Creamy pasta dishes are my ultimate comfort food. Whether I’m happy or sad, cold or hot – life is just better with some fettuccine alfredo. Unfortunately, as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are being linked to excess carbs, my days of the never ending pasta bowls are shuttering to a halt.
However, I found that with a bit of extra work, certain vegetables could mimic the pasta I was craving. I realized that by keeping the sauces the same, I could get the satisfying cheesiness from the pasta dishes without even missing the actual pasta. If you’ve ever thought of reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat, you’ll want to keep reading.
Why Go Low-Carb?
The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. It makes sense, then, to do everything we can to minimize the risk for ourselves. Ways we can do that include:
- Stopping to smoke – Nicotine has been proven to narrow blood vessels which can contribute to cardiovascular disease.
- Eating healthy foods – Whereas it used to be accepted wisdom to cut back on saturated fats, now research is showing that reducing carbohydrates is actually more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease.
- Exercising regularly – The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for adults. You can divide up the time differently or workout vigorously for less amount of time; 30 minutes per day is the general guide to strive for.
- Controlling diabetes – For individuals with diabetes, there is a much greater risk of heart disease. Getting diabetes under control is essential for minimizing damage to your blood vessels. In addition, people with a family history of diabetes should check if they are prediabetic in order to institute lifestyle changes earlier rather than later.
- Monitor blood pressure – High blood pressure carries a major risk for cardiovascular disease.
Breaking The Carb Addiction
It’s very easy to overeat carbohydrates. The serving size which is listed for cereals and pastas, for example, are much smaller than the typical American-sized portion.
Many times our sugar and carb addiction has us stuck in a cycle. Breaking the addiction is so difficult in the beginning, but after about 5-7 days, you’ll start to notice small small differences. Such as your palate changing, clothing fitting better and an extra boost of energy.
The challenging part is getting over the initial period of sugar dependence. If you’re serious about trying, use the following tips:
● Plan Your Food
By planning and preparing your food in advance, you won’t turn to sugar and carbs out of hunger and desperation.
● Stock Your House With Healthy Snacks
When you go shopping, make sure you to buy healthy snacks. Crunch on nuts, dip vegetables into hummus, eat a banana with peanut butter, etc.
● Try Garcinia Cambogia
Use Garcinia Cambogia as a resource to help suppress your appetite. There is a ton of research on how plant products can be used to aid weight loss by controlling appetites. To find out more about Garcinia Cambogia as well as clinical research studies, take a look at Review Critic. Here you will find reports on the efficacy of different supplements as well as the most trustworthy products and manufacturers.
Delicious Pasta Dishes Without The Pasta
After tweaking my favorite pasta dishes, I’m sharing my tips and secrets to make it easier for others to maintain a low-carb lifestyle. Use these recipes as guidelines. Individualize them to your taste in order to make them as delicious as possible.
1. Zoodles Alfredo
If you don’t have a spiralizer, it’s worth it to buy one. They’re not expensive, fun to use and turn regular zucchini (or any vegetable) into fun zucchini spaghetti.
4 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup milk or cream (depending how rich you would like the sauce)
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
⅛ tsp pepper
First spiralize the zucchinis, then add them to a pot of boiling, salted water, just like you would with pasta. Cook only for 3-5 minutes, and drain right away, as you don’t want the zucchini to get mushy.
To make sauce, first melt the butter and then add the cream cheese. Stir constantly until it all melts together. Slowly add in the milk or cream then mix in the spices. Lastly, stir in the parmesan cheese.
Coat the zucchini with the alfredo sauce and eat immediately.
2. Veggie Lasagna
4-5 portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 package baby spinach leaves
1 jar marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
Lay yellow squash and portobello mushrooms in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking oil spray and place on a grill or broil setting just until the edges of the vegetables turn brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Mix cottage cheese with 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, 2 eggs and seasonings (to taste).
Place some marinara sauce at the bottom of a lasagna pan. Then line the squash slices over the entire bottom of the pan. Cover with a layer of sauce, then cover that with half of the cottage cheese mixture.
Next place the portobello mushrooms and cover with sauce and rest of the cottage cheese mixture.
Lastly make a layer using the baby spinach leaves. Top that with remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until it looks bubbly and delicious.
Thinking of eating a low-carb diet but wondering if you can really sustain it? Use these recipes as a guide in order to create interesting, vegetable-filled dishes. Not only will your body benefit from all the added nutrients in your diet, but you will feel and look great too
Regina White is a practicing nutritionist who got her degree from Saint Louis University. She enjoys finding creative ways to help her clients eat right and feel great from the inside out.