If you are either carb cycling or following a low-carb diet 24/7, the not knowing what sides to pick to accompany your protein can pose a tough problem. The obvious, simplest and healthiest solution is to just have piles of vegetables with every meal. That however is sometimes not enough. If you are looking for sides that will replicate the classic stodge your appetite is used to, here are some highly nutritious low carb alternatives.
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Swap the spaghetti and/or noodles for courgette spaghetti
Get yourself a basic julienne peeler to ribbon the courgette into spaghetti strands and pan-fry it in a dash of olive oil until just tender. This quick and easy, yet delicious accompaniment is a powerful antioxidant and an immune booster.
Swap the rice for cauliflower rice or quinoa
I think it’s safe to say everyone has a blender (or a food processor of some sort). Chuck the cauliflower in and blitz it until it resembles rice. You can then either steam it or pan-fry it with some olive oil for a couple of minutes. You can then enjoy a similar consistency at a fraction of the carbs. Not only that but cauliflower is known for anti-cancer and detox properties, as well as being a rich source of anti-inflammatory vitamin K. Cooked quinoa on the other hand has 15% fewer carbohydrates and 60% more protein than a comparable amount of brown rice, so it’s a far better option if you’re trying to lose fat. It also has 25% more fibre, which can help lower blood cholesterol.
Swap the mash pots for butterbean mash
Mashed white potatoes are classified as high GI (glycemic index) carbs which means they are rapidly absorbed by the body, spiking your blood sugar levels, subsequently causing energy dips. Butter beans have a lower GI property and are higher in fibre, providing a more sustained source of energy. They are also packed full of B vitamins, vital for energy production in every cell of the body.
Swap crisps with raw unsalted nuts
We all know that nuts are a nutritional powerhouse full of good fats and phytochemicals. Both, the fibre and the protein they contain help to keep you much fuller than crisps ever will. In fact, studies have shown that regular consumption of nuts may actually promote weight loss too.
Swap chips for sweet potato wedges
Forget your deep fried chips. Instead, get some baked sweet potatoes and leave the skin on (for extra fibre) as they will provide a slow-release of energy and can help regulate blood sugar levels. Sweet pots are rich in beta-carotene which is essential for eye health and nerve function.
Swap couscous for quinoa
Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain and is a source of complete protein. This means that it contains all the essential amino acids the body requires (through diet). It’s also packed full of vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins, manganese and zinc.
Swap flour with ground almonds
Yes that’s right, flour with ground almonds! Ground almonds make a protein-rich and highly nutritious alternative to refined white flour in baking. Combine them with egg whites and they can form the basis of protein pancakes! Almonds are rich in vitamin E – this is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect our cells from damage and helps to maintain a healthy heart.
Swap lasagna sheets with sliced aubergine
If you like lasagna like I do, you need to try this. Get a knife or a mandolin and slice the aubergine lengthwise into thin slices. Grill them lightly and use them as a replacement to lasagna pasta sheets. This a great way to lower the carb content and boost your veggie intake.
Swap tortilla wraps with nori wraps
Until the other day I hadn’t even heard of nori wraps. If you are looking to avoid a post-lunch slump, then ditch the white tortilla wraps and instead, opt for a sheet of Nori seaweed. Seaweed is a source of complete protein, rich in minerals and one of the best sources of natural iodine. Iodine is vital for maintaining a healthy thyroid gland (your fat burning regulator).
Swap the croutons for walnuts
Carbs can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – “bad” cholesterol. This is of course bad news for your heart. So if you want a healthier salad, replace the carb-laden croutons with walnuts. These are high in polyunsaturated fat – this can lower LDL while boosting HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Swap the beer for some red wine
We all know beer is high in calories and carbohydrates. Red wine is lower in carbs and it also provides a ton of antioxidants such as flavonoids – these are believed to lower LDL and boost HDL too. Remember though, you need to moderate ALL alcohol and this is a healthier alternative, not an excuse to up your alcohol intake consequence-free.
Swap salad dressing for olive oil and vinegar
Drenching a salad in shop-bought dressing is almost as crazy as smoking cigarettes while jogging, right? A low-sugar alternative is to use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Olive oil is packed full of healthy fats, while balsamic vinegar works to suppress the body’s appetite and increase the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty, which helps prevent overeating.
These are just some delicious food swaps to help you stick to a low-carb diet. The swaps alone won’t necessarily help you lose fat. The Fat Loss Guide however will. For a price tag of only 99 pence, it is a no brainer. If fat loss is your goal, be sure to check it out. And on that note, it’s a wrap. I hope you enjoyed the post! 🙂