Mother Nature has provided us with natural alternatives to starches packed with nutrients and natural carbohydrates that don’t raise insulin levels and keep blood sugars on a more even keel. These sustitutions are great for individuals who have diabetes or just want to keep their carbs under control.
What are a few you can incorporate into your diet?
1. Spaghetti Squash – this yellow squash is easy to prepare and substitutes nicely for pasta. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds and dot with some organic butter, and your favorite spice. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and use a fork to scoop out the “spaghetti.” Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese and enjoy with your favorite protein or some meatballs and tomato sauce.
2. Eggplant – this squash is underused and tastes great as a substitute for noodles in lasagna or in any vegetable dish. Slice the eggplant in medallions and put in the oven at 300 degrees for ½ hour to remove the water and use as the layers for lasagna. See High Protein Lasagna for more ideas. Eggplant can also be diced and sautéed with Indian spices for a meaty like side dish.
3. Portobello Mushrooms – these mushrooms have multiple uses. A few years back a study tested the satiety level of participants after eating Portobello mushrooms versus a piece of meat and the results were surprisingly similar. They both provided a high satiety level. Portobello mushrooms can but used as a pizza crust (scoop out insides and bake slightly before adding pizza toppings) or a holder for any protein dish or hearty vegetable side.
4. Butternut or Acorn Squash – these two squashes make great substitutions for potatoes and are packed with phytochemicals and nutrients. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake in the oven with dots of organic butter, cinnamon or nutmeg. Enjoy cut in chunks or mashed.
All these vegetables are hearty, satisfying and filled with nutrients your body needs. Stepping outside the box may be a bit daring but eventually becomes routine and ultimately increases your health.