Low Carb- Low Calorie Pasta, Rice and Potato Substitutes Make Weight Loss Easy

Vegetable substitutes  for major carbs  consist of  vegetable based    replacements made from cauliflower, zucchini, squash, lentils,various fibers, beets. turnips and carrots.  They are low in calories  and carbs and are ideal for all low carb diet plans including the HCG and Keto Diet Plans. Low carb diets including the Keto and 800 calorie HCG diets produce rapid weight loss my markedly limiting or even eliminating  carbs especially potatoes, pasta and rice that quickly raise blood sugar, turn to fat and cause hunger and cravings.

Why its Hard to Eliminate These Carbs

Sugary carbs and starches provide the body with fast-release energy and cause  blood sugar to spike. Initially, this feels good. But this ‘sugar high’ is quickly followed by a significant fall, causing low energy, hunger pangs and sugar cravings. Fibrous carbs take longer to break down in the body and therefore take longer to impact blood sugar (if at all), which will help you to avoid a ‘sugar crash’ or mid-morning slump

Making this difficult is the fact that , rice, pasta and potatoes are inexpensive, tasty foods that have great appeal to many people all over the world. However,they are very high in calories and carbs(typical portions have > 1200 calories and 130 carbs! )and have no easy way to control portion size. Whether you are doing a low carb diet, the Keto or the 800 calorie HCG diet and even the low calorie Vegetarian/Vegan weight loss plan, these foods need either to be eliminated or tightly controlled in terms of portion and sauces.

Since eliminating  the major carbs is  very difficult,  the easiest way is to replace high carb rice, pasta and potatoes with the veggie substitutes for major carbs–they are all low in carbs and calories.  I review some of the most common low calorie vegetable based alternatives including those that you prepare from fresh ingredients and those either frozen or purchased dry. I have avoided some of the  popular sweet potato, chickpea, Zoodles, Barilla bean and pea based alternatives because of the higher calories of these products. Always check the labels carefully when considering these products. Barilla  may be low carb, but it has more than 300 calories for a full cup. The label indicates the portion is 1/4 of a cup.

Here are the nutrients in ordinary wheat pasta(all of the reviews refer to 1 cup of cooked pasta/noodles without any sauces or additions, carbs, fiber, protein refers to # of grams per 1 cup, remember this is NOT the typical portion for anyone):

White Pasta (1 cup)CaloriesCarbs(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
242530.64.4
Whole Wheat PastaCaloriesCarbs(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
21846 3.55.0

The Cheesecake Factory’s Pasta Napoletana,(see image below) dressed in a Parmesan cream sauce, is topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, and bacon and has 2,310 calories, 79 grams of saturated fat, and 4,370 mg of sodium. (Center for Science and the Public Interest)

Pasta from Cheesecake factory

Low Carb-Low Calorie Freshly Prepared Pasta/Noodles

1. Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is an excellent pasta substitute. It comes from  North and Central America and has yellow-orange flesh. After you cook it, resemble wheat based pasta. At 7 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) it has 1/5 the carbs of real pasta.

Preparation: prick the squash then either bake it for 35 minutes at 350 ℉, microwave for 7 minutes, or boil for 18 minutes.
Pro: Very low calories and carbs, relatively easy preparation, fresh, no additives
Con: You need some imagination to think it’s really pasta!

Spaghetti SquashcaloriesCarbs(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
421021

veggie substitutes for major carbs

2. Spiralized Vegetables Imitate Pasta 

Other veggie substitutes for major carbs included spiralized vegetable. They have  become very popular with the popularity of all of the low or zero carb weight loss programs. Spiralized vegetables are prepared by putting them in a spiralizer — a kitchen device used to cut vegetables into long strips which resemble noodles. Alternatively many large supermarkets will sell you the fresh vegetables already spiralized in their vegetable sections. The most popular are zucchini, carrots, turnips, beets and cucumbers. In addition most have large amounts of fiber, minerals and vitamins. The most common are 1/4 to 1/10 the calories and carbs of regular white pasta.

Preparation: Spiralized vegetables c eaten cold or warm. If you’d like to warm them, toss the vegetable noodles in boiling water for 3–5 minutes until cooked but still firm — known as al dente.
Pro: Very low calories and carbs, a little more preparation than the squash but easy preparation, fresh, no additives
Con: Again you need even more imagination to believe they are really pasta!

Spiralized ZucchiniCalCarb(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
193.511.5
Zuchinni pasta from spiralizer

Low carb, low calorie zucchini can be simply made with a hand spiralizer on of the simplist  veggie substitutes for major carbs.

4. Cauliflower -Rice Substitute for White and Brown Rice: it’s About the Calories/Carbs and Ease of Use

Cauliflower rice  is the most popular veggie substitute for major carbs. It is clearly the most common vegetable used as alternative to pasta, rice, breads, pizza crust, noodles, soups, potatoes, casseroles and numerous other food products. it’s become the superstar for people trying to avoid carbs and lower calories. it’s unusual that a vegetable which was often ignored, is the “in” vegetable. Why is so popular?  Just Look at the calories and carbs: Rice has 200 calories and 40 carbs per cup vs. cauliflower rice with 25 calories and 2 carbs per cut.!

Why has cauliflower become so popular? it’s very low in calories, few carbs, inexpensive, has lots of vitamins and minerals and can shaped and prepared in many forms.  It absorbs the taste of many add-ons and at the same time can assume the texture of many higher calorie and carb foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes. Pulverized and blanched it combined with cheese and eggs to make pizza crust. it’s great for a paleo, keto, HCG and especially a gluten free diet. In addition, it can be served fresh or frozen.  it’s not as good as rice but it’s really a starting point to make other great recipes. It can have only 14% of the calories as pasta.

Preparation: Break the cauliflower into florets and place in a food predecessor  and pulse it until you have the texture of rice. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil,  add  scallions or other vegetables to the cauliflower. Sauté until heated through, usually about  3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper.

Pro: Very low calories and carbs, more complicated preparation than others. numerous recipes using cauliflower as a base. Very nutritious
Con: Needs to be combined with other no-carb foods to obtain the best taste. Not a stand alone food!  One of the biggest issues is gastrointestinal distress – in other words, gas and bloating. Careful not to combine with fried foods or add high-sugar sauces.

 Cauliflower RiceCaloriesCarbs(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
20422

5. Shirataki Noodles:  Substitute for High Carb- High Calorie Wheat  Pasta

Shirataki noodles are long, white noodles also known as konjac or miracle noodles. Produced from the Japanese Konjac plant they are almost NO calories and zero carbs. Some researchers believe that the glucomannan fiber in the noodles absorbed water and fill up the stomach which produces a filling effect and slows down digestion. Soluble fibers provide nutrition for your gastrointestinal  bacteria. There are many manufacturers and  thus some variation in nutrition. Tofu noodles have similar nutritional values but are soy based.

Preparation: Simply unpack and rinse them  under hot running water to remove the liquid and warm them up. Then add your sauce of choice. Another prep is to heat the noodles in a pan to remove excess water resulting in a more noodle like texture. Needs a lot of seasoning and sauces because of tasteless properties.

Pro: Almost no calories and carbs, more complicated preparation than others. No nutritional value
Con:Biggest issue is the smell of the noodles when opening the gel-like package.

Shirataki NoodlesCalCarb(g)Fiber(g)Protein(g)
10-353-70-21-3

Shirataki low carb, low calories noodles

6. Low carb- Low Calories Fiber Based Pasta

ThinSlim Foods Impossible Low Carb Pasta is one of the newest  veggie substitutes for major carbs .  It is a pasta that is soy free and shirataki free, low in net carbs, low in calories, and packed with fiber. It has 110 calories per cup with only 16 net carbs and 8 grams of protein. It is made of several fibers: oat, wheat and durum fibers, wheat protein isolate. Chemically it is the closest pasta to traditional pasta and has no beans, chickpeas, peas, hearts of palm, and more. Made by Thin Slim Foods, the pasta is available from their web site and Amazon.com.

Impastable low carb low calorie pasta for all low carb diets