It seems that the low carbohydrate diet fad never really went out of style. There are always new tips and tricks for those looking to cut down on the carbs, or eat a more Paleo diet. Cauliflower pizza crust anyone??
Healthy carbohydrates play an important role in the body. The brain is only able to use carbohydrates, not protein or fat, for energy. For that reason it is vital to ensure at least 130 grams of carbohydrates per day are available for your brain to use. Let me be clear I AM IN NO WAY ENDORSING A LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET.
That said, servings of carbohydrates are often easy to over eat. 1 serving of whole grain pasta is 1/2 cup cooked and one to two servings is reasonable per meal. When was the last time someone served you a plate of pasta with just half a cup?
So it’s never a bad idea to have some recipes that are LOWER in carbohydrates and higher in fiber in your back pocket! Using half whole grain pasta for example with half “zoodles” or zucchini noodles means that you get more on your plate for the same serving of actual pasta! A spiralizer works best for making zucchini noodles. If you don’t have one you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices. You will then have to cut each of these slices into 2-3 thinner slices to resemble pasta. They can be enjoyed raw or lightly boiled.
For a photo description of how to make zucchini noodles see the Post Making Zucchini noodles!
Spaghetti (and regular) squash is another great alternative to increase fiber and lower carbohydrates. Although squash is a starchy vegetable, similar to sweet potato, it is lower in carbohydrates per serving. So whereas 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potato would be a serving as well, you can enjoy 1 cup mashed squash!
Some ideas to bulk up your plate include:
1. Enjoy meatballs and spaghetti squash. Simply pierce the spaghetti squash two or three times to allow for steam to escape. Place the squash in a 400F oven for 1 hour or until you can feel the squash give when you squeeze it. Then simply slice in half and use a fork to flake out the “noodles”. Top with your favourite meatballs and sauce.
2. Use whole grain lasagna noodles for your lasagna. Replace every other layer of noodles with thinly sliced eggplant or zucchini! It’s like lasagna and eggplant parmesan had a baby! See the recipe page for an exact recipe!
3. Instead of pizza and french fries use portobello mushroom caps as the “dough” and fill with sauce and cheese. Serve two per person with oven baked root vegetable sticks! Peel and seed 1 butternut squash and slice thinly (it can help to bake the squash whole in the oven for 10-20 minutes to soften before peeling and slicing) peel and slice 1 parsnip and 1 carrot and add. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Return to a 425F oven for 30-40 minutes until crispy and delicious!
4. Instead of wraps or tacos, try lettuce or cabbage leaves! Sauté 1 onion until browned. Add 1 package lean ground beef, 1 can chickpeas, 1 can corn and your favourite tomato sauce and simmer until the beef is cooked through. Serve in a lettuce leaf or a raw or lightly steamed cabbage leaf!