For many of us, carbohydrates form the basis of most meals. From rice and potatoes to pasta, bread and cakes, they’re all rich in carbs. We need some carbohydrate in our diets, but it shouldn’t really be the bulk of what we eat.

Here are some of the benefits of eating fewer carbs by replacing them with healthier alternatives.

You’ll Feel Better

If you find you always feel snoozy after lunch, that could be the effect of a carb-rich meal. As well as giving you more energy, a diet that’s low in carbs and filled with vegetables can reduce blood sugars and insulin levels. This is a great benefit if you’re trying to control (or worried about developing) diabetes.

As well as reducing blood sugars, lower carb diets can reduce triglycerides. These are fats found in the blood, and too many can result in hardening of the arteries and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

What veggies are best to get the most from all these benefits? The humble cauliflower is highly rated, with some studies indicating it’s even better than broccoli or cabbage in similar amounts.

If you find it a chore to stand and chop veggies, try cauliflower rice as a quick but low-carb, healthy alternative. It comes in pouches and is ready to eat, although you can microwave it for a couple of minutes to heat through. Have it on its own, tossed with salad, mixed with ordinary rice or as the basis for a creamy cauliflower cheese.

Other low-carb, energy-giving foods include:

  • Spinach. High in iron, which makes it great for energy. Use it raw as a salad leaf. One great tip is to use frozen spinach as a layer in vegetarian lasagne. Delicious.
  • Apples. High in fibre, they release their energy slowly so you don’t get a sugar high followed by a slump.
  • Water. Yes, humble water. Drink lots to help you not feel hungry between meals and avoid dehydration headaches. If you let yourself get thirsty before you drink, you’re already a bit dehydrated.

You’ll Lose Weight

If you’re trying to lose weight, no doubt you’re familiar with a couple of the pitfalls in most calorie reducing eating plans: hunger and feeling deprived.

One of the huge benefits of reducing carb intake is that many low carb foods help you feel full for longer and that helps you avoid quick, sugary top-ups. When your body isn’t screaming at you about how hungry it is, you don’t have to rely so much on willpower to stay on the healthy track. Willpower soon runs out, derailing many good intentions.

You’ll Find a Huge Choice of Foods

From fruit and veg to lean meats, fast foods and convenience foods, there’s lots to choose from in the low-carb range of produce.

Fresh may be best in the end, but when time is pressing you can still reach for pre-prepared foods and stay healthy. We’ve already mentioned cauliflower rice, but you can also get other riced vegetables like sweet potato rice and broccoli rice from the same manufacturer.

When you buy fresh veg or fruit, you know nothing’s been added to it, but it’s not as straightforward with ready-made dishes. Always read the labels on the back, not just the marketing message on the front of the package. Food that trumpets how healthy it is because it’s low in fat, for instance, may be packed with sugars to boost the flavour.

Ideally, look for something with the fewest added ingredients, and remember the ingredients list on foods is written in order of weight, with the highest first. So the last item on the list is the least of what the food contains.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get more energy back, or just provide a more balanced and wholesome diet for the family, eating fewer carbs will help you achieve it.

Sam Roberts

My motto in life is 'a busy household is a happy household', and my family of seven certainly keep me busy! I'm a trained chef with a passion for creating nutritious meals that are easy for everyone!My five kids are my life and everything I do is for them.
Sam Roberts

Written by Sam Roberts

My motto in life is 'a busy household is a happy household', and my family of seven certainly keep me busy! I'm a trained chef with a passion for creating nutritious meals that are easy for everyone! My five kids are my life and everything I do is for them.