Low Carb Substitutes for Common Foods

Some you've probably tried. Others may be new. Here are some easy substitutions that can help you reduce carbohydrates! 

While there are numerous factors that raise blood sugar if you have diabetes, the number one cause of high blood sugar is food. Does that mean we shouldn’t eat? Of course not. Does it mean we can’t eat our favorite foods? I will always argue no. But, does it help to expand our palates and attempt to reduce the carbs that cause blood sugar spikes? You bet! As a food lover, and a carb eater, I’ve been on a journey to find foods that can help me reduce carbs, improve nutrition and get better control of my blood sugar without sacrificing my favorites.

Here are some common staples in an American diet. How often do you eat these?

  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Breads

Now, I’m not suggesting you or I should not be eating these foods. I do. I will continue to. But, I am suggesting that there are ways to reduce these foods from our daily eating without missing out. Try some of these substitutions to reduce total carb intake. Maybe you’ll find yourself liking these even more!


Americans eat a lot of potatoes. Fried, baked, mashed, and more. You may be surprised to know that potatoes are actually quite good for you. If it weren’t for the blood sugar effect, it probably wouldn’t be such a problem food for people with diabetes. 

But, if you’re looking to reduce carbohydrates, here are some awesome low-carb ideas.

  • Cauliflower - Try Cheesy Cauliflower Mash. The texture and flavor is satisfying and delicious! Or, try Mock Potato Salad, a solid replacement for potato salad, a common summertime picnic favorite. Cauliflower also makes a perfect replacement for another carb-heavy food, rice.
  • Turnips - Replace potatoes in stew and other similar meals (like Corned Beef and Cabbage). You’ll get fewer carbs and a whole different nutrition profile.
  • Zucchini - You can make your own Zucchini Chips at home. I did, and they were a savory, tasty alternative, especially with my avocado dip. Or, try zucchini fries.
  • Carrots - Shake things up and try making carrot fries or puree!


  • Zucchini - It’s back for another round of low-carb substitutes. Just like with potatoes, zucchini can be a perfect sub in lasagna, ravioli and other noodle dishes (zoodles are fantastic).
  • Spaghetti squash - The name isn’t a coincidence. If you’ve never tried it before, this squash comes out of its shell in long strands that look like spaghetti. The taste and texture are great and go with more than just a good spaghetti sauce.
  • Other noodles - There are good alternatives to standard wheat-based pasta that you can find on the local grocery store shelf. Try chickpea, shirataki and tofu. Always pay attention to nutrition labels. You can see what counts as a serving size, and understand how many carbohydrates come with it.


The term “breads” can mean so many things. Here are some common breads that come to mind, with substitution ideas to go with them.


Have you ever heard of Cloud Bread? It is void of flour and high in protein. You can make it at home and it is great with savory sandwiches.

Try using something else as a shell, like a bell pepper for a new take on a Philly!

You can also use portobello mushrooms like this!


Regular pizza is one of the most difficult foods to figure out when it comes to blood sugar management. Here are some tips to help reduce the impact.

  • You can buy cauliflower crust out of the frozen pizza section at the store. Sadly the carb count isn’t much lower than regular, wheat flour-based pizza crust. Avoid the misleading marketing language and make your own for a truly low-carb cauliflower crust pizza.
  • Did you know you can use eggplant? Yep! Make personal pizzas using slices of eggplant as your base. Throw whatever topping on that you like and enjoy!
  • A recent trend I've noticed in the "keto" world is using shredded cheese as a crust for pizza. It’s on pizza anyway, so why not let it be the majority of it? Try keto cheese-crust pizza.

Baked Goods

When it comes to sweets, it’s hard to find good replacements. It’s amazing what you can do with some eggs and cheese!. Try some of these recipes:

Diabetes doesn't mean you can’t enjoy food. Enjoy it! Just do it mindfully, and try something you haven’t before. Use your glucose meter to see how foods affect your blood sugar and make the best decisions for you and your health goals. 

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