These days, it seems like no matter where we turn there will always be another product for carbohydrate enthusiasts to rejoice over. So what about the people who love carbs, but not the calories? Let’s face it, our tasty low-carb options are very slim and for those of us who wish to cut the carbs out altogether, the options are next to nothing. With all of options, there has to be some way to satisfy our craving for those pasta dishes and mashed potatoes without completely breaking our calorie bank for the day. Some of the most popular carb alternatives come from sources we may not expect. Here are a few ways to substitute healthy veggies (yes, veggies!) for those beloved carb dishes we just cannot seem to give up.
This is possibly the most versatile vegetable available at your nearest produce market. While the vegetable on its own tastes great steamed, baked, or even grilled, it is an even better substitute for those carb-heavy dishes we love.
Substituting the vegetable for rice is as simple as rinsing the florets and dropping them in the food processor until they reach the consistency of the grain. Just follow your favorite healthy, low-sodium, low-fat fried rice recipe and toss the cauliflower “rice” into the pan instead of cooked rice. This is a sure-fire way to get your fried rice fix without the guilt!
This household staple can be difficult to give up, especially when paired with things such as Sunday roasts and fried chicken. However, by separating the florets and boiling them until tender, these are quickly turned into mash with a food processor and your favorite binding ingredient (I like low-fat cream cheese!) Salt, pepper, and a few other favorite mashed potato ingredients can turn this into your new healthy go-to side dish!
Yes, you read that right, pizza crust! While it goes without saying that a cauliflower-crust pizza may have a slightly different flavor, one thing that is guaranteed is the significant difference in fat and carbohydrate content when compared to regular crust pizza. Grated, steamed cauliflower florets combined with eggs and your favorite mix of Mozzarella, Cheddar, or Parmesan cheeses need only be pressed into a pizza pan and baked to form the base of your next pizza! Top it with healthy choices like fresh spinach, olives, red onions, and lean chicken breast or go Hawaiian with Canadian bacon, low-fat cheese, and pineapple chunks. The possibilities are endless!
With its pliable consistency, the zucchini offers itself as a nutritional canvas when it comes to trying new dishes. Like the cauliflower, it is often prepared grilled or baked, but can be substituted for our favorite carb dishes.
The first thing to decide on is whether or not to keep the peel on. Remember, the peel has many health benefits including fiber which can regulate the digestive system. Besides, it makes for healthy, fun and colorful “pasta!” Using the very versatile mandolin, slice the zucchini to your preference. Popular “pasta” options include ribbons, slices to make lasagna, or the classic spaghetti noodle. The beauty of using zucchini for your pasta is that it can be enjoyed raw as a pasta salad, or cooked for a more savory, classic option. Just mix with your go-to pasta dish ingredients (low-fat alfredo, marinara, pesto, etc) or make a cold pasta salad dish to take on a picnic. Another substitute for pasta, or more specifically angel hair pasta, is the aptly named spaghetti squash. Just cut it down the middle, bake, and scrape the contents out before tossing it with your favorite sauce!
While we cannot substitute all the flour in the zucchini bread recipe, using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose will help cut the bad carbs out. Grated zucchini, unsweetened apple sauce, and non-fat yogurt make this bread healthy, moist, and delectable, and perhaps even a surprising new go-to in place of those yeasty dinner rolls.
May is the perfect month to try out new recipes, just in time for summer! By the time those picnics and beach days come around, you can wow your party with delectable dishes that won’t interfere with anyone’s diet. With all of these healthy options, we can finally win the battle against those heavy carbs.