All posts by Jeff Fidler

Introduction to Mama Lupe’s Low Carb Products

Featured Product – Mama Lupe’s Low Carb Tortillas

Tortilla shells are an extremely versatile bread product, and no low carb kitchen would be complete without them. For low carb dieters, finding a good quality tortilla that has a great taste and texture, along with a low carb count, can be a real struggle. Fortunately, Mama Lupe’s tortillas check off all the essentials that low carb dieters need, with all the great characteristics that you want in a wrap.

What makes a good tortilla?

Flour tortillas are defined by a few common characteristics. They need to be soft, so that they can easily be shaped and wrapped around a variety of food. Tortillas should also not be too dry, as a wrap that is too dry will tend to rip and tear when you start to work with it. A fresh tortilla has just a little bit of flexibility to it, so that it won’t fall apart once you wrap up your fillings and start to eat it. Tortillas also need to be big enough to fit your desired fillings in them, and still have enough overlap to effectively seal up the wrap and prevent it from making a big mess.

How are low carb tortillas different?

While many of the ingredients in a low carb tortilla are the same as their high carb counterparts, the biggest difference will be in the main ingredient, which is flour. Low carb tortillas typically use a reduced carb flour or other flour substitutes in order to reduce the total carb count without affecting the softness or flavour of the tortilla.

Tortilla Meals and Snacks

As you know, tortillas have dozens of different uses, and not just in Mexican or Southwest cuisine. Here are a couple of great uses for tortillas in the low carb diet that you’ve just got to try!

Low Carb Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are one of the simplest of all Mexican dishes, but they’re also one of the tastiest! Making a low carb quesadilla is really easy, and needs just a few essential ingredients. Start with some fresh grilled chicken, seasoned with your favourite Mexican spices. Thinly slice the chicken and layer on one side of a Mama Lupe’s tortilla. Spread a cheese blend on top of the chicken, including shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby cheeses. Fold over the tortilla to cover the chicken and cheese blend like you’re closing a book, and place on a baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes, or until the tortilla starts to brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting in to quarters. Now all that’s left to do is dip your hot chicken quesadilla in your favourite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Enjoy!

Warm Tortilla Chips

Making your own fresh, warm tortilla chips is so easy you’ll wonder why you never did it before! Starting with a fresh pack of Mama Lupe’s tortillas, cut them in to wedges about the same size as a standard tortilla chip, but you can make them as big or small as you want. Bigger chips will break easier, and smaller ones sometimes just don’t hold enough dip, so experiment with sizing to find what you prefer. Spread the chips out on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with your favourite seasoning salt. Bake at 350° for about 5-7 minutes, and then flip the chips over using some kitchen tongs, and lightly sprinkle with a bit more seasoning. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the chips are just starting to brown. Remove and let cool, then dip in anything you’d like. Guacamole and salsa are always great, but don’t be hesitant to try any of your favourite dips.

More Praise for Mama Lupe’s

Our customers simply love Mama Lupe’s tortillas. With over 100 stellar reviews, people just keep coming back to Mama Lupe’s tortillas because they are simply the best low carb tortillas they’ve ever tried.

“All the great taste of a regular tortilla with almost no carbs.” – Mary from Mississauga, ON

“Love these! I make wraps and pizzas with them with no impact on my low carb lifestyle!” – Barb from Bradford, ON

“These tortillas are amazing! We like them more than “regular” high-carb wraps or tortilla breads.” – Darlene from Chateauguay, QC

We’re sure that once you try Mama Lupe’s tortillas, you’ll be hooked! So, whether you’re stocking up for the next Taco Tuesday, or planning your lunches and breakfasts, these tortillas will be extremely handy to have in your kitchen.

Pick up a fresh pack of Mama Lupe’s Low Carb Tortillas here today at The Low Carb Grocery.

Delicious Low Carb Soups

Tips for Great Low Carb Soups

Who doesn’t love a good soup? Whether you’re looking for a nice, light soup to accompany your meal, or a rich, hearty chowder to warm you up on a cold day, there are soups for every taste and every occasion. As part of a low carb diet, soups are perfect to include in your weekly meal plans, since they can be easily made fast, healthy, and low carb. In this article, we’ll go through some handy tips you can use when it comes to soup, including what are the best ingredients to choose and which ones to avoid. We also provide a couple of amazing soup recipes that you’ve just got to try. Let’s get cooking!

Main Sources of Carbs in Soups

While on the surface, it might seem like soups would already be very low in carbs, there are many instances where this is not the case. There are certain ingredients that can really raise up the carb count in a soup, and when choosing a soup recipe or a packaged soup, these are the things you need to watch for to make sure the carb count stays low.

Sugar

This may surprise you, but it’s amazing just how many soups have more sugar than you’d expect. Tomato-based soups, especially prepared soups, can have as many as 15 grams of sugar per serving. This is also common with soups labeled with words like ‘bbq’ or ‘southwest’, since they often take much of their flavour from barbecue sauces and other sauces that can be very high in sugar. A quick scan over the nutrient label on packaged soups can let you know exactly whether the soup is a good choice. If you’re preparing your soup from scratch, be wary of those recipes that call for sweet ingredients or sauces, and swap them out for low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives.

Starches

It’s not just noodles that bring the starches and carbs in to soups. Things like potatoes and peas can bring up the carb count of a soup. For example, split pea soup, although it is also a good source of fiber, definitely carries a lot of carbs in it. If you’re looking for a hearty soup or a soup that has a creamier texture, there are plenty of alternatives to pick from, such as chowders and stews.

For soups that rely on noodles, you can simply swap in a low carb noodle alternative, or if they aren’t really critical, you can leave them out altogether. Potatoes are also easy to substitute to make soup recipes lower in carbs. Instead of potatoes, you could use things like cauliflower or turnip, both of which are much lower in carbs than potatoes and work very well in soups and stews.

Salt

One of the most common issues that people find when exploring soups as part of a healthy lifestyle, is that the salt content can be quite high. This is especially prevalent in prepared and packaged soups, which can be exceedingly high in salt. Fortunately, there are usually low-salt alternatives available from many big brands that are clearly marked on the labels. For homemade soups, reducing the salt is as simple as just adjusting the recipe so that you add salt to taste when it’s served instead of while it’s simmering. This way everyone can adjust to their own taste, or skip the salt entirely if they choose to.

Best Low Carb Soup Ingredients

Now that you know some of the common red-flags to look for when it comes to soups, let’s start exploring some of the best ingredients to include in low carb soup recipes.

Meats and Proteins

This should come as no surprise, but the best soups for low carb dieters tend to have a hefty serving of meat in them. Most commonly, the meats used in soups are chicken, beef, and seafood such as shrimp, clams, and lobster. These are all excellent choices for a wide variety of soups, and are perfectly at home in light, broth soups or hearty, creamy chowders.

Whichever meat best fits the type of soup you are making, feel free to prepare it however you’d like to suit your tastes. Some people prefer smaller pieces of meat in their soups, and others enjoy larger chunks, but there’s generally no right or wrong way to do this. Stick with the way you prefer, and your soup will come out just fine.

Vegetables

Low carb dieters have a wide array of vegetable options to choose from when preparing soups. Some of the most common vegetable ingredients that are perfect for low carb dieters include things like celery, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and peppers. While there are countless recipes that feature tomatoes as a key ingredient, tomatoes tend to have much higher sugar and carb counts than other vegetables. If a tomato-based soup is part of your plan, it’s best to be very particular about the other ingredients that you include, and make every effort to keep the carb count as low as possible.

Seasonings & Sauces

As we mentioned earlier, many soups have a much higher amount of sugar than most people would expect, and a lot of this will come from sauces that are added as part of the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for bbq sauce, or some other sauce that is typically high in sugar, swap it out for one that is a sugar-free alternative, like this amazing sugar-free bbq sauce from Crazy Mooskies. The goal here is to keep the big, bold flavour you want, but cut the sugar out of the recipe.

So, keeping all these things in mind, you’re probably ready to start hunting for some great new recipes to try as part of your meal plan this week. Once you start scanning through an endless list of amazing soup recipes, you might find it hard to settle on just one or two. Let us help you out by recommending a couple of our favourite soup recipes that are great options for a low carb lifestyle.

For a Lighter Flavour

Asian-inspired soups are extremely popular for their wide range of tastes and unusual vegetable combinations. This recipe for Asian Beef Noodle Soup from Melissa over at IBreatheImHungry.com is loaded with protein and tasty vegetables, and features a lighter broth with a fresh flavour. We recommend using Miracle Noodles Shiratake Angel Hair noodles which keeps the carb count way down, and work great in soups like this.

For a Hearty Soup

Here’s a recipe for a hearty, creamy soup that is going to knock your socks off! This Cauliflower Chowder recipe from Chungah over at DamnDelicious.net is the perfect soup to try on a chilly day and will warm you up from head to toe. The nice thing about this recipe is that it can easily be altered however you like, such as adding chicken or swapping out the carrots for another of your favourite vegetables. And, although it calls for all-purpose flour in the recipe, this can easily be substituted with a low-carb flour like this one from LC Foods to help bring the carb count even lower.

Conclusion

Soups are such a great fit for the low carb diet, you’ll wonder why you didn’t include more of them in your meal plan right from the start. One of the best things about soup recipes is just how easy they are to customize to your own tastes and preferences. As we mentioned, if salt content is a concern for you, simply leave it out. If you think a recipe would be even better with some shrimp thrown in, then go for it! Getting creative with your soups is a good way to explore new flavours and tastes, as well as help bring the carb count down on some recipes that you’d otherwise avoid.

We certainly hope that these ideas have given you some inspiration to work some new soups in to your routine. Now, get out there and get cooking!

Low Carb Grocery List Essentials

Low Carb Grocery List Essentials

While on the surface, planning a grocery list might seem like an incredibly simple thing to do, it’s amazing just how much time can be saved by incorporating just a little bit of planning and strategy in to your shopping list. Even the most diligent list-makers among us can still benefit from some simple tips and tricks to help make sure that each shopping trip is efficient and successful. In this article, we will give you some handy time-saving advice that you can use when you’re putting together your meal plans and grocery lists to make things faster and easier when you hit the aisles.

Now, let’s get right to it!

Know What You Need

Do you plan your meals around what you already have in the house, and then fill in the gaps with a trip to the store? Or do you plan your meals first, and then scan the cupboards and fridge for what you’ve already got before you compile your list? Most of the time you could use either method and still come out with the same list. However, if you have a big meal event coming up, it’s a good idea to start with that and then fill in the rest of your meal plan around it. Alternatively, you could look at the main ingredients you already have first, such as meats and proteins, and build out meals that work with the rest of your on-hand ingredients, and then just fill in the gaps with your shopping list.

Whichever method you typically use, the basic idea is still the same. You want to minimize waste and duplicate purchases of things that you’ve already got, but also want to make sure that you don’t assume you have a critical ingredient that you actually don’t. In a nutshell, you want to minimize the number of items you need to get, and simultaneously make sure you have every necessary item for your meal plan. This way, you’re spending less time hunting at the store, less money on your purchase, and still making sure your meals are 100% complete.

Essential Low Carb Items

There are a few products that are simply essential to low carb dieters, and you’ll want to make sure that you always have these items in your cupboards and refrigerator. This way, you will always be able to craft your meal plan to fit all the criteria for carb counts and nutrients that you need. Here’s some of the most essential items that every low carb kitchen will need to keep on-hand:

Meats

o   Chicken – Boneless chicken breasts are such a universally useful protein, you simply have to have some in your kitchen. We suggest buying larger quantities and breaking the pack up in to freezer bags with meal-sized portions that can be thawed whenever you need them.

o   Beef – Extra lean ground beef is another extremely versatile meat that can be used to make everything from hamburgers to spaghetti and meatballs. Having a set of nice grilling steaks is a good idea, too. These can either be grilled up fresh with some veggies, or sliced up thin and worked in to a stir fry.

Fruits and Vegetables

o   Fruits – You’ll want to stick to our recommended list of low carb fruits (link to low carb fruit and vegetable article)as a guideline on what to buy and what to avoid, but generally a supply of berries, plums, kiwis, and cantaloupe helps keep the carb count on the lower end.

o   Vegetables – While vegetables are a much safer place to play for low carb dieters than fruits, there are some that are lower in carbs than others. Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce are essential, and a supply of bell peppers is very handy for a variety of recipes. Avocado, asparagus, and zucchini are also healthy options and have a lot of utility in the kitchen.

Other Essential Items and Ingredients

o   Sugar Alternatives & Sweeteners – Whether you need it for baking or just a scoop for your morning coffee, you’ll want to make sure you have a sugar alternative in your kitchen at all times. Having a supply of packets like these from Swerve or in a bigger package like this brown sugar from LC Foods will make sure you cover all your bases for useful sweeteners.

o   Noodles & Rice – For low carb dieters, having a good quality noodle and rice is absolutely critical. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a couple of different varieties of low carb noodles like these fettucine and ziti noodles from Miracle Noodles, as well as a pack of Miracle Rice, as well.

Know Where You’re Going

Not all grocery stores are created equal, and when you’re shopping for a low carb diet plan, this is especially true. Planning a grocery list for maximum efficiency includes thinking about your destinations, and what items you need to get at each place. If you’re only going to make one stop, then this is pretty easy. But if you need to hit more than one place to complete your list, it helps to keep things organized by location to help make sure you’re getting everything you need at each store.

Online shopping is a great way to save a ton of time on your shopping trips, take advantage of special deals you can’t get locally, and obtain unique or hard to find products that your local stores just don’t carry. Consider making an visit to TheLowCarbGrocery.com as your first stop, since it will be the fastest part of your shopping routine and you can choose from a wide range of low carb foods from all the major brands. In addition, you will find a vast array of specialty products that aren’t normally stocked in smaller stores or regular grocery retailers. Once you’ve completed your online order, we’re sure that your list will be a lot shorter, so it just makes sense to take advantage of the added convenience of online shopping whenever you can.

Plan Your Route

Thinking ahead about your trip around the inside of the store will help to make sure you avoid backtracking but still hit all of your essential grocery store sections and complete your list. All grocery stores are set up with some type of consistency in order to make it simple to get around, and your list should be organized to take advantage of their layout. This means grouping and organizing the items on your list to sequentially go through each section in the order you’ll hit them in the store.

Organize the items on your list by store section, such as meats and deli, vegetables and fruits, dairy, frozen foods, bakery, and so on. Check your list frequently, since it can be easy to forget an item when you’re in a chaotic grocery store surrounded by dozens of other busy shoppers. Don’t let any items slip through the cracks!

Go Digital & Collaborate

Making a grocery list is now easier than ever with the fantastic list apps available for your mobile devices. This article from Elizabeth Harper over at Techlicious breaks down the Best Grocery List Apps along with details on what they can do and how they work. Some can even be automatically shared and synced with more than one user, so other members of your family can easily add something to your list.

Conclusion

We certainly hope that you’ve found these tips helpful. We know just how important time is, and with everyone’s schedules seemingly getting busier by the day, every little bit of help can add up to make a big difference. We think everyone should be able to spend less time walking around a grocery store, and more time enjoying the delicious meals with their family, so go ahead put these tips to good use on your next shopping trip.

Low Carb Christmas Dinner & Recipe Ideas

Low Carb Christmas Dinner Ideas

The holidays are a time of family fun, good cheer, and of course, an amazing array of delicious foods that only come around once a year. For low carb dieters, this may seem like a challenging time to stick to your diet goals, but we’re here to help you realize that planning a low carb Christmas is a lot easier than you’d think.

In this article, we’ve gathered our favourite tips and some helpful shopping advice to help you plan the perfect low carb Christmas foods that you and your family will love.

For starters, let’s think about the most popular foods that many Canadians normally serve around the holidays.

Popular Christmas Foods

Turkey

The big meal wouldn’t be complete without the traditional Christmas turkey making an appearance. Of course, it needs stuffing and gravy to go along with it, so you can’t forget those either. Turkey itself doesn’t really need any adjustments, as it’s already low carb, but for those of you who maybe want to try something a little different than the standard Christmas turkey, you could roast up a nice prime rib.

Prime rib is a wonderful cut of beef when prepared properly, and comes out moist, tender and incredibly delicious. Here’s a foolproof holiday prime rib recipe from alldayidreamaboutfood.com you can try this Christmas that is sure to be a winner.

If ham is more your style, this simple recipe from Atkins for a maple-mustard glazed baked ham uses sugar-free maple flavoured syrup and Dijon mustard to keep the carb count low and create a sweet but bold glaze that is a perfect accompaniment to the saltiness of the ham.

Finally, if you’re hosting a smaller group for Christmas dinner, and want to try something perhaps a bit fancier or unusual, the wonderful low carb blog ‘I Breathe, I’m Hungry’ has this tremendous recipe for Roasted Duck with Cranberry, Orange and Cardamom glaze. Christmas dinner will go from joyful to legendary with this delicious meal on your table!

Stuffing

To make a great low carb stuffing, you can always use a low carb stuffing mix like this one from LC Foods, or you can get low carb bread, and low carb bread crumbs to make your own Christmas stuffing.

Alternatively, there are many recipes out there for stuffing’s that don’t use any kind of bread at all. The blog ‘I Breathe, I’m Hungry’ comes through again with a great collection of low carb stuffing alternatives. Check out their list of low carb stuffing recipes here, and we’re sure you’ll find something that strikes your interest.

Turkey Gravy

For gravy, this can be a simple matter of just using a different thickener instead of the wheat flour that many gravy recipes call for. Substituting cornstarch as a thickener works very well, and contains no carbs. Just make sure that you prepare enough gravy for everyone. It always tends to run out fast! If time is short, and you simply need to find a nice pre-packaged gravy mix, you can find many options here in our selection of low carb gravy to suit any type of meat that you may choose to serve.

Appetizers & Hors d’oeuvres

It seems like there’s always something yummy to eat around the house at Christmas time. Whether it’s a fresh batch of warm hors d’oeuvres or a colourful cheese plate, there’s never a shortage of things to nibble on.

One popular hors d’oeuvres that many people enjoy as part of their holiday appetizers is small beef or pork meatballs served along with a tasty sauce for dipping. We prefer a nice zesty chili sauce, but any of your favourite hearty sauces will work just as well. Just make sure that you choose one that is low in sugar to keep the carb count down, like this chili sauce from Jok’N’Al.

Another simple, but very yummy, appetizer is nice smoked gouda cheese, sliced and wrapped in with a thin blanket of black forest ham. Although it sounds plain, the smoky taste of the cheese and the saltiness of the ham taste wonderful together. Use fancy picks for serving these and you can add some extra holiday style to the platter. Every time we make this low carb treat, the plate gets bare pretty quickly!

Desserts & Sweet Treats

Christmas cookies are an essential treat during the holidays for young and old alike, and with a good low carb cookie mix, you can bake up a fresh batch of cookies any time you want. We suggest an almond flour cookie mix, like this one from JK Gourmet. Mix in your favourite seasonal ingredients, cut in the shape of stars, snowmen, or Christmas trees, and you’re all set!

For the traditional dessert lovers, this amazing recipe from Atkins for a Chocolate Yule Log is definitely a winner. It uses a sucralose based sweetener to keep the sugar levels low, and whole grain soy flour to achieve a very low carb count. This recipe even comes complete with a decadent frosting to top it off! This is one dessert you won’t want to pass up.

Conclusion

The holidays are supposed to be full of joy and happiness, and with these great recipe suggestions, you can relieve a lot of worry and pressure from your low carb diet plan. Of course, regardless of what you choose to serve on your table throughout the holidays, you still need to be diligent with your carb counting to make sure that you stay on track. There’s no reason you can’t sample a little bit of everything that your Christmas dinner table has to offer, as long as you make sure that you don’t pile on too much of anything. If you feel like you need a refresher on carb counting, be sure to check out our carb counting guide here.

We hope that you have found these tips and ideas helpful, and we wish you and your family all the best this Christmas season – Happy holidays and Happy Eats!

Introduction to Low Carb Sweets

Introduction to Low Carb Sweets

Sweet treats and candy aren’t exactly things that spring to mind when we talk about healthy living and the low carb lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you need to say ‘goodbye’ to your favourite sweet flavours. Going low carb means you need to carefully track what you’re eating and understand how it all adds up in carbs, and that includes sugary snacks.

The simple sugars found in candies, chocolates, and other sweets are one of the types of carbs that need to be carefully tracked and moderated as part of a low carb diet. Consuming too many sweets can easily set a low carb diet off track, so it’s important to make sure that the sweets we do eat are either low-sugar or sugar-free, and make sure that we don’t get carried away with portion sizes. Sometimes even a small handful of candy can contain a lot more sugar than you’d expect.

The basic ingredient in candy that contributes to its carb count is, as you’d expect, sugar. Simple sugars are the most basic form of carbohydrates found in our foods. These types of sugars are also found in many fruits, but the kinds typically used in candy and sweets have been refined, and are usually much more concentrated. Fortunately, there are several sugar-alternatives available that provide the same sweet flavours, but without the same effects on the body as they are digested.

Some alternative sweeteners that are common in low-sugar and sugar-free sweets and candy are malitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. These belong to a family of chemical compounds known as ‘sugar alcohols’, and despite their name, they do not contain any actual alcohol. Sugar alcohols act in a similar way to sugars, in that they produce a sweet taste, but at a much lower calorie count. This is what makes them ideal ingredients for sweets that are much more suitable as part of a low carb diet.

Sugar alcohols are very common ingredients, and are not limited only to products made specifically for low carb or other special diets. You can find them everywhere, such as in the most popular low-calories colas and sugar-free chewing gums. For low carb dieters, this is good news, as many of the sweets and sugary treats that we crave are already available in reduced-calorie varieties, like candy bars, gummies, hard candies, chocolates, and even marshmallows!

If you’re interested in getting creative and making your own sweets for your next Halloween party or birthday party, this collection of low carb candy recipes from AllDayIDreamAboutFood.com has a wide variety of chocolatey and sweet tastes to explore.

Whatever your sweet tooth happens to crave, you can find a huge selection of sweets and candy at The Low Carb Grocery. In the meantime, here are some of the most popular low-sugar and sugar-free products that our customers simply love, and we’re sure that you will too!

Jelly Belly Sugar Free Jelly Beans – As the biggest name in gourmet jelly beans, you can be sure that Jelly Belly sugar free candies will taste spectacular. This pack of assorted flavours brings a different taste combination in each handful.

Smart Sweets Gummy Bears – This unique twist on gummy bears turns a sweet treat sour for an unusual taste sensation that you’ll love! Smart Sweets sour gummy bears are made using stevia, and they really crank up the sour flavour for those of us who enjoy a different kind of gummy snack.

Atkins Indulge Chocolate Peanut Candies – One handful of these crunchy chocolate bites and you’ll be hooked, just like the rest of us. Atkins Indulge treats are very low in sugar, and are sweetened with malitol. If you enjoy the classic taste of peanuts and chocolate, these are the sweet snacks for you!

So, if your sweet tooth is starting to crave something new, give one of these treats a try, or explore all the other low carb sweets available at The Low Carb Grocery. We’re sure that you’ll really enjoy trying a variety of new sweet treats, in moderation of course, as a part of your low carb lifestyle!

Fast and Easy Low Carb Appetizers

Fast and Easy Low Carb Appetizers

Aside from simply being delicious, the right appetizers can go a long way in setting the tone for a special occasion. There are countless recipes for appetizers, both hot and cold, that you can choose from to complement your meal, but it can be difficult to sort through them all and find the ones that fit best. In this article, we’ll take a look at what factors can determine what appetizer best suits an occasion, as well as some tips for great hot and cold recipes to try. Let’s take a look at some general tips you can use to plan what to cook up for appetizers at your next special occasion.

General Appetizer Tips

The foods we eat are closely related to the emotions we feel and our moods, so it should come as no surprise that different kinds of appetizers can help set the mood for a meal or special occasion.

For example, one type of event that typically has lots of appetizers on the menu is sporting event parties. When you’re watching the big game, it’s common to serve a wide variety of chips, dips, chicken wings, and other warm, savory appetizers. These types of appetizers can be considered types of comfort food, as they usually accompany exciting, fun events with family and friends. In addition, they are also pretty safe bets for anyone who may not be as adventurous in their cuisine exploration, but always love a nice spicy wing or crunchy chip and salsa.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re planning on hosting a sophisticated cocktail party complete with champagne and caviar, the mood you’re after probably won’t come from a plate of spicy chicken wings. This kind of event would be better served with a charcuterie plate of specialty cheeses, fresh fruit, and a variety of cured meats. Perhaps some antipasto, marinated olives, baked brie, or mini quiche might appear on the menu, too. These are all less common than things like chips and dip, and tend to cause conversation about them.

While we’re not trying to typecast certain appetizers in to only being suitable for a very particular type of event, we believe that choosing the appetizers based on the mood you want to set it a good way to start planning your menu. When you combine the nature of the event with the tastes and preferences of the guests, you can usually pick out at least a handful of appetizer options that really make sense and would be a big hit.

Types of Appetizers

While there are dozens of types of appetizers based on ingredients, the two high-level categories that are commonly used to sort them out is hot vs. cold. This way, you can get a general idea of what will be needed in order to prepare them, and know involved the process might be. Hot appetizers commonly feature meat, dairy, and sauces, while cold appetizers often include fruits, vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. Of course, these ingredients are certainly not limited to one or the other. Appetizers rarely follow strict rules, and can easily be customized for any individual taste or style.

Tips for Hot Appetizers

Hot appetizers come in many forms. They include items as simple as meatballs and chicken wings, to more complicated items such as phyllo pastries and mini quiches. One of the most important things about serving hot appetizers is timing. Many hot appetizers have very short cooking times, and if you’re not paying very close attention you could end up with burnt pastries. Be sure to plan your cooking times carefully, and take advantage of the alarm app on your smartphone. In just a few minutes, you can set up multiple alarms and use subtle notification settings to keep your appetizers on-track and perfectly prepared.

Even though many hot appetizers use pastry or other types of flour-based dough, there are plenty of low carb alternative ingredients you can use to keep the carb count low. For starters, research some pastry and dough recipes that use alternative flours like almond flour. For example, here’s a great recipe for a low carb pie crust from Kim at LowCarbMaven.com using almond flour that is great for any appetizer recipe that calls for a pie crust.

For appetizers that use sauces like chicken wings or meatballs, make sure you either choose a low sugar sauce like this sugar-free Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce from Wing Time, or if you’re creating your own sauce from scratch make sure you go with low-sugar or no-sugar ingredients.

Hot Appetizer Recipe

If you enjoy hot appetizers that have a bit of a spicy kick, then you simply have to try these Low Carb Cheesy Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms from Brenda over at SugarFreeMom.com. These tasty little bites are perfect appetizers for a holiday party or big family get-together, and they are amazingly easy to make. With just a handful of ingredients, these can even be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated for even more convenience. Give these a try this holiday season, and you’ll love them!

Tips for Cold Appetizers

Even though there are countless options for hot appetizers, there are even more for cold appetizers! Lots of cold appetizer recipes don’t even require any cooking or complex steps to prepare, and there are recipes for any occasion that will suit a wide variety of tastes and dietary needs.

Because cold appetizers don’t need to stay warm or risk getting burnt, many of them can be prepared well in advance of the event to save time and add convenience. However, there are some ingredients that you may find in a cold appetizer recipe that don’t refrigerate well. For example, avocado-based dips like guacamole will unfortunately turn brown if left exposed to the air for too long, making them look much less appealing. In those kinds of situations, you can still measure out or prepare the rest of the ingredients in advance and simply perform the final when the time is right.

For sweeter appetizers that may use whipped cream, you may find that the whipped cream will lose its shape and consistency if prepared too early, so this is another instance where freshness and timing are important. In addition, to better suit the low carb diet, sweet ingredients like whipped cream or chocolate should be swapped out for sugar-free alternatives to help keep the carb count low. These sugar-free dark chocolate chips from LC Foods are a great alternative that have plenty of uses including making amazing chocolate-dipped strawberries, which are always a delicious treat.

Since lots of cold appetizers require some type of cracker on which to be served, low carb dieters may want to consider an alternative method, like these melba toasts from Paskesz, which are very low in carbs. As another option, cucumber slices make a perfect little platform for a variety of cold appetizers, and they’re also great for using with lots of dips in place of chips.

Cold Appetizer Recipe

This amazing recipe for Smoked Salmon & Cucumber appetizers from Dara at CookinCanuck.com is the perfect example of how you can use simple ingredients to create something truly special. It uses a clever combination of capers, non-fat Greek yogurt, and dill to make a wonderful, creamy accompaniment for the smoked salmon. Placed on top of a fresh cucumber slice, these tasty bites won’t last long on any appetizer table!

Conclusion

Whether you’re planning a big holiday party or a simple dinner for two, we’re sure that these tips will help you put together a fantastic appetizer selection that everyone will love. Appetizers are a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to eat, especially the low carb way! We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful, and that the recipe ideas have given you some inspiration to try something new. Happy cooking!