Carbs are not the enemy. But to be sure, substituting veggies, fruits, or pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils, dry peas) for refined carbohydrates (think bread, pasta, and all-purpose flour) can be beneficial. And it also ups your fiber intake which is always a good thing.
Fava bean flour
Fava beans aren’t just for salads anymore, in flour form it’s more nutritious than all-purpose flour.
According to Time, “Per quarter cup, fava bean flour packs 8 grams of fiber (compared with less than 1 gram in all-purpose flour) and 4 grams fewer carbs, as well as protein, minerals, and antioxidants,” says Health’s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD. “And it works great in nearly any recipe.”
If you’ve been to PF Chang’s it’s likely you’ve eaten a lettuce wrap. They are so good and guilt free. But, they are super easy to make at home, too and you don’t have to just use butter lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard, any type of lettuce leaf works and is a nutritious way to cut calories on sandwiches or taco ‘shells.’ In fact, swapping grains for greens can save you up to 300 calories.
Turnips are a starchy vegetable with two-thirds the calories of potatoes, making them a great alternative. To make mashed turnips, steam and mash the veg, then add low-fat milk (or even almond or cashew) and a dollop of soft cheese (or a non-dairy cheese) for an extra creamy side dish.
This vegan LOVES noodles and that includes carrot, zucchini, or cucumber noodles (or “zoodles”)- all of which have a mild flavor that works well in a variety of different dishes. All you need is a spiralizer. It feels like you’re eating noodles but without all the empty carbs!
Time reports, “I love to make ‘whipped cauliflower’ instead of traditional mashed potatoes,” says Megan Roosevelt, RDN, founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com. “I’m not discriminating against potatoes. However, cauliflower contains more fiber than white potatoes, so it’s a great option if you’re watching your blood sugar levels or sugar intake.”
To make, steam cauliflower florets and then blend in a food processor until they have the consistency of mashed potatoes. To give the dish a flavor boost, you can also add in celery root, which tastes like a delicious mix of celery and parsley.”
- The Creamy Cauliflower Dip Recipe With Too Many Health Benefits to Count
- Dr. Mercola’s Chocolate Fat Bomb Recipe
I love cauliflower rice but did you know that broccoli also works as a rice substitute? All you need to do is toss the broccoli florets into your food processor (or grate if you don’t have one), then microwave, steam, or sauté the “rice” with olive oil!
This one is a no-brainer. Spaghetti squash is amazing and full of folate, potassium, and fiber. It’s also full of vitamin A.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place squash, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.
- Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create long strands.
Apple slices are a much healthier swap for bread and you can put the same stuff on an apple sandwich! Check out the video below and let your imagination be your guide!
Sweet potato toast
Next time you’re dreaming about toast, consider swapping it for thinly-sliced sweet potato “toast” instead.
Sweet potatoes have far more fiber than whole wheat bread, are less processed, and are full of vitamins and minerals. The veggie is also a great source of potassium, vitamins A and C, and magnesium.