So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start lowering the carbohydrates in your diet. Congratulations, that’s terrific! It’s one of the best changes you can make for your health.
But making the switch to a lower-carb lifestyle can be a bit challenging at first. It can be tough to scale back on some of your go to foods such as bread, pasta and white potatoes.
If you’ve found yourself standing in the kitchen baffled about how to make breakfast without your toast or pull off spaghetti night without your pasta you’re not alone.
Don’t worry it gets easier. Before you know it, you won’t even give a second thought to what you’re eating.
But until then were here to help. And today I’m going to share four lower carb food swaps with you that are so tasty you’ll never miss the higher carb versions again.
1. Veggie noodles:
There’s no reason to give up on spaghetti night. Simply replace the traditional pasta with a lower carb veggie version the entire family will love. Try several different kinds to figure out which one is your favorite.
If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash yet, you have to give this delicious veggie a go. You’ll find the fresh squash in the produce aisle.
Simply preheat your oven to 450 degrees, slice the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the two halves in a baking dish (cut sides down) and bake for about 45 minutes. Scrape the stringy insides of the squash into a serving dish and add your favorite pasta toppings.
Another terrific noodle option is to “spiralize” your veggies using a spiralizer kitchen tool. You can pick them up in most grocery stores or online.
This handy tool turns zucchini, carrots, squash or even beets into veggie pasta which you can roast or in some cases boil. Most spiralizers come with a handy book of tips and recipes for inspiration.
If you don’t own a spiralizer tool and still want to try veggie noodles, simply slice your chosen veggie into thin strips to create more of a linguine style noodle. Or check the produce and freezer aisles of your local supermarket for a no-work store bought brand.
2. Sweet potato toast:
One thing many folks find difficult when switching to a lower carb way of eating is cutting back on bread. Eggs don’t seem the same without a slice of toast. Sure, a spoonful of nut butter is always delicious, but without bread to spread it on it can feel like something’s missing. And eating smoked salmon without the bagel is practically a sin in some homes.
If you’re finding it hard to say goodbye to bread you’re going to love this lower carb swap. Believe it or not, sliced and toasted sweet potatoes make a terrific substitute for bread.
Look for sweet potatoes that are large and round and reject any curved ones, which don’t slice as well. Then simply cut your sweet potato lengthwise into several 1/4 inch thick slices (thicker ones don’t toast as well). You can peel your potatoes first but we recommend leaving the skin on to get more fiber, beta carotene and vitamin C.
Pop your slices into a toaster or toaster oven just like you would bread and toast them on high. After the first cycle is done toast them a second time until they’re crispy and brown.
If you sliced your potatoes a bit too thick don’t be afraid to give them a third round if needed. When they’re done simply add your favorite toppings such as eggs, avocado, nut butter or smoked salmon.
3. Mashed cauliflower:
If you’re a fan or creamy delicious mashed potatoes you’re going to love this mashed cauliflower alternative. It’s every bit as delicious as the original white potato version, but has far fewer carbs.
Cut your cauliflower into florets and boil in salted water for eight to 10 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Drain and toss into the hot pot (off the heat), cover and let sit for two to three minutes. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt and pepper to taste, and mash just as you would potatoes.
I like to add a couple small cubes of cream cheese to mine for an even creamier dish. Green onions, nutmeg and butter are all also delicious extras.
One taste and you’ll never go back to the potato version again.
4. Vegetable rice:
Rice is a go to side dish for many folks. It pairs perfectly with almost any meal and it seems like a must have when serving Chinese, Thai or Indian dishes. But with white rice off the table what’s a desperate cook to do? Grab a head of broccoli or cauliflower instead.
Cut the broccoli or cauliflower florets off their stalks and pulse them in your food processor for two to three minutes until they resemble rice. (If you don’t have a food processor a cheese grater will work too, but it is far more labor intensive.) Transfer the veggie rice to a clean absorbent dish towel or thick paper towels and gently press to remove excess moisture.
Your rice is now ready to cook. Toss it into a large skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil or coconut oil and cook on medium for around six to eight minutes stirring only occasionally to preserve fluffiness. Season however you like, such as with salt and pepper, fresh garlic or soy sauce and serve.
Looking for a shortcut? Many grocery stores now have riced cauliflower available in the produce and freezer sections. I spotted some in my own local grocery store the other day.
Remember, just because you’re cutting back on carbs doesn’t mean you have to cut back on taste too.