Staying healthy and maintaining your weight can become increasingly difficult as you age. With so much conflicting information circulating about what’s best for the body, deciding between diets like vegan, paleo, ketogenic, raw and more can leave your head spinning. But one thing is certain, high amounts of simple carbs can cause problems for your health and your waistline. But cutting your carbs and staying healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are 4 easy ways to decrease your carbs and stay satisfied.
1. Veggie Bread
Robust veggies like Portobello mushroom caps and eggplant slices make great sandwich bread and burger bun substitutes. Both can be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted, then used to house your favorite sandwich fillings. They are mild in flavor but still bring something to the table. These options are both strong enough to hold a filling and moist enough to make the experience enjoyable. Raw, dehydrated vegetable-based breads are also becoming more popular. But you would need to have a complete setup at home to make this raw “bread” yourself, or find a specialty shop that carries this vegan secret.
2. Veggie Noodles
Whether it’s pasta for lasagna, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti or soup, wheat, rice and even corn noodles are packed with carbohydrates. Even the whole grain varieties can’t escape their starchy origins. So try spiral slicing cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli stalks, Daikon radish, sweet potato, carrot and beets for thinner pastas like fettuccine or spaghetti-like noodles. Make broad flat slices of cucumber, zucchini and yellow squash for lasagna sheet substitutes. And try kelp, yam or shirataki noodles for a low-carb, high fiber vermicelli, spaghetti or fettuccine option. These noodles come prepackaged in liquid or dried like traditional pastas.
3. Veggie Wraps
Head lettuce leaves (unlike leaf lettuce) make great taco shell, hamburger bun and tortilla wrap substitutes. Large lettuce leaves can also make cups and bowls to hold tasty savory fillings for snacks or supper. Nori, or sushi style seaweed wraps, make excellent carb-free handheld fare, but are best for Asian flavors as the seaweed has its only unique smell and taste.
4. Veggie Snacks
Bean, apple and sweet potato chips make great white potato chip substitutes. Puffed pea and bean crisps are an awesome newer snack high in fiber and boasting complex, slow-burning carbs. Make sure any other veggie chips, crisps or puffs you try are low in fat, free of wheat, corn and cornstarch, and are low in potato and rice content for the best effect. Plantain chips are also an option but still have a very high carb load.
The thing to remember about lowering your carb intake is that a balanced diet is a healthy diet. Going completely carb free is not healthy and will leave you feeling fatigued because the energy in proteins and fats is not as easily accessible. The good news is there are plenty of carbohydrates in whole foods that boast essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and antioxidants. You don’t need to add refined starches with little nutritional value like white bread, rice and potatoes to your diet to get energy. These simple carbs are mainly for comfort when food is really meant to be fuel for a healthy, active life.
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