The average American diet consists of carbs on carbs on carbs, which makes the transition into the Keto diet that much harder for those who have followed that lifestyle their whole lives. Once people hear they can’t have sugar, rice, pasta, and mashed potatoes, they immediately rule out any possibility that they can succeed on this diet. But what they don’t know is that there are an infinite amount of substitutes for these foods that are not only delicious, but will keep you in a state of ketosis for the long haul. Not to mention most of these alternatives will actually help you reach your daily protein intake and get the essential nutrients your body deserves. So before you write off the Keto lifestyle, take a look at these 10 foods that will help dampen your carb cravings.
1. Cauliflower Rice
One of the hardest foods to bid farewell to on Keto are all forms of rice; brown, white, bagged, everything. But fret not, cauliflower rice is an excellent alternative for all of your rice oriented recipes. There are only a mere 3 net carbs in a cup of cauliflower rice, which makes it the perfect food to consume on this diet. This low carb alternative is ideal for “mac” and cheese, mashed “potatoes”, and paired with chicken marsala.
2. Almond Flour
Because normal white or wheat flour contain copious amounts of carbs that are not suitable for Keto, you may be wondering what another alternative may possibly be. Let me introduce you Almond flour. This flour consists of almond meal and only contains 10 grams of net carbs per cup while one cup of wheat flour contains 73 grams! This flour acts as an equal substitute to any recipe containing white or whole wheat flour, and the best part is that you can hardly tell the difference! Red Mills Almond Flour is my preferred brand to buy.
This is another item I discussed in my 8 Essential Items to Stock Up On When Starting the Keto Diet blog post, and that I feel is one of the most important items to buy if you have a sweet tooth. In short, Erythritol is the best substitute for sugar, and the brand that I prefer to buy is Swerve. This item is phenomenal because it is sold in almost all grocery store, and comes in both granular and confectioner form! And unlike Stevia, it measures out equally to cane sugar, which makes it that much easier to substitute it in your favorite recipes (or maybe to sprinkle in your coffee).
4. Sugar-Free Maple Syrup
When I first started this diet, I had somehow convinced myself that I couldn’t use maple syrup and could only make it myself from butter, Swerve, and baking soda (it’s not the best taste). But with a little more research, I realized that sugar-free maple syrup is a great alternative to the “real stuff”. Of course, it is still important to read the labels of sugar-free maple syrup because many of them still manage to sneak significant carbs. But I thought I would share my go-to syrups that are not only keto, but taste absolutely delicious. Cary’s Sugar-Free Maple Syrup is by far the best option I’ve found because of its taste and quality. Another option is Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup, which is sweetened with Monk Fruit sweetener. This is the healthiest Keto maple syrup option, as it only has 1 net carb per serving. Just try to ignore the slight aftertaste.
5. Pork Rinds
Now, who doesn’t like some perfectly fried chicken wings on a saturday night? Well have no fear, this is a food you can still have on the Keto diet with the help of pork rinds. While you can’t use the traditional flour or breadcrumb coating that you may be used to, pork rinds are the best alternative to really keep the crunch in our Keto chicken tenders. This is the ideal low carb, high fat option that will keep your food extra crispy, whether you are frying or baking it.
6. Chocolate Chip Morsels
Chocolate is essential for those of us who have an unrelenting sweet tooth, but unfortunately is something that needs to be less present while on this diet. But the good news is many companies have caught on to the Keto trend and have started making stevia-sweetened chocolate chip morsels! The most reliable chocolate I use religiously is Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips, because they truly taste like the real thing. Add them to your favorite Keto cookie dough, muffins, and pancakes.
7. Fathead Pizza Crust
I think the general consensus within the Keto Community is that giving up pizza was (and still is) one of the hardest things we’ve had to do, ever. So of course, we had to come up with an alternative to dampen our pizza cravings. The solution is fathead pizza. There are four simple elements to this crust: eggs, cream cheese, almond flour, and mozzarella. That’s it folks. Not to mention you get a good amount of your daily fat and protein intake to help keep your body in ketosis. Just add some of your favorite keto toppings and voila!
8. Zucchini Noodles
Another item I swear by are zucchini noodles, which are the absolute best alternative for pasta. There are hundreds of delicious recipes out there that are dedicated to the use of zucchini noodles. You can check out my blog post on my favorite Creamy Salami Zucchini Pasta which I still eat on a weekly basis. They can also be paired with Keto tomato sauce, pesto sauce, or just the classic parmesan and garlic powder.
9. Tomato Sauce
Now you maybe wondering how tomato sauce isn’t Keto, because its just veggies, right? Well, wrong. Certain brands add extra sugar to their sauces for sweetness and many tomatoes naturally have lots of sugar. This again is one of the reasons why it is so important to check the label of our food we consume. But thanks to Rao’s Marinara Sauce, we can still enjoy a good saucy fathead pizza or some zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce without the fear of consuming too many carbs.
Chips have always been a guilty pleasure that most of us enjoy on an occasion, but this is a habit that you will have to kick in order to succeed with the Keto diet. Luckily, there are many delicious alternatives that will quench your cravings for the usual tortilla chips. Luckily, kale chips are a great substitute to dip in your favorite salsa or guacamole. I prefer to make my own with the kale from my garden, seasoned cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan. I can promise you that this is a delicious alternative which will give you the satisfaction of eating chips without the guilt.
So before you kick the Keto diet to the curb for fear of having to give up your favorite carbs, look into the alternatives for those foods that may comply with Keto guidelines. There are plenty of substitutions that are sure to help eliminate any carb craving you may me having while in the transition phase. Let me know if you try any of these alternatives or if you have some substitutes of your own in the comments below!