In recent years, cauliflower has stolen the spotlight. This seemingly plain veggie is becoming a healthy favorite! And if you’re a diabetic on a low-starch diet, cauliflower is the perfect match. Cauliflower offers nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, and more and contains just 20 calories in half a cup!1 Clearly, this tree-like vegetable has many benefits. Here’s why and how you can eat cauliflower as a part of a low-starch diet.
The Basics Of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrate is one of three major macronutrients in your body. The body breaks it down into glucose, your main source of energy.2 Each gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, and this should make up 45–65 percent of your daily caloric intake.
Sugar, starches, and fiber are all types of carbohydrates. But, not all carbohydrates are equal. Healthy sources of carbs include whole grains, fruits, and veggies, which are broken down slowly. Hence, these don’t make your blood glucose skyrocket.
Some foods cause a spike in blood glucose because they’re digested quickly. Examples include sugary foods like snacks and pastries. Some veggies, like potatoes and peas, are starchier and have more carbohydrates per serving. So, if you’re diabetic, you have to be extra careful about the carbohydrates you eat. The goal is to avoid complications by keeping your blood glucose within a normal range.3
Carbohydrates From Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a non-starchy vegetable.4 One cup has 3.90 grams of carbohydrate, but 2 of those grams are fiber. This is good news for blood glucose, whether or not you have diabetes.5
Cauliflower And Diabetes
Because cauliflower is non-starchy, it’s a smart choice for diabetics. The carbohydrates do count toward your daily limit, but it won’t be very much. And the fiber’s glucose-lowering effect also changes everything.6
How To Eat Cauliflower In A Low-Starch Diet
1. Cauliflower Replace Starchy Vegetables
Cauliflower makes an excellent alternative to starchy vegetables. Use it in place of potatoes, squash, green peas, and corn. This will keep your carbohydrate intake and blood glucose levels in check.
2. Be Creative With Cauliflower
Cauliflowers can replace refined grains like white rice, bread, and tortilla chips. It’s all about imagination! With a food processor, raw cauliflower turns into “rice.” Sauté it with spices for extra flavor. Baked florets can be eaten as nachos, while roasted cauliflower “steaks” can act as bread.
You even make a cauliflower pizza crust. Simply steam half a cup of shredded cauliflower. Combine with one egg, spices, and herbs. On a baking sheet, mold it into a pizza crust and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, or until lightly brown.
3. Avoid Saturated Fats With Cauliflower
To keep cauliflowers healthy, ditch ingredients high in saturated fat. These include butter, creamy sauces, thick dressings, full-fat cheese, sour cream, and lard.7 The saturated fat in these foods will negate the health benefits of cauliflowers. If you’re craving something creamy, opt for plain yogurt with herbs. Avocado and olive oil can be blended into a smooth dressing, while vinaigrettes and vinegar are tasty alternatives.
4. Skip Added Starch With Cauliflower
Breaded cauliflower sounds amazing, but it’ll boost your starch intake. Consider using oats for crunch and fiber. If you absolutely need breadcrumbs, make them yourself with whole grain bread.
5. Choose Smart Cooking Methods For Cauliflower
Frying destroys vitamins and minerals while potentially creating toxic compounds. It also involves unnecessary fats that you can avoid.8 So, roast, bake, steam, or grill cauliflower instead.
Once you know how to cook cauliflowers and figure out tips and tricks, it’ll be your new best friend. Cauliflowers are a great way to make a low-starch diet even healthier.
|↑1, ↑5||Basic Report: 11965, Cauliflower, green, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Carbohydrates. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑3||Carbohydrate Counting & Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑4||Non-starchy vegetables. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑6||Carbohydrate Counting. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑7||Fats. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑8||Bordin, Keliani, Mariana Tomihe Kunitake, Keila Kazue Aracava, and Carmen Silvia Favaro Trindade. “Changes in food caused by deep fat frying-A review.” Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion 63, no. 1 (2013): 5.|