore-friendly latte. Whipping cream manually or with a mixer until it reaches a thick consistency gives you a side that's both simple and luxurious, offering a palate cleanser or a mild dessert option.
Last but certainly not least on our list of the best carnivore diet sides is carnivore bread.
Wait - what is carnivore bread? Aren’t grains off-limits on this diet? They are, but this is what makes carnivore bread so special.
It’s carefully crafted from ingredients like eggs and pork rinds or other meat-based products, providing the joy of bread without the carbs. It's airy, fluffy, and when toasted, gives a beautiful crunch.
Whether you're making a meaty sandwich, looking for something to spread bone marrow on, or just missing the familiarity of toast in the morning, carnivore bread delivers.
It's proof that with a bit of ingenuity, you can recreate and enjoy familiar textures and flavors while staying true to the carnivore lifestyle. You can explore carnivore diet recipes for bread and make it in your kitchen or find it for sale in some local health stores or online.
A Quick Word on Modifying the Carnivore Diet to Embrace More Sides
As with any dietary approach, it's essential to recognize that individual needs, preferences, and goals can lead to some variations. The thought of diving deep into a strictly meat-based diet might be daunting, especially when thinking of the wide range of flavors and textures they might miss out on.
This is where the art of modification comes into play.
A modified carnivore diet is perfect for those yearning for a bit of diversity on their plate. While you won’t reap the same degree of benefits (the diet is highly exclusionary for a reason - and you get out what you put in), you can alleviate some of the cravings by following the carnivore diet with fruit, for example.
In some cases, you may consider eating select vegetables on the diet - be it asparagus or broccoli. But while it's crucial to strike a balance between staying true to the diet's ethos and making it sustainable for the long haul, we recommend following the diet as it was intended for a period of time.
This will give you a new baseline of health. After a few months of consistency, you can slowly add back in one food item at a time. If you don’t notice any issues then great - that food time is probably not problematic for you!
Modifying the carnivore diet opens the door to a plethora of additional carnivore diet sides. It can also offset some carnivore diet side effects and eliminate the need for as many carnivore diet supplements.
That being said, it’s time we wrap up this conversation on our favorite side dishes for carnivore diet. Here are a few parting thoughts…
Bringing Our Conversation on Carnivore Diet Side Dishes to a Close
While finding suitable carnivore diet sides can be challenge, it’s not impossible. We’ve shared our favorite side dishes on carnivore diet to inspire you as you attempt to keep things fresh and fill in the gaps on your plate.
From the rich depth of bone marrow to the delightful crunch of cheese crisps, there's a world of options available to satiate both your palate and nutritional needs.
You can learn more about what the carnivore diet is all about or find tips on how to start carnivore diet in our blog. We have resources covering the carnivore diet pros and cons, carnivore diet and inflammation, keto vs carnivore, paleo vs carnivore, is the carnivore diet healthy, carnivore diet before and after, how much to eat on carnivore diet, carnivore diet on a budget, and more.
Our meat chips are a perfect pairing for the carnivore diet, and are actually considered the best zero carb snacks because they contain just two ingredients - meat and salt. That’s it! That means they’re a perfect fit for the carnivore diet macros.
They’ve been referred to as meat pastries for the way they melt in your mouth and give way to tantalizing flavors. We have carnivore chips in a variety of flavors - including brisket chips, ribeye chips, beef chips, steak chips, lamb chips, chicken chips, and pork chips.
Your plate might be meat-centric, but with the right carnivore diet side dishes and our unbeatable chips, every bite promises an adventure. Happy feasting!