During the summer months when the weather is warmer and your clothing is lighter, you may be thinking about how to look and feel your best.
One of the easiest ways to experience more confidence fast is by reducing bloating. Some foods, such as refined and simple carbohydrates, can lead to water retention which makes us feel heavier than we actually are. But have no fear, in this article we share our top picks for low-carb summer meals and ingredient swaps.
How low(-carb) can you go
Carbohydrate-rich foods are an important part of a healthy diet. They are the main source of energy, fueling your brain, heart, and muscles. Whole grain and complex carbohydrates provide fiber which aids in digestion and helps improve cholesterol levels. So, why are low-carb and keto diets all the rage?
Well, temporarily decreasing your carb intake can help your body get rid of excess water, reducing bloat and helping you stay motivated. Low-carb and ketogenic diets are known for quick weight loss and have been shown to improve various health markers (cholesterol, body fat, blood glucose, etc.), but before giving either of these diet plans a try, it’s important to understand that they also come with health risks and don’t work for everyone. Read our ketogenic guide and low-carb food list to learn whether these styles of eating are right for you.
Low-carb ingredient swaps
Swapping one meal ingredient for another is an easy way to reduce your carb intake, curb cravings and increase the number of colorful, cancer-preventing vegetables on your plate. Sounds easy in theory, but one of the toughest things about going low-carb or keto is finding a satiating substitute to pair with your lean protein and healthy fat. Sure, you can bulk up your meals with piles of vegetables, but if you still want the meal to feel sentimental, things like flavor and texture are important.
Whether you are bidding carbs adieu, or simply trying to reduce your overall carb consumption, these low-carb ingredient swaps will add creativity and subtract carbs from your meal plan equation.
- Zucchini noodles: A spiralizer works best but you can also use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to ribbon your zucchini. Zucchini is high in antioxidant and immune-amplifying vitamin C.
- Almond flour: High in heart-healthy fats such as vitamin E, almond flour is an excellent alternative to white flour in baking.
- Cauliflower rice: Finely chop your cauliflower and replace it for rice or couscous in your recipes. When chopped up, the cancer-fighting cruciferous is a similar texture to rice, so you won’t be missing high-carb alternative. Give our Lamb Tajine with Cauliflower Couscous from the 8fit recipe book a go.
- Nori or coconut tortilla: Just like flour or corn tortillas, when given a few minutes to soak and filled with your favorite ingredients, nori or coconut sheets become flexible and can be used for a burrito, taco or wrap. Nori is high in iodine which keeps your thyroid and hormones balanced, while coconut is high in lauric acid which helps your body fight disease-causing bacteria.
- Mushroom buns: Grilled portobello mushrooms are full of energizing B vitamins and make perfect bun replacements. To prepare your mushroom buns, wash them, remove the stems, add a bit of oil, and then roast or grill them until they start to brown.
- Lettuce wraps: Aim for larger leaf lettuce such as romaine or butter lettuce. To prepare them, give them a good wash and then fill them with your desired wrap fixings. Lettuce is low in calories and high in fiber, the latter of which helps improve digestion. Try our Turkey Lettuce Wraps.
Low-carb summer recipes
This cancer-preventing cauliflower crust pizza, topped with antioxidant-rich oregano and basil, makes all of you gluten-free or carb-watching dreams come true. Even though all the Italian grandmas out there would be disappointed with a pizza sans dough, in our opinion a life without pizza, is like a life without any fun. Healthy eating is all about balancing nutrition with the fun foods you love.
Zucchini noodles with mozzarella and pesto
This low-carb and vegetarian take on a classic pasta dish replaces the need for noodles and fills us up with fiber and keeps us cravings-free with the addition of protein-packed yogurt.
Portobello chicken sandwich
This portobello mushroom burger is a perfect low-carb summer meal because it involves some outdoor cooking on the grill. Grill your chicken, mushroom bun and even the tomato for a rich, roasted taste.
Chicken salad lettuce wraps
These chicken salad wraps are made healthier by substituting both the tortilla and the mayonnaise for healthier alternatives. Using Greek yogurt instead of mayo helps increase the protein and bring down the fat content of the dish. Paired with grapes, this recipe is both sweet and savory.