Reduce Simple Carb Intake With These Tasty Alternatives
Complex carbohydrates, including veggies, legumes, and whole grains, are better for our health than simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, white rice, and white bread.
Simple carbohydrates are made of short-chain carbon molecules. Once consumed, the short chains break down quickly and rush into the bloodstream, causing a spike in our glucose level.
Complex carbohydrates are composed of long-chain carbon molecules that break down and enter our bloodstream more slowly, helping us avoid extreme blood sugar fluctuations.
Unfortunately, many comfort foods we enjoy (e.g., mac and cheese, glazed donuts) are loaded with simple carbohydrates, and it’s difficult to give these feel-good foods up. However, we can gradually phase simple and refined carbohydrates out of our diet by experimenting with alternatives that can meet our need for crunch, texture, and flavor.
Most of us “fondly” remember our mother saying, “You’ll never know whether you like something until you try it,” so here are a few simple-carb reducing swaps that we can experiment with. Maybe a couple of them will become satisfying mealtime favorites.
Zucchini or Carrot Pasta. Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, have become a popular pasta swap. Some grocery stores are even selling pre-sliced zucchini “pasta” in their deli areas. Carrots can also be used as a pasta substitute; simply pare or slice them into thin noodles, or maybe we should say, coodles. They make an interesting low carb, slightly crunchy base for toppings.
Green Rice. Broccoli can be a high fiber, vitamin, and antioxidant rich rice substitute. It’s easy to prepare by grating broccoli florets, or mincing them in a food processor. Then, saute or steam the riced veggie with a bit of butter and salt. (You can do this with cauliflower florets as well.)
Fava Flour. Fava beans, finely ground, make an excellent alternative to standard white all-purpose flour. Sometimes called broad beans, fava beans are great sources of potassium, magnesium, folic acid, protein, and fiber. Flour made from these beans works well in almost all recipes.
Toasted Sweet Potato. Sweet potatoes are starchy, but have even more fiber than whole wheat bread, plus plenty of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. So, instead of always toasting bread, consider peeling a sweet potato, slicing it, and browning two or three pieces in the toaster. You can top the strips with some nut butter, eggs, a bit of meat, cheese, or whatever suits your fancy.
Squash Spaghetti. A simple pasta swap is created by cutting a squash lengthwise, and baking it - cut side up - in a pan containing a half-inch of water. Use some salt, and butter, or olive oil to keep the squash moist; bake it an hour at 350 degrees F. Then, scrape across the squash’s surface with a fork to create “spaghetti.” A one cup serving of nutritious squash-pasta saves us about 200 calories, and 30 carb grams.
Gala Sandwich. For a fun snack, ditch the bread and create an apple sandwich. Cut the fruit so you end up with two, quarter-inch thick circular slices, and spread them with some nut butter, or a bit of cream cheese. Before pressing the slices together, maybe add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, bits of dried fruit, or cinnamon. This works as a dessert idea, as well.
Food exploration and experimentation can be fun, and when we find alternatives to our simple-carbohydrate favorites, saying “no” to those glucose spiking foods becomes easier.
Source: Mercola Fitness