Replacing traditional, refined carbs such as white breads, rice, pasta and potatoes with non-starchy vegetables not only cuts calories and processed foods out of the diet, but it is also a great way to sneak in extra vegetables. Best of all, you will add fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in the process. Here are some ways to swap your favorite refined carbs with vegetables.
- Instead of a traditional bun, use two grilled Portobello mushroom caps. These will provide a meaty texture and flavor that will elevate your burgers.
- Switch your flour wrap for a green, leafy one. Romaine or butter lettuce makes a great vegetable wrap for your favorite sandwich, taco, or burrito filling.
Perfect Pasta Possibilities
- Try “zoodles.” Experiment with spiralized carrots, sweet potatoes, and different zucchini varieties. Make ribbons with the vegetables or matchstick them for a tasty slaw. And, try new sauces! Carrot zoodles with a Thai-style peanut sauce is a great side dish or cold salad. Many low-fat marinades and dressings are excellent paired here or make your own! Spaghetti squash is an excellent swap for pasta, topped with marinara and a sprinkle of parmesan.
- For an alternate to lasagna noodles, layer eggplant or zucchini which will also yield a new added texture and flavor.
Slim Down Starchy Sides
- The cauliflower craze is here to stay. In place of white rice, prepare cauliflower rice (also available in the fresh or frozen section of most grocery stores) and sauté with some olive oil and garlic or add in a little pesto for kick (broccoli rice is also a good option).
- Mashed cauliflower is a great swap for mashed potatoes. And, pureed cauliflower can replace a portion of fats and cheeses in recipes as it adds a creaminess and texture. Try a cauliflower pizza crust recipe. Premade cauliflower pizza crusts are also available frozen which saves time.
- Instead of chips, reach for kale chips or other vegetable chips (e.g., carrots or beets). Separate and dry leaves, or cut into slices, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 325 degrees until crisp, turning often.
- If you are not ready for a full swap, half mashed potatoes with mashed roasted carrots, half a serving of whole wheat spaghetti with some zucchini noodles, or alternate traditional lasagna noodles with eggplant and zucchini slices.
Remember, no matter how far off track you feel you got this holiday season, you have the ability to make healthy choices today! Learn from the challenges you faced and use them to better handle similar situations in the future. Over the course of a year the holidays are just a small period of time. What really counts is how you handle the rest of the days and months to come.
Cutting carbs has never been so nutritious!
In good health,