More than any other macronutrient, carbs are probably the most controversial part of modern diets and meal plans. Remember when we were all focusing on low-fat? Low-carb recipes are following the same trend. Of course, low-carb options are great if you’re trying to get insulin production and blood sugar under control.
A low-carb diet swap can also be crucial to helping you lose weight. Beyond weight loss, cutting back on your empty carbs and making small changes to your meals can make a big difference over time—not just in how you look, but how you feel. Most of us think of “carbs” as bread and pasta, which have been stripped of nutrients and aren’t adding much value to your overall health. By swapping out carb-heavy foods for those with higher nutrient density and lower calorie counts, you can make significant improvements in your eating habits.
Start focusing on veggies and some fruit for your energy intake and try these five low-carb swaps.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, chances are you’ve felt a craving for a big sandwich or a huge plate of pasta. We don’t blame you! At Low Fat Low Carb, we’ve developed some pretty easy ways to low-carb your meals. With these food swaps, you don’t have to give up your favorite comfort foods!
1 – Zoodles for Noodles (and Other Veggie Alternatives)
Cooked pasta is around 25% carbs. Eating 200 grams (less than one cup) of pasta means you’re consuming 50 grams of carbs, which is about your limit if you’re looking to cut carbs from your diet. Why not make a swap for zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash? Both these veggie alternatives include about 5 grams of carbs per cup of noodles… not to mention far greater nutrient and vitamin content! Try cutting, shredding, or spiralizing zucchini, radishes, eggplant, and peppers to get started.
2 – Chuck the Bread & Grab a Head (of Lettuce)
Ditching bread is one of the biggest challenges when low-carbing your meals. Sandwiches and burgers are incredibly popular, not to mention easy to make. Of course, you can still enjoy those meals if you’re going low-carb—you don’t have to reach for the high-carb wedge of flour! For example, swapping your burger bun for portobello mushroom caps can add flavor while serving as a great base for your patty. Just don’t overcook it! Not a fan of mushrooms? Thick, crunchy lettuce leaves are a great option for sandwich wraps, too—just watch out for drippings from your burgers and toppings if you go that route!
3 – Low-Carb Your Tacos
Taco shells and tortillas are usually around 13% carb content, which isn’t terrible. Of course, the problem with tacos is that they’re so delicious, you’re going to want to grab another… and another… and another! If you want to enjoy tacos to their full extent while cutting down on carbs, try swapping the tortillas for crisp leafy greens. Iceberg lettuce is a great option, as it won’t tear easily whenever you take a bite. If you don’t mind the taste of it, large kale leaves are another great tortilla substitute. Alternatively, you can even make cauliflower tortillas!
4 – Need a Side of Fries?
For many people, making a healthy substitution for fries means switching to sweet potato fries. 100 grams of sweet potato is still 20% carbs, though! While sweet potatoes might offer greater nutrient content, they’re not a great low-carb food option. Consider trying rutabaga fries, which are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber… all with a mere 6% net carb content! You can get a little off the beaten path with jicama fries, too.
5 – Vegan Mac & Cheese?!
North Americans love mac and cheese. It’s a staple meal, beloved by kids and college students alike. The downside is that it’s a carb-heavy meal that doesn’t offer much nutritional value. With about 21% carb-load, mac and cheese might seem like an odd candidate for a low-carb meal. Thankfully, there are low-carb alternatives! Cauliflower has become a popular and versatile veggie option, replacing everything from pizza crusts to chicken wings. Try chopping up some cauliflower to replace the macaroni noodles and enjoy its now 3% carb count, in addition to a boost in vitamins B6 and C. It’s a great, healthy alternative to most pasta and rice dishes!
And there you have it—5 amazing ways to enjoy some of your favorite meals while cutting back on carbs! Looking to add more low-carb meal options? We’ve got you covered!
This website contains general information about medical conditions, nutrition, health and diets.
To view our disclaimers click here.