Craving comfort foods is a fact of life whether you follow a diabetes diet or not. Why not tweak them a little so your A1C won’t suffer when you indulge? Cutting the carbs down means you can enjoy these comforting options more often. Let’s check out a few comfort foods and how we can tweak them slightly without changing their delicious flavor.
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1.Macaroni and Cheese- Who doesn’t love mac & cheese? Well, guess what? It is loaded with carbs. Guess what else? We can lower those! Check out this Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese Casserole Recipe– its got yum written all over it! Using cauliflower instead of macaroni drastically drops the carb count and the taste is a-mazing.
2.Spaghetti and Meatballs- Here we go again with the pasta… Zoodles to the rescue! I recently discovered these little spirals of veggie goodness and love how great it is to chow down on noodles & meat sauce with no carb-laden pasta worries. If you are new to zoodles, here’s the scoop: Squash, zucchini, etc are placed in a veggie spiralizer to form long strands of spiral shaped noodles. Here’s a link to the veggie spiralizer I use. I love that it comes with 3 blades so I can make various shapes and spirals. If you ever start spiralizing, get ready to become addicted to it! I have ordered a spiralizer cookbook and I will post more info about it here after I check it out!
3.Cheeseburgers- When you get a cheeseburger craving, nothing else will do! The carbs are all in the bun, so I like to go with an open face burger using just the bottom bun. Another option is to forgo the bun completely and just cover the patty with a skillet full of sautéed veggies like peppers, onions and mushrooms. This gives you lots of extra fiber without a lot of added carbs.
4.Sandwiches- Whether its grilled cheese, ham or peanut butter, sandwiches are very comforting. This is where I go with a thin sliced bread and add extra filling. Also, lower carb wraps loaded with lean meat make a great sandwich. This will keep the carbs in check while giving you plenty of protein. Consider adding a side salad or a bowl of soup such as beef veggie, chicken veggie (see #6), etc. to help you fill up.
5.Pizza- I’m sure you have seen the cauliflower crust recipes here and there. I haven’t really tried many of these, but they look extremely good. I recently found an awesome recipe using a tortilla and a skillet that I really like because the tortilla gets very crispy- just like a thin crust pizza from your favorite pizza shop. (I use my low carb tortillas)
6.Chicken Soup- I’m pretty sure chicken soup needs to be on any top 10 comfort food list! How do you make yours? If it is simply chicken and veggies, you are probably not looking at a huge number of carbs. If you include lots of noodles, potatoes, rice or other high starch foods, then you should consider modifying your recipe. Try more lower carb veggies like carrots, celery, onion, peppers, green beans, cabbage, etc. Also consider cutting back on add-ins like crackers or croutons. Did you know you can make some deliciously crunchy “crackers” from cheese?
7.Fried Chicken- Yummmm. Here are some small tweaks you can make to this dish to drop the carbs. First off, be sure to season your chicken properly to give it plenty of flavor. I use a rotisserie chicken seasoning (be sure to check the carb level in your seasoning choice) next I use just 1/4 cup flour in a baggie which will lightly cover many pieces of chicken, then fry. Other options include using other lower carb coatings such as flaxseed, almond flour, etc.
8.Ice Cream- Double yummm. Portion control is obviously the biggest problem with ice cream! Can you buy your ice cream in the 1/2 cup portions? If so, that will help tremendously. Check out other products available which include low carb or low sugar ice cream, low carb fruit bars and chocolate fudge bars. Another option is to check the nutrition data for local restaurants and buy a mini-size portion. This will keep you from being tempted by having ice cream in the house. Here’s a link to an ice cream maker if you want to go the homemade route.
9.Pot Roast or Steak- These are usually considered to be low in carbs-just watch the side dishes which may include potatoes and or other starches. Try serving a big salad with beef entrees or include sides like parmesan topped tomatoes, skillet green beans or sautéed mushrooms.
10.Mexican Food- Hold the Mexican carb-fest back by limiting sides like rice, tortillas, etc. Choose low carb tortillas when making fajitas. Try making your own taco salad by layering lettuce, tomatoes, taco meat, cheese, sour cream, salsa then crumble just a few tortilla chips over all for a little crunch.