The Simple Truth About Potatoes As Part Of Low Carb And Keto Living
Do low carb dieters and keto dieters really need to wave goodbye to potatoes forever, or are there some situations where they might be ok? We’re going to dive deep on this topic and get to the root of why potatoes are on the no-go list for low carb and keto diets, and show you how to swap them out with better options.
Anyone who’s new to the low carb or keto diet inevitably has the same handful of questions about what types of foods are ok, which are good if kept in moderation, and which need to be avoided entirely. Things like bread and sweets are typically the first ones that people are curious about, but fortunately there are plenty of amazing low carb versions of these to enjoy. However, when it comes to potatoes, what’s the story? After all, you can make bread, bagels, and wraps with all types of different low carb flour, but a potato is a potato. There’s no changing it.
However, while we know that wheat flour is the primary source of carbs in breads and baked goods and sugar is the culprit in sweet treats, what is it about potatoes that make them a food to avoid for low carb and keto dieters? Let’s take a closer look at the organic composition of your average potato, and find out.
Why Are Potatoes A Bad Fit For Keto And Low Carb Diets?
Potatoes are root vegetables that are very popular dietary staples in cultures all over the globe. In terms of nutrition, potatoes contain vitamins such as potassium and vitamin C, however they mostly consist of starch and carbohydrates, making them difficult to incorporate into reduced carb diets. A single medium potato consists of about 25g of carbohydrates, which is very high when compared to many other foods. To give this some additional perspective, the daily carb target for the ketogenic diet is about 20-30g of carbs per day, meaning that a single potato is enough to consume the entire daily carb allowance.
Another thing about potatoes is that they can rapidly change the balance of blood sugar when consumed. This can have adverse impact on the status of ketosis in the body, as well as negatively affect the blood sugar levels of diabetics. For context, the glycemic index of a potato is nearly three times that of a slice of plain old white bread. This is definitely not a good thing for low carb and keto dieters.
So, this begs the question – can potatoes EVER fit in as part of a low carb or keto diet?
We’re going to be totally honest here: Not really, no.
It is possible with enough effort to shuffle your carb counts around and squeeze in a potato from time to time if you simply can’t go another day without one. But, does it really make sense to go through all that hassle and risk knocking yourself out of ketosis just for the sake of a potato? In our opinion, it’s just not worth it, especially with there being so many different methods to recreate the tastes and textures using healthier ingredients.
If you’re craving the taste experiences of hot salty French fries or creamy garlic mashed potatoes, there are plenty of ways to satisfy those cravings and not derail your diet. In fact, we’ve pulled together some amazing examples that you can use to satisfy your desires for various forms of potatoes, and they’re so easy and delicious that they’ll probably end up being regular parts of your weekly meal plans.
What Low Carb Alternatives Can I Use Instead Of Potatoes?
Low carb chefs and keto cooking enthusiasts are continually experimenting with alternative ingredients to discover exciting new creations that surpass high-carb foods in taste, texture, and nutritional value. For potatoes, there are many alternatives that can take their place, depending on the type of potato dish you’re after. Some of the most popular potato alternatives include cauliflower, daikon radish, turnip, rutabaga, jicama, celery root, and kohlrabi. Each one has particular characteristics that make them best suited to recreating certain types of potato dishes.
Cauliflower and turnips are particularly well suited to taking the place of potatoes to make a variety of delectable mashed side dishes. Firm vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, jicama, beetroots and celery roots can be cut and fried to make amazingly colourful and crispy low carb fried potato alternatives. If scalloped potatoes are what you’re after, you can thinly slice a daikon radish or a turnip and prepare it in a similar manner as regular potatoes.
So, there are definitely lots of options out there for ‘potatoey’ alternatives that fit perfectly on your plate next to your protein and vegetables, and that’s good news. The better news is that we’ve saved you the time of hunting down some recipe ideas that you can use to see this for yourself. Here’s four stellar potato substitute recipes that are sure to impress you with how incredibly tasty they are, with low carb counts and simple preparation steps.
Low Carb & Keto Side Dish Recipes To Use In Place Of Potatoes
Low Carb Keto Cauliflower Mashed – For a low carb twist on classic mashed potatoes that will be right at home on the Thanksgiving dinner table or piled high beside a perfectly grilled steak, this recipe for keto mashed cauliflower will most certainly be one that you keep coming back to over and over again. Made with just a handful of ingredients including fresh cauliflower, garlic, butter, coconut milk, salt and pepper, and chives, this version can easily be adjusted and tweaked to suit your personal preferences. For example, we’re big fans of cheese on pretty much everything, so why not shred up some sharp cheddar or parmesan cheese and mix it in for a creamy, cheesy mashed cauliflower? Trust us on this one.
Keto Scalloped Turnips – Big family dinners on special occasions and holidays often feature scalloped potatoes, so to make a healthier low carb and keto-friendly version, you’ve got to turn to the turnip. Turnips are the perfect substitute for potatoes in this dish, as they bake up soft and tender, just like normal potatoes. Sauteed onions, fresh herbs, and the richness of heavy cream and cream cheese all combine in this dish to create a decadent side that is amazingly low in carbs. Rest assured, people at your table will definitely be going back for seconds of this low carb twist on scalloped potatoes.
Keto Seasoned Rutabaga Fries – We all love fries. There’s no two ways about it. It’s the carbs we don’t love. Fortunately, there are lots of other kinds of vegetables that can be crisped up like French fries, many of which are far more flavourful than a basic potato fry. Rutabagas are a perfect example of how veggie fries can easily knock potatoes off their pedestal. In this recipe, a simple seasoning blend brings big flavour to accentuate the taste of the rutabaga, making a delicious low carb and keto-friendly side dish or snack. Here’s a tip – while you can make these in the oven as described in the recipe, we suggest cooking them up using an air fryer for an even crispier rutabaga French fry.
Low Carb Turnip Gratin – Potatoes au Gratin is a very popular side dish, and for good reason. But if you’ve never had turnip gratin before, you’ve been missing out. Turnips and creamy cheese are a match made in heaven, and this recipe is very easy to prepare. Thinly sliced turnips, onions, heavy cream, butter, garlic, chives, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper are all you need to prepare one of the best potato side dish substitutes that you’ll ever have. Quite frankly, there’s a really good chance you’ll forget about potatoes altogether when you serve up this hearty turnip gratin dish!
You Won’t Miss Potatoes Anymore With These Spectacular Low Carb Side Dishes
Hungry yet? After describing those recipes, we aren’t surprised. Once you try recipes like these to satisfy those potato cravings, there’s no going back. Whether you’re a crispy fry person or lean more towards a cheesy mashed side dish, there’s plenty of ways to put those taste experiences back on the menu with alternative vegetables that are low in carb and work with the keto diet.
The Low Carb Grocery can help you on your mission to replace potatoes with products like this incredible mash seasoning from The Garlic Box you can use to boost the flavour of mashed cauliflower or turnip, low carb gravy mixes to slather on top, and a huge selection of low carb snacks, including delicious products like these BBQ seasoned chips from Quest, that are better than any regular old potato chip.
Or, shop all low carb product categories.