Lots of diets for weight loss, like the paleo or keto diet, are calling out carbs as culprits to unwanted extra pounds. Before you go into "but...but...but..." hyperventilation mode as had I upon learning this (because who doesn't love carbs?), take a breath and read through this post because I have some excellent healthy low carb substitutes for weight loss that will rival the typical stuff that everyone loves.
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The thing about carbohydrates to avoid for weight loss
Before we get on with the carb substitutes, let's clarify something about carbs: they're everywhere, so you can't really avoid them. But because not all are created equal, you're trying to go for more good ones than bad ones if you want to be healthy and lose weight.
Good carbs vs bad carbs
In general, good carbs have high nutritional value. They tend to have higher fiber content and make you feel fuller. Think whole grains like whole wheat and brown rice.
Bad carbs, on the other hand, hold little nutritional value and cause spikes in your blood sugar. Examples of these empty-calorie carb include refined breads and sugars like white bread.
Can you guess the healthy low carb substitutes?
In this list, you'll find the following popular carbs to avoid. See if you can guess what excellent low-carb alternative I suggest to consume instead.
- Bread substitute for sandwiches
- Low-carb taco shells
- Low-carb pizza crust
- Low-carb pasta substitute
- Low-carb potatoes
- Low-carb rice substitute
- Low-carb fries
- Low-carb chocolate dessert
- Low-carb potato chips
- Other simple substitutions
I deliberately searched for a variety of alternatives, so while you may be thinking, "Cauliflower!" for them all, see if you can come up with distinct substitutions for each item on the list.
Healthy Carb Substitute 1. Bread substitute for sandwiches: Zucchini
This classic American grilled cheese sandwich using zucchini instead of bread. (via Kirbie Cravings)
Cauliflower is another possible bread substitute for sandwiches.
Healthy Carb Alternative 2. Low-carb taco shells: Spinach
Love the recipe, though you may want to try using one less egg though when you make it. (via Sweet as Honey)
Another alternate low-carb taco shell recipe uses carrots instead of spinach.
Healthy Carb Replacement 3. Low-carb pizza crust: Eggplant
I love eggplant on pizza. Didn't think to replace it for the crust entirely. All over that! (via Gimme Delicious)
Another veggie to use as pizza crust is bell peppers.
Better Carb Substitute 4. Low-carb spaghetti squash recipe to replace..spaghetti
I love how this low-carb pasta substitute recipe is twice baked. Ups the comfort food level. (via Home Cooking Memories)
If you're looking for another low-carb pasta substitute, you can turn zucchini into pasta noodles with a spiralizer.
Better Carb Alternative 5. Low-carb potatoes: Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of those universal carbs that can be made into lots of stuff, one of my favorites being mashed potatoes. Here's a recipe for a creamy garlic version. Yum. (via Ahead of Thyme)
You can also use daikon or turnips to make low-carb potato substitutes.
Healthy Carb Substitute 6. Low-carb rice substitute: Butternut squash
9 out of 10 people would have guessed cauliflower as the low-carb rice substitute, but that would have been too easy for me to just stick a cauliflower recipe here. I want you to be a little more adventurous with your food, so try this butternut squash recipe instead. (via Healthy Nibbles and Bits)
Another creative low-carb rice substitute not cauliflower that I came across was water chestnuts in sushi.
Healthy Carb Alternative 7. Low-carb fries: Avocado
I thought fries would be hard to top until I came across this recipe for avocado fries. I do love me some avocado. (via Tasteholics)
You can also use vegetables like rutabaga and turnips to make low-carb fries.
Healthy Carb Replacement 8. Low-carb chocolate dessert recipe: Dark chocolate-covered strawberries
I don't think this substitute is hard to jump aboard at all. (via Paleo Grubs)
10. Other Better Carb Substitutes
Some other simple exchanges for common carb culprits:
- sliced fruit for crackers
- nuts for potato chips or croutons
- flavored water for soda
By making these simple, healthy carb substitutes for weight loss, you'll definitely start to shed the extra weight. Luckily, with this curation of tasty recipes, you won't have a hard time saying buh-bye to those bad, empty carbs.