Slashing carbs from your diet can often leave you feeling deprived of some of your favorite foods. Carbs are also a great way to get the energy needed for your active lifestyle.
Healthy carbs can give you good energy, some have reported that on no carb or low carb diets they lost some of their energy. New diets like keto don’t allow many carbs, and many people say they are tired on keto, but with time, your body will adjust.
However, you do not need to give up on your favorites; all you need are a few low-carbohydrate substitutions. Here are six healthy carb substitutes to liven up your low-carb diet.
Cauliflower as an Alternative to Several Favorites
The flavor of cauliflower is quite mild, so cauliflower proves to be a great mimic for several high-carb foods. You can use cauliflower to replace rice, couscous, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crust.
1. Cauliflower Rice to Couscous
- Simply zap cauliflower florets with a few pulses of your food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can grate your cauliflower by hand. Cooking your rice is easy. A bowl of riced cauliflower can be microwaved in a covered bowl for 2-3 minutes.
2. Cauliflower Alternative to Mashed Potatoes
- Replace your side of mashed potatoes by adding a bit of milk, butter and sour cream to a bowl of cooked cauliflower and mash with a potato masher, mixer or food processor. You will get a creamy, satisfying mashed potato experience, without the carbs.
3. Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- While the flavor and texture are not quite the same, cauliflower pizza crust is a popular low-carb favorite. You can make your crust following these simple steps:
- Remove excess moisture from your cooked cauliflower rice by squeezing it through cheesecloth.
- Add an egg, salt, pepper and oregano to taste and a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Press your mixture into a circle on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes
- Add your pizza toppings and bake again for 10 minutes
4. Zucchini Can Replace Pasta
You can spiralize zucchini for use as a low carb alternative in your favorite high-carb pasta dishes. Your zucchini pasta can be boiled, microwaved, or topped raw depending on the texture you prefer. You can cut your “pasta” ahead of time and stored in your refrigerator for easy meals. If you do not own a spiralizer, you can create zucchini ribbons with a vegetable peeler, which is perfect for low-carb lasagna.
5. Replace your Noodles with Kelp
Kelp noodles are a traditional Korean favorite that typically contains only one carb and ten calories per serving. Noodles made from green kelp have an al dente consistency and do have the flavor of seaweed. Clear kelp is blander in flavor than green kelp and pairs well with many sauces. Rinsing your noodles well will remove the mildly salty liquid that the noodles are packaged in. You can use these tasty pasta alternatives with pesto, mushroom sauce, marinara, or spaghetti sauces. For use in Asian cuisine try peanut sauce, almond ginger dressing, curry, or ramen soups.
6. Mimic the Bread
Cloud bread is perfect for making low-carb sandwiches, plain or toasted. You can quickly make a batch for your next meal or store them in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can bake this bread substitute with these simple steps:
- Combine the whites of three large eggs with a ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form
- In a second bowl combine a ¼ teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sweetener (optional) and two ounces of cream cheese (room temperature) until smooth
- Fold the cream cheese into the egg whites gently, trying not to deflate the egg whites
- Scoop into 4-inch “buns” on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow your cloud bread to cool before serving.
You can reduce the carbohydrates in your diet without giving up some of your favorite foods. All you need are a few tasty substitutions, and you can be back on your way to indulging in some of your favorite meals and snacks. Cauliflower, kelp, zucchini and egg whites can mimic some of your favorites while keeping your carb intake well under control.