It often seems like there are carbohydrates lurking everywhere we go. When you have diabetes, too many carbohydrates can make your blood sugar levels soar and pack on unwanted pounds. Consider a few tasty carbohydrate cutting secrets to give your favorite foods the ultimate makeover.
- Resisting mashed potatoes can be tough, especially on certain holidays. Now you don’t have to avoid this yummy comfort food. Instead of a cup of mashed potatoes, have a half cup. Add a half cup of mashed cauliflower or turnips to cut the carbohydrate content. Cauliflower can be steamed then pureed in a food processor with a dash of spices. Season your mashed vegetable combo with a small amount of skim milk and a dash of garlic. Steer clear of gravy, which contains extra carbohydrates and calories.
- If you’re a fan of corn chowder or New England clam chowder, take note these comfort foods have up to 50 carbohydrates per serving. Pea soup is a thick, robust alternative that is equally satisfying. It is also easy to make. Soak 2 ¼ cups of rinsed, dry split peas in 2 quarts of water overnight. Then boil the soaked peas in 2 quarts of water for around a half hour. Add onions, carrots, pepper and nutmeg then simmer for another half hour. It’s a warm, nutritious treat that won’t make you feel guilty. Bean soup is also a great alternative to chowder soups.
- White bread wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels but there are yummy alternatives. Whole grain sourdough bread is a much better choice. The lactic acid helps to mediate the glycemic impact of the flour. You can also use cabbage or lettuce instead of bread to make a sandwich. Simply roll a piece of lean turkey in a cabbage or lettuce leaf. This quick lunch is perfect when you’re in a hurry.
- Now you can have your crab cakes and eat them, too. Make them yourself to have control over the ingredients. Try to use real crab meat. Imitation crab meat contains too much sugar and additives and is often hiding in the crab cakes we buy at the store. Instead of bread crumbs, use a mixture of eggs and baking powder to keep these irresistible cakes together. If using bread crumbs use sparingly and use Panko bread crumbs.
- White rice is refined, much like white bread. This cuts out nutrients and leaves starchy carbohydrates behind. While brown rice is a better choice, it still contains 46 carbohydrates per cup and is not a low glycemic food. The lowest glycemic grain is barley. Another great choice is quinoa, which contains 39 carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber. Both are cooked on the stove in boiling water. Add a dash of flavor by boiling them in low sodium beef, vegetable or chicken broth.
- Magnificent mushrooms contain nutrients and Vitamin D as well as phytochemicals to combat toxins. They are also an excellent substitute for your favorite high carbohydrate foods. Use a grilled or baked Portobello mushroom instead of a bun for burgers and sandwiches. Eliminate half the breading in stuffing and replace it with sautéed mushrooms. Add flavor and bulk to tuna salad by tossing in some finely chopped mushrooms.
- Salads seem innocent enough until you start adding dressing and croutons. These extras often add sugars and carbohydrates. Instead of croutons, add a teaspoon of chopped nuts for a bit of crunch in your salad. Nuts are a good source of protein but they are high in calories so limit your intake. Choose Walden Farms dressings with no sugar, carbohydrates or additives. They come in several tasty varieties with none of the guilt.
- Italian food includes decadent pasta dishes that are also high in carbohydrates. Now you can have healthy variations of your favorite Italian recipes. Use zucchini to make lasagna rather than noodles. Slice four medium-size zucchinis into strips about three-quarter-inch-thick. Sprinkle them with Italian seasoning and bake on a nonstick cookie sheet at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are firm, not crispy. Then replace lasagna noodles with baked zucchini and make your lasagna as usual.
- Do you long for spaghetti instead? The flesh of a cooked spaghetti squash is much like regular spaghetti. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and put the cut side down on a plate with ¼ cup of water. Microwave it for about 10 minutes, let it cool and scrape out the spaghetti-like strands. Top with your favorite low-carbohydrate pasta sauce.
Cutting carbohydrates is easy when you make educated choices. There are delicious substitutes to cut the carbohydrates in your favorite meals. Be creative and experiment with low carbohydrate options to create decadent dishes that are even better than the originals.