Developing a low carb menu plan is an excellent decision for your health and well-being. If implemented correctly, a low carb diet plan can help you lose weight, give you more energy, decrease your blood pressure, and provide many other health benefits. Some medical professionals even believe that going low carb could reduce the risk for diabetes. These claims have been provoked by clinical studies, like one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which showed that a low carb diet is the quickest way for diabetics to eliminate fatty buildups in the liver.
Adjusting to a low carb menu can be a challenge, especially if you are accustomed to eating bountiful amounts of pasta and bread. Don’t worry, cutting down on your carbs can be easier than you think. All you have to do is find substitutions for your every day high carb foods that are healthier and lower in carbohydrates.
Low Carb Substitutions for Your Low Carb Menu Plan
To kick off a low carb diet, try making a menu of an average lunch, dinner, and dessert, than replacing the high-carb foods with foods that are lower in carbs and healthier. Here are some ideas to help you in your substitutions:
- Steak and Mashed Potatoes: If your menu has steak and mashed potatoes, you have lots of options to lower your carb count. You can use cauliflower or celery root in place of your potatoes, jazzing them up with a bit of butter, cheese, chives, or sour cream. If you like ketchup or BBQ sauces with your meats, you have to give ‘em up for something lower in carbs, like tartar sauce. There are also plenty of low carb steak and BBQ sauces out there, so check your labels when you hit the grocery store.
- Chicken Fajitas: Any Mexican dish comes with countless flour tortillas, which are not only high in carbs, but cooked with lard. Skip the tortilla and try to find your own solution by skimming the web for low cal tortillas. There are some options online that are only about 3 g of carbs per tortilla. Top your tacos with salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro, and jalapenos. Pass on the rice and opt for a side salad instead.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: When we’re on the go, sometimes we make the kids a PB&J, then whip one up for ourselves. However, with the high sugars in jelly and high carbs in all the ingredients, this isn’t the best meal for a mom or dad who’s trying to reduce their carb intake. Substitute bread for apple slices and peanut butter for hazelnut butter, which is lower in carbs. Skip the jelly and call it a day!
- Pasta dishes: With pasta dishes, you may feel like you’re out of luck, but simply ditch the noodles and replace with nutrient rich beans and veggies. You can make zucchini into a pasta-like formation, which tastes great with pesto. Shirataki noodles are almost completely fiber and have minimal amounts of carbs. Spaghetti squash looks almost exactly like the high carb stuff and makes for a great substitute.
- Desserts: You may long for chocolate mousse pie, but you can get your sugar fix without all the carbs. Replace sugar with Stevia, a sweetener which has been reported safe by most health experts. Ricotta cheesecake with apples, an egg-white based angel food cake, and any nut-based dessert may be your best bets at getting a low(er) carb dessert.
Now that you have some healthy family recipes for your low carb menu, start meal planning and we’re sure you’ll hit your dietary and health goals in no time.