More of us would become citizens of Low-Carb Nation if it weren't for the daunting loyalty oath. We're asked to renounce allegiance to such potentates as bagels, pasta, and potatoes. And even though we know that low-carbohydrate dieting works, giving up your favorite carbs can be tough.
"The best way to cut carbs from your diet is to make creative substitutions," says Arthur Agatston, M.D., author of The South Beach Diet
. "That way you can still eat the foods you love, without busting your diet." Dr. Agatston told us how to make cauliflower taste like mashed potatoes.
Other nutrition experts gave us tricks for cutting white flour, pasta, and potatoes and replacing them with lower-carb alternatives that taste nearly identical. We then had some loyal carbo-cravers taste-test these dishes. Turns out some of them are so good, you'll wonder why you weren't eating them in the first place.Hash brownsSubstitute:
Squash for potatoes
Summer squash (the football-shaped yellow kind) tastes similar to potatoes when cooked—but has just a fraction of the carbs. Grate the squash, mix in an egg as binder, make patties, and fry them in olive oil, says Mary Dan Eades, M.D., co-author of The Low-Carb Comfort Food Cookbook
About 15 grams (g) per hash-brown pattyThe taste:
"Not as firm and crispy as regular hash browns, but the potato flavor is there."Mashed potatoes
Cauliflower for potatoes
One of Dr. Agatston's favorites: Steam some fresh or frozen cauliflower in the microwave. Then spray the cauliflower with butter substitute, add a little nonfat half-and-half substitute, and puree in a food processor or blender. "Salt and pepper to taste and you've got something that quite honestly can compete with the real thing any day," says Dr. Agatston. To make it even better, try adding roasted garlic, cheese, or sour cream to the mixture.Carbs eliminated:
30 g per cuThe taste:
"After a couple of bites, you forget it's not potatoes."Lasagna
Zucchini slices for noodles
Slice four to five medium-size zukes lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick strips, instructs Lise Battaglia, a New Jersey chef whose past clients include Jon Bon Jovi. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on the strips, place them in a single layer on a nonstick cookie sheet, and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. You want them firm, not crisp. "Then simply make the lasagna as you normally would, replacing lasagna noodles with the baked zucchini," she says.Carbs eliminated:
36 g per servingThe taste:
"Delicious. The zucchini provides texture that you don't get from noodles alone."