What Are the Best Tips for Low Carb Cooking?

B. Miller

Low carb cooking does not have to mean following a plain, boring diet, or giving up a bunch of favorite foods. Instead, simple modifications to many recipes, as well as food substitutions, can lead to many delicious meals that are low in carbohydrates. First, it is important not to give up on carbs entirely, but rather replace simple carbohydrates like those found in white breads and pastas with complex, whole-grain carbohydrates, which are important for digestion. In addition, getting creative with vegetables can be a great way to try low carb cooking; vegetables can even masquerade as pasta with a little effort.

Quinoa is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
Quinoa is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

When attempting low carb cooking, it is important not to replace one issue with another. For instance, cutting products made with white flour out of the diet is not a license to replace it with mountains of red meat. It is especially important to eat a balanced diet that includes lean meats such as fish and chicken as well as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Though these items do contain carbohydrates, they are beneficial complex carbohydrates because they are nutritionally dense, high in fiber, and move through the digestive system slowly.

A low carb meal plan may include fish.
A low carb meal plan may include fish.

There are a number of grains that many people don't even think to use in recipes, but they can make great, healthy substitutes for low carb cooking. For instance, simply swapping white rice for brown rice is an excellent tip for low carb cooking. A mixture of beans, sauteed vegetables, and a grain such as brown rice, barley, or quinoa is rich in protein as well as filling and nutritious; plus it takes very little time to make. Making sure to eat whole-grain breads is another way to reduce the amount of carbs in the diet.

Quinoa is low in carbs but high in protein.
Quinoa is low in carbs but high in protein.

For those who aren't vegetarians or vegans, meat and eggs can be a healthy part of a low carb diet as well. Grilling, roasting, or broiling meats such as chicken or seafood are healthy options for low carb cooking. Eggs can be made in dozens of different ways, or may simply be eaten hard boiled.

Another great option for low carb cooking is to try different things with vegetables. Though simply steaming or sauteeing vegetables with a bit of olive oil and spices can be a great way to make a side dish, there are plenty of other choices as well. Shredded squash or cabbage can be reminiscent of pasta when served with a marinara sauce, or cauliflower can be minced to resemble white rice or mashed potatoes. Mixed greens are always an excellent low carb option too.

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a low carb diet.
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a low carb diet.

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