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Adopting a keto or low carbohydrate diet presents a variety of challenges, especially if you’re like me and believe that carbs are the best food group. In all honesty, carbs comprised a large percentage of my daily diet until this summer when some new medical issues required me to significantly reduce my sugar and carb intake. I struggled with finding ways to eat foods that I enjoyed and with avoiding cravings for bread, pasta, sugar, etc. Through some trial and error, I found foods that offered helpful substitutions and additions to my diet so that I wasn’t just eating a lot of dairy and meat, in an effort to consume enough calories every day. Here are some meal and snack suggestions that worked well for me throughout the past few months, particularly those that can be ordered to your door at Notre Dame via Amazon/Whole Foods!

Avocados.

While this is admittedly not the most creative idea, avocados are high in fat and offer a good snack. Whole Foods stocks these lower carb tortilla chips if you want to mash it up and make guacamole, but eating avocado plain is good too.

Cauliflower pizza crust.

I enjoy cooking, and making pizza at home without carbs was something made easier with this particular crust from Whole Foods. Pizza is an easier food to make lower carb in my opinion, mainly because some keto products have a strong taste that isn’t masked by less-flavorful foods. Pizza can have as many toppings and seasonings as you would like, which makes it easy to forget that this is not a standard pizza crust.

Coconut chips.

These helped to satisfy my craving for sugar without being too sweet. The company (Dang) also makes some sticky rice chips that are lower-carb than some other chip options if you’re craving more salty foods.

Edamame.

Edamame is an easy, healthy, and delicious snack - just throw some edamame in the microwave or bring it to a boil on the stove and add salt.

Peanut butter.

Peanut butter is truly one of my favorite foods, and I admittedly will eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon, so this wasn’t a huge adaptation for me. I particularly enjoy peanut butter on celery or carrots as a snack with some protein, and these peanut butter pretzels aren’t too high in carbs either. Other nuts like almonds are great snack options, but cashews are one to avoid due to their carbohydrate content. The keto diet relies on high-fat foods, and peanut butter is a great option for this particular category.

Zucchini noodles.

These zucchini noodles were a great substitute for my normal pasta. I added chicken and pesto sauce for flavor. The one caveat - this package says it serves four people, and it really only served two, so plan on fewer servings per container.

Plain yogurt with some honey and mango.

This was my breakfast every morning for a few weeks. Yogurt often comes with a fair amount of added sugar, so I opted for plain and adding honey for a little sweetness. I also cut up thawed frozen mangos for some additional flavor.

Cloud bread.

This recipe for cloud bread (keto bread with eggs and cream cheese) from Delish was very helpful for me in finding a bread substitute for some meals. I used this recipe to make a sandwich with a fried egg, some cheese, and bacon, all of which are keto foods as well.

If you’re considering cutting carbs from your diet or simply lessening them, I hope that these ideas offered some inspiration for ways to substitute and add to your diet to compensate for the shift. I still need carbs and sugar from time to time, but I find that substitutes have really helped me to miss my favorite food group just a little less.

Sadie Richardson

Notre Dame '23

Sadie is a junior at the University of Notre Dame from Minneapolis, MN studying political science and Spanish with minors in peace studies and the Hesburgh Program in Public Service. At Notre Dame, she is involved with the equestrian team, Matriculate, the Student Policy Network, and College Democrats in addition to Her Campus. In her spare time, Sadie loves watching movies, exploring new places to eat and shop, writing, debating political issues, and spending time with her family and friends. She is passionate about politics and hopes to one day practice law.
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