Low-Carb Alternatives to Your Favorite Foods


If one of your resolutions for 2017 has been to shed a few unwanted pounds, then you may have discovered that one of the clearest paths toward that end is reducing your daily intake of carbohydrates. On its face, this approach might seem to spell the end of certain kinds of food that you enjoy, but with a bit of creativity, you can still eat a few of your guilty pleasure foods with more emphasis on the pleasure and less on the guilt.

Pizza

Just because you are trying to lose weight does not mean that you need to deprive yourself of foods you love. There are very few foods more beloved than pizza, and while a few slices of pizza can be worked into just about any diet if done so with an eye for moderation, it is a difficult proposition of your diet focuses on cutting carbs. Fortunately, the primary source of carbohydrates comes from one of the most easily replaced components of a pizza: its crust.

Instead of buying a pre-made crust or making one using flour, consider making your own pizza crust out of cauliflower. According to Valerie Bertinelli’s recipe on FoodNetwork.com, a cauliflower pizza crust takes as little as 15 minutes to prepare. Simply add one small head of cauliflower (or 5-6 cups chopped) to a food processor and pulse it to the consistency of rice. Pour that “riced flour” into a kitchen towel and squeeze until moisture is removed, then mix in a bowl with seasoning, parmesan cheese and one egg.

Mix until the combination sticks together, then spread over a piece of well-oiled parchment paper and place on a baking sheet or pizza stone to pre-cook for 15 minutes. Once the edges are golden around the edges, remove, decorate with sauce, cheese and light toppings and bake until brown and bubbling.

Burgers

Preparing a big, thick burger in and of itself is not going to blow up your diet—though you will likely want to consider extra-lean beef to cut excess fat calories. Where burgers wind up hampering dietary progress tends to be with the bread upon which they are served. Fortunately, Portobello mushrooms capably fill the roll without sacrificing taste.

World-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck recommended his recipe for chicken and Portobello mushroom burgers to MensFitness.com, but the same principle applies if you want lean beef, turkey or even bison for your burger. Simply put, prepare your burgers as normal while simultaneously baking or grilling as many large Portobello mushroom caps (stems removed) as necessary alongside them. A well-seasoned and lightly brushed mushroom can provide a good burger with even more taste than even the most delicious buns, and all for a fraction of the carbohydrates.

Lasagna

A quick tip for cutting down on carbs in this comfort food classic involves cutting out pasta in favor of sweet potatoes. FitMenCook.com recommends using a mandolin slicer to cut a sweet potato into thin slices, replacing lasagna noodles with an alternative that is richer in nutrients and lower on carbohydrates. If sweet potatoes are not your thing, eggplant or zucchini make for adequate replacements.

Just because you are trying to lose weight does not mean that you need to deprive yourself of foods you love. If anything, look at your new dietary needs as a means to be more creative when preparing meals, and you will likely find yourself stumbling upon new approaches that will make you wonder how you ever went without.

 

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