carb cycling

By now, you have read part one of this series about the wonders of high carb cycling and how it can help you shed weight without affecting your health. For most going from a regular diet to carb cycling, reducing their carb intake on the lower days are where the struggle occurs most. On these days, people often complain of experiencing hunger and feel like they cannot eat their favourite foods. Have no fear, here are some ways to substitute the carbs with high volume foods to keep you full and enjoy the foods you love.

carb cycling

Carb Cycling Swaps On Low Carb Days

Below is a list of carb heavy foods and their substitutions for low carb options.


Shirataki Noodle Substitute OR Miracle Noodles
Noodles made from the root of the Konnyaku – member of the yam family. Either on its own or blended with tofu.

This low-carb pasta swap is a bit “bouncier” and slightly more slippery than conventional noodles… But if you eat lots of pasta or want to eat lots of pasta, give these noodles a try. Find them in the refrigerated section where the tofu is stocked.

How to use them? Empty your noodles into a strainer, and rinse them with water to get rid of the liquid they were packed in. Dry them as thoroughly as possible by blotting with paper towels. Cut them up a bit; they can be VERY long. Heat your noodles for a minute or two in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.

One of my personal favourite carb cycling swaps as it can be served hot or cold.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini into super-thin strips, rotating the zucchini as you slice it. Cook in a covered skillet with 1/3 cup water until tender but al dente. You can also add hot sauce over them in a bowl and cover to soften.

Spiralizers work wonders to make zoodles as well.

Broccoli Slaw
Found in the produce section all bagged up, washed and ready to go! Loaded with tons of fibre and a daily dose or vitamins and minerals

The trick here is to cook the slaw until it’s super-duper soft. Cook it in a covered skillet with 1/2 cup water or in a covered dish in the microwave with 2 tbsp. water (about 3 minutes).

Bean Sprouts
They aren’t the most conventional or traditional carb cycling noodle substitution, but they do the trick in Asian-style dishes like Pad Thai or Sesame Chicken. Added bonus of adding some plant-based protein to the mix.

Cook the sprouts just like the broccoli slaw; the softer, the better.

More ideas: Although I’m not a huge fan of take-out as most places add way too much sauce and oil, bean sprouts make a great addition to Asian-inspired take-out meals.

Spaghetti Squash
This swap is really versatile and arguably the closest to normal pasta. It’s excellent with both tomato sauces and creamy ones, are currently in-season

Trick, nuke a whole squash for a few minutes to make it easier to cut. Halve lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Fill a large baking pan with 1/2 inch water, and bake squash halves (cut sides down) at 400 degrees until tender, 30 – 40 minutes.

To cook it in the microwave, scoop out the seeds from a quarter of the squash, and microwave until soft in a covered wide bowl (cut side down) with 2 tbsp. water, about 8 minutes. Scrape out the strands, drain, and blot dry.

Love Mac & Cheese? Try swapping out the pasta for steamed or roasted cauliflower pieces

Healthy swaps for potato chips:
– Kale Chips:
– Zucchini Chips:
– Or get seaweed crisps from any Asian market or health food store

Healthy swaps for potato fries:
Butternut squash fries:
Parsnip, turnip or carrot fries: slice assorted root vegetables into fry like strips. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread vegetable strips onto lined try and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired seasoning like chili powder, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss until evenly cooked. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Healthy swaps for mashed potatoes:
Mixed root vegetable mash: boil your preferred combination of carrots, parsnip, turnip, and rutabaga until soft. Throw into a food processor with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and unsweetened almond milk until smooth.

Here is a great recipe for delicious cauliflower mash:


– Use lettuce in place of your regular burger bun
– Make a wrap out of the large outer leaves to ensure you have a large enough area to hold the filling. Not as sturdy as your typical tortilla but does the trick

– Can be used to make sturdier wraps or sandwiches

Portobello mushrooms
– Roast up a whole mushroom cap and use it as a hearty burger bun

Zucchini or eggplant
– Use these veg in place of noodles in a homemade lasagna
– Try using grilled eggplant in place of bread for a chicken sandwich

Adding Volume

Did you know zucchini makes an easy addition to oatmeal to increase the serving size? Finely grated and combined with unsweetened cocoa and/or cinnamon with ½ the serving of oats and double the liquid adds major volume. In general, when struggling to stay full on low carb days, amp up the vegetables. You would be surprised where you can add them into your meals.

About the author : Ana Plenter

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