Carbs get a lot of attention, but often, it’s not the good kind. You can thank refined carbohydrates for that! Foods like white bread and pastries are low in nutrients, high in energy, and are easily absorbed by the body, causing drastic spikes in blood glucose. It’s a recipe for type-2 diabetes and weight gain.
You can always trade in the refined carbs for whole grains like quinoa, rye bread, and brown rice.1 Besides, carbohydrate is an essential macronutrient, and you need to get enough each day. About 65 percent of your caloric intake should come from carbs.
But why limit yourself? Whole grains aren’t the only replacement for refined carbs. Vegetables are moderate sources of the “good” kind, along with a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. All it takes is some creativity and the willingness to experiment.
To get started, check out these 9 delicious ideas. You’ll never look at the produce aisle the same way again.
1. Kale Wraps
Sandwich wraps are excellent for lunches away from home. But instead of processed tortillas, why not use kale? A large leaf is enough to hold multiple ingredients like hummus, turkey, and tomatoes.
For smaller versions, lettuce works just as well.
2. Mushroom Buns
If you’re all about turkey burgers or veggie patties, try Portobello mushroom “buns.” The size and shape of a mushroom cap is perfect for the job. All you need to do is brush 2 caps with olive oil, place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip halfway through. Once cooled, remove the stems and use as normal burger buns.
3. Cauliflower Rice
Swap the white rice for cauliflower, a surprisingly versatile vegetable. Simply cut into florets and run through a food processor. Sauté until slightly brown, adding spices of your choice. Enjoy it in a burrito bowl or side dish.
4. Sweet Potato Pie Crust
Quiche makes for a delicious meal, but traditional pie crust isn’t the healthiest. Add more nutrients with sweet potato! To start, peel and cut 2 medium sweet potatoes into thin slices. Layer on a greased pie dish, brush with oil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After adding your favorite fillings, bake according to the recipe.
5. Beet Noodles
There’s a reason why spiralizing has become so popular. With a handy tool, you can turn veggies like beets and zucchini into thin noodle-like strips. Toss with your favorite sauce and eat it just like pasta.
6. Zucchini Pizza
If you’re craving pizza, slice up a zucchini and brush with olive oil. Add pizza toppings or even just tomatoes, low-fat cheese, and spices. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for an easy, veggie-infused snack.
7. Cauliflower Crust
Cauliflower can also be used as a pizza crust. Shred ½ head in a food processor, warm in a steamer for 15 minutes, then mix with 1 egg and spices. Spread onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
For cauliflower tortillas, form the mixture into smaller circles.
8. Pepper Bowl
Bread bowls are delicious, but really, who needs that much in one sitting? Use red, green, or yellow peppers instead. As an edible vessel, the pepper can hold chili, soup, or cauliflower rice. Bake it in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Vegetable Chips
Kale chips are all the rage, but what about chips made of beets, carrots, or turnips? Just peel, cut into thin slices, and sprinkle with oil and spices. Most vegetables are done after 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.