5 Low-Carb Swaps for Your Favourite High-Carb Foods
So you've started a low-carb diet, and you're craving your favourite carb-laden foods: bread, pasta, and rice to name a few.
The good news is that you don't have to let your cravings derail your eating plan: you can do this! With a handful of easy swaps, you can satisfy your high-carb cravings with delicious low-carb alternatives.
All you need are some vegetables and an open mindset. Read on to discover some tasty low-carb food replacements, and feed your cravings without the guilt.
Low-Carb Swap #1
The high-carb food: A hamburger bun or sandwich bread
The low-carb substitute: A lettuce leaf "bun"
You can still enjoy a delicious burger or sandwich without the bread. The filling is the tastiest part anyways, so you won't miss a thing.
To make a lettuce leaf "bun," grab a head of iceberg lettuce.
Cut off the top ½ inch of the head of lettuce, then carefully peel apart the outer leaves of the cut portion to use as your two buns. You can then turn the head of lettuce on its side and cut away another section to use as two more buns. Save the rest of the head of lettuce for another purpose, like a salad.
Now that you have your buns, simply assemble your sandwich or burger fillings between the lettuce leaves, pick up with your hands, and enjoy!
Low-Carb Swap #2
The high-carb food: Potato chips
The low-carb substitute: Kale chips
While potato chips are a no-no on a low-carb diet, kale chips are perfectly low in carbs--and they also happen to taste delicious.
To make kale chips, use a large bunch of curly kale. Wash and dry the kale thoroughly (a salad spinner works best for this), then tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Toss the kale pieces in a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and some pinches of sea salt.
Spread the kale leaves onto a large baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes at 148℃, or until nice and crispy. Note: if the kale pieces don't all fit onto a single baking sheet in one layer, use two baking sheets and set on two oven racks, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking.
Ideally, enjoy your kale chips the day you've made them; however, if you do have leftovers, you can store them in a sealed container for up to one day.
Low-Carb Swap #3
The high-carb food: Rice
The low-carb substitute: Cauliflower rice
Rice is such a versatile food, and it can be difficult to give it up on a low-carb diet. That's where cauliflower rice comes to the rescue!
To make cauliflower rice, you'll need one large head of cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into large pieces, then add to your food processor. Pulse the cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles rice. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a box grater to grate the cauliflower pieces by hand.
Alternatively, you can often buy pre-made cauliflower rice in the refrigerated or frozen section of your grocery store. This is a great option for busy people.
To cook cauliflower rice, simply sauté it with some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. It should just take a couple of minutes to cook through. Then use your cauliflower rice just as you would use regular rice.
Low-Carb Swap #4
The high-carb food: Pasta
The low-carb substitute: Zucchini "noodles," aka zoodles
Pasta is a favorite of adults and children alike, and there's no need to deprive yourself while on a low-carb eating plan. Instead, make your pasta out of zucchini.
To make zucchini noodles, also known as "zoodles," you can use a spiralizer to create the perfect pasta-like shape. If you don't have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler: hold the zucchini upright, and use the vegetable peeler to shave off long strips of the zucchini.
Sauté your spiralized or peeled zoodles in a skillet over medium heat, with a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Then top with your favorite pasta sauce and enjoy every bite, with zero guilt involved.
Low-Carb Swap #5
The high-carb food: Mashed potatoes
The low-carb substitute: Mashed cauliflower
Cauliflower saves the day once again! Mashed cauliflower is an excellent replacement for mashed potatoes.
To make mashed cauliflower, cut a large head of cauliflower into small florets. Place the florets into a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes, or until fork-tender. Once cooked, drain the cauliflower.
Add the cauliflower back into the pot, and purée with a stick blender until smooth. If the mash is too thick, you can add some splashes of chicken broth and blend again.
Flavor your mashed cauliflower with any seasonings you'd like; a pat of butter is good, as is garlic powder. Make sure to add salt and pepper to taste, and serve the mash while it's hot.
All of these low-carb alternatives are so good that you may never turn back to your old ways. Keep these ideas on hand, and use them whenever a high-carb craving strikes. You won't miss the carbs, and you'll stay on track with your diet.