You can lose the carbs and keep the flavors with these 10 low carb substitutes for some of the more common foods you eat. You don’t have to give up all your favorites. Just find a way to make them work with your ketogenic diet.
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10 Low Carb Substitutes
Some foods just won’t taste very good when you try to implement a low carb substitute (I’m looking at you vegan cheesecake…don’t’ even bother!).
Others will be tastier than their original version and better for you. Wait till you get to the pizza. All the flavor without the bread-death/hangover later!
The following list of 10 simple low carb substitutes are the ones I use myself and can honestly recommend them. Use them when you are creating your family dinner or quick and easy breakfasts. Your taste buds might be different, but it’s as close to the real thing as you can get without falling off the wagon.
Note: if you want ready-made recipes that have already been tried, tested and are true then check out Leanne Vogle’s Balanced Weekly Meal Plans
This is probably one of the easier ingredients to substitute. The number of gluten-free and lower carb options that are on the market now is amazing.
Any of the coconut or almond flours by Bob’s Red Mill are good quality and the flavor is good.
Compare a cup of regular wheat flour (24 grams of carbs) to a cup of coconut flour (6 grams of net carbs…after the fiber is subtracted out) and it’s no contest. Almond flour is a little higher with 12 grams of carbs per cup. Usually, you don’t use as much in a recipe because of how dense it is.
Both almond flour and coconut flour are higher in quality fats. They also have the “better for you fats” which help with inflammation which is another perk of the Keto diet.
Not only do these flours help you as low carb substitutes, they also provide more fiber and help to speed up your metabolism. The point of any diet or lifestyle is to get the most out of your metabolism and burn off extra weight. A healthy digestive system will help with this!
You can find a number of recipes for low-carb tortillas on Pinterest. There are also a few brands that make a low-carb tortilla that you might want to try. They can be a little spendy, but when you want an actual tortilla, they might be worth the expense.
Or, you can go for a low carb substitute that also adds more veggies to your plate. A good ol’ piece of lettuce!
Use them to wrap your taco fixings or eat them with your fajita ingredients. It’s a little messier (grab a fork) or do like I do and just eat with your fingers. I like to feel my food 🙂
Regular tortillas have about 98 grams of carbs per serving. And most of us can eat more than one taco or fajita. A lettuce leaf has only about 1 grab of carbs. Holy guacamole!
Psst: lettuce leaves also go really well with Korean BBQ. Just an FYI…
I don’t cook with breadcrumbs very often, but it never fails that there is that “one recipe” that just doesn’t taste good without them.
Enter the “pork rind“. It’s a great snack. Works to carry salsa to your mouth. And is great as a breadcrumb low carb substitute. Say what?!
Grind them up in a food processor and they are almost identical to breadcrumbs. Now you can use them for your chicken strips instead of high carb bread crumbs.
Check out Pinterest and you might even find a few recipes for pork rind tortillas. Now you can have the crunch without the carbs. You’re welcome!
When I was little, my parents made brown rice. It was never cooked all the way. Crunch brown rice. I’m not a huge fan of rice so finding a low carb substitute isn’t very hard. Just don’t eat rice.
It’s great for a sauce carrier. Otherwise, eat all the yummy stuff that went on top solo. It tastes just as good.
If you really want the texture of rice or you feel like you need to put your stir-fry “on” something, then you might like cauliflower rice. It’s only 2.5 grams of net carbs per cut compared to 45 grams of carbs in a cup of rice.
You can make your own cauliflower rice with a food processor. You can also find it in the freezer section of the grocery store. It’s becoming easier and easier to find cauliflower rice and other low carb substitutes in convenient packaging and serving sizes.
This one is a little tricky. There are a number of sugar substitutes on the market. And there have been for years. Sugar-free is easy to do.
Making sure your body knows the difference and you aren’t subbing in a nasty chemical in place of something made naturally is the tricky part.
Some sugar substitutes can affect your body the same way as regular sugar. You might not be eating the carb load, but your body still thinks it needs to pump out insulin to take care of the sugar load. That’s not a good thing.
Then you have the chemical versions that we still haven’t figure out the impact on your body and cells.
Another issue might be the flavor. If you are like me, they all taste nasty. I can tell instantly that something is flavored with Stevia, Aspartame, or Monk Fruit. It doesn’t matter if it’s natural or synthetic.
The best thing you can do is eat a few berries or some higher percentage cacao chocolate. If that doesn’t cut it, then go for a natural sugar replacement like Swerve. Just eat it sparingly. The less “sweet” stuff you eat, the less you will want it.
If you drink it black, you have no reason to find a substitute. Coffee is carb-free. Same goes for tea.
The issue happens when you start adding things into your morning/afternoon/anytime java. The kinds of milk, flavorings, and all those combinations are what start to pack a carb loaded punch.
Sugar is loaded with carbs. If you are one of those people who have to add a few spoonfuls or packets of sugar to make coffee tolerable, then you are adding your coffee with carbs.
Or maybe you are a half cup of milk mixed with a half cup of coffee person. You might want to try bulletproof coffee and see if you can move away from the carb-loaded milk. You could also try subbing in some almond or coconut milk.
My favorite is heavy whipping cream. It’s almost full fat and it makes the bitterness of black coffee less pronounced. No sugar needed.
If you are a milk drinker, this one is going to be hard. Whole milk has around 11 grams of carbs per cup. Two percent milk has 12 grams of carbs per cup (the fat goes down, the sugars go up).
Original UNSWEETENED almond milk is a great low carb substitute. It contains only 2 grams of carbs per cup. The original SWEETENED almond milk it will have 8 grams of carbs per cup.
Do you like to make smoothies or protein shakes? You can make them with almond milk and barely notice the difference. If the lack of creamy texture is still throwing you off, you can add a splash or two of heavy whipping cream to fix the texture.
An added bonus with almond milk is that if you are dairy sensitive or intolerant you can still consume your smoothies or use it in place of milk in recipes. It has more calcium and is easier on your digestive system. I’d say you could consume almond cheese substitutes too, but let’s not get carried away!
This one might be a stretch. You can boil and blend cauliflower and use it in place of mashed potatoes. I was born in Idaho. You just can’t fool me with a potato substitute.
It tastes good, just don’t expect to taste like the real thing. The good part is that a cup of potatoes is about 35 grams of carbs and mashed cauliflower has about 3 grams of carbs. That’s a good enough reason to give them a try.
You can top them with bacon and cheddar cheese and it might not be so bad. Kidding. They are pretty yummy. It’s worth trying them as a comfort food replacement and the lower carb count. Plus, they take less time to prepare and you don’t have to peel any potatoes. That’s a win for sure!
An added bonus: you can use the leftovers for the next low carb substitute!
There are a number of ways to get the ooey gooey goodness of pizza without the flour crust. One of those ways is to use a cauliflower crust. It tastes great (but it stinks when you are cooking it…be forwarned).
You can make a crust out of the meat. It’s referred to as a meat-za. You just put all the meats you want down on the pan first and then cover it with the rest of the toppings and bake it until it’s all cooked and sizzling.
Another option is mushrooms. This is one of my favorite. Use the really big Portabello mushrooms and fill them with all your favorite pizza toppings (watch the pizza sauce, there are hidden carbs there). Bake them until everything is hot, the cheese is melted and the mushrooms are browned. Quick tip: cook the mushrooms upside down first to get rid of some of the extra moisture.
The last option is the one I like to use for lunch or when I want a quick snack before I start digging in the cupboards for junk food.
Put pepperoni all over a plate, sprinkle cheese and olive slices on it and then cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes. The pepperoni gets crispy and the cheese gets gooey. It’s fast and tastes great.
Lots of Options for Low Carb Substitutes
There a number of ways to fit in a low carb substitute while on the Keto Diet. You need to find what works best for you and your tastes. Some of these might not even sound appealing. I would recommend you try them first. If you really don’t like them, then you don’t have to keep forcing it.
Somethings just might not work as a low carb substitute for you and that is okay. I don’t sub anything for sugar and if I want cheese, I eat cheese. There is no point in trying to convince my taste buds that a vegan version of cheese is tasty. It’s not!
There are also ways to make your “adult beverages” low carb or with a twist.
What are your favorite low carb substitutes? Let me know in the comments below…