Research has shown that restricting carbohydrates is generally a quick and successful way to achieve weight loss. It becomes challenging to do so however, when you are addicted to carbs like rice, wraps, pasta and pizza. Is it possible do low carb dieting without having to give up on the foods that you love most? The answer is yes. With the common food trends nowadays, you can swap your grains for vegetables thereby saving on calories and carbohydrates. Try the following substitutions this summer and you are bound to reduce your carb load by plenty.
- Collard/Lettuce “wraps”: Are you a wrap lover? Wraps are one of those things that people misconceive as being super healthy in comparison to bread because they are thin and dainty. While they may be less starchy than a large baguette, most wraps are not whole grain, high in carbohydrates, low in fiber and additionally filled with unhealthy preservatives like calcium proprionate. Try collard wraps this winter and save yourself 22 grams of carbohydrates per wrap.
- Cauliflower “rice”: Cauliflower has only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbs per cup. Compare that to a cup of cooked brown rice which has 46 grams of carbs and nearly zero grams of fiber. Cauliflower rice is simple to make and extremely delicious. All you need is a food processor and a small skillet and you can complete the entire process in a few minutes. You can spice it up with some sautéed vegetables and you can even add some legumes or lean animal protein to make it a complete dinner.
- Zucchini “noodles”: Spiralizing your vegetables is a latest trend this season. People are spiralizing beets, butternut squash, zucchini and more. You can purchase a spiralizer for as low as $20. You can spiralize yellow or green squash thereby creating “zoodles.” While one cup of cooked spaghetti has about 220 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrate, the same serving of zucchini made into “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) has just 20 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate. Due to the low calorie and carbohydrate content, you can eat 5 servings of zucchini for just 100 calories and 20 grams of carbs. You are still not even coming close to the amount of carbohydrates in one serving of spaghetti. The large bulk will help you feel satisfied. Try mixing your zoodles with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese for a perfect lunch or serve with meatballs and marinara sauce for dinner.
- Coconut “pizza crust”: While cauliflower pizza crust is the newest hype, it can sometimes be quite flimsy. An alternative low carb pizza crust is one made with coconut flour. While it will be slightly more caloric than using cauliflower, it achieves the perfect texture and is delicious. ¼ cup of coconut flour is 120 calories but you don’t need to use more flour than that for a serving. Simply combine an egg, spices and some parmesan cheese and you’re on your way to a low carb pizza crust that is delicious.
- Eggplant “buns”: Eggplant buns are a great low carb alternative to traditional burger buns. Simply cut thin slices and fry them with spray oil to cook them while keeping them firm. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, makes these a perfect substitution for a toasted bun. Alternatively, you can roast them in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes on each side and achieve a similar texture. Eggplant has just 5 grams of carbs per cup, half of those being fiber while the average mini slider bun has 16 grams of carbs and just 1 gram of fiber.
- Raw parsnip “sushi rice”: Although sushi is considered a healthy food, the amount of rice packed into just one sushi roll makes it a starchy meal. Even when you swap brown rice for the traditional white rice, you are not lowering the carbohydrate content by much. For all those sushi lovers who feel deprived when they need to give up their sushi due to adaptation of a low carb diet: Try this! Pulse raw parsnips in a food processor with a little tahini to get the sticky rice consistency and create your favorite sushi roll without any of the guilt. There are 33 grams of carbohydrates and 1 grams of fiber in one half cup serving of sushi rice compared to just 12 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of fiber in the same serving of parsnip. Plus, most sushi rolls will contain more than just half a cup of rice.