Paleo Low-Carb Grain Replacements

Switch grains for vegetables

If you make the decision to remove grains from your diet you may find yourself looking at the empty third of your dinner plate and wondering what should take up the space where the rice, pasta, couscous or bread used to be.

Grains can add texture to a meal but mostly they are a cost effective way of filling yourself up and providing energy. Not only can grains have negative effects on nutrition they will generally provide more calories and carbs with less nutrients than many vegetables when consumed in an equal volumes. For example:

  • 100g cauliflower, cooked 23kcal, carbohydrate 4g
  • 100g brown rice, cooked, 111kcal, carbohydrate 23g

The simplest answer is to try to replace grains with vegetables, so here are some ideas:

Replace noodles with zoodles!

Use a mandolin slicer to quickly turn courgettes (zucchini) into a noodle like substitute that can be steamed or stir-friend in minutes. Mandolin slicers and spiral vegetable slicers are available on amazon for under £20, and can turn vegetables into noodle and pasta like shapes quickly and easily.

primal low-carb grain replacements zoodles


Replace rice with cauliflower, or root vegetables

Primal risotto can be made with grated or shredded root vegetables like turnip or parsnip. What’s more is it quicker to cook and doesn’t require the constant stirring that rice based risotto does. Vegetables can be ‘riced’ with a hand grater or by using the shred setting on a food processor. Try this primal risotto recipe or invent your own variation.

Missing your mom’s rice pudding after Sunday dinner? This is an excellent recipe for Paleo ‘rice’ pudding using the trusty cauliflower.

Replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash

Amazing, a squash that contains ready made vegetable spaghetti on the inside! These are pretty hard to find inUKsupermarkets but they are available from specialist growers online. Urban farming collectives are increasing in popularity and often cater to very specific local user needs. Alternatively, buy some seeds and start the spaghetti squash revolution!

Primal porridge

One of the most common objections I hear to giving up grains goes something like this: ‘I couldn’t live without my porridge in the morning. Aren’t whole grains good for me all of a sudden?’

Whatever your breakfast of choice, it is often a form of comfort food that eases you into the day especially on cold winter mornings. Few have the time for elaborate meal preparation before work, hence the popularity of those cleverly marketed convenience foods; breakfast cereals. Many people eat the same breakfast day in, day out, often wholegrain based. Imagine eating the same lunch or dinner every day. Any wonder food intolerances are on the rise? So vary it up and think of breakfast as a meal like any other.

There’s a tonne of Paleo porridge ideas available online proving that it’s a common dilemma. I’ve tried a few; the ones involving ground nuts are generally a bit more time consuming to make and über- calorie dense. Again look to replace grains with vegetables or even fruit where possible. Here are two of the best ones I have found:

Squash porridge

Fruit & nut porridge

primal low-carb cauliflower mash

cauliflower puree

Don’t forget the cauliflower mash

Not a grain I know, but white potatoes are a poor dietary choice despite their widespread use since Walter Raleigh helpfully introduced them to European diets after discovering them in North America in 1587. (Although they were first eaten by pre-Columbian people up to 7000 years ago.)  White potatoes are high on the glycaemic index, meaning they cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, and contain 69 kcal and 17g of carbohydrate per 100g, compared to cauliflower’s 23kal and 4g of carbohydrate. So boil up those caulis, add some butter and get mashing.

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One Response to Paleo Low-Carb Grain Replacements

  1. Pingback: 5 Paleo Recipes for Beginners | getbeasted

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