I mostly post recipes on this blog, but every once in a while I like to talk about a few of my favorite things. Today, I’d like to share a few low-carb foods with you (both store-bought and homemade).
Now, I want to be totally clear — in my house, we don’t follow a strict low-anything diet. Around here, there’s room for just about anything in moderation (and vegetables in abundance, always). However, my husband and I both deal with health conditions that make it necessary to navigate carbs with mindfulness and care. He has Type 1 diabetes, so he has to count carbs to dose properly with insulin. I’ve got PCOS, so I am best served by avoiding sugar and simple carbs.
Practically, this means that it’s nice to have some low carb foods around the house. This way, Brendan can have dessert without an extra dose of insulin, I can reach for goodies that won’t spike my blood sugar, and we can easily put together meals that have a balance of carbs, fat, and protein.
Treats are still treats, of course, but these ones are the easiest for us to work into our diets in a healthy way:
Sweets and Treats
ChocZero makes sugar-free chocolate bars, as well as a bunch of sugar-free syrups (I’ve tried the maple one and enjoyed it on pancakes, more on those later . . .). Their Keto Bark comes in individually-wrapped single serving bars, and each one has just 2g net carbs. They’re sweetened with monk fruit extract, which doesn’t affect blood sugar levels.
These are awesome for baking into keto treats (my favorites are the peanut butter blondies and chocolate chip cookies from Paola at Gnom-Gnom.com). They are lightly sweetened with a mixture of inulin, erythritol, and stevia. They really are quite dark in flavor, so they’re better for incorporating into baked goods than snacking on out of hand.
I love how I feel after eating these in the morning, which is more than I can say for any other pancake. Most of the time I reach for savory breakfasts, but these hit the spot when I’m in the mood for flapjacks every once in a while. A stack of traditional, wheat-based pancakes sends my blood sugar through the roof and gives me a sleepy start to my day, but paleo pancakes provide slow burning energy and keep me going until lunchtime. A serving has 11 net carbs, which is half of their gluten-free variety. The mix is sweetened with monk fruit.
You can use PBfit in baking, or mix it with water to make a lower fat and calorie peanut butter. My favorite use is to replace 1/3 of the almond flour in Paola’s blondies. It amps up the peanut flavor, making one of my favorite treats even tastier. PBfit is sweetened with coconut sugar, but the amount is quite small (2 grams per serving).
I cook most of our dinners from scratch, but if I’m short on time or energy, it’s nice to have some premade side dishes on hand. I also like to try out Keto-friendly bread recipes from time to time, so we can enjoy pizza, bagels, and garlic bread without getting on a blood sugar roller coaster.
This shelf-stable, lower-carb alternative to rice is made from sweet potatoes. A whole 200-gram pouch has 13 net grams of carbohydrate — 200 grams of cooked white rice contains 65 grams of carbohydrate, for comparison. It’s nice to be able to eat a generous serving of a side dish that’s nutritious and filling, and of the shelf-stable varieties I’ve tried, this sweet potato one is my favorite. It does pack more carbs than cauliflower rice, but compared to actual grains, it’s quite low.
Again, here’s a low-carb (not no-carb) side dish, with 5 grams net carbs per serving. Sometimes, we’ll order Chinese take-out main dishes, then pair them with either plain cauliflower rice or this stir fry, rather than having rice on the side.
This recipe takes some effort, and requires some baking ingredients you might not have on hand (almond flour, flaxseed meal, psyllium husks, and xanthan gum, to be specific). It’s worth it though. Paola went and made a real yeasted dough recipe that satisfies pizza cravings without blood sugar spikes. (Note — when we do want to eat a slice of restaurant pizza, our dietician recommends pairing it with a salad to even things out. It really is all about balance!)
Another keto bread recipe from Paola at Gnom-Gnom (can you tell I’ve been cooking my way through her blog?)! I’ve made them as bagels a couple times, and used my Silpat mini loaf pan to shape the dough into the dinner rolls pictured here. We like to toast these and enjoy them as garlic bread alongside soups and stews.
Brendan likes these so much he actually orders them by the 1-pound bag. Nuts have replaced chips as his go-to snack, and these tangy, crunchy almonds are pretty darn irresistible. I like to have an ounce of these almonds and a small apple as an afternoon snack sometimes — the savory/sweet combo really hits the spot and keeps me from getting hangry before dinner!
I hope this list has given you some ideas for new low-carb foods to try! What’re your favorites?
Some of these products have been sent to me for review, while I have purchased others. All opinions are my own.