Low Carb Schnitzel Recipe

 

Wienerschnitzel
Low Carb Wienerschnitzel

Hi Everyone!  My dear friend Brian has also embraced a low-carb lifestyle. We are both World Language teachers in the same middle school. Brian is a wonderful cook.  He has generously agreed to write a guest post for this blog and to share his famous low carb schnitzel recipe with us.  I can’t wait to try this recipe for myself!

Take it away, Brian….

before and after

Hi, my name is Brian.  I am a German teacher at the same school where Elaine teaches French.  This year I lost 40 pounds. (See photos above) Last time I traveled to Austria, my former home of 4 years, I was weighing my suitcase, which weighed forty pounds.  I thought to myself, “oh my God, I’ve lost a suitcase!”  One suitcase lighter, I feel great and I’m ultimately glad I’ve decided to embrace the low-carb lifestyle.  

In the beginning it was hard, but I was fortunate to have a cheerleader at school, who gave me advice, told me I was doing a great job and how proud of me she was.  Her name is Elaine! I am so thankful for all the words of wisdom and motivation she has given me over the past months, so now it is my turn to share with her!

Now, I am not normally a fan of foods pretending to be something they are not.  I love the creativity, but I usually feel disappointment, because they fall short of expectations I’d set when I used to indulge in carbs.  Holding onto the gluttonous notion of an overly-full belly being a good thing is not healthy and is certainly not without consequences in both how you look and how you feel.  Elaine once told me, “Stop focusing on what you can’t have and focus on all the yummy things you can have.”

She couldn’t be more right.  For many of us, however, food is not just a delicious way to get energy; it can be emotional on so many levels.  For me I feel emotionally-connected to the sights, sounds and TASTES of Austria.  One of the biggest staples of Austrian cuisine is the Wienerschnitzel, a pounded out cutlet of veal, pork, chicken or turkey that is breaded and then shallow-fried.  I am not sure if I could live in a world where Wienerschnitzel is on the list of forbidden foods.  So, against my better judgement, I sought out to make a low-carb Wienerschnitzel that tastes good.

The type of meat I chose was veal, the traditional meat for Wienerschnitzel.  I only chose it because my supermarket actually had it and it happened to be very thin cut, so I wouldn’t have to pound it out.  (This is fun if you are having a bad day, but if you can, avoid it!)  Any of the meats I’ve already listed would be fine, as we know meat is not only allowed it is a huge part of our diet as low-carbers.

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The big issue here of course is the breading.  That is a giant NO-NO for us.  “But I want Schnitzel!” (in a whiny, Arnold Schwarzenegger voice)   This was the giant hurdle for this recipe.  I started to research how other low-carbers putting crispy coatings on things. I tried a couple out and they weren’t quite as disappointing as I thought they would be, so I decided to mix up some of the ideas I found to make a coating for my Schnitzel!  This is what I came up with:

Schnitzel Coating:

  • ½ cup of almond meal (You can buy almonds, toast and grind them or buy this at Trader Joe’s  or on Amazon)
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese (any kind is ok, go fancy or don’t)
  • ½ cup of flaxseed meal (Look into flaxseed and all of its health benefits.  It also promotes regularity  🙂
  • ½ tsp of onion powder
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼-½ tsp salt (there already some in the cheese)

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Mix this all in a bowl. Now I usually take half of this and save it for future use.  However, if I need more, I add it.

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The recipe:

  • Coconut oil and butter for frying
  • A few shakes of Tabasco
  • 2 Eggs
  • Pepper, for seasoning egg mixture
  • Salt, for seasoning and egg mixture
  • Schnitzel Coating (see above)
  • 6-8 small or 4 large cutlets either cut thin or pounded out.

Lay out cutlets on a large cutting board or plate.  If they are not THIN already (necessary to make a proper Schnitzel), then pound them out between two pieces of plastic wrap with either a mallet or very sturdy pan and then put on board.

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Lightly season the cutlets with salt and pepper. (You should do this to every layer of a dish!  If you want less salt, reduce it, but do a little in every step).  

Now, I would preheat the pan.  Add coconut oil to pan to coat ½ inch.  Add a ⅓ of a stick of butter and turn heat onto medium high, but don’t forget you have oil on the stove!

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In a bowl, crack both eggs and add a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and a few shakes of Tabasco.  Gently whisk for 15 seconds with a fork.

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Dip cutlets in egg, let drip for a second or two and then into the coating.  Coat well and add to hot pan. Continue coating and setting aside until you are ready to flip your schnitzel.  Just a reminder, the cutlets are thin and should only take 1-2 minutes per side!  If you didn’t get it quite as thin, shame on you, and cook the schnitzel a little longer (you may need to lower the heat a smidge because you don’t want them to burn).

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Flip the schnitzel when they are golden brown, and move them to a stack of paper towels when they are finished.  Continue until all the schnitzel are cooked.

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Eat with freshly squeezed lemon and pair with a nice glass of Grüner Veltliner.  You can serve with cucumber salad and/or cabbage salad.

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Mahlzeit!  (Bon Appetit in Austria!)

 

Vacation

Going on vacation!
Nigara Falls here I come!

Vacation!

Hi Everyone!

I am going away on vacation and I decided to leave the Internet behind. Sometimes you just need a break from your keyboard.  I am looking forward to some fresh air and the majesty that is Niagara Falls.  I’ve never been there before and I can’t wait to experience the Falls first-hand!

While I am away, I will not be posting any new material but you are more than welcome to read any of my previous posts, especially the earlier ones that didn’t reach many people.

Until we meet again, Low Carb Elaine

5 Benefits of Eating Walnuts: It Just Takes a Handful a Day!

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Walnuts! One of nature’s “superfoods”!

I love walnuts!  Besides the delicious taste and crunch they add to many of my favorite foods, walnuts are also very healthy for you!  Eating just one ounce a day (about seven shelled nuts) can improve your health in a number of ways.

Benefit # 1:  Eating walnuts can help with weight loss!  

It is important to include healthy fats when you are trying to lose weight because eating fats help to provide satiety.  Just 1 oz of this little powerhouse provides 2.5 grams of omega 3 fats, 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber!  Wow!  Adding a handful to a salad just makes the salad taste that much better!  I also enjoy them with roasted vegetables.  One of my favorite side dishes is roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted walnuts.

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Add flavor and crunch to your favorite recipes!

Benefit # 2: Eating walnuts can help you fall asleep!

Walnuts contain tryptophan, a sleep-enducing amino acid  and melatonin, a natural hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.  Eating a handful before bed may help you fall asleep faster.  To read more studies about melatonin and walnuts, check out: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15979282.

Benefit # 3:  Eating walnuts is great for your heart!

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your cardiovascular system.  These omega-3 fats may lower your blood pressure and reduce the bad cholesterol in your body while increasing your good cholesterol.  Eating a handful of these nuts every day is an easy way to take care of your heart.

Walnuts have so many positive health benefits!
So many positive health benefits!

Benefit # 4:  Eating walnuts is great for your immune system!

Walnuts contain many antioxidants that boost your immune system and make you more resistant to the onset of disease.  The omega 3 fatty acids found in these nuts reduce inflammation in the body, which can then boost your immune system.  When our bodies are inflamed, we are much more likely to get sick so a handful of nuts will go a long way towards boosting your immune system and keeping you healthy.

Benefit #5:  Eating walnuts is great for your hair and skin!

Walnuts are loaded with antioxidants and B-vitamins that can attack free radicals and reduce wrinkles and the effects of ageing.  They also contain potassium, omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 that are essential for hair nourishment.  Applying walnut oil to your hair can strengthen hair follicles while leaving you with stronger beautiful hair and a healthier scalp.

A “Superfood” is defined as a nutrient-rich food that is considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.  Eating just a handful a day of these wonderful nuts can have a big impact on your health!

Do you enjoy eating walnuts?  How do you include them in recipes?

 

 

 

 

The Vitamin B Family: Spotlight on B1 – Thiamine

Thiamine - Vitamin B1
Thiamine – Vitamin B1

Let’s talk about vitamins and more specifically about thiamine – B1.

Vitamins are good for you.  We all know this but I thought it would be nice to learn exactly why we need vitamins and what the benefits are of specific vitamins.

Let’s begin with the Vitamin B Family.

What is the Vitamin B Family, you may ask?

The Vitamin B Family consists of eight B vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12.  These vitamins help convert our food to fuel and keeps us energized throughout the day.  Each of these vitamins play a special role in cell metabolism – from assisting with healthy skin and hair to preventing migraines and memory loss.

Today, we are going to examine B1 – Thiamine, also known as Thiamin.

What is thiamine and why do I need it?

Thiamine (B1) is a water-soluble vitamin that helps turn starch and sugar into energy and is important for metabolism, focus and strength. Besides carbohydrate metabolism, this vitamin helps with healthy digestion and plays an important role in nerve transmission.  Thiamine also supports the nervous system and muscle functioning.

How much B1 do I need? 

The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults ages 19 and older is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women.

Can my body make thiamine naturally?

Although all living organisms use it, only plants, bacteria and fungi can synthesize it.  This means that animals (and humans) can only get thiamine from the foods they eat.

What kind of foods contain thiamine?

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B1 ( Thiamine ) (1) (1)
Foods that contain thiamine

Whole grains, beans, cereals and pasta are all good sources of this important vitamin. Unfortunately, I no longer eat carbs.  However, beef, pork and fish, as well as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale, peas, cauliflower, spinach, milk and nuts are also high in this vitamin.  One thing to keep in mind is that heating your food will reduce the amount of thiamine in that food.  Since this vitamin dissolves in water, a significant amount of the vitamin is lost when you boil food.

What happens if I don’t get enough thiamine?

If you have a deficiency, you may notice chronic fatigue, weakness, constipation and weight loss.  A deficiency can also cause numbness and tingling in your hands and feet.

Can I have too much thiamine in my body?

Thiamine is considered safe and nontoxic, even in high doses.  You may feel a little drowsy if you have more than 100 mg in your body.

So there you have it – an introduction to the B Family and a better understanding of  B1 – thiamine.  I plan to introduce a new vitamin to you once a week so we can better understand how our bodies function!

Until tomorrow, Low Carb Elaine

Sugar Addiction: How to Kick the Habit for Good!

Kick Your Sugar Addiction card with colorful background
The sign says it all

Sugar is an addiction.  According to webmd.com, most people in the U.S. eat 19 teaspoons or more of added sugar every day! Wow!  That is scary! The American Heart Association recommends that women eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily and that men should get a max of 9 teaspoons.

Eating sugar makes you crave more sugar.  Sugar highs come when you eat simple carbohydrates like a piece of candy. The carbs turn into glucose in your bloodstream, which triggers your pancreas to make insulin to get the glucose out of your bloodstream.  The sudden decrease in glucose causes a sugar low, which may cause shakiness and fatigue and makes you crave more sugar to bring about another “high”.

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After a sugar crash, you seek out another sugar “high”

Beware of other carbohydrates as well.  Like added sugar, starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice also break down into simple sugars in your body.  These foods can also cause surges and crashes in your bloodstream.  I know that if I eat pasta at lunchtime, I just want to lay down for a nap after lunch.  Sugar crashes can really impact your energy level and productivity for the day!

The good news is that it is possible to beat sugar addiction!  Although you may feel cranky and out of sorts for a couple of days, when you cut back on all of your sugar, you will notice that you want it less and less.  Eating sugar makes you crave more sugar.  Not eating sugar makes you significantly less interested in eating sugar.  You will find that your taste buds will no longer have to have something sweet to be satisfied.

When kicking your sugar addiction, it is very important to read food labels.  When I started reading labels, I couldn’t believe how many common grocery products were loaded with sugar!  You may not always see the word “sugar” on the label.  Other names for sugar include:  sucrose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, and fructose (stay away from the        -ose!)

High-fructose corn syrup is especially bad for your health!  Salad dressings, barbecue sauces and cereals all contain high-fructose corn syrup and it is the sweetener that is added to regular sodas!  High-fructose corn syrup is worse for you than table sugar!  It is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes and fatty-liver disease.  If you are reading a label and the product contains high-fructose corn syrup, put it back on the shelf!  And speaking of syrup, stay away from malt syrup, and brown rice syrup as well.

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You would be shocked to find out how much sugar is in your drinks!

Eating protein can helps curb your sugar addiction.  Protein does not make your blood sugar spike.  You digest it more slowly and it will keep you full and satisfied longer.  I always try to keep some hard-boiled eggs and grilled chicken in the house for when I’m feeling hungry.  I recently wrote a post called Hunger vs. Appetite and I have learned to listen to my body to determine if I am truly hungry or if my appetite is rearing it’s ugly head!

Another way to beat your sugar addiction is to be aware of and break some bad habits.  When I was growing up, when I finished all of my dinner, I was rewarded with dessert.  Although my parents didn’t know any better at the time, they were reinforcing two very bad habits:  eat until you have no more food (instead of listening to when my body is satisfied) and using dessert as a nightly reward.

I have worked at breaking the “clean plate” habit and by listening to my body and putting down my fork when I am satisfied.  I have also worked hard to break the “clean plate = sweet dessert” habit.  Although there are many low-sugar and artificially-sweetened desserts out there, my personal choice is to break my dessert habit altogether!  I feel that if I am satisfied enough to put down my fork at dinner and stop eating, then I shouldn’t need a sweet treat to help me feel satisfied.  Any bad habit you try to break will be difficult at first but it does become much easier with practice!

If I can break my sugar addiction, so can you!  It just takes patience and practice saying “no thank you” to sugary foods!

Think Thin Protein Bars – a Low Carb Product Review

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High in protein and 0 grams of sugar!

I am never hungry when I wake up but I know that I should eat something before lunch.  I have been searching for the perfect protein bar – something small, easily portable and satisfying.  Last week, I tried Quest Bars and while I had some mixed reviews about flavor, they did leave me satisfied.

This week, I found “Think Thin” high protein bars in my supermarket.  These bars have 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar.  They are also gluten free and come in a variety of flavors.  I bought three bars to taste and review.

First up, the Lemon Delight Think Thin Bar.  This bar is a fairly decent size and the texture is better than the Quest Bar.  I can taste the lemon, although the flavor is not pronounced and the lemon has an artificial taste to it.  This bar left me feeling satisfied and actually kept my hunger at bay for six hours before my next meal.

Not bad in a pinch but not sure I would buy this one again.
Not bad in a pinch but not sure I would buy this one again.

My second Think Thin Bar is the Chunky Peanut Butter Bar.  Wow!  I finally found a winner!  This bar is large and very tasty!  I really like it because it has texture and a great peanut butter taste. This protein bar is also covered in chocolate and is so very satisfying and filling.  I will definitely buy this one again!

Definitely my favorite protein bar! Must buy this one again.
Definitely my favorite protein bar! Must buy this one again!

My third Think Thin Bar is the White Chocolate Bar.  This bar is tasty and has some texture.  The white chocolate itself tastes a bit artificial but it did fill me up and it wasn’t half bad.  I prefer this bar over the Quest Bars because I prefer the texture.

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Not bad, but not as good as the peanut butter bar!

Think Thin Bars are less expensive than Quest Bars and I prefer the flavor and texture.  They cost about $1.75 when you buy them individually.  I look forward to trying all of their flavors!

Low Carb Snack On-The-Go: Volpi Roltini!

Low carb snack on the go - Volpi Roltini
The perfect snack! Prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella sticks

I was on my way to the beach last weekend when I realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast and my stomach was growling.  I had to stop for gas so I decided to go into the Quick Chek mini-mart and pick up a low-carb snack.  There was a lot of junk food available but very few healthy options.

Then….I saw it!  This wonderful little snack was next to the sandwiches and chips.  My Volpi Roltini is a mozzarella string cheese wrapped in prosciutto ham!  Those are the ONLY two ingredients on the wrapper!  Talk about a low-carb satisfying snack!   It costs $1.99.  I bought two of them and they really satisfied my hunger and held me over until I had an early dinner.

I would definitely recommend this low-carb snack and will be bringing them with me on future road trips!  They are easily portable and very satisfying!  My rating:  A+

When I got home from the beach, I asked myself “How difficult could this be to make these roll-ups at home?”  I bet it would be cheaper than buying them at the mini-mart!  I bought a 4-oz package of Citterio Prosciutto for $6.99 and a 12 oz package of Sargento String Cheese for $4.99.  The Prosciutto package had eight slices so I planned to make eight roll-ups.

So delicate, yet so flavorful!
So delicate, yet so flavorful!
Snack on the go
Satisfying when you are on the go!

Each slice of prosciutto was separated by wax paper,which made them easy to roll with the cheese.

And voilà, my homemade roll-up!  Even better than the commercial variety!  And at $12 for 8 roll-up, each prosciutto mozzarella snack is only $1.50, instead of the $1.99 you would pay at the mini-mart!

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Home-made is always better! Perfect snack on the go!

Until tomorrow, Low Carb Elaine

I’m Cuckoo for Coconut Oil! Read All About It!

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Coconut oil! The new superfood!

My friend Brian introduced me to the wonders of coconut oil a few weeks ago.  When I was growing up, olive oil was the way to go.  The media told us that all of the monounsaturated fats and antioxidants in olive oil would lower our risk of heart disease.  For the last thirty years, olive oil was the only oil used in my kitchen, both to cook with and to make salad dressings.

When Brian asked me to give coconut oil a try, I was hesitant at first. When I was young, coconut oil was considered unhealthy because it contained all kinds of nasty saturated fats.  Little did I know then what a “superfood” coconut oil would turn out to be!

It has no smell
It has no smell

The first thing I noticed when I tried coconut oil for the first time is that it has no smell.  Now I love the smell of coconut (it always reminds me of the beach!) but for those who do not like the smell, let me reiterate that this oil does not smell like coconut.  It also doesn’t taste like coconut.  In fact it doesn’t have any taste at all – perfect to cook with because it does not change the flavor profile of the dish you are preparing.

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Coconut oil is good for your health!  It easy for your body to digest.  Another benefit is that it is not readily stored as fat.  It also helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.  The saturated fats found in this oil actually increase the HDL (healthy) cholesterol in your body and can help lower the risk of heart disease.  It also helps boost your immune system, improves memory and may improve or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Oh to lose my belly fat!
Oh to lose my belly fat!

For anyone trying to lose weight, coconut oil boosts your energy levels and reduces hunger.  It helps to burn fat, especially belly fat (and who couldn’t use a little help burning belly fat!)  It is also known to reduce carb cravings, preserve muscle mass and promote ketosis.

Try it on your skin!
Try it on your skin!

The amount of Vitamin E in coconut oil makes it a wonderful moisturizer. After a day at the beach, I love to rub some coconut oil on my dry skin to prevent wrinkles, dryness and flaking.  The oil acts like a skin conditioner and protects my skin from free radical damage.  Coconut oil can also treat many skin disorders, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, because it reduces inflammation and moisturizes the skin.

Rub it into your roots!
Rub it into your roots!

Do you know that you can also use coconut oil on your hair?  If you have dry hair,  coconut oil can improve the texture of your hair and leave you with clean shiny hair.  It penetrates your roots while deep conditioning and strengthening your hair.

As a beauty product, coconut oil can be used to soften cuticles or to remove eye makeup.  It can also be used as a lip moisturizer if you have chapped lips.  When you mix it with sugar or salt, you can create an all natural body scrub.

Love me some coconut oil!
Love me some coconut oil!

I have two jars of LouAna coconut oil in my house – one in my kitchen and one next to my recliner.  I cook with one and moisturize with the other. After using this oil daily for the last six weeks, I am a believer!


I would love to hear from you?  What are your experiences using coconut oil?

Until tomorrow,  Low Carb Elaine

 

 

Spinach! Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know

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Beautiful fresh baby spinach leaves!

When I was growing up in the 1970’s, my family rarely ate spinach. Occasionally, my mother would buy a frozen box of chopped spinach and serve it for dinner.  When cooked, it looks dark green, chewed up and already partially digested.  Definitely not appetizing.  I came to believe that I just didn’t like spinach.

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I mean does this look appetizing to you?

When I was a little older, spinach salads became all the rage.  They contained fresh spinach, hard boiled eggs, bacon, mushrooms, red onion and a honey mustard dressing.  Unfortunately, these were the days before baby spinach leaves were popular so my salad had large dark green chewy leaves and thick stems.  The media told us how good it was for us, but I just didn’t like having to use a knife to cut off the stems.

not for me
Does anyone else remember the spinach salads of days gone by?

As an adult, something wonderful happened – bags of baby leaf spinach became available in my local supermarket!  These sweet little leaves with thin edible stems were so tender and delicious to eat and for the first time in my life, I could actually appreciate the taste of spinach.

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At first, I didn’t know what to do with my bag of baby spinach.  I had only ever seen my mother cook spinach from a frozen brick.  Then I learned to add garlic and olive oil to a pan and slowly wilt the baby leaves!  Oh my, but I have come to love sauteed spinach!

In recent years I have enjoyed adding baby spinach leaves to smoothies, lasagna, soups, quiche, omelets, dips, pies, and of course, salads!

So besides the fact that it tastes good, what are the other benefits of including this bright green leaf in your diet?

12 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating Spinach:

  1. It is high in folate and B vitamins that help improve mental focus and maintain a healthy brain and nervous system.
  2. It helps to boost your immune system
  3. It is loaded with antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of cancer
  4. It is low in calories but high in vitamins A, C, E & K
  5. It is also high in magnesium, zinc, niacin, thiamin and fiber.
  6. is a great source of calcium, iron and beta-carotene.
  7. It boosts metabolism and aids in digestion
  8. It alkalizes the body and helps prevent constipation
  9. It may lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  10. It helps keep your teeth and bones strong and reduces your risk of osteoporosis
  11. It is beneficial for good eyesight and reduces the risk of cataracts
  12. It promotes healthy, glowing skin and protects skin from UV rays.  Fights psoriasis, acne and wrinkles!

So I guess Popeye had it right all along…

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I’m strong to the fin-ich, cause I eats me spin-ach

How do you like to your spinach?!  I’d love to hear from you!

Until tomorrow,

Low Carb Elaine

5 Low Carb Swaps: Have Your “Cake” And Eat It Too!

When I first switched over to a low carb lifestyle, I was concerned that I would never be able to eat potatoes, pasta, rice or bread again.  As I became more familiar with my low carb options, I realized that I could indeed enjoy my high carb dishes as long as I was willing to think a little outside the box and experiment with some swaps.

Swaps
Low Carb Swaps
Swaps
For High Carb Foods

Low Carb Swap #1:  Cauliflower for Rice.

Cauliflower Sushi!
Low Carb Swap – Cauliflower California Roll! Hurray for low carb sushi!

When my local supermarket starting selling “cauliflower sushi”, I was intrigued.  I thought to myself, “There is no way this could taste any good!”.  To my surprise, the cauliflower did not taste at all like cauliflower. The cauliflower “rice” is seasoned the same as sushi rice and it looks like sushi rice.  Maybe it’s a mind trick but the cauliflower “rice” tastes just like sushi rice!  I’ll bet 9 out of 10 people wouldn’t know the difference!

I wrote a blog post all about cauliflower sushi.  Check it out:  http://lowcarbelaine.com/low-carb-product-review-cauliflower-california-roll-yummy/

Low-Carb Swap - Shrimp Fried "Rice" with Cauliflower
Low Carb Swap – Shrimp Fried “Rice” with Cauliflower

I also replaced rice with cauliflower when I made Shrimp Fried “Rice”.  Once again, the cauliflower did not taste like cauliflower in this recipe.  It is a very good low carb substitute for when you are craving fried rice.  Read my recipe review here:  http://lowcarbelaine.com/recipe-review-shrimp-fried-rice-with-cauliflower/

Low Carb Swap # 2:  Zucchini, eggplant, or portabella mushroom slices for lasagna noodles.

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Zucchini Lasagna! Gotta love it!

Who doesn’t love a good lasagna?  Make it on the weekend and enjoy it all week.  When I started eating low carb, I thought I would have to give up lasagna.  Boy, was I wrong.  There is nothing as yummy as a full veggie lasagna.  I slice zucchini into long thin strips and use them in place of lasagna noodles.

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What a swap!  And so easy to make!

I also love to add thin slices of eggplant and portabella mushrooms between my layers of sauce and cheese.  To make it even healthier, I like to add fresh spinach.  My veggie lasagna tastes better than traditional lasagna and it is much better for you!

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Doesn’t it make your mouth water?!

Low Carb Swap # 3:  Lettuce for Bread

When I adopted my new low carb lifestyle, I thought I would never be able to eat a sandwich again.  Once again, I was wrong.  PF Changs first inspired me to think outside the box with their Lettuce Cups.

So tasty! The crispy lettuce actually makes the chicken taste better!
So tasty! The crispy lettuce actually makes the chicken taste better!

I soon realized that I could use iceberg or bibb lettuce to swap for bread in a variety of meals.  Anything I can wrap in a tortilla, I can wrap in a lettuce leaf!

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Wrap it up!

More lettuce swaps include using lettuce as a bun when you are enjoying a burger!  So instead of having lettuce with your burger, the lettuce becomes your bun.  It’s a bit messy but adds a great crunch!  On the rare occasion that I stop at Burger King, I’ve even asked them to replace my burger bun with lettuce.  Now that’s what I call having it my way!

Lettuce swaps
Have it your way!

Low Carb Swap #4:  Zoodles for Spaghetti

When I first heard about Zoodles, I was hesitant to give it a try.  Although it doesn’t taste anything like spaghetti, zoodles do give you something to put your delicious pasta sauce on.  Whether you have an alfredo, marinara, pesto or clam sauce, zoodles give you the opportunity to still enjoy your favorite pasta dishes without all the carbs.

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Guilt-free “pasta” and sauce

You can also spice it up and serve it in place of lo mein in your favorite Asian dishes.

Low Carb Swap #5:  Prepared sliced veggies for potato chips

I love potato chips and I love dip.  I like the crunch I get from the chips and the smooth creaminess from the dip.  Low carb dips are very easy to make but I had to think outside the box to replace my beloved chips.  I wanted to eat something crunchy and that would hold up to the weight of the dip.  Then I said to myself, “I bet some sliced cucumber rounds, red pepper slices and sliced fennel would go great with my low carb French Onion Dip”.  And I was right.  If your dip is tasty enough, then the “chip” just becomes a means of getting the dip to your mouth (instead of eating dip with a spoon!)

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Love me some dip with cucumbers!

So next time you are in a “munchy crunchy” mood, make your favorite low-carb dip and enjoy it with prepared sliced veggies.  You have now taken what could be considered a “bad habit” and turned it into a “good habit”.

So what is your favorite low carb swap?  I would love to hear from you!

Until tomorrow,

Low Carb Elaine