Beautiful bowls of pasta, bagels, deli sandwiches with fresh baked bread… high carb meals are beautiful things. In a perfect world, we’d all be able to maintain our weight on 1,000 grams a day, but sadly, we can’t all be Michael Phelps.
Fortunately though, there are plenty of ways you can trick yourself (and your tastebuds!) into thinking you’re eating a carb-rich meal while still sticking to your macros. This is how you get your carb fix without all the carbs! These substitutions for carb-rich favorites are delicious, will keep you satisfied, and will make you feel anything but deprived.
Craving pasta? Luckily, there are many awesome foods you can substitute that taste extremely similar.
- Spaghetti Squash: This vegetable is king when it comes to carb substitutes. After baking this vegetable naturally shreds into spaghetti-like pieces, (hence the name spaghetti squash), and the texture is very similar to al-dente pasta.
- Zucchini: By using a vegetable spiralizer, you can create “noodles” out of your zucchini that you can eat raw or cooked with all your favorite pasta sauces and additions. By using a mandolin to create thin sheets of zucchini, you can also use it to replace all of or part of the pasta sheets in lasagna!
- Shirataki Noodles: These do not come cheap, but they are definitely convenient and do a fabulous job smashing pasta cravings. These are packaged in bags with water and have little to no calories, and they require just a little heat before serving. To cook them, just thoroughly drain them and saute them for a few minutes in a pan on high heat to remove excess moisture.
Craving bread? Aside from low carb breads that can sometimes taste less than amazing, here are some substitutes that are very low in carbs and will even add more nutrients to your diet!
- Portobello Mushroom Caps: Either raw or baked in the oven, mushroom caps make a welcome and crave-able substitute for bread. When cooked, they have a meaty, moist texture, and when raw, they are more similar to traditional bread texture.
- Cucumber: Slice a whole cucumber in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill it with your favorite sandwich ingredients. This will give you an awesome crunch with very few carbs.
- Zucchini or other Squash: By slicing zucchini in long slices just like you would to substitute lasagna sheets, you can create sheets to use like bread! Eggplant and yellow squash would also work. Just be sure not to slice it too thin or you won’t be able to pick it up.
- Caulirice: Yup – cauliflower rice! This is just riced or crumbled cauliflower, and these days you can buy it in many grocery stores. Just saute it in a pan with a touch of oil to soften it, and eat it like normal rice. If you’d like to make it yourself, there is a great recipe in our Eat What You Love e-book!
By utilizing these low carb substitutes, you can conquer your cravings and smash your fitness goals at the same time. Tag us on Facebook or Instagram if you try out any of these ideas!
Recipe Developer & Food Blogger.