All posts by Jeff Fidler

Low Carb Hot Sauces for Spicy Food Lovers

If you’re a low carb dieter who is in love with spicy food and powerful flavours, then the world of hot sauces can be a very fun place to play. There are so many different flavours and heat levels available, that no matter what you may be in the mood for, there’s a perfect hot sauce out there to kick up the taste and make your food even better.

It’s important to be aware that carbs aren’t just limited to the main foods on your plate. You can also find carbs in many condiments and sauces that you might decide to add to enhance the flavour of your food. Fortunately, most hot sauces are already very low in carbs, and several have none at all. In this article, we will look at the typical types of hot sauces and their ingredients, what kinds of foods are best suited for them, how they measure heat levels, and more.

Hot Sauce Ingredients

While there are thousands of different hot sauces on grocery store shelves around the world, the vast majority of them have one thing in common: The Chili Pepper. Most hot sauces from around the world use some type of chili pepper as their base ingredient, and then add other spices to change up the flavour and texture.

There are many different types of chili peppers, and each one has a unique flavour and hotness level that gives each hot sauce its own characteristics. Here are some of common chili peppers used in hot sauces:

  • Cayenne
  • Poblano (Ancho)
  • Jalapeno
  • Tabasco
  • Habanero
  • Chipotle
  • Ghost Pepper
  • Scotch Bonnet

In addition to the base ingredient of chili peppers, many other common hot sauce ingredients include vinegar, onions, tomatoes, citrus juice, garlic, carrots, and several types of herbs and spices such as salt, cumin, mustard powder, and oregano.

The vegetable ingredients are generally where carbs can add up in hot sauces, so a quick scan of the ingredient list will tell you where the carbs are coming from. Actual carb count of most hot sauces is typically very low, but there are some out there that actually achieve a zero-carb count, and so you can see why hot sauce is such a great fit for low carb dieters.

A couple of things to be cautious of when it comes to hot sauce is sugar and sodium. Some hot sauce varieties will have fruit ingredients such as honey or mango to add sweetness along with the heat, which adds to the sugar content of the hot sauce. In addition, some hot sauces can contain a lot of salt, so it’s important to pay attention to the sodium level when examining the nutrition labels of hot sauces. Too much sodium can be a bad thing, so it’s best to be sure before you buy.

Matching Hot Sauces and Foods

Sometimes hot sauces go wonderfully well with certain types of foods. Here are some of the best combos we know about:

  • Milder hot sauces made from chipotle or ancho peppers are the perfect way to spice up a slice of pizza or for dipping your French fries, especially if the sauce happens to include garlic as one of its ingredients. Try this Garlic Hot Sauce from Hot Mamas.
  • If Asian food is on the menu, pick up a bottle of Sriracha. It pairs well with all kinds of beef, pork, and seafood stir fry’s and is also great for dipping spring rolls and dumplings to add a nice kick.
  • Buffalo wings wouldn’t be Buffalo wings without the sauce, but don’t limit this tasty sauce to only wings. Buffalo Wing sauce is really great on grilled chicken, or to add some spice to chicken sandwiches and wraps, too. Here’s a nice mild Buffalo sauce from Wing Time.
  • Tabasco is renowned around the world as a universal hot sauce, and is great on almost anything. If you happen to be mixing up some Bloody Mary’s or Bloody Caesars, Tabasco is a great choice to add some heat to these drinks.
  • Habanero and Jalapeno hot sauces are fantastic on meat from the grill. If you’re cooking up some burgers, try spreading a spoonful on the burger while it’s still cooking, or pile it on a sausage or hot dog for a spicy treat. This Jalapeno Hot Sauce from Sinai Gourmet is a great option.
  • Common chili sauce is an excellent choice for foods where you don’t want too much heat, but instead are looking for a milder spicy flavour. Try adding chili sauce to things like scrambled eggs or mac and cheese for a new flavour experience. Try this Chili Sauce from Jok’N’Al

Rating the Heat of Hot Sauces

If you’re really interested in learning the science of hot sauces, then you need to know about the Scoville Scale. This measurement system was developed by Dr. Wilbur Scoville and measures the power of spiciness by the amount of ‘capsaicin’ chemicals, which are what actually gives the peppers their heat, and represents them as Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

There are many resources online that list different peppers and brands of hot sauce by their Scoville Scale ratings. Here’s one that lists hot sauces as well as hot peppers:

ChiliWorld.com – Scoville Heat Scale for Hot Sauces and Hot Peppers

The mildest sauces that can still be officially called hot sauces will typically come in at around 1,200 to 1,500 SHU. Hot sauces made from Habaneros climb up to around 8,000 to 12,000 SHU. The sky is the limit though, and hot sauce aficionados around the world continue to crank out crazy recipes to see just how hot their sauces can get. One of the hottest sauces in the world sits at a ridiculous 16 million SHU. At that level, the sauce is basically just pure fire!

Hot Sauce and the Low Carb Diet

Interestingly, it’s been reported by many newcomers to the low carb diet that they experience a stronger craving and affinity for spicy foods when they start cutting out carbs from their diets.

Considering that hot sauces are typically low in carbs anyway, this makes them a perfect fit as a part of a low carb diet. Spicy food lovers don’t need to worry about whether going low carb will mean cutting out the heat, because hot sauce is well suited to low carb foods. In addition, hot sauce is one of those products that you can really explore a wide variety of choices since it is so easy to order online, try new flavours, and read up from other foodies on their favourite hot sauces.

Check out our wide range of hot sauces today, online or in store at The Low Carb Grocery!

The Complete Low Carb Shopping List

 

The Complete Low Carb Shopping List

When you’ve got the perfect meal plan all lined up for the week, the last thing you want is to find out that you’re missing one essential ingredient or product that you forgot to pick up on your last trip to the grocery store. Nobody likes to waste time with multiple trips to and from the supermarket, so how do you plan out your weekly shopping list so that you can make sure that you’ve got everything you need? It’s pretty simple actually, and this article will give you a bunch of tips you can use to make sure that you stay efficient during your shopping trips, and make your low carb meal plan a success. Here we go!

Plan Your Stops

Regardless of what kind of low carb diet you may be on, there’s really only two stops that are required to make to ensure you’ve got everything that you may need to complete your meal plan, and make sure that you’re not wasting time running all over the city.

Stop 1 – The Low Carb Grocery

When crafting your shopping list, start first with all of the things that you need to be absolutely sure fit a low carb meal plan, and there’s no better place to go than one of our store locations. You can find us in several locations in the Greater Toronto Area including Markham, Mississauga, and Etobicoke, as well as Newmarket, ON and Burnaby, BC. Our brick and mortar locations carry all the low carb items you’ll find online, so if you’re in one of these cities, add it to your shopping runs to complete your weekly or monthly meal plans.

Here are the key product categories that need to make their way on your Low Carb Grocery shopping list:

  • Grains, Breads, and Cereals – The low carb section at a typical grocery store won’t have nearly the selection and variety of a specialty store. This is where you’ll find all of the following products:
• Bread, Pita & Wraps • Biscotti
• Bagels, Buns & Rolls • Donuts
• Muffin, Cake & Brownie • Macaroons
• Cookies • Cheesecake
• Hot & Cold Cereals • Pancake & Waffle Mix
• Granola • Breakfast Bars

Any of your meal plan ingredients or products that fit these categories are available instore or online, and you can be confident that they are the best possible choice for your low carb lifestyle.

  • Spreads, Dips, Dressings, and Condiments – Products like this can often be a hidden source of carbs, as it can be easy to forget just how much sugar and other ingredients can be found in things like ketchup or peanut butter.  All of these types of products can be found in wide varieties at The Low Carb Grocery.
• Nut & Butter Spreads • Hot Sauce
• Jams, Jellies, & Fruit Spreads • Ketchup, Mustard, & Relish
• Mayo & Dips • Salsa
• Salad Dressings • BBQ Sauces
• Seasonings & Spice Rubs • Asian or Mexican Sauces

The carbs found in the typical supermarket brands of these products can really add up fast, so if you use any of these types of products, be sure to get the low carb versions instore or online to keep your low carb diet on track.

  • Pasta, Noodles, and Sauces – Low carb pasta is something you won’t find typical supermarkets. Fortunately, specialty stores like The Low Carb Grocery have a huge variety of noodles and pasta products. Your list should include any products that fit these categories:
• Italian Noodles • Pasta Sauces
• Asian Sauces • Asian & Shirataki Noodles

We carry all the top brands of low carb pasta and noodles, so you know you’ll be getting quality products with all the great taste.

  • Bars, Protein, Shakes and Supplements – No need to go to a fitness health food or supplement store to stock up on these items, we have them all. If your meal plan includes any of the following products, add them to your shopping list:
• Weight Loss Shakes • Meal Replacement Bars
• Whey, Egg or Vegetable Protein • Ready-to-Drink Shakes
• Cleansing & Detox • Vitamins & Minerals
• Greens • Energy Supplements

Stocking up on these products can be handy, as you always seem to run out at inconvenient times. On those days where time is running short, having a meal replacement bar, or ready to drink shake on hand, can be a real-life saver.

  • Cooking, Baking, and Sweets – For the sweet tooth, if you don’t want to have to give up your sweet treats, we have everything you need. From cakes and cookies to ice cream and candies, as well as everything you need to make your own from scratch, these items can all be added to your shopping list:
• Candy, Caramel, & Toffee • Marshmallows, Pudding & Jell-O
• Chocolate • Ice Pops & Ice Cream
• Cookie, Brownie, & Muffin Mix • Flour & Baking Mix
• Cooking Oils • Dessert Fillings & Toppings
• Soup & Broth • Baking Aids & Ingredients

All of these products are handy to have on hand for when you need them, as most of them are non-perishable and can keep for a very long time.

Those are the main products from your meal plan that you’ll need to buy online or instore at The Low Carb Grocery.

For people living in Toronto, Newmarket, or Burnaby, you can choose from visiting us in-store, or eliminate a stop and order everything online. We provide free shipping for all orders over $100.00.

Now, let’s take a look at the things you’ll need to get at your local supermarket.

Stop 2 – Your Local Supermarket

Most of what you’ll need to get here focuses around fresh foods and perishables. Many of these fresh ingredients you’ll need to complete your meal plan aren’t available at specialty stores like The Low Carb Grocery, so you’ll need to visit your favorite local supermarket, butcher, fish monger, or other specialty market for these ingredients.

  • Meat & Fish – A core part of any low carb diet, a wide variety of low carb compliant meat, fish & seafood are available at your local supermarket, or butcher if you have one in your area. Find one that offers quality essential proteins like beef, chicken, pork, fish, seafood, and others.

A great option is Costco for buying larger quantities at a time and freezing them in meal-size portions. This helps reduce the number of trips you need to make each month and can save money, while offering higher quality ingredients.
Research the cut of meat or fish your recipes are calling for, and select the best possible ingredient you can afford. Pay attention to fat content for beef, pork & chicken – try to stick to leaner cuts, apart from steaks, which should contain some level of fat marbling, this adds both flavor and keeps the meat tender.

  • Vegetables and Fruits – Before you buy anything in this category, start by reviewing our guide on low carb fruits and vegetables, as they aren’t all low carb and you need to know which ingredients are right for low carb diets. Once you’re aware what’s safe and what isn’t, a farmer’s market is normally the best place to get the freshest fruits and vegetables. Most will also offer the best option to buy local. Locally grown is always fresher, which tastes better, too. If you can’t find a farmer’s market, your closest supermarket will have to do. In Ontario, there’s a range of supermarkets – some catering to price, other’s catering to better quality ingredients and better service. This is true for most of Canada as well. Wherever you are, buy from the grocery store that offers the best selection and normally has the freshest ingredients. While fresh vegetables and fruits generally don’t keep much longer than a week, no matter where you buy them, fresh is always better than frozen.

As you can see, by simply breaking your meal plan into some basic categories, it’s easy to plan and purchase all your ingredients to complete your low carb meal plans.

For those low carb dieters who may not have the luxury of having one of our locations nearby, you can get all the same great low carb products online and have them delivered right to your door. Once you’ve created your account, you can save your frequent orders, making repeat purchases even more convenient!

We also have a weekly newsletter as well, with specials and other deals, so you might want to sign-up for that as well as you create your account.

We hope you found these tips helpful, and happy shopping!

Alcohol on the Low Carb Diet

Alcohol on the Low Carb Diet

For anyone new to the low carb diet, one of the most common questions that they have is regarding alcoholic drinks like beer or wine, and whether they need to avoid them while sticking to a low carb diet plan. Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy a drink or two from time to time, there are many types of alcoholic drinks that are perfectly suitable for the low carb lifestyle. Much like any other kind of food, alcoholic drinks need to be evaluated for their carb content and other ingredients in order to determine whether they are ok to have or if they should be avoided.

We’ve put together this handy reference that helps explain the different types of alcoholic drinks, and which ones are fine to have in moderation on a low carb diet, and which ones should be avoided. Many drinks that are traditionally high in carbs are now being made in low carb versions, and many mixed drinks can simply be altered with different ingredients to help bring the carb count down. Let’s take a look at how alcohol fits in the low carb diet, and how the different kinds of drinks fare in carb counts.

How does alcohol fit in a low carb diet?

Since the alcohol we drink, also known as ethanol, is not a sugar, it’s actually the other ingredients in the drinks that contribute to their carb counts. For example, drinks that are mixed with juices or sodas will have a higher carb count than straight alcohol because of the sugars contained in the mixers. When evaluating drinks, for their suitability in the low carb diet, it’s critical look at the other ingredients in the drink as a gauge of their carb count than the alcohol content by volume.

Which drinks are high in carbs?

It may come as no surprise that beer is one of the drinks that contains the highest carb content since it’s made from grains. Barley, hops, and yeast are the main ingredients in beer, and this is why the carb count tends to be on the higher end of the spectrum. While there are some beers being produced these days specifically to be lower in carbs, they should still be consumed in careful moderation. Even a low carb beer can be higher than many other drink options, so be aware before you crack one open.

Mixed drinks are where the real danger zone lies for low carb dieters. Many mixed drinks include ingredients that are very high in sugars, like syrups, colas, and juices. Pre-mixed coolers are notoriously loaded with sugars, and should pretty much be ignored by low carb dieters. Other examples of mixed drinks to be avoided include the classic rum and cola, vodka and orange juice, and white Russian. The standard ingredients for these drinks are very high in sugar, and if you’re considering making one, be sure to swap out as many as you can for low sugar options.

Which drinks are low in carbs?

This may surprise some people, but wine is actually one of the most suitable choices for alcoholic drinks for the low carb diet. Although it is made from grapes, the actual natural sugar content in wine is very low. Of course, it should be noted that certain wines contain slightly more carbs than others. Generally, champagnes and sparkling wines tend to be the lowest in carbs. Red wines such as merlot, pinot noir and cabernet are also low in carbs. Some white wines can be a bit higher in carbs, such as Rieslings or ice wines, so make sure you check the label for sugar content just to be sure.

Straight alcohol such as vodka, tequila, brandy and the different varieties of whiskey all come in at zero carbs. Of course, ounce for ounce these have much higher alcohol by volume, but if you’re just looking for a simple drink to sip on and not worry about the carb count, these can be excellent options. In fact, one of the most popular drinks with health-conscious dieters is a simple mixer of vodka and carbonated soda water, which goes by the cheeky name ‘Skinny Bitch’. Classic martinis are also an option for zero carb drinks, so if you want to get your secret agent style going, why not order a dry one shaken, not stirred?

Low carb mixers

Every now and then the time is just right for a margarita. Unfortunately, with regular margarita mixes usually comes a lot of sugars. Luckily for low carb dieters, the taste of a margarita can still be had with a sugar-free drink mix like these Margarita Mixes from Baja Bob’s. By using Splenda as a sweetener instead of regular sugar, these mixes deliver the classic taste without all the extra carbs. These are also available in flavours for a mojito, pina colada, or sour apple martini, so go ahead and explore some new low carb taste experiences at your next cocktail party.

More low carb drink ideas

If you’re now inspired to start getting creative with different kinds of low carb alcoholic drinks, there are plenty of ideas out there to keep you entertained. For example, this great collection of low carb drink ideas from Georgina over at StepAwayFromTheCarbs.com is sure to give you some ideas to try with your next dinner guests.

Conclusion

As the saying goes, everything in moderation. This is especially true with alcoholic drinks. However, low carb dieters should have no fears about indulging in the occasional glass of wine or nice single malt scotch. Alcoholic drinks should be treated with the same diligence as anything else you eat on the low carb diet. Simply keep track of your carbs and the math will easily tell you what your best choices are. We hope that you’ve found this information helpful! Cheers!

Guide to the Low Carb Brunch

Guide to the Low Carb Brunch

Planning the perfect brunch menu can be easy, even when you’re on the low carb diet. Traditional brunch dishes cover a wide range of foods and flavours, many of which are inherently low carb already, and those that may contain higher amounts of carbs are easy to alter or swap out to better fit your diet needs. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to plan a great brunch menu that checks off all the essentials, and keeps the carb count low. Let’s get right to it!

What exactly is brunch?

Brunch is not simply just a late breakfast or an early lunch, and it’s certainly not a modern invention. Brunch traditions date back as far as the 19th century, and the typical foods served at brunch have changed significantly with the times. The standard cuisine that was originally popular at brunch has evolved as it became known around the world, adding in new dishes as different cultures adopted the meal to fit their lifestyles.

Traditional Brunch Dishes

Brunch menus span a very wide range, with some being extremely simple and others quite complex. Depending on formality, the size of the group, or the tastes of the culture, brunch can be a very different experience from one day to the next. Generally, however, most brunches include the following types of dishes:

Breads and Pastries

Most of the carbs found at brunch menus come in the form of breads and pastries, such as bagels, coffee cakes, waffles, pancakes, blintzes, crepes, muffins, and others. Breads and pastries are popular elements of brunch due to their wide range of flavours and tendency to be customizable for the unique taste of the individual. For example, a Belgian waffle can be topped with everything from maple syrup to a pile of fresh fruit or whipped cream, and in any combination.

Low carb dieters are in luck, as there are many options available for low carb mixes that taste great and make perfect, fluffy pancakes and waffles. This pancake and waffle mix from Big Train is one of our customers favourites! Combine them with a sugar-free maple flavoured syrup from Joseph’s, and you’ve got your brunch menu off to a fantastic start.

Meats and Eggs

You’ll find a wide variety of meats and seafood suitable for a brunch menu, which is perfect for low carb dieters. Prosciutto, smoked salmon, shrimp, bacon, sausage, and eggs of all kinds are great additions to any brunch feast. In fact, smoked salmon served on a Thinables Fiber Gourmet low carb cracker with a touch of dill and some cream cheese is always a smash hit with brunch guests. An array of bite-sized salted and cured meats, along with assorted cheeses to accompany them, will give guests lots of flavours to explore, and will help keep the carb count low.

Another standard menu item you’ll find at nearly every brunch is the classic Eggs Benedict, which is a delicious combination of a poached egg, thick cut back bacon, a fluffy toasted English muffin, and rich hollandaise sauce. It’s a scrumptious dish that is simply essential to serve at brunch. Fortunately, Eggs Benny is easy to make the low carb way by substituting in a low carb English muffin or swapping out the muffin entirely for something unique, like a fresh slice of tomato. This great idea comes from Brenda over at SugarFreeMom.com. The cool, fresh taste of the tomato is a great contrast to the warm, rich flavours of the egg and the sauce. Here’s a link to the recipe Lightened Up Eggs Benedict (Low Cal & Low Carb).

Hollandaise sauce has a reputation of being a tricky one to make, but you can simplify things a lot by going with a mix like this one from Mayacamas. This gluten-free hollandaise sauce tastes great, and only needs a little milk and butter. Even better is that it’s ready in just 5 minutes, giving you more time to perfect your egg poaching technique.

For those brunch goers who are fans of bold, southwest foods, putting huevos rancheros on the menu is a surefire way to get rave reviews. Huevos rancheros are a delicious combination of scrambled or fried eggs, sautéed peppers and onions, Mexican rice, and a tomato-chili sauce all wrapped in a corn tortilla. Serve these up with some fresh guacamole and you’ll fall in love with this dish. Making low carb huevos rancheros can be as simple as skipping the rice and swapping in a low carb wrap like these from Mama Lupe’s, keeping all the amazing flavours but ditching the carbs.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruit of all kinds can be found at brunch tables, and often times this is when you will see some more unusual fruit choices to select from. In addition to the common breakfast fruits of berries, oranges, grapefruits, and apples, you will likely see a wide variety of melons, as well as pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruits. As a good rule of thumb, we recommend that you simply stick to the fruits that you know will be lower on the sugar spectrum, such as berries and melons. Avoid those fruits very high in sugars, such as grapes, bananas, and mango.

Brunch Beverages

Another way that brunch tends to differentiate itself from breakfast or lunch menus is that it typically includes some type of alcoholic beverage on the menu. Common alcoholic drinks served at brunch include champagne and mixed drinks such as a mimosa, Bloody Mary, or Irish coffee. Treat these drinks the same as you would any other alcoholic offering, and stick to your diet plan accordingly. Brunch always has many non-alcoholic drinks to choose from as well, including fresh juices, coffee, tea, and more, so don’t feel obligated to grab a glass of champagne if it’s not ideal for your diet.

Conclusion

Brunch is a great meal for trying out new and creative food options, and since the entire menu usually has such a variety of dishes, brunch fans are usually excited to try something different and unusual. Brunch is great for low carb dieters, and it really allows you to let loose and try some new flavour combos that you’ve always wondered about, as well as put new spins on old recipes to make them your own exciting creations. We hope that this article has given you some inspiration and some new ideas for your next brunch.

Tips for the Best Low Carb Tacos and Burritos

Tips for the Best Low Carb Tacos and Burritos

If you’re a fan of the big, bold flavour of Mexican cuisine, then you’ll be glad to learn how easy it is to fit Mexican food in to a low carb diet, including burritos, tacos, and all your other favourites. Fortunately, Mexican cuisine starts off with a heavy emphasis on meats and vegetables, which is exactly the kind of base ingredients that works so well with a low carb diet. From there, most Mexican dishes are then easily customized for the individual tastes of each person, and that includes substituting or subtracting any ingredients that may be higher in carbs.

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of ingredients that are typically found in two of the most common Mexican dishes. Tacos and burritos have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences to be aware of, and making sure that your meal stays low carb hinges on a couple of handy tricks that we are going to share with you. Let’s get started with the essentials!

Essential Low Carb Taco and Burrito Ingredients

Low Carb Tortillas

The basis of any taco or burrito recipe is a good quality tortilla. Since most tortillas are made with wheat flour or corn flour, this is where a bit of research really pays off for low carb dieters. Regular tortilla shells should be substituted right from the start with a low carb version, such as these amazing tortilla shells form Mama Lupe’s. These are one of our customers’ all-time favourite products, and they are absolutely perfect for a huge variety of Mexican recipes.

The key characteristics of a good tortilla are that you want one that is soft, and a little bit flexible, so that they don’t rip or tear easily when you wrap them up. Also, the size of a tortilla shell is critical as well, since you want to make sure the one you use is going to be big enough to hold all your fillings with enough room so that it doesn’t explode all over you. You’ll also want to avoid choosing a shell that’s way bigger than necessary, or else you’ll end up with a taco or burrito that is more shell than anything else.

Once you’ve chosen your tortillas, the next ingredient to look for is a seasoning that suits your taste, and the type of meat you intend to cook up.

Low Carb Taco and Burrito Seasonings

There is a wide variety of different dishes to choose from in Mexican cuisine, however the vast majority of them rely on a small but key set of spices and seasonings in different arrangements to give them their own unique tastes. Virtually every Mexican recipe will require some combination of garlic, oregano, cumin, and some variety of chili pepper powder. The type of pepper used will determine how ‘hot’ the food is, and many of them have distinct flavours, too. For example, the most standard chili pepper powder used is Cayenne, but if you’re interested in slightly milder heat and smokier flavour, you may want to choose Chipotle pepper powder instead. We recommend trying a few different types of chili pepper powder to find the ones that suit your tastes best, and deliver just the right amount of heat that you’re looking for.

To keep things fast and easy, many people will go for a packet of pre-mixed Mexican seasonings. There are seasonings available for every kind of dish that you can think of, including tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chili, and more. Be sure you choose a seasoning that doesn’t have any high-carb ingredients added. We recommend checking out products such as this taco seasoning from Mayacamas, or this enchilada sauce from Frontera Mexican Gourmet. They help simplify your Mexican meals with great tastes and low carb counts.

Other Taco and Burrito Ingredients

As far as meat goes, you can pretty much choose anything you’d like. Beef, chicken, and pork are all perfect fits, and most Mexican dishes are commonly served with any of those meats. Seafood is also fair game, and fish tacos or shrimp burritos are a great way to change up the typical recipes with a new twist to try.

Vegetables commonly found in Mexican recipes include bell peppers, onions, corn, tomatoes, and avocados. For low carb dieters, you may want to skip the corn as it does tend to have a higher carb count than some other vegetables. Pile on a few more peppers or tomatoes instead.

Burritos traditionally come with rice as one of their basic ingredients, but low carb dieters should find an alternative, or skip the rice altogether. Refried beans are also a common side dish with many Mexican foods, but are not something that should be included in a low carb meal. Instead, try some fresh salsa and sour cream on the side, or go for an extra serving of guacamole to keep the carbs down.

More Low Carb Mexican Ideas

For even more inspiration on low carb tacos and burritos, check out this great collection of 11 low carb taco recipes from Rozelle over at LivingChirpy.com. There’s lots of different flavour combos to choose from, and these recipes really keep the carb counts low. Give some of these a try and we’re sure that you’ll be making taco night part of your regular meal plan.

Conclusion

Although at first glance Mexican foods might look high in carbs, you can see just how easy they are to fit in to a low carb diet. Many of them are already low in carbs, and the others just require a few small, but simple, substitutions and adjustments to bring the carbs under control. Tacos and burritos are great additions to any low carb diet, and are a fantastic way to work in some exciting new flavours to your weekly meal plan that your family will just love. We hope that you find these ideas helpful, and that you’re inspired to give them a try!

Tips for Great Low Carb Stir Fry Cooking

Tips for Great Low Carb Stir Fry Cooking

Of all the wonderful things that Asian cuisine has to offer, stir fry has to be one of the absolute best, especially for the low carb lifestyle. Not only are stir fry meals delicious, but they also are very easy to prepare and have nearly limitless ability to be customized to your preferences. If there’s a vegetable you love, throw it in. If there’s a sauce you don’t like, swap it out for another one. The flexibility of the stir fry method means that no matter what your tastes or your dietary concerns, you’ll always find a way to create something amazing.

Stir fry is particularly well suited to the low carb diet, as its heavy emphasis on vegetables and protein make it a perfect meal option with a very low carb count. Of course, just as with any other style of cuisine, there are certain things that low carb dieters need to watch for. Some recipes may call for particular ingredients that are higher in carbs, and some styles of sauces can have high sugar content. Fortunately, there are many low carb and low sugar products available that can be substituted for these ingredients, and nearly every stir fry recipe can be made low carb quite easily.

Tips for Preparing Meats and Seafood

When it comes to stir fry, fresh is always best, especially when it comes to your meats and seafood. Whether you’re working with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, or fish, you’ll always want to choose fresh over frozen for the best results. Cooking from frozen in a stir fry meal can result in meats that aren’t as tender, and will detract from the taste of the recipe.

Since wok temperatures tend to be higher than other frying methods, foods will cook quickly and require frequent attention in order to achieve the best results, especially when it comes to meat. The last thing you want in your meal is chewy or tough meat, so be wary of overcooking to ensure your meat stays tender and delicious. This is especially true with many types of seafood, such as shrimp and scallops, as they cook extremely quickly.

Regarding beef, you have a couple of different choices when choosing how you want to prepare it. Some people prefer very thinly sliced beef strips, which cook quickly and are perfect for many types of stir fry dishes that include some type of noodle. For stir fry dishes that involve mostly fresh vegetables cut in to large pieces, many people choose to cut their beef in to larger cubes in order to better suit the style and presentation of the dish. By doing this, you are also able to achieve different levels of ‘doneness’ to your beef that can’t easily be achieved with thin strips. Larger cubes allow you to prepare your beef to be a little bit pink in the middle, if that’s what you prefer. Keep this in mind when deciding what style of stir fry you are making, and what your personal preferences are.

Choosing the Best Vegetables

Now, your vegetables are where you can really indulge your personal preferences in a stir fry. While there are many vegetables that are considered to be pretty standard, and sometimes even essential in many stir fry recipes, there are no rules set in stone here. You can easily add, subtract, or substitute any vegetables for ones that better suit your taste and dietary concerns. Fortunatley for low carb dieters, many of the vegetables found in stir frys are already low in carbs, but there are a few that you may choose to avoid in order to keep the carb count as low as possible.

Bell peppers are an ideal vegetable for many stir fry recipes, as they are low in carbs, commonly found and also add a nice variety of colour to your meal. You should always have a selection of bell peppers handy to incorporate in to your stir fry creations. Bamboo shoots are another low carb veggie that is perfect for stir frying. Broccoli, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy are all great choices too, and are all easy to find at most fresh food stores. Just as with choosing meats, fresher is always better in a stir fry!

There are a few vegetables that tend to be higher in carbs though, and should either be avoided or limited when you see them listed in a recipe. For example, it may seem like virtually every stir fry recipe you see has onions listed as an ingredient, but they are a type of vegetable that can bring the carb count up if used in excess. When it comes to onions, don’t be afraid to reduce the amount or simply leave them out altogether. Carrots, leeks, and ginger also have higher carb counts, and should be used sparingly or substituted for alternatives.

Getting Saucy

Choosing a great sauce for your stir fry can really take the taste to a whole new level. Most people will be familiar with the most popular sauces like Teriyaki or Szechuan, there are many more exciting flavours that you can try. Stir fry sauces cover a huge range of tastes, with some being mild and gentle and others being bold and spicy. Depending on your tastes, you might opt for a lighter sauce like a lemon or soy sesame sauce. If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, check out sauces made with chili pepper, or perhaps a bold tasting sauce like Hoisin.

Regardless of the type of sauce, or how spicy it may be, be on the lookout for the sugar and carb count. This is where a lot of traditional stir fry recipes will get their carbs from, so a simple substitution here for a low carb version of your sauce, or crafting your own, will help keep the carbs under control.

Here’s a collection of stir fry sauce recipes from Yummly that has lots to choose from. We’re sure that no matter what you plan on cooking up in your wok, you’ll find a sauce that works on this list.

For a great tasting stir fry sauce that is really low in carbs, we recommend trying Yai’s Thai Almond Sauce. It’s a creamy curry sauce that works really well with a lot of different stir fry combinations. Try it with chicken or shrimp to create a unique spin on traditional Pad Thai.

Noodles and Rice

Even though many stir fry recipes recommend serving over rice or noodles, the reality is that you can skip these entirely and not be missing much at all. If you do decide to serve your stir fry over noodles or rice, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve chosen a low carb version to make sure your carb count doesn’t go up too high. There are lots of options available for low carb noodles, such as our customer’s favourite Miracle Noodles. You can find Miracle Noodles in a wide range of styles to suit your preference. If rice is more your style, you should pick up some Miracle Rice to go with your meal. Made from the same ingredients as Miracle Noodles, it has almost no carbs or calories, and is perfect for a wide array of Asian dishes, including stir fry meals.

Start Experimenting Today

Once you start getting creative with your stir fry combinations, you’re bound to have a lot of fun discovering new tastes. Don’t be afraid to try different varieties of ingredients, sauces, meats, and vegetables. The very nature of stir fry cooking is all about experimentation and discovery of new things, so take some chances and you could discover something original and amazing. For low carb dieters, stir fry cooking is a blessing for meal planning, since it’s so fast, easy, and flexible. Start working in some wok time this week, and have fun exploring a whole new world of low carb cooking!