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Swaps for Starchy Carbs, and Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Recipes!
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Swaps for Starchy Carbs, and Laughing Cow Cream Cheese Recipes!

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09.12.12
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Dear Hungry Girl,

Help! I'm obsessed with carbs, but I find that anytime I eat white bread, potatoes, noodles, etc., I gain weight. Are there any substitutes that aren't as starchy?

Carb Craver

Hi Carb Craver,

I actually hear this pretty often. Personally, I limit refined carbs like white bread and pasta because they make me hungrier than other foods. I do have swaps that are way less starchy... Check these out!

Instead of bread and tortillas... Wrap your burgers and sandwich goodies in large leaves of lettuce or cabbage. Just steam the cabbage first. (About 45 seconds in the microwave is perfect!) If that's too drastically SWAPPY for you, start with light bread or buns, which have fewer carbs than the standard stuff (bonus points if they pack fiber!), and then leave off the top piece to save even more carby calories.

Instead of pizza crust... I love unconventional pizza crusts. For protein-packed options, use a chicken breast cutlet that has been pounded thin or fat-free liquid egg substitute cooked as a large thin patty in a skillet. There are so many veggies that work great as crust swaps, too -- bell pepper halves, portabella mushroom caps, slabs of eggplant, and more. Bake or grill 'em, and then load them up with pizza sauce, light cheeses, turkey pepperoni, etc. You get all the pizza flavor without the unwanted starchy carbs.

Instead of potatoes... Butternut and kabocha squash are amazing for French fries, and turnips and carrots work well too! For mashed potatoes, try steaming and mashing cauliflower. Then season it up, and top it with gravy! Or go halfsies with real potatoes like we do in this HG recipe.

Instead of pasta... Tofu shirataki is a FANTASTIC non-carby noodle swap. A serving has just 3g carbs and 20 calories. Pretty unbelievable! As for other pasta swaps, spaghetti squash is amazing. I'm also a fan of steamed broccoli cole slaw and zucchini ribbons as pasta stand-ins.

Instead of chips/crackers... This recipe for crunchy Baked Kale makes a GREAT chip swap. TRY IT. Another unconventional yet awesome option? Seaweed snacks: crispy little sheets of roasted seaweed. They come in lots of great flavors, and they're REALLY low in calories!

There you have it -- some seriously AMAZING swaps for all your carb cravings!

Hey HG,

I LOVE The Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges (I eat them DAILY), so I'm very curious about the new cream cheese spreads. How are they? And do you have any recipes or ideas for how to use them?

Livin' on the Wedge

Hi Livin' on the Wedge,

Since it sounds like you're as crazy about the Cow's light cheese wedges as I am, I have a feeling you'll LOVE the Smooth Sensations wedges as well. They're super creamy and full of flavor. They come in the same eight-wedge wheels as the other wedges, except the foil wrappers are GOLD. (Schmancy!) We actually developed three Hungry Girl breakfast recipes using 'em: Strawberries 'n Cream Stuffed French Toast (insanely decadent and delicious), Wake Up the Big Apple Empanadas (ideal for an early crowd), and this Cheesy Bacon Breakfast Crostini (a nice savory way to start your day). Also, an HG subscriber suggested using the Cinnamon Cream spread in this awesome duo -- it's THE BEST.

You can also play around with HG recipes by swapping out a Laughing Cow light cheese wedge for one of the 1/3 less fat cream cheese spreads. For each wedge exchange, just add 10 calories and 2.5g fat. This kid-friendly Beetles on a Board recipe would taste fantastic with the Cinnamon Cream. Or just pair a Fuji apple with the Cinnamon Cream for a pretty spectacular snack. Make the Egg Mug Classic with a wedge of the Garden Vegetable. Perfection!

Other ideas? Stir some of the Strawberries & Cream or Cinnamon Cream into a growing oatmeal bowl, or spread a wedge on a low-fat toaster waffle or light English muffin. Use the Garden Vegetable in a sandwich or wrap. And of course, any flavor would be great on a light bagel!

Hope I've given you enough ideas to get started. Enjoy!

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