At some point in every Gym Junkie’s life, you will find yourself cutting carbs as part of a fat loss or cutting plan.
You may not be a raving Atkins fan or die hard South Beacher, but nutritional science is finally starting to agree that reducing carbs using the carb cycling diet, especially refined grains, is a great start to slimming your waistline and improving your overall health.
However, it can be tough sometimes to say goodbye to your favorite carb-infused meals you love indulging in, so we’ve compiled a list of substitutions you can make to get much of the same tastes with less carbs and more nutrients in your easy diet plans.
10 Ways to Substitute Carbs out of Your Diet
Solution: Take a large portabella mushroom head that’s roughly the size of a personal pizza. I know this will probably sound impossible for any man reading this so you’ll probably have to use two or three unless all you want is a snack or appetizer. Take an oven-safe pan and melt some butter on it or spread some coconut oil. Then place the mushroom head on for 7-12 minutes so the moisture evaporates. From there, add your cheese, tomato sauce, and meats (hell, some veggies too!) and you’re good to go.
Solution: Zucchini. Cut them lengthwise and bake the strips on a cookie sheet for twenty minutes at 430 degrees. From there you can add cheese, meat, sauce and whatever vegetables you would normally add for lasagna.
Solution: Sunflower seeds. Yeah that does sound a bit boring at a first glance… plus it may give you flashbacks of kids at summer camp eating those snacks and spitting shells everywhere. To make them tastier, by the shell-less kind and fry them up with butter and a little salt until they’re nice and crispy. Afterward you mop it up with a paper towel or just be a man and enjoy the greasy mess as it is.
First off you can research regular potatoes and how many carbs in sweet potatoes. But the solution: Cauliflower. Steam some cauliflower up and then throw in the blender or Vitamix with some butter and it’s just about done! You can also add some cheese, seasoning or sour cream to get an even better effect.
Solution: Almond flour, coconut flour, or flax seed meal will give you a tasty alternative. Use in recipes as you would use wheat generally but you’ll want to adjust the amount because some of these substitutes can end up more soggy with their different chemical compositions. You may have to experiment a bit but it’s worth it.
Solution: Spaghetti Squash. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and microwave for ten minutes or so. These become hot strands that can seriously compete with the real thing. Just add pesto, primavera, or marinara sauce like you would regular spaghetti and you’re ready to go. Also goes really well with cheese.
Solution: Use a lettuce wrap or cabbage leaves. If you want a good example of how this is supposed to work, go to IN N OUT and order a “Double-Double” as “protein style” and see what they give you. This is admittedly a very different texture from bread but it at least, lets you have some satisfying finger food that you can pack in a lunch bag.
Macaroni & Cheese
Solution: Cut out half the noodles and put chopped vegetables in the pot instead. This is sort of a “half-assed” carb substitute because you’re still using macaroni. However, if you can cut the white carbs in half and get some nutrients to boot, I still think that’s pretty awesome. Frozen veggies are ideal for this, such as those mixed packs of broccoli & cauliflower, or ones with peas, carrots, corn, green beans, and lima beans.
Solution: Mix some oatmeal, cottage cheese, and a couple eggs in a blender and you’ll have a great low-carb batter. To make it even tastier, add some seasoning like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and maybe even some sugar if you’re feeling dangerous. Once you have it super smooth, then just pour it on the griddle as if you were using Aunt Jemimah mix. Instead of using syrup, try some mashed raspberries, butter, and/or peanut butter. Also, Earth Balance has a new delicious spread of peanut butter mixed with coconut oil(coconut oil uses in food), so that’s a great lower-carb topping for pancakes.
Solution: Use a natural, unrefined sweetener whenever possible especially when you learn why is sugar bad. Dried dates blended up in the Vitamix will make a very sweet addition to any dessert. If you can’t do dates, try honey or molasses. Also, cold coconut oil can give the illusion of sweets even if there isn’t sugar in it.
I first noticed this when refrigerating sausage pieces cooked in coconut oil. When cold, the previously-cooked oil takes an “icing” like taste and texture on whatever food you’re using. So this is definitely an area to experiment with. And yeah, don’t just switch to sucralose, aspartame, and stevia without first trying natural alternatives. They’re designated “safe” by the FDA but you at least want to take some effort in curbing the sweet tooth on your own for the best long term results.
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