12 Easy, super-tasty low-carb substitutes
We've said it before, but we'll say it again - carbs are not the enemy. However, there is a time and a place for carb-heavy foods like lasagne and pancakes and before your run isn't it! They can leave you feeling tired and sluggish, even if they are healthy in moderation. So we've come up with 12 easy low-carb substitutes for some of your favourite foods that are packed with nutrition and still super-tasty.
#1. Forget burger buns, try portobello mushrooms
This idea from Food Network is pretty amazing - lean turkey mince burgers loaded with onion, garlic, red pepper and mushrooms, served in a Portobello mushroom 'bun'. It's a great way to get your five a day and it tastes delicious too! Why not try out the mushroom 'bun' idea with some of our other burger recipes?
#2. Swap bread for aubergine
Sandwiching your chosen filling with roasted aubergine instead of bread is a great idea, and this Smitten Kitchen recipe recipe for roasted eggplant (aubergine) with mint and tomatoes is pretty tasty. It's a bread-free take on bruschetta that's naturally low in carbs yet high in antioxidants and healthy fats - yummy!
#3. Make sweet potato fries, not potato fries
We love, fries, or chips, whatever you want to call them. They're a delicious treat, but they are carb-heavy, and remember that potatoes don't count as one of your five-a-day. We think sweet potatoes or butternut squash are both great alternatives - baked in the oven, you can add some chilli powder or other spices for extra flavour! Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, essential for healthy vision, whilst butternut squash is packed with heart-protecting cartenoids and potassium (1).
#4. Craving mac n' cheese? Try cauliflower cheese
Laying off pasta and using cauliflower instead is a great choice, and it's super-easy to make cauliflower cheese, with all the creamy, indulgent flavour of macaroni and cheese. With this recipe, you just cook the cauliflower, make a cheese sauce and heat in the oven - what could be simpler?
#5. Swap wheat-flour pancakes for oatmeal pancakes
Oatmeal and banana pancakes are the ideal fruit-filled start to your day, without any flour. Just blend an egg, oats and a chopped banana to create a delicious, healthy pancake batter that counts as one of your five-a-day! The oats will fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied and energised, and this has to be one of our favourite weekend brunch recipes, best enjoyed with some Greek yoghurt and fresh raspberries after our Morning Abs Workout.
#6. Make vegetable 'noodles'
If you have a spiraliser, now is the time to put it to work making courgette pasta and vegetable 'noodles'. You can always just use a knife, if kitchen gadgets aren't your thing! We love this recipe for cabbage 'spaghetti', which has a delicious chilli sauce packed with lycopene from the tomatoes. It's a great take on traditional spaghetti that's a light, healthy meal.
#7. Skip the pasta sheets and make courgette lasagne
Lasagne is a delicious, creamy, comforting dish that's usually made with minced beef, cheese and pasta sheets. Make this lighter version with thinly sliced courgettes instead of carb-laden pasta. There's still plenty of protein from the minced beef, flavour from the herbs and antioxidants from the tomatoes. This is great winter warmer food that won't leave you feeling too tired to hit the gym!
#8. Try cauliflower mash, not potato mash
Cauliflower mash is a great alternative if you're craving buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. Make sure you chop your cauliflower finely for the best results. The addition of chives and garlic really makes this dish something special - it's one of your five-a-day and cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamin C (2)!
#9. Swap wheat-based flour for almond flour
We love pancakes for a healthy breakfast option, but wheat-based flour is laden with carbs. Using almond flour instead creates a lighter batter with a sweet, nutty taste. Why not throw in some fresh berries or bananas too, to make sure you're eating enough fruit?
#10. Love rice? Why not try cauliflower rice
When you find yourself craving a bowl of fluffy white rice to accompany your sweet and sour chicken or stir fry, try this alternative. We're not saying rice is bad for you, but if you need a low-carb option, cauliflower 'rice' is your best bet! We love these ideas for fried cauliflower rice - a great substitute for egg-fried rice served with Chinese dishes, and lemon cauliflower rice, with its fresh, zingy flavour. You could even make cauliflower sushi rice, for healthy sushi that's great to take for lunch at work!
#11. Swap noodles for Shirataki noodles
In case you haven't heard of them, Shirataki noodles are made from yams, and they're pre-cooked, so they take just a few minutes to prepare, like regular noodles! You should be able to find them in your nearest Chinese supermarket, or online. A delicious prawn and vegetable stir fry served with Shirataki noodles is perfect if you're looking for a guilt-free, low-carb, low-fat, gluten-free dinner that tastes amazing!
#12. Try Korean sweet potato noodles
For another noodle alternative that tastes great either alone or as an accompaniment to Asian dishes, why not swap your regular egg or rice noodles for these Korean sweet potato noodles? Easy to find at Asian grocery stores (or try Amazon), these are made with sweet potato starch, so they will fill you up for longer than regular noodles, whilst also being ideal if you're on a low-carb diet.
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