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20 Keto Substitutes: Low Carb Swaps

Starting a keto diet can be challenging. Finding the right keto substitutes to make your favorite meals is important. Check out these low carb swaps.
low carb food swaps

Now that you’re on a keto diet, carbs are off-limits. But what can you eat if you can’t have carbs?

Carbs are in everything. Bread, chips, cakes, cookies, even sauces. So what’s a gal (or guy) to do?

Make low carb swaps. That way, you still get to eat your cake and have it too!

Today, I am showing you 20 low carb swaps of your old favorites so you know what to get when going keto shopping. Not only are they delicious, but they are good for you too!

1. Riced Cauliflower Instead of Regular Rice

Regular rice is full of carbs. 1 cup of boiled rice contains almost 44 grams of net carbs

Compared to regular rice, 1 cup of cauliflower rice contains less than 3 grams of net carbs. So, it contains a fraction of the carbs.

Cauliflower rice also takes a fraction of the time to cook. You only need to cook it for 5 minutes.

To make it, just cut your cauliflower into pieces. Then pulse it in a food processor until it becomes rice-like. 

Here is a low budget but a good quality food processor I recommend using. Worth buying if you’re planning on staying on the ketogenic diet for a long time!

Place some oil in a skillet and then cook your cauliflower rice for about 5 minutes, until it’s tender.

There you go. Easy peasy cauliflower rice.

2. Almond Flour Instead of Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is also another carb landmine. 28 grams of wheat flour packs almost 20 grams of net carbs.

The same amount of almond flour contains only 4 grams of net carbs. And it is packed with fat, so it can help you stay in ketosis.

It is also an excellent source of vitamin E and manganese. You need these for beautiful skin and strong bones.

Just like wheat flour, you can use it for baking, making pancakes, and thickening sauces. You can even use it to bread your meat.

When you use it in your “regular” recipes, substitute the same amount of almond flour for regular flour. Here is my usual spot for getting almond flour.

Here are a bunch of keto recipes that you can use almond flour for.

Almond Flour

3. Zucchini Chips Instead of Potato Chips

Potato chips are so yummy. But boy, are they filled with carbs!

Just one ounce contains 13 grams of net carbs. And you know how hard it is to stop at a couple.

Compare this to zucchini chips. One ounce of zucchini chips contains about half the net carbs of potato chips.

They’re also pretty nutritious. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and have trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals too.

Zucchini chips are pretty easy to make. To make them, thinly slice some zucchini using a mandolin slicer. This one will do the trick if you don’t already own one.

Next, squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini using paper towels. Then, lightly oil your zucchini slices and bake at a low temperature until they become nice and crispy.

Here are more ways to make ketogenic chips for snacking.

4. Pork Rinds Instead of Bread Crumbs

Breadcrumbs add a nice crunch to food. Breaded pork chops, Breaded chicken nuggets, and my personal favorite, breaded fish fillets. Yum.

However, just ¼ cup of traditional breadcrumbs contains 21 grams of net carbs. Yikes!

Pork rinds make the perfect substitute for bread crumbs. They’re crispy and, best of all, contain 0 grams of net carbs. 

Now, you can already buy pork rinds ground. But they are about twice as expensive as unground pork rinds.

So, to save money, you can grind them in a food processor like this.

Pork Rinds

5. Erythritol Sweetener Instead of Sugar

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then, you probably love muffins, pies, cookies, and cupcakes.

But they’re packed with sugar. And just 1 tablespoon of sugar contains 17 grams of net carbs. Pretty shocking right?

Erythritol sweetener, on the other hand, is an all-natural sweetener. It contains sugar alcohols that are not absorbed by your body, so it is low-glycemic.

Low glycemic foods do not cause blood sugar spikes, so it is good for people with diabetes. And it contains 0 grams of net carbs.

Now, it is about 70% as sweet as regular sugar. But you can use the same amount of it as you would regular sugar without noticing a difference in taste. This is the erythritol I usually stock up on.

Check out one of my ketogenic chocolate chip cookie recipes that uses erythritol.

6. Portobello Mushroom Instead of Burger Buns

I am a big fan of burgers as you probably are too. But I am not a big fan of burger buns because of the carbs.

One hamburger bun contains 24 grams of net carbs. More than your net carbs allowance for an entire day!

Now, you can eat your burger without the bun. But it gets quite messy with all the toppings.

So instead of doing that, use Portobello mushrooms. One Portobello mushroom contains only 2 grams of net carbs.

To make your Portobello mushroom “buns”, oil them. Then grill them. Bon appetit.

For more ketogenic comfort food ideas like this one, check this article here.

Portobello Mushroom

7. Keto Bread Instead of Regular Bread

Bread is super convenient. You can use them for sandwiches or even toast them.

However, 1 slice contains 12 grams of net carbs. And let’s be real, you usually eat more than one slice, right?

Keto bread, on the other hand, contains as low as 2 grams of net carbs per slice. Now, that is more manageable. 

Keto bread, however, is not very mainstream. This makes it more expensive than regular bread.

But you can make your keto bread using almond flour or coconut flour. And it is much easier than you think. 

8. Rutabaga Fries Instead of Potato Fries

Who doesn’t love fries? The crispy golden brown goodness on the outside, and the tender inside.

Yet potato fries aren’t good for you. 1 small serving of potato fries can set you back 27 grams of net carbs…without the ketchup.

So, what do you do when you’re craving potato fries? Make rutabaga fries instead!

Rutabaga is a root vegetable. However, it has about half the net carbs as a potato.

So, it makes a good alternative if you want a fry that has the same texture and mouthfeel as a potato.

And you make rutabaga fries just like you would make potato fries. Here is a tasty rutabaga fries recipe here.

9. Cheese Crisps Instead of Regular Chips

Regular chips are so addictive. I bet you can’t stop at just one.

Yet as I mentioned earlier, they’re packed with carbs. But sometimes, you want to treat yourself.

Cheese crisps make you feel like you are cheating on your diet. They are crispy and cheesy…I actually prefer them to regular chips myself.

Yet, they are definitely keto. That’s because they’re made with cheese.

They’re also easy to make. Just place small heaps of shredded cheese on a baking sheet and bake until crisp. 

Make sure you line your baking sheet with parchment paper or it will be super hard to remove your cheese crisps.

You can also customize your cheese crisps too. If you like it hot, just use spicier cheeses like Pepper Jack cheese instead of cheese.

Cheese Crisps

10. Lettuce Leaves Instead of Tortillas

Do you love Mexican food? Then, I’m sure you love your tacos.

Now, the filling tends to be pretty keto-friendly. It’s the tortilla that gets you.

One medium flour tortilla contains 14 grams of net carbs. That’s a whole lot of carbs.

So, where do you put all your tasty fillings? In lettuce leaves.

Lettuce leaves are not only low in net carbs, they’re also low in calories. Perfect if you’re watching your calories too.

11. Zucchini Noodles Instead of Regular Pasta

Do you love your pasta? I do too!

But, I don’t like what it does to me… it makes me pack on the pounds. Just one cup of cooked spaghetti contains 36 grams of net carbs.

So, what can you eat with your meatballs and sauce? Zucchini noodles.

One cup of zucchini noodles contains less than 3 grams of net carbs. It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies too.

To make your zucchini noodles, just spiralize them in a spiralizer. You can get a budget-friendly spiralizer here.

Then fry them in a skillet until al dente.

Zucchini Noodles

12. Mashed Cauliflower Instead of Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are so comforting. Yet, nothing is comforting about all the carbs in it.

Just ¼ cup of mashed potatoes (without the milk) contains 19 grams of net carbs. And if you’re like me, you pile on the mashed potatoes.

But a ¼ cup serving of mashed cauliflower contains only 2 grams of net carbs. To keep the nutrients in your cauliflower, it’s best to either steam or microwave it.

Then, place your cauliflower in a food processor, add some seasonings, and butter and cream. Puree until smooth, and there you have it… mashed cauliflower.

Use it to make your perfect ketogenic lunch just like that.

13. Coconut Flour Instead of Regular Flour

As I mentioned earlier, regular flour is full of carbs. And almond flour is a good low-carb alternative.

But what if you have an allergy to almond flour or almonds? In that case, coconut flour is another good low carb alternative.

A 28 gram serving of coconut flour contains only 7 grams of net carbs. And since it is super absorbent, you don’t need to use a lot of it.

It’s also an excellent source of fiber. And it contains MCTs, which are fats that can boost your ketosis. If you need to stock up on some, you can get some here.

Check out these low carb doughnut cookies that exclusively use coconut flour!

Coconut Flour

14. Fathead Pizza Crust Instead of Regular One

Everyone loves pizza. What’s not to love about the delicious toppings, ooey-gooey cheese, fresh tomato sauce, and the crisp crust?

Everything but the carbs, that is. And the crust contains most of the carbs.

Two slices of pizza crust contain 40 grams of net carbs. That’s your net carbs allowance for 2 entire days!

So, what do you do when you’re craving some pizza? Make it using fathead pizza crust.

Fathead pizza crust is a crust made with eggs, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and low carb flour like almond flour. It tastes like a regular pizza crust, and because it’s made with fatty ingredients, it’s keto-friendly and more satiating than a regular crust. 

If you’d like to make some, here is a delicious fathead pizza crust recipe.

15. Almond Milk Instead of Regular Milk

Regular milk is something we all grew up with. After all, regular milk is an excellent source of calcium, which you need for healthy bones.

However, one cup of 1% milk contains 13 grams of net carbs. So, it’s a no-no on the keto diet.

On the other hand, one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains only 1 gram of net carbs. And like regular milk, you can use it on your low carb cereal, in your coffee, or drink it plain.

Make sure your almond milk is unsweetened, though. That’s because the sweetened almond milk contains even more net carbs than regular milk.

Almond Milk

16. Dark Chocolate Instead of Milk Chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, you probably love milk chocolate. I do too.

Nothing beats a piece (or two) of milk chocolate before going to bed. However, milk chocolate contains sugar and milk, which you can’t have on a keto diet.

Dark chocolate is better for you. It’s not only low carb, but it also contains more cocoa than milk chocolate.

And because it contains more cocoa, it contains more antioxidants. In fact, it contains more antioxidants than even acai berries.

Dark chocolate does have a bitter taste, though. So, if you prefer it sweeter, you can always buy dark chocolate sweetened with a low carb sweetener. I recommend this one because it is a variety pack of 6 different flavors, so you don’t get bored.

Check out more ketogenic diet hacks like this little one to start your low carb journey.

17. Chopped Nuts and Seeds Instead of Granola

Remember when granola was a superfood? Now, I avoid it like the plague because of all the carbs.

Just ¼ cup of granola contains 11 grams of net carbs. Yes, you read that, right!

It has lots of healthy ingredients, but lots of unhealthy ingredients too. Ingredients like honey, maple syrup, and sugar.

But what if you take out the unhealthy ingredients? What you’re left with are chopped nuts and seeds. 

These contain healthy fats that are not only good for ketosis but are good for your heart as well. 

They’re also as convenient as granola bars. Just keep a stash of them in some BPA-free Ziploc snack bags.

Get more ideas for ketogenic snacks here.

18. Brazil Nuts Instead of Cashews

Yes, nuts have tons of fat, which are good for the keto diet. However, some have more net carbs than others.

For instance, 1 ounce of dry-roasted cashew nuts contains exactly 8.4 grams of net carbs. One ounce of Brazil nuts, on the other hand, contains only 1.2 grams of net carbs.

That is 7 times fewer net carbs than cashew nuts. So, when snacking on nuts, choose lower-carb versions like Brazil nuts.

19. Spaghetti Squash Instead of Pasta 

As I mentioned earlier, you can use zucchini noodles to replace pasta. But what if you don’t like zucchini noodles or you want a bit of a change?

Then, you can use spaghetti squash instead. One cup of spaghetti squash contains 8 grams of net carbs, so it does contain more net carbs than zucchini noodles.

So you want to eat less of it if you follow a super strict keto diet. If you’d like to make spaghetti squash noodles, here is a simple recipe.

Spaghetti Squash

20. Cauliflower Crust Instead of Regular Pizza Crust

Fathead crust is a great option instead of a regular pizza crust. But if you’re looking to add more veggies to your diet, cauliflower crust is an excellent option.

And you only need a couple of ingredients to make it: cauliflower, cheese, eggs, and some seasoning. If you’re vegan, you skip the eggs and use a “flax seed egg” instead of using ground flaxseed and water.

Conclusion

So, which keto substitutes are you most excited about? How is your ketogenic journey going so far? Let me know in the comment section and feel free to share these tips with your friends and family!