Many of us turn to carb cutting when trying to lose weight. Finding alternatives to some of our favorite carb-heavy foods can be tricky. Luckily, there are healthy and equally delicious options that you can eat without sacrificing calories or feeling deprived of that comfort food taste.
1. Mashed cauliflower: Yes, cauliflower is a great mashed potato alternative. Simply boil it, mash it and eat. You can add low-fat cheese or garlic for added flavor. Click here for our Skinny Mashed Cauliflower recipe.
2. Spaghetti squash pasta: Pasta is one difficult food to give up — even if it is only temporary. But spaghetti squash is a great replacement. It looks just like string pasta after you roast it in the oven and fork out the middle. You can pour your favorite marinara on top or cheese for a healthy macaroni. You will love this Skinny Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs recipe (pictured below). Spaghetti squash with some seasoning can also replace meat in some recipes, so be sure to also try our Skinny Spaghetti Squash Tacos!
3. Lettuce wraps: In the mood for a sandwich or wrap? Cut the carbs easily and swap your bread for tasty greens. Add your meat/fish/shrimp, veggies, beans and condiments and roll it into one nutritious and delicious wrap. You can also use lettuce in lieu of regular taco shells. Click here for our Skinny Tilapia Lettuce Wraps!
4. Cauliflower rice: Who knew cauliflower was so versatile? Throw some cauliflower in a high-speed blender or processor until it looks like rice and then fry it up in a pan. Next, throw in your favorite vegetables, seasonings and spices. You now have your own instant rice with less than half the carbs you find in regular rice.
5. Almond milk: With all the controversy these days surrounding the consumption of milk, spare yourself the confusion and the carbs by switching to almond milk. One cup of fat free milk still has 12 grams of carbs versus 1 gram for one cup of almond milk. It also has less calories and less sugar. Use it in cereal, coffee or any recipe that calls for milk.
6. Kale chips: When you crave crunchy, or salty, or both, choose kale chips. Not only do they satisfy both of those cravings, but you are also eating one of the healthiest foods out there. Spare yourself from the carb-loaded, over-salted, greasy potato chips and enjoy the crunchy and flavorful taste of kale chips. Check out our recipe for Crispy Kale Chips here!
7. Fat-free Greek yogurt dip: Greek yogurt makes a great, protein-rich replacement for sour cream when you prepare dips and sauces. You can still make a delicious onion dip using traditional dry onion soup mix (or your own mix) with greek yogurt in lieu of using sour cream. Your guests will never know the difference.
8. Salsa: Before you grab that ketchup bottle, you may want to look at the label. Just one tablespoon has 4 to 5 grams of carbs. Most people use well over that amount. Consider using salsa as a healthier option. Two tablespoons of salsa sauce has only 10 calories and 2 grams of carbs, while also lower in sugar. Salsa is great on omelets, hamburgers, turkey burgers and chicken. Try this 5-Minute Garden Fresh Salsa!
9. Low-carb pancakes: Don't think you'll have to miss out on Saturday morning pancakes. Instead of using boxed pancake mixes that pack anywhere from 25 to 33 grams of carbs for only a third of a cup, simply mix eggs (or egg whites) along with coconut flour or almond flour. Add in your favorite fruit, too, and you have just made a stack of sweet, delicious, low-carb pancakes.
10. Kabocha squash: This Japanese squash tastes just like butternut squash, but with less calories and carbs. One cup of kabocha squash has roughly 40 calories and 7 grams of carbs (butternut squash has 60 calories and 16 grams of carbs). Roast it in the oven, or puree it to make soup. It has a slightly sweet taste and is an excellent source of beta-carotene.
As you can see, there is no reason you cannot enjoy your favorite foods while cutting carbs. It is just a matter of finding the right alternative. You may discover that you like the low-carb option a lot more than what you used to eat! For more meal ideas, check out 7 High Protein, Low Carb Dinner Recipes and 7 High Protein, Low Carb Breakfast Recipes.