10 Strategies to Cut Back on Carbs

Even cutting back to 50 or 100 grams of carbs per day can improve blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Below are some tips on how to start decreasing your intake.

By Cinda Chavich

1  Choose cauliflower

Steam cauliflower, then mash or purée it with butter and a splash of cream to make a great substitute for mashed potatoes. I like to include one small potato with a whole head of cauliflower to add a little body to the mash.

2  Spiralize

Invest in a spiralizing gadget to turn zucchini, winter squash and rutabagas into low-carb ‘noodles’ for pasta sauces, coconut curries and ramen-style soups. I like my OXO machine that holds tight to the countertop while I crank out strands of vegetable spaghetti or zucchini ribbons to sauté with garlic.

3 Spaghetti squash

This pale yellow squash is quick to bake or microwave, and turns into spaghetti-like strands when cooked. Cut it cross-wise before baking for the longest shreds, then toss with butter and chopped Italian parsley or spicy tomato sauce.

4 Avocados

Rich, filling and loaded with healthy fats, an avocado can make a lunch all on its own, seasoned with lemon juice or soy sauce. Fill with crab or salmon salad, chop to add to salads, whirl into guacamole. Small, rough black avocados are lower in carbs than big green ones.

5 Sushi substitute

If you’re craving the taste of sushi, try rolling nori cones, filled with matchstick pieces of cucumber and carrot, avocado and cooked baby shrimp (or sushi-grade raw tuna or salmon), seasoned with a drizzle of wasabi-spiked mayo.

6 No rice, no problem

Cauliflower ‘rice’ is another revelation for low carbers — just shred cauliflower (use a grater or food processor), then lightly steam in the microwave, sauté with butter, chives and garlic, or stir fry and combine with scrambled egg, green onion, ham and soy sauce for ‘fried rice.’

7 Vegetable Dippers

Low carb doesn’t allow for crackers, but you’ll need something crunchy to scoop up dips, guacamole, or top with cheese and charcuterie. Try slices of cucumber or daikon radish, crispy celery sticks and edible pod peas.

8 Splurge on herbs

Nothing adds a bright note and appetizing colour to vegetable dishes like fresh herbs. I like to mix chopped fresh dill with butter to serve with green beans, carrots and salmon, and I always have fresh cilantro and Italian parsley on hand.

9 Free from sugar

Remember there’s more than just white and brown sugar to eliminate. Anything ending in “ose” — sucrose, glucose, fructose — and ingredients like molasses, corn syrup, rice syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup and fruit juice concentrates are all sugars to avoid.

10 Wrap and roll

Anything you’d usually serve in a sandwich or wrap can be folded into a large lettuce leaf or a high-fibre tortilla (I like the whole wheat ones from La Tortilla Factory with just 2 g net carbs per tortilla) — think Chinese BBQ duck and cucumber; pulled pork or grilled chicken, avocado and salsa; ham and cheese.

This article is from the January/February 2019 issue of YAM.