5 Simple Ways to Substitute Lower Carb Foods for Higher Carb Foods
The simplest and most effective way to enhance your weight loss efforts is to eat fewer carbohydrates. To reap the weight loss and health benefits of a lower carb diet, you don’t need an extremely low-carb ‘Atkins-style’ diet. Instead, you can make a couple of easy substitutions, by switching from starchy and grain-based carbs to their unassuming vegetable counterparts.
In addition to the weight loss benefit you’ll receive from eating less carbohydrates, you’ll also be getting more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients by adding more nutrient rich foods to your diet.
The Simple Switches
Spaghetti Squash for Spaghetti
Why Switch? Making this switch will save you 33 grams of carbohydrates and 178 calories per cup.
How to Switch? Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. Place a damp paper towel over each side and microwave 7-8 minutes face-up and then 7-8 minutes face-down (or bake face-down on a baking sheet for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven). Once cooked, run a fork lengthwise down the squash and watch it come out like strands of spaghetti. Add tomato sauce or pesto, meatballs, and enjoy this guilt-free spaghetti dinner.
White Beans for Mashed Potatoes
Why Switch? Switching 1/2 cup of beans for 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes will give you 8x more protein and 6x more fiber.
How to Switch? Mash 1 can of cannellini beans with 1 clove of garlic and 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil for a surprisingly delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. A 1/2 cup of these mashed beans with a side spinach salad are the perfect compliment to any steak.
Roasted Turnips for Roasted Potatoes
Why Switch? Turnips contain a special nutrient called glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are powerful antioxidants with anti-cancer properties (specifically colon, lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers).
How to Switch? Cut the turnips into 1 inch cubes, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and dried basil. Place on baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Cubed turnips can also replace potatoes in stews and soups.
Portobello Mushroom Caps for Hamburger Buns
Why Switch? Most hamburger buns are made with refined grains and are nutritionally void. By making this switch, you’ll be replacing 120 empty calories with 44 power-packed calories.
Mushrooms are the only source of an extremely potent antioxidant called ergothioneine, which some researchers think will be used in the future to treat cancer. Portobello mushrooms are also a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for lowering blood pressure.
How to Switch? Grill two Portobello mushroom caps (seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper) and use them as the bun to your burger. You may find that 2 Portobello mushroom caps are too much; if so, just use one and have an open-faced burger.
Bibb Lettuce Wraps for Flour Tortillas
Why Switch? Bibb lettuce (also known as Boston lettuce) is perfect for wraps because the leaves are flexible and tender (unlike iceberg or romaine leaves which are more rigid). Switching several Bibb leaves for a flour tortilla will save you almost 200 calories, allowing you room to pack your wrap with more nutrient-rich and satisfying vegetables and proteins.
How to Switch? Spread Dijon mustard onto a leaf of Bibb lettuce. On top of that, add a couple slices of roasted turkey breast, provolone cheese, hummus, sliced red onion, and sliced tomatoes. Roll up like a wrap or fold in half like a taco (depending on how many vegetables you layer on). You can also wrap your lettuce roll with plastic wrap for a portable, eat anywhere snack.