If you’re like most people, you probably love the occasional carb fix. However, certain carbs can tend to leave you feeling uncomfortably full and sluggish. According to Mayo Clinic, switching to a low carb diet may be beneficial for weight loss because it lowers insulin levels, causing the body to burn stored fat for energy. We’ve came up with a list low carb swaps to lighten up your favorite meals and snacks.
Of course, the idea of ditching some of your favorite carbs might feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to! There are some fantastic substitutes that you may love even more. The best part is, they can all fit into your Nutrisystem program!
Here are eight low carb swaps that you need in your kitchen:
1. Quinoa for Rice
Due to their similarities in texture and consistency, chances are you won’t even notice this swap. Actually, many people prefer the slightly nutty flavor that quinoa adds to their dishes. Though it still contains carbs, quinoa has more fiber and protein than rice says Healthline. It is one of the rare vegetarian foods that is a complete protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acids.
2. Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes
Love mashed potatoes but trying to follow a low carb diet? Mashed and steamed cauliflower can give you a very similar texture and taste. Add a dash of salt and a little bit of butter and you’ll be surprised how delicious you’ll find this unlikely alternative. Like quinoa, this cruciferous veggie is also a great swap for rice and other foods. Click here for cauliflower recipes you’ll love >
3. Zoodles for Noodles
Using zucchini noodles or “zoodles” in place of pasta is a great way to still enjoy some of your favorite pasta dishes on a low carb diet. Zucchini is low in carb, high in fiber and creates the perfect noodle shape when used with a spiralizer. Many other veggies also create great noodles. Click the link below for some more creative ideas!
4. Nuts for Croutons
If you love a crunch in your salad, nuts and seeds can be a great replacement to the carby crouton. Almonds, pine nuts, cashews and walnuts are low in carbs and tasty with any salad variation. They also have the added benefit of giving your salad some additional flavor, making it even more enjoyable.
5. Veggie Slices for Potato Chips
You don’t have to reach for a bag of chips to get a crispy snack. One of the best low carb swaps you can make is for raw veggies! Slice veggies into round coins so they are similar to the shape of a chip and the perfect size for dipping. Sliced cucumbers, radishes, zucchini and carrots make especially good alternatives given their crunch factor. Served with a side of low-fat ranch dip, you’ll get plenty of flavor satisfaction without filling up on fat, calories and carbs.
6. Carrots for French Fries
Grocery stores are making our lives much easier with many pre-cut veggie options. You might even find veggies that are made into fun shapes like fries! With the right blend of seasonings and a simple roasting, carrots can make a delicious and guilt-free swap for greasy, carb-heavy French fries. Just be sure to roast or air fry as opposed to deep frying. If carrots are not your favorite veggie, click the link below to find some other veggies that make tasty fries!
7. Lettuce for Tortillas
Lettuce will add very little calories to any sandwich or wrap that you’d like to enjoy, while still giving you a means to hold everything together. It also adds some satisfying crunch and a vegetable serving to your meal. There are so many different ways to get creative with lettuce. Use them for tacos, burritos, wraps, sandwiches or burgers. You can’t go wrong with this healthy low carb swap!
8. Portobello Mushrooms for Hamburger Buns
Burgers can be a great low carb option, however, the bun around them can wreak havoc on your diet. Portobello mushrooms are the perfect swap so that you can still enjoy grilling with your family and friends. They add unique flavor to your favorite burger patty, have a relatively close texture to a bun and come with the added benefit of being low carb. It’s a swap you can feel great about from all accounts.