Swapping out carb-heavy food for nutrient rich alternatives is a simple way to improve your diet. Often the hardest bad habits to kick are the ones most readily available to us, like empty carbs, processed sugars, and unnecessary fats. Carbohydrates are not ALL bad, however there are certainly ones that do not aid in energy production. The difference lies within the amount of fiber in each food – good carbs are high in fiber, forcing the speed of absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream to slow. Due to the slower absorption, blood sugar levels remain fixed to a safe range. Bad carbs are simply sugar in disguise – in other words, empty calories. These dietary foes are most commonly found in the form of white bread and white rice. Fortunately, there are many options for those looking to ditch carbohydrates:
The miracle vegetable! In recent years cauliflower has seen a spike in popularity. From cauliflower tacos, to buffalo cauliflower bites, this veggie can be swapped for most dishes. Cauliflower is low in carbohydrates and great for your circulatory system. If you can think of a carb-dense food, there is probably a cauliflower alternative out there to replace it. Try using riced cauliflower in your next stir fry or orzo pasta! Satisfy your pizza craving with minimal guilt with a cauliflower crust!
One of the best kitchen tools you can own is a veggie spiralizer. Transform any of your favorite vegetables into noodles to use in place of spaghetti or create your own new veggie noodle masterpiece. The easiest vegetables to work with include zucchini, carrot, and sweet potato. Even if you don’t have time to spiralize your own vegetables, many grocery stores now carry pre-cut veggie noodles in the salad section.
It’s not time to say bye to wraps, sandwiches, and tacos just yet. Lettuce wraps provide a healthy and simple substitution to many handheld foods. Easily swap lettuce in place of a hamburger bun to reduce the overall calories. With no cooking or prep required, this is the easiest carb alternative yet. Our favorite choice is Butter lettuce, this variety has numerous nutritional benefits beyond just being low fat.
If you can’t bear to part with grains, try some gluten free quinoa. Just one cup of quinoa contains 28 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Compare that to white rice, which only has 4.3 grams of protein and .6 grams of fiber per cup, and it’s clear which grain is the healthiest choice.
Coleen Janeway is a beauty expert, writer, editor and skinfood chef. Former owner of her own successful medical spa, Ms. Janeway has managed other wellness brands and medical practices in Los Angeles, she has been in the business of health and wellness long enough to understand what is hype and what is truth. Ms. Janeway cuts through the confusing, glittery mess and peels back the layers of superficial to reveal what is real and effective, in turn helping her clients set and achieve attainable goals by simplifying food and skincare.