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16 Low-Carb Food Swaps You’ll Wish You’d Known About Sooner

Prepare to have your mind blown. These low-carb food swaps cut the carbs, not the flavor!

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Quinoa for RiceTaste of Home

Quinoa for Rice

You won’t even notice this healthy, low-carb swap of quinoa for rice. Quinoa is a slightly nutty seed that has the same consistency as rice. Try it on its own for an easy side dish, or swap your usual carb-laden fried rice recipe for this lighter Asian quinoa.

Get our favorite quinoa salad recipes here.

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Carrot Fries for French FriesShutterstock (2)

Carrot Fries for French Fries

Can’t enjoy your juicy burger without a side of salty fries? Cut the carbs and up the flavor with roasted carrot fries. They’re easy to prepare and taste slightly sweet. Other fry alternatives could include sweet potatoes, turnips or jicama.

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Cheese Crisps for CrackersShutterstock (2)

Cheese Crisps for Crackers

If you have a weakness for cheese and crackers, we have a tasty swap for you. Give your tastebuds a treat with cheese crisps. These flakes of baked cheese have the same crunch and way more savory flavor. Oh, and the secret to making them is easier than you think.

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Portobello Mushrooms for Burger Bunszarzamora/Shutterstock, Taste of Home

Portobello Mushrooms for Burger Buns

When a plain burger wrapped in lettuce just won’t cut it, get creative with portobello mushroom burger buns. Their meaty texture complements a burger perfectly, and they’re simple to make.

Hosting a cookout for low-carb lovers? Find everyone’s favorite burger bun substitute here!

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Spaghetti Squash for PastaTaste of Home

Spaghetti Squash for Pasta

If you have yet to try a bowl of spaghetti squash with hearty sausage and tomatoes, you’ve been missing out. Even the most serious carb lovers can’t resist this easy low carb swap. Simply roast your spaghetti squash, then rake out the strings with a fork for a pasta dinner in minutes.

These are our favorite spaghetti squash recipes.

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Sliced Almonds for CroutonsShutterstock (2)

Sliced Almonds for Croutons

Soggy salads got you down? Add the crunch you’ve been missing with sliced almonds. Sprinkling any nut over your salad adds depth and flavor while avoiding the empty calories from croutons. This almond strawberry salad makes a colorful lunch in no time.

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Eggplant for Lasagna NoodlesShutterstock (2)

Eggplant for Lasagna Noodles

When you’re on a low-carb eating plan, it’s easy to get sick of grilled chicken breast with broccoli every night. Spice up your routine with cheesy, gooey lasagna. Using slices of eggplant instead of noodles gives you all the texture without the carbs.

Here are a bunch more ways to cook with eggplant.

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Baked Pepperoni for ChipsShutterstock (2)

Baked Pepperoni for Chips

Sometimes you just crave that unmistakable, greasy crunch of real potato chips. Cut the carbs with baked pepperoni slices. They are crisp and crunchy while offering tons of pizza flavor. They’re popular with the keto crowd, but make a delicious snack for anyone craving chips.

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Cauliflower for Mashed PotatoesTaste of Home

Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes

Whether it’s a traditional holiday meal or a chilly night in, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, but cauliflower is a strong contender. Mashed, steamed cauliflower with a bit of salt and butter will fool even the most passionate mashed potato lovers!

Here are more clever ways to cook with cauliflower.

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Stevia for SugarShutterstock (2)

Stevia for Sugar

When cutting carbs, most of us envision limiting bread and potatoes, but sugar is a sneaky carb that finds its way into most of our foods. Keep the sweetness while ditching the carbs when you make the switch to the plant-based sweetener stevia.

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Lettuce Wraps for Sandwich BreadTaste of Home

Lettuce Wraps for Sandwich Bread

If you’ve been missing your usual turkey sandwich at lunch every day, try swapping a healthier lettuce wrap for the bread. This lighter option provides a satisfying crunch and won’t lead to that afternoon slump. (You can also try some of these low carb breads.)

Find all of our favorite lettuce wrap recipes here!

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Almond Flour for White FlourShutterstock (2)

Almond Flour for White Flour

When it comes to your favorite dessert, it can be tough to find a low-carb alternative. Black bean brownies sound good in theory, but never quite measure up to the real thing. Almond flour to the rescue! Its fine texture and nutty flavor are perfect for just about any dessert.

These are our all-time favorite almond recipes.

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Pork Rinds for Bread CrumbsShutterstock (2)

Pork Rinds for Bread Crumbs

Here’s a low-carb swap you’ve probably never tried; pork rinds for bread crumbs! They have the perfect texture and can add way more flavor than plain breadcrumbs. Try them in your favorite meatloaf recipe or mix them into these spinach turkey meatballs for some extra zing.

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Zucchini for Pizza CrustShutterstock (2)

Zucchini for Pizza Crust

Just like cauliflower, zucchini is a no-frills vegetable that can really pop when used in place of carbs. Try swapping out your usual calorie-packed crust in any of our all-time best pizza recipes for a surprisingly delicious low-carb meal. Here’s the zucchini crust recipe.

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Banana Egg Pancakes for PancakesJuly Prokopiv/Shutterstock, Taste of Home

Banana Egg Pancakes for Pancakes

Just because you’re cutting carbs does not mean you need to miss out on Saturday morning pancakes with the family. Whisk together a mashed banana with two eggs and a dash of cinnamon for the easiest low-carb breakfast recipe ever. (If getting a few carbs from oats is OK, try these hearty banana ‘cakes.)

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Kale Leaves for TortillasShutterstock (2)

Kale Leaves for Tortillas

Whether you’re whipping up hearty, cheesy burritos or light Thai chicken tacos, wrapping your delicious ingredients in kale leaves instead of a tortilla is an easy way to cut carbs without sacrificing the dish. Kale leaves are sturdy, so they won’t let any tasty filling slip out.

Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.