Most people who are trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier know to be mindful of the carbohydrates they are consuming. Bread and pasta are delicious, but they can easily add unhealthy nutrients and extra pounds. Many low-carb options taste great and are excellent alternatives to high-carbohydrate comfort foods.
Breakfast is the most important meal, and eggs are a great way to jumpstart the day. This low-carbohydrate food is full of protein. In addition to only two grams of carbs, two eggs offer 13 grams of protein as well as iron, various vitamins, and choline. Eggs are also easy to keep interesting by adding other low-carb ingredients such as cauliflower, kale, and spinach.
The first thing to go when you are counting carbs is often pasta, but thanks to spaghetti squash, you can still feast on your favorites. Instead of consuming traditional pasta noodles, the flesh of squash pulls apart into a noodle-like strand after it is cooked. Preparing the meal with squash is just as easy as regular spaghetti, but the alternative delivers more vitamin C and filling fiber. One cup only contains ten grams of carbohydrates, compared to the 35 in whole wheat spaghetti.
Another good option to replace craving-heavy starches such as rice and potatoes is cauliflower. Healthier versions of mashed potatoes, rice bowls, and other popular meals are easy with this finely chopped cruciferous vegetable -- some people even make pizza crusts. One cup of cauliflower has about three grams of carbohydrates.
Greek yogurt makes a great low-carb snack. Full of healthy ingredients, including nine grams of protein per 100g, this tart treat has only four grams of carbohydrates in the same amount. Opt for unsweetened versions to avoid added sugar, and add berries or other fruit to sweeten and keep things interesting.
When you're craving something salty and crunchy but avoiding potato chips, try making kale chips instead. This nutrient-dense snack is packed with vitamins C, K, and A. There is less than one gram of carbohydrates per cup of kale, and there is no limit to the flavorings you can add to take these chips over the top.
If you can't jump on the kale train just yet, consider string cheese instead of potato chips. This dairy food is an excellent source of calcium, which keeps bones strong and healthy, but contains less than one grams of carbohydrates per piece. This is a perfect on-the-go energy boost for kids and adults alike.
Both wild salmon and canned have zero net carbs, but they have a lot more to offer, besides. Salmon is full of omega-3s, vitamins D, B6 and B12, selenium, niacin, and other nutrients. The fatty acids promote weight loss and reduce muscle soreness after exercise. They also stimulate muscle protein and support a healthy heart.
Grilled chicken offers about 27 grams of protein in just a three-ounce serving. That same piece will have zero carbohydrates. Grilled chicken is rich in the antioxidant selenium, which helps fight free radicals our bodies absorb from the environment. Free radicals contribute to the aging process and ailments such as asthma and arthritis.
Dark, leafy greens like spinach pack a nutritional punch. Raw spinach only has one gram of carbohydrates per one-cup serving, not to mention a plethora of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that prevent disorders such as memory loss and heart disease. Besides spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and collard greens are other dark, leafy vegetables ideal for salads. Just keep in mind that other add-ins -- including the dressing -- could raise the carb count.
In addition to low-carb veggies or fruit, raw almonds, walnuts, or pecans make a great addition to salads without upping the carbohydrates. Raw almonds have six grams of carbs per one-ounce serving, but three of those are fiber. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid, which can reduce the chance of heart disease and atherosclerosis. Walnuts have just four grams of carbs in 14 halves, not to mention omega 3s and antioxidants.
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