When on a diet we need to say ‘bye-bye’ to our favorite high carb foods and bring in low carb options. The good news is that there are several opportunities to swap in low carb dupes for some of your high carb favorites!
These hacks will help satisfy those cravings and stay on track! P.S. Keep reading for a BONUS HACK at the end!
Hack #1: Pasta
Pasta is an incredible comfort food and is incredibly satisfying! The downside is eating pasta on a diet can eat up a ton of your calories for the day! Veggie noodles are a great way to still get your pasta fix in for the day.
Veggie noodles come prepackaged for convenience in various grocery stores! This is a great option for those who are short on time. These convenience foods generally come with a higher price tag, however. The bonus is that they come in a variety beyond zucchini, like sweet potato and beet. YUM!
Veggie noodlers are also available in many stores and online and are fairly inexpensive. These are a great option for those who want to spend less money in the grocery store. Keep an eye out for these tools to be dishwasher safe and for them to be easy to clean! They should come with a small brush to clean out the blades on the noodler. Zucchini is usually the intended vegetable for these tools!
Hack #2: Rice
Cauli rice, similar to zoodles (zucchini noodles) is a good substitute for regular rice. Depending on your caloric intake, you can completely swap our cauliflower rice or do half cauli half rice. Additionally, you can sub in cauliflower rice with oats (think half and half) for a filling bowl of oatmeal with less carbs.
Ricing it yourself in a food processor is the CHEAPEST way to get your rice, but pre-riced cauli available fresh and frozen at decent prices nowadays and is a great convenience food that doesn’t bust your budget for groceries.
Cauli rice is a great subsitite for the real thing in many recipes. One example is our Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice Recipe!
Hack #3: Taco Shells and Tortillas
It’s safe to say almost everyone appreciates a good #tacotuesday meal, even if it’s not Tuesday! But if you are on a low caloric intake sometimes the shells – whether they be hard shells, soft shells, corn tortillas – can hold some unnecessary calories. Lettuce wrapping your tacos is a great way to keep the #tacotuesday spirit alive and stay on track!
You can use any type of lettuce. I recommend choosing something with a large, sturdy leaf so it’s easily wrappable. Live Butter Lettuce or Romaine lettuce are two solid options for wrapping your tacos!
Alternatively, you can go for a taco salad. Throw all your taco toppings on a bed of lettuce. Top with some salsa and lime juice as your dressing and go to town!
Hack #4: Bread
Mmm. Bread. There’s something so amazing about bread… breadsticks, the complimentary bread at restaurants, bread on the side of the salad… But I digress. If you are on the low-cal train and are looking for some bread alternatives, there are options!
Sara Lee 45 Cal Bread packs a whopping 9 carbs per slice! This is a great option if you want to still have your morning toast without breaking the bank on calories.
Lettuce Wrap, like our taco alternative, are also a great way to swap out for bread! A lot of restaurants will also lettuce wrap sandwiches or burgers if you request this as well. Hello, Double Double Protein Style!
Rice Cakes are great for things like tuna and chicken salad, and can also be a good alternative for snacks with nut butters. There are also thin rice stackers, which are even lower in cals than regular rice crackers! Rice cakes come in a variety of sweet and savory flavors, so keep an eye on the nutrition label when choosing your rice cake snacks.
Hack #5: Chocolate
Chocolate is a staple treat for many people. Sometimes it can be a little too high-carb and high-fat to easily fit into one’s diet! There are some good low carb alternatives. These options can satisfy that chocolate craving when the real thing just doesn’t fit into your daily intake.
Powdered Chocolate PB2 is a great two-for-one for the peanut butter + chocolate combo lovers. This powdered PB is lower in carbs and fat than regular peanut butter. Bonus, it comes along with a great chocolate taste! Mix it up into a shake, spread it on rice cakes, or drop a dollop into your morning oats and voila! Low carb yumminess.
Chocolate Hummus is a surprisingly delicious low carb alternative. While this one is usually found in specialty health food stores (ie Whole Foods) it is definitely worth the find. This option, like regular hummus, comes in a bit of a higher fat intake per serving so be mindful when consuming for overall calories!
Halo Top Chocolate Ice Cream is a higher protein and lower carb option for those interested! Halo top also recently came out with some dairy-free options for those who don’t tolerate lactose as well. This ice cream is creamy and tasty, and is a great low carb option to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
BONUS HACK: Beer or Wine
It’s a social norm to consume alcoholic beverages, either in a social setting or at the end of the day to wind down, or with a nice meal. Unfortunately sometimes our alcohol choices, or the choices following consumption, can detail our progress. There are some great options that pack a little less of a punch on the alcohol front but also means it’s a lower carb hit to your daily caloric intake!
Sparkling water is a great mixer alternative to some high carb juices and syrups. Sparkling water, or soda water, can be bought in the store in a variety of flavors. If you are out at a bar or restaurant, ordering hard liquor mixed with soda water is a great option. Add in a squeeze of lime, lemon, or both, and you have a lower carb drink to sip on. Alternatively, just drink the sparkling water solo!
Spiked Sparkling Water, such as Truly and White Claw, some in pre-packaged cans in the store. For example, a 12oz can of Truly come sin at 2 carbs per can. While this mean the alcohol effect will be lower than regular alcohol, it’s a good option if you want something for less carbs.
There are also some lower carb beers and wines (FitVine is a new find) that are good options for a BYOB situation.
Dieting is NOT always easy – but it can be easier! Often there is an option that is more diet friendly to help you satisfy those cravings for high carb foods and treats. Making these small changes can help you stay on track with your goals while still enjoying food in your day-to-day experience.