Saturday, October 25, 2014

5 Best Low-Carb Substitutes for your Favorite Foods on Keto

Try These Low-Carb Ingredient Substitutes in your Next Keto-Friendly Recipe

low carb mac & cheese
Shirataki Bacon Mac & Cheese via Dukantopia.
Laziness Rating: 6/10 (-4 for having to do some actual cooking/baking)
Delicious Rating: 5 stars based on 1 review
Calories: varies
Net Carbs: varies
Protein: varies
Fat: varies


Unfortunately, some of the world's most delicious comfort foods are packed full of carbs. Things like mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, pasta, and pizza are all guaranteed to kick you out of ketosis. And that's bad news when you're trying to stay on a strict ketogenic diet. But don't panic! There's actually a growing number of lower-carb versions of your favorite foods. And there's also some very creative (and sometimes questionable) ingredient substitutes that can transform carb-heavy meals into keto-friendly ones. Like what if I told you could make low-carb bread by swapping out wheat flour for almond flour? Well you can. Of course, I'm way too lazy to bake bread myself. But I can definitely point you in the right direction.

The goal of this post isn't to reinvent the wheel by creating some ground-breaking new low-carb recipes. It's just to show you some new, popular, or proven low-carb alternatives so you can find what works for you. You could be eating keto-friendly bread, pasta, pizza, and other goodies by this time tomorrow. So let's do it.


1. Substitute Low-Carb Tortillas for Regular Flour Tortillas

low-carb keto friendly tortillas
Image courtesy of Jodi Pudge/Radius Images/Getty Images
Tortillas are amazing because they really optimize the ability to shovel food into your mouth. And that's always a great thing. Why risk exhaustion by lifting a fork up and down? Fajitas and burritos are essential Mexican foods and there's no reason to miss out while you're on a keto, low-carb, or paleo diet. Pick up any of the low-carb tortillas below and you'll be back in culinary Tex-Mex heaven in no time. I haven't tried the coconut wraps from Julian's Bakery, but they seem to be highly-rated as well.


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2. Substitute 
Shirataki Noodles for Regular Italian Pasta Noodles

keto diet pho with shirataki noodles
Image courtesy of /u/Wardy-Heinberg on Reddit.
Pasta in its various forms is a foodie favorite across all cultures. Doesn't matter if it's spaghetti, pho, lo mein, or mac & cheese. But regular pasta has a enough starchy carbs to elevate your blood sugar to the moon. And you definitely don't want that. A lot of ketoers suggest making imitation mac & cheese with cauliflower instead of noodles. But I don't want cauliflower anywhere near my food. Instead, I think Shirataki Noodles are the best way to recreate the texture and taste of traditional pasta.

Shirataki noodles are from the Japanese konjac root–or what's affectionately called the "elephant yam." More importantly, they are gluten-free, have zero calories, and zero net carbs. Seriously. And that makes them a perfect noodle to be drowned in any low-carb sauces, cheeses, broths, or meats you can think of. Pick up a few bags on Amazon and see what you can create:

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3. Substitute 
CarbQuik Baking Mix for BisQuick Baking Mix

keto diet cheddar biscuit
CarbQuik Cheddar Bay Biscuit via Genaw.com
I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of baking. There's a bit too much manual labor and waiting around for my taste. But CarbQuik baking mix opens up a whole new world of keto-friendly foods for those who are willing to slave away in the kitchen. 

With Carbquik you can make anything from pancakes and biscuits to pizza crust and sandwich bread. CarbQuik is made from Carbalose flour, which contains enzyme-modified wheat and plant fiber. The result is a new kind of baking mix that acts very similarly to BisQuick with traditional flour, but has at least 90% fewer carbs per serving. Not too shabby. While it's not widely available in stores, you can buy CabQuik directly from Amazon:

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4. Substitute 
Almond Flour or Coconut Flour for White Wheat Flour

keto diet sliders
Coconut Flour Sliders via 24/7 Low Carb Diner.
Whether you bake bread or just like eating it, you probably know that traditional white wheat flour is a key source of carbs. And by key I mean monster. But luckily there are some great alternatives like almond flour and coconut flour. That means you can still enjoy breads, biscuits, and even cookies on a ketogenic diet. Almond flour has more fat and fewer carbs than coconut flour, so that may be your best bet on keto. It's also gluten free, if that's your thing.

Be aware that using almond or coconut flour in place of wheat flour requires more than just a simple 1:1 ratio. So if you're a novice like me, I'd suggest sticking with highly rated almond/coconut flour recipes. That'll prevent you from accidentally creating a watery or overcooked mess. Then you'll just blame it on me! Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food has some great tips about cooking with almond flour. I suggest you visit her blog if you're interested in learning more.

Comparing Different Types of Flour

  Nutrition Info (100g)    Fat   Protein  Carbs  Glyc. Index  Fiber  Net Carbs
 Almond Flour  49.7 g  21.2 g  21.2g 
 < 1 
 10.6 g 
 10 g 
 Coconut Flour  14 g  14 g  56.3 g 
 11 
35.2 g 
 21 g 
 White Wheat Flour  3 g 11.7 g  76.22 g 
 71 
 2.4 g 
 73.8 g 
 Rice Flour  1.2 g  5 g  80 g 
 98 
 2.5 g 
 77.5 g 
Varies by brand. Original chart courtesy of Elana's Pantry

You can pick up bags or almond or coconut flour directly from Amazon. The Honeyville brand is very finely ground and comes highly recommended, but feel free to read all the reviews yourself.


5. Substitute 
Stevia or Splenda for Sugar

chocolate peanut butter fat bombs
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups via Fat Cat Cuisine.
If you're trying to kick a sugar addiction, making sweet and delicious desserts can be a dangerous game. But I think everyone deserves a treat sometimes. And that includes ketoers. Thanks to rise of of Type 2 Diabetes in America, sugar-free snacks are becoming more widely available in stores. You can find sugar-free Hershey's candy and Reese's peanut butter cups, both of which are delicious. But they're packed with sugar alcohols like Maltitol and Erythritol, which can affect blood sugar and may lead to an upset stomach. But fortunately there's an even better sweetening alternative: Stevia. 

Stevia extract is a natural sweetener made from the Stevia plant. It has zero calories, zero carbs, and absolutely zero effect on blood sugar. That makes it an amazing option for keto and low-carb folks looking to satisfy a sweet tooth. It also doesn't have the unpleasant aftertaste found in some artificial sweeteners like Splenda. This has led to an explosion in its popularity. And that means there are some fantastic recipes out there. Pick up a batch and try one for yourself:

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Do you have any favorite recipes using any of the keto-friendly ingredients above? Post them in the comments and I'll incorporate them in my next post!


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