(RxWiki News) Carbohydrates are a necessary part of the human diet, but some are healthier than others.
Sugar, for example, is a carbohydrate, and it has been associated with all kinds of health problems when consumed in excess.
Meanwhile, simple carbohydrates in processed breads and pastas may lead to weight gain. However, you need some carbs in order to survive.
So, how do you make sure you eat enough of the right carbs? With these simple swaps.
Spaghetti Squash Instead of Noodles
The inside of spaghetti squash is like spaghetti noodles — hence the name.
This squash has a mild taste and delivers fewer carbohydrates than traditional pasta, as well as a healthy dose of several vitamins and minerals.
Spiralized Veggies Instead of Pasta
If spaghetti squash isn't your thing, consider purchasing a spiralizer and turning a different vegetable into your next spaghetti dinner.
Carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes and various other vegetables turn out great when you put them through the spiralizer, and they all pack a bigger dose of vitamins and fewer simple carbohydrates than traditional noodles.
Cauliflower Instead of Rice
Cauliflower is relatively low in carbs and contains a lot of vitamins C and K, as well as fiber. Also, it makes a great rice replacement.
You can find pre-made cauliflower rice in the store, or you can make your own using a grater.
Lettuce Wraps Instead of Buns
This is an oldie but a goodie. Ditch the hamburger buns or sandwich slices — even the tortillas — and do lettuce wraps.
Instead of simple carbohydrates with few vitamins and minerals, this swap gives you more greens and fiber and a lot fewer carbs.
Fresh-Squeezed Juice Instead of Soda
Soda is one of the most sugar-packed substances you can find in the grocery store, and if you drink it, it's a great starting point if you want to reduce your sugar intake.
That doesn't mean you have to give up sweet drinks entirely. Instead of soda, consider fresh-squeezed juice. It still contains sugar — but less of it — and adds vitamins from the fruit.
It's important to note that consuming too much fruit juice can still mean you're getting too much sugar in your diet, but juice generally contains less sugar than soda.
Zucchini Instead of French Fries
Instead of deep-fried potatoes, why not make your fries out of baked zucchini sticks? This simple swap saves not just carbohydrates, but fats from the frying oil.
Crisp Veggies Instead of Chips
Chips and dip are a staple at all kinds of get-togethers, but if you think about it, pretty much any dip you'd put a chip in would taste just as good on a crisp veggie like a carrot stick, cucumber, cherry tomato or piece of broccoli.
Swapping raw veggies for chips means you're taking in fewer carbs and more vitamins and minerals. As an added bonus, you get to skip the added salt that's on most chips.
Before making any drastic dietary changes, speak with your health care provider.