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If there is one thing that the keto diet taught me, it’s that the modern-day diet includes far too much sugar and carbohydrates than our bodies possibly needs. If you don’t read your food labels, you won’t know how sneaky hidden sugars can easily sabotage genuine attempts at weight loss! Whether you’re trying to get to a healthier weight or are just trying to watch your sugar intake, I’ve partnered up with iHerb to share some of my favorite low-carb alternatives that you can add to your pantry. Eating fewer carbs doesn’t mean you have to have a bland diet – there are many swaps you can make that can cut plenty of sugar and carbs out!
#1: Flour Substitutes
One of the hardest things to cut back on is usually bread, but you can still make some amazing recipes using almond flour or coconut flour, which are both low in carbs and high in fiber. I prefer coconut flour for recipes that call for a little sweetness or requires a more finely-milled flour, although it is a little higher in carbs than almond flour. However, it’s low-glycemic and great for people who diabetes who want to enjoy a little something without spiking their blood sugar too much.
Almond flour is much lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat, which is perfect for keto dieters. It has a grainier texture, but is amazing for a keto diet or diabetics! I shared one of my favorite recipes below. These pancakes freeze well, by the way! Don’t forget to top them off with my favorite calorie-free Walden Farms Pancake Syrup.
- Whisk together the water, oil, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Add the almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder. Mix well, or use a blender).
- Let batter rest for 10 minutes. Heat pan over medium-high heat.
- Pour batter into pan (making pancakes about 3-4 inches wide) and flip after 2-3 minutes or when the edges are dry.
- Flatten out the batter with a backside of a spoon if the pancake does not spread out on the pan.
#2: Sugar Substitutes
I’m very wary of sugar substitutes because a lot of them can upset sensitive stomachs like mine, but I love baking with Swerve. It contains zero net carbs so it doesn’t affect blood sugar, doesn’t have a weird aftertaste like most sugar replacements do, and doesn’t irritate my stomach at all. It’s also non-GMO and contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavors! Just ingredients found in common fruits and root vegetables.
If artificial sugar isn’t quite your thing, coconut sugar is a great option that’s not quite carb-free but still has a low glycemic impact, which makes it a much healthier sugar substitute for refined white sugar.
For chocolate recipes, I love using Now Foods Better Stevia Liquid Sweetener in Dark Chocolate. It’s rich and works kind of like a vanilla extract, but tastes like chocolate!
#3: Pasta and Rice Substitutes
If I told you there was such a thing as a pasta or rice substitute that was 0 calories per serving, would you believe me? Well, it’s true! I’ve been using Miracle Noodles and Miracle Rice for years to substitute carb-heavy recipes, and it’s been an extreme game-changer for me. Miracle Noodle and Miracle Rice products are made from shirataki noodles, which are made from Japanese shirataki yam. The texture is a little chewier than noodles – think of the same texture you’d get from biting into a mushroom – but substitutes so well for carb-based meals. So you can indulge in a homemade chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli or have a steak with rice without worrying about having too many carbs and too much fat in a single meal. I really like dressing up my Miracle Rice by stir-frying it in butter, crushed garlic, salt and pepper!
#4: On-the-Go Snacks
A commitment to a low-carb lifestyle can easily be broken by caving into McDonald’s for a quick lunch in-between a long list of errands. I always try to keep snacks in my purse for when I’m out and about to ensure that I have fuel that not only will hold me off until I get home, but doesn’t fill me up with junk. I love these Just the Cheese bars because they’re purely toasted cheese crackers that don’t have any additives or junk in them and basically have less than 1 gram of carbs per package. They satisfy a savory tooth, and can be used to dress up salads as a substitute for croutons!
#5: Low-Carb Protein Shakes
Some people hate protein shakes. I’m also pretty picky when it comes to protein shakes because of the flavor, but Isopure’s Low Carb Protein Powder in Dutch Chocolate is basically like a chocolate smoothie with no weird aftertaste. You can also make protein brownies with protein powder, or you can try out my energy bites recipe below!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites
- 3/4 cup peanut butter Justin's Classic Peanut Butter
- 2 scoops protein powder Isopure Low Carb Protein Powder (Dutch Chocolate)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract Simply Organic Madagascar Vanilla
- 1 tsp liquid Stevia Now Foods Better Stevia Liquid Sweetener (Dark Chocolate)
- 3 tbsp almond milk Chocolate almond milk is best!
- Mix protein powder and coconut flour.
- Add vanilla extract and liquid Stevia and mix well.
- Add peanut butter and mix. You may need to use your hands to mix it into a dough-like consistency.
- Add the almond milk and mix well. Make small 1-inch balls and lay on a lined tray. If the balls crumble, add more almond milk until it holds its shape.
- Refrigerate to set. Store protein balls in the fridge.
#6: Consider a Carb Blocker Supplement
I don’t think it’s a sustainable strategy to completely cut carbs out of your life (even though I’ve successfully done the keto diet in the past and lost 20 pounds on it). There are going to be times where you’re at a party and have a drink or two, or indulge in some carb-heavy foods or cake. During these times, consider carrying a carb blocker supplement with you and taking it before you start eating. Irwin Naturals 3-in-1 Carb Blocker contains white kidney bean extract, which is an all-natural ingredient that inhibits the body’s enzymes that digest starch. It also contains enzymes to encourage better digestion and support metabolism, which helps to reduce the “damage” done by a carb-loaded meal.
Where to Buy Low-Carb Ingredients
Depending on where you live, it might be hard to find low-carb ingredients. I love getting my specialty grocery items from iHerb since they carry over 30,000 natural products that are shipped from climate-controlled distribution centers, which means you only get the best quality grocery products. They also ship to over 150 countries and have a customer service team that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 10 languages. iHerb makes low-carb ingredients internationally accessible and affordable with low prices as well! Click here to get a discount off your first iHerb purchase.
Let me know in the comments if you try some of these low-carb alternatives. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my newsletter below for more easy recipes and budgeting tips and tricks.
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