If you’re trying to lose weight or simply embrace a healthier diet, one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to do so is to swap out your beloved carbs for veggies in disguise. Surprisingly, you can make many of your favorite carb-based foods with vegetables, and they’re way better for your diet and overall health.
Ready to give it a shot? Here are 10 great ways to start sneaking health-boosting veggies into your weekly meal plans.
Sure, you’ve heard of veggie burger patties, but have you ever thought about switching out your burger’s bread for something vegetable-based? You can actually substitute vegetables to sandwich those delicious burgers to save calories, add nutrients and ditch carbs! Some of our favorite options include grilled zucchini or sweet potato slices, mushroom caps or even just a lettuce leaf.
» Check out Nom Nom Paleo's Portobello Mushroom Bun Burgers.
Even though the thought of substituting vegetables for a bread-based, garlicky crust sounds like an uneven swap, you might be surprised by how yummy the switch can be. Healthy pizza crusts can be made from tons of different veggies, including sweet potatoes, squash, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli and more.
» One veggie crust favorite that we highly recommend is Trader Joe's Cauliflower Crust. It's the perfect base for any pizza at only 80 calories for a sixth of the crust!
You love your whole wheat and white breads, but your thighs certainly don’t. Try making your next loaf at home with veggies like zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower. Sure, there’s no real substitute for Olive Garden's to-die-for breadsticks, but these loaves will certainly give you a nutritious boost. Plus, you get to skip all the additives and fillers from store-bought bread = WIN!
» Want a great recipe? Try My Copenhagen Kitchen's Veggie Bread with Cauliflower and Broccoli. Use them for sandwiches, burger buns, hot dog buns, mini pizza crusts—you name it!
Steer clear of the McDonald’s drive-thru with some amazing, carb-free fries that you can make from the comfort of your home. Who knew that you could make baked fries out of ingredients like green beans, asparagus and carrots?
» You can't go wrong with our Crispy Green Bean Fries! Fresh green beans coated in a light breadcrumb and baked to perfection!
You’ve probably heard people sing the praises of spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles, but have you ever actually given those dishes a try? Invest in a spiralizer for your kitchen, then start experimenting with different veggies to see what kind of carb-free noodles you like the most.
Tacos are just as tasty if you wrap them up in romaine lettuce, kale, or other green leaves. Fill the vegetable covering with your favorite taco ingredients, like chicken, beef, tomatoes and cheese, then give your concoction a try.
» Want to give this low-carb idea a try? You'll LOVE our healthy Asian Lettuce Wrap recipe. The lettuce serves as the perfect crunchy wrap to eat the savory filling, and still leave you feeling full without being weighed down. Indulge in 4 lettuce wraps for just 255 calories!
If you simply can’t give up your favorite Italian dinners, try altering them to fit your healthy diet. Lasagnas can be made with eggplant, squash or zucchini, and you might even like the veggie-version better than the real deal.
» Try Skinnytaste's version: Noodle-less Butternut-Sausage Lasagna—the perfect comfort food without all the carbs!
“Vegetable dessert” might sound like an oxymoron, but you can actually get a few servings of veggies from several yummy, sweet recipes. Try whipping up a batch of Paleo Sweet Potato Brownies from PaleOMG that don’t contain any flour—all you'll taste is chocolatey goodness!
» Another winner in our book is a Cauliflower Dessert Pie! This recipe from Kiss My Broccoli is devine—the cocoa crust is topped with peanut flour sauce, sliced banana, cacao nibs, graham cracker crumbs and healthy chocolate sauce.
Love the crunch of potato chips but hate the calories and fat that come with them? A serving of Lays Classic Potato Chips (15 chips) contains 160 calories and a whopping 10 grams of fat! Instead, peel vegetables like beets, celery root, zucchini and sweet potatoes, then bake them and cover them with sea salt. Veggie chips are a great alternative to your normal salty snacks, and you might be pleasantly surprised by their addictive taste. Try our Skinny Baked Sweet Potato Chips—only 71 calories and two grams of fat — and that's for 20 chips. Looks like you've found your next snack!
Americans can’t get enough of their traditional, home-cooked sides, including creamy mashed potatoes smothered in butter. However, those potatoes aren’t doing your health any favors. Try using mashed cauliflower instead of regular potatoes for a boost of veggie power. A great option is our Skinny Mashed Cauliflower! After trying this delicious side dish, regular mashed potatoes will no longer be worth the damage!
Article written by Riley Heruska.