healthy foods

Low Carb Food Swaps

healthy foodsCarbohydrates are mainstay for lots of people who say they love all those comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, donuts, white rice and bread.  These sure aren’t the foods for someone who has healthy eating on the mind. These carbohydrates are just plain bad for you.

Not all carbs are the same though.  A lot of the good ones provide nutrition, containing things like protein, iron, fiber and B-vitamins.  Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates. A good way to separate them is simply substandard and sinful or sketchy.  Just remember to avoid them, as they contain a lot of sugar. The complex carbs are the ones that are commendable, constructive and correct.  

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says that when it comes to carbs, the simple ones are composed of short-chain carbon molecules that basically head straight for your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar.  The complex carbs have longer chains of carbon molecules and take longer for your body to break them down, so the sugar isn’t dumped into our bloodstream.

As we have all learned, not all carbs are created equally!  Seven nutritionists were asked to submit their favorite low-carb “swaps” for those who want to lower their carb intake without giving up the flavor.  Some of their submissions were:

  • Sweet potato “toast”.  Skip the bread, peel the sweet potato, slice it up and pop the slices in the toaster.  Then you can top it with a number of flavors just to suit your own taste. Be inventive!
  • Mashed turnips.  They contain just 2/3rds of the calories and you get lots of fiber. Wash, peel and steam, or bake them like squash or traditional potatoes.
  • Fava bean flour.  These are known as broad beans and come in a pod similar to green beans.  Mature ones are bitter, so remove the pod and release the beans inside to use in many recipes, including salads. An excellent source of folic acid.
  • Lettuce wraps.  This process has been done for many years in restaurants, so individuals can do the same at home.  Cut down on the white bread and use the lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard and lettuce leaves are a nutritious way to cut those calories on sandwiches.
  • Applewich.  Replace that bread with apple slices by cutting an apple so you have two circular slices ¼ inch thick, and spread each slice with nut butter.  Top with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon or cherries and press them together.
  • Whipped Cauliflower.  Potatoes have 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of carbs.  Steamed cauliflower has 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of carbs.  This yummy alternate to potatoes is the only option now for that mashed, buttery goodness.
  • Carrot “noodles”.  Carrot noodles work well as an alternative dish for a pasta substitute.  You get fewer carbs and the texture is crunchy.
  • Spaghetti Squash.  Another pasta option like this can cut carbs and provide you with potassium, folate and fiber.  Slice the squash length-wise, place with cut side up in baking dish with ½” of water. Salt and butter and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
  • Broccoli “rice”.  Toss broccoli florets into the processor then steam or sauté with a little salt and butter.  This brings a good serving of fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to lessen your diabetes and heart disease risks.

Umm. Lets give it a try.

Dr Fredda Branyon

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