For many of us, the idea of avoiding bread, pasta, and chocolate is akin to depriving ourselves of air, food, and water. In fact, if most of us were told that were suddenly required to eliminate these three things from our diets, a good percentage of us would probably find our meals shrunk to half the size, leaving a large chunk of the population both clueless and dinner less. And that definitely puts the kibosh on the chocolate spaghetti you were thinking of making for dessert tonight.
Carbohydrates are a vital part of a nutrient-rich diet. They’re naturally occurring sugars that supply our bodies with energy and help with glucose production. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, as with everything else, its all about making the right choices.
Simple and Complex Carbs
Our bodies need carbohydrates to keep healthy there are two types. Complex carbs take our bodies a reasonable amount of time to digest, and, as a result, glucose is released at a reasonable rate. Simple carbohydrates release the sugar at a much higher rate, causing sugar levels to spike and, bring on hunger, increasing food cravings, and
Bread, namely white bread, is the most commonly consumed carbohydrate, and, fortunately, it is also the one easiest to remove. Here are a few replacement ideas.
If you’re new to the lettuce wrap, romaine is the best flatbread replacement while radicchio and butter lettuce are excellent alternatives to sandwich bread. Just fold the lettuce around your favorite filling or use two pieces, one on top, one under.
If you can’t envision life without bread, go for the whole grains, enriched with germ intact, if possible.
A veg with some substance, portobello mushrooms can be a great and delicious substitute for a sandwich bun, and are also a great source of vitamin D.
Like bread, pasta is a processed grain and is best when consumed in a whole grain variety. If you’re thinking of kicking pasta off the shopping list, here are some backup ideas.
Zucchini sliced into long ribbons can serve as a substitute for fettuccine noodles and lasagna, and broccoli slaw and spaghetti squash can replace spaghetti noodles when blanched lightly.
You may not be sure of how to pronounce it, but quinoa (“keen-waa”) is a low carb, high protein grain that can be a great pasta replacement in salads and soups.
These carb-less, low-calorie Japanese noodles owe their consistency to yam starch. That said, you may find a difference in texture from your typical wheat noodles, but shirataki noodles are a healthy pasta alternative.
Although you may have heard of dark chocolate as an antioxidant superfood, chocolate in large quantities is not a recommended source of nutrition. It provides only simple carbohydrates and is bad for teeth and digestion. For an alternative source of sweetness try:
Try keeping a Tupperware container full of fruit for when the sweet cravings hit.
Try making chocolate pudding with cocoa powder, skim milk and a sugar substitute.
Get the good stuff
If you must eat chocolate, go for quality over quantity. Chocolate with high cacao content and low sugar contain a high antioxidant level and is good for you in small quantities. Try to avoid “candy chocolate” that is more likely to contain artificial flavoring and colorings.
Let us know how you manage to survive without pasta, bread, and chocolate. What are your favorite go-to substitutes?