Cut carbs and add healthy greens to your diet, with these 10 low-carb veggie swaps!
Everyone’s dietary needs are different. Some people thrive on moderate carb diets, while others choose to follow low-carb diets. Whatever your dietary practices are, you can always benefit from adding more veggies to your plate.
High-carb foods are popular fixtures on the American household. Bread, sodas, and potato chips are all things Americans have grown accustomed to. However, they can easily be upgraded to healthier options. Many low-carb vegetable swaps can satisfy your carb-laden food cravings, without killing your diet. Cauliflower is a magically versatile vegetable you can swap in for rice, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crust. Eggplants make a surprising, but delicious, tortilla substitute. And the ever-popular zucchini noodles are an easy way to swap out pasta.
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With that said, get ready to satiate your carb cravings and pile on the low-carb veggies with this handy list of Paleo-approved upgrades!
Swap Rice for Cauliflower Rice
You’re probably familiar with cauliflower rice. It’s an easy substitute for traditional rice and can be found in your local grocery store. Cauliflower is a low-carb, grain-free alternative that mimics the same texture and flavor of conventional rice. Think of it as a blank canvas, ready to soak up all the flavors you season it with! Easily recreate Asian dishes, like this copycat Cauliflower Shrimp Fried Rice, or use it in Spanish dishes, like in this Shrimp Paella with Turmeric Cauliflower Rice.
Swap Tortillas for Swiss Chard
Who doesn’t love a tortilla for wrapping tacos, enchiladas and burritos? Unfortunately, most tortillas are made with wheat, flour, or corn – making them unsuitable for the Paleo lifestyle. Even Paleo-friendly tortillas are made with high-carb starches like tapioca flour. Swiss chard, on the other hand, is a great vegetable to incorporate into your diet. This green veggie is low-carb and high in vitamins K, A, C. Plus, it’s sturdy enough to hold and wrap your favorite meat and veggie fillings!
Swap Pasta for Zucchini Noodles
Compared to traditional pastas and other veggie noodles (like sweet potato noodles), zucchini noodles are a better option for staying low-carb. They’re also a great source of folate, potassium, and beta carotenes (for optimal eye health). Create twisty strands of zucchini noodles using a spiralizer or use a vegetable peeler to create thick ribbon-style noodles. Try using them in a fresh Greek pasta salad or as “pasta” drizzled in tahini bacon sauce.
Swap Bread for Portobello Mushrooms
If you’re looking for a low-carb food, look no further than Portobello mushrooms. Mushrooms contain natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help keep you brain and digestive health on track. When grilled, baked, or sautéed, they make perfectly pliable burger buns or sandwich slices you can stuff with your favorite proteins and toppings. Give these Paleo Turkey Burgers a try or check out this Portobello mushroom topped with crispy bacon and eggs.
Swap French Fries for Carrot Fries
Looking for something that offers a crisp, starchy, texture with fewer carbs? Carrot fries are the way to go! You can bake them with coconut oil or avocado olive oil and season them generously with fresh herbs and spices of your choice. Best of all, they go great with Paleo dipping sauces and are way better for you than traditional French fries – especially since white potatoes clock in at about 37 grams of carbohydrates. (1)
Swap Sweet Potatoes for Pumpkin
Sweet potatoes are a Paleo food classic, but they are relatively high in carbs. If you’re looking for something a bit lower in carbs, try opting for pumpkin instead. Similar to sweet potatoes, pumpkin has a light sweet taste that packs in plenty of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients in just one serving. One cup of pumpkin offers eight grams of carbs as opposed to the 27 grams found in sweet potatoes. (2, 3). It works as a one-for-one substitute, meaning one cup of cubed pumpkin will work just as well as one cup of cubed sweet potato. The same goes for puréed measurements, often used in desserts. Try this low-carb Apple Pumpkin Soup with Turmeric for a nutrient-dense meal.
Swap Potato Chips for Kale Chips
Crispy, salty-fried potato chips are a go-to snack for many Americans. They’re addictively tasty and convenient, but have a high-carb count that averages about 15 grams per ounce. (4) Besides, who eats just one ounce of potato chips? Fortunately, kale chips are a healthier alternative and way lower in carbs. Instead of frying them in grease, kale chips are oven-baked for a satisfying crunch that can be flavored in many ways. Mimic all your classic chip flavors by adding similar herbs and spices to kick up the taste. And since kale is a superfood, you can bet it’s high in iron and antioxidants. It’s the perfect detox food that can boost your overall health. Try these Nacho “Cheese” Kale Chips or opt for these paprika-sprinkled Kale Chips to see for yourself!
Swap Soda for Infused Sparkling Water
You know about high-carb foods like potatoes and bread, but have you considered that you may be drinking a fair share of carbs, too? Sugary soft drinks and juices are high in carbs and can pack in a hefty amount of sugar – averaging up to 39 grams of carbs in just one 12-ounce soda. (5) Water is an easy alternative you can easily infuse with fruits, herbs, veggies, and even flowers. You can even switch up to sparkling water and add a bit of lemon with herbs to satiate your cravings for something fizzy – no carbs included. Mix up natural ingredients to keep things interesting and check out these 21 Infused Water Recipes to Help You Hydrate for ideas.
Swap Mashed Potatoes for Mashed Cauliflower
Creamy mashed potatoes are a mainstay of American holiday dinners. They’re typically served alongside giant hunks of meat and can pack a pretty high-carb count when loaded with butter and cream. To maintain that decadent creaminess, simply sub in mashed cauliflower instead! It’ll mimic the texture of traditional mashed potatoes while preserving a neutral base to season with fresh herbs and spices. Try serving it with meatballs and gravy using this Mashed Garlic Cauliflower recipe.
Swap Pizza Crust for Cauliflower Crust
Pizza has a bad reputation for being greasy, cheese-laden, and full of gluten. Luckily, it can be made into a Paleo-friendly entree by swapping in cauliflower. Cauliflower offers high levels of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and vitamin K. Plus, cauliflower crust only requires a handful of ingredients to make – give this easy sheet pan cauliflower pizza a try!
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