15 Lower-Carb Whole Food Swaps

by Sabrina Tillman
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15 Lower-Carb Whole Food Swaps

If you’re looking for ways to cut down on carbs without switching to pricey (and processed) low-carb alternatives, try some of these nutrient-rich whole food suggestions.

lower carb swaps


Check out these additional suggestions for lowering your carb intake:

Infographic designed by Tierra Wilson.


  • Great infographic! I use many of these alternatives and recommend them to my weight loss / healthy living clients.

  • Brandi Marie Keith

    All the options are definitely healthier as far as being whole foods and not refined, but I would have liked to see the calories and fiber too, just to get a whole picture.

    • gordondev

      For the most part, the calories are lower. The big exception are the ones that use nuts as a substitute. In those cases, the calories are largely on par with the item they’re replacing.

      It would be nice to see the fiber content, too, though the vegetables tend to have about half their carbs come from fiber, thereabouts.

  • ThinkAboutIt

    If you eat cleanly you will not want or miss most of the items on this list anyway.

    • Ray Carrender

      Well “want” is a stretch, I think “want far less often” would be a better way. I still crave those tasty McDonalds fries and on rare occasions I’ll have them (if the craving is bothering me) but I typically pass on them now because “hey, it sounds good, but meh”.

      • ThinkAboutIt

        You have a point, there is still a ‘want’, it is just uncontrollable like they were before. I do sill have a McDonald’s fry from time to time. When I do though it via robbing my wife or kids for a few fries. I would never eat an entire fry, even small, these days. A little taste here and there seems to work just fine. When I want something sweet bad enough I have some of the greek yogurts like strawberry cheesecake or blackberry pie. These are different than my normal yogurt intake. They are also fairly low in sugar so they do not kick me off track. They are enough to satiate me though.

        • jtwizz

          yoplait’s 100 calorie apple pie yogurt is to DIE for.

          • ThinkAboutIt

            I’ll have to check out how many sugars are in it before I will eat it. I will certainly look for it though, they are my once in a while treat now. If it is not under 10g of sugar then I would not touch it.

  • Laude

    I would like to try ground almonds instead of bread crumbs, problem is what does one use to grind them? I don”t have a kitchen aid blender, too expensive ! Any other suggestions ??

    • Nisey

      Ziploc or freezer baggie and a rolling pin (or any heavy round object)…works great with crackers too…

    • sarah

      You can buy already ground

      • Where do you get yours? Thanks!

        • Sean Ebels Duggan

          Trader joe’s sells them as almond meal. Keep it in the fridge, add to smoothies, muffins.

    • betsybug818

      a cheap coffee grinder. If you’re a coffee purist/snob, you can use a separate one for grinding down nuts and spices. Otherwise, you can use the same one (just with a thorough cleaning after each use).

    • Sarah

      You could put them in a zip-loc bag and beat it with a hammer. I know it sounds silly, but that’s how my mom used to do it when I was a kid.

    • Stace

      coffee grinder works too

  • I’m not on a low-carb diet (tried it, and it went horribly), but I came here because I knew some of these substitutions would be really creative things I’d like to try. And I was right — portabello mushrooms in place of hamburger buns sounds amazing!

  • rebsues

    I can see some of these substitutions working, but many of them aren’t even close in texture or flavor to what they’re replacing — and squash and cauliflower and almonds and zucchini are actually flavors that I detest. (Don’t even get me started on the fungus that is mushrooms!) I am constantly looking for snack substitutions, but I can never seem to find suggestions of things I would actually eat.

  • Kate Connolly

    I know I am late to read this post, being Health & Nutrition Consultant at The Connolly Method this is awesome post for those looking to have such meal plans in their life.