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25 Easy Ways to Cut Carbohydrates

By Zeina Bachir

Here are some ways you can trim the carbohydrates without sacrificing your love of food.

1. Enjoy Zucchini Crust Pizza.  Pizza has earned its reputation as a difficult food. It is not only high in carbohydrates, but also fat. This slows down the digestion and often leaves you with high blood sugars hours later. You can replace traditional pizza with two big slices of zucchini crust pizza , which only has 10 grams of carbohydrates.

2. Embrace lettuce wraps. Big pieces of crispy iceberg lettuce can be a very refreshing substitute for bread. You can try it with the burgers.

3. Lower the Carbohydrates Pasta Salad. Adapt your traditional pasta salad recipe by adding chicken, ham, black beans, diced tomatoes, cucumber, or other vegetables rather than having pasta.

4. Give Mac and Cheese a makeover. Add little chunks of chicken or broccoli equal to the amount of pasta. Now a one-cup serving has 30% to 50% fewer carbohydrates.

5. Experiment with Portobello Mushroom Pizzas. If you are a mushroom fan, you can easily get your pizza fix. Just place portobellos on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add tomato sauce, mozzarella, and your other favorite toppings. Broil it until the cheese starts to get bubbly, brown and delicious.

6. Replace mashed potatoes with winter squash. Winter squash has half the grams of carbohydrates as potatoes (18g per cup compares to 37g) plus 80% fewer calories. 

7. Make Salads Worthy of a Meal. Start with a base of dark, leafy greens. Now add some serious protein: turkey, chicken, salmon, ham, steak, eggs, or black beans work really well. Alternatively, use a more exotic option like chicken samara. Next, add a moderate amount of vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, olives, and hearts of palm, mushrooms, sprouts, and avocado. Finally, finish with vinaigrette, blue cheese, or other lower carbohydrate dressing.

8. Join the Peanut Butter Revolution. Peanut butter is a filling and healthy low carbohydrate food. We like it straight from the jar, but it tastes good with vegetables like carrots and celery and on apple slices.

9. Keep Hummus with Vegetables Handy.  Replace pita chips with freshly sliced red peppers or pieces of endive. Dip in hummus and enjoy. You can buy hummus in so many different flavors, so experiment to see what you love best. One serving of peppers and hummus is about 5-7g of carbohydrates and endive is even less!

10. Replace Chips with Popcorn. Popcorn has just 6g of carbohydrates per cup. Compare that to 20g to 30g for a small bag of chips.

11. Substitute Low Carbohydrate Tortilla’s. There are many brands of lower carbohydrate tortillas that actually taste good (finding good low carbohydrate bread is much more difficult!) You can easily substitute bread for tortilla for virtually any sandwich topping – or even make a thin crust pizza.

12. Try Almond Milk or Soy Milk instead of regular. Almond milk is surprisingly good. It feels lighter than milk (more like skim), but works extremely well in cereal and smoothies. Soymilk has a richer texture and works well, too. Both have 2 to 6 grams of carbohydrates – less than half of any type of regular milk!

13. Find Low Carbohydrate Fast Food. Make yourself aware of low carbohydrate options at the fast food restaurants.

14. Savor Sugar-Free Jello and Pudding. For a quick snack, sugar-free Jello and Pudding can be great choices. Remember to read the box: sugar-free does NOT mean that it has no carbohydrates. For example, even sugar-free Jello has one to two carbohydrates per serving.

15. Swap Pretzels for Nuts.  If you love salty snack food, try replacing the carb-heavy ones you usually reach for and switch to a handful of almonds, pistachios or cashews.  They pack in a lot of protein and good for you fats.  Be careful not to eat too many, though because they are also calorie dense and do have some carbohydrates.

16. Make the Right Fruit Choices.  Some people with diabetes have a very difficult time eating healthy snacks like fruit because of the naturally occurring sugars they contain.  If grapes give you an unwanted blood sugar spike, try blueberries that have a lower glycemic load.  People with diabetes can enjoy many fruits regularly.

17. Chocoholics Rejoice. Do you crave chocolate but are tired of the inevitable blood sugar spikes? Try replacing milk chocolate and chocolate bars with a smaller portion of dark chocolate. “Candy” chocolates are mostly sugar and very little actually chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidants in it, like blueberries, so you can justify indulging yourself every now and then.