5 Super Easy Ways to Cut Carbs

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Photo credit: Scott Veg

When you love all things bread and pasta, cutting carbs from your diet can seem nearly impossible.

However, restricting your intake of carbohydrates–especially the kind that come in the form of a large box of pizza—is an important factor to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.

Fear not, carb lovers, we’re providing 5 alternatives to some of your favorite recipes that are sans carbs. And they’re delicious.

Spaghetti Squash

Someone from up above took pity on those of us who love pasta by creating the most amazing vegetable, spaghetti squash. As its name implies, it’s a squash that you bake and then scrape out the contents with a fork, and it comes out in strings resembling pasta. The even better part is that it tastes like whatever sauce you put on it!

We recommend this marinara and turkey meatball spaghetti squash recipe as a great alternative to pasta.

Pizza bites

There is a lot of buzz about cauliflower crust pizza floating around in the PinterestSphere, but it can be incredibly time consuming to make (not to mention the smell alone can put off your appetite). These no-crust pizza bites only require a muffin tin, Canadian bacon, shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and any additional pizza toppings of your choice.

The best part of this recipe (minus being super duper healthy) is that it allows everyone to create his or her own mini pizza—minus the carbs!

Eggplant pizza

Replace the high-calorie crust with eggplant! Slice the eggplant, salt both sides and let sit to draw out the moisture, sprinkle some herbs, and bake for about 25 minutes. Next, add your pizza toppings, and place back in the oven for a few more minutes. Only downside is this eggplant pizza recipe is a little tricky to eat with your hands—you may have to opt for a fork and knife.

Pepper nachos

This pepper nacho recipe is perfect for the chip lover! Using mini peppers (sliced in half and hallowed-out), stuff full of corn, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and low-fat cheese. Pop in the oven until the cheese gets nice and melty, and then snack away!

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are an absolute lifesaver when you need that salty and crunchy fix. Just add olive oil, salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices you’d like and bake for about 15 minutes—so easy and delicious!

Have a favorite carbless recipe you’d like to share? Comment below!

Slimmed-Down Summer Recipes

It’s the season of barbeque and picnics, and at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we know most of our favorite summertime eats are brimming with saturated fat and cholesterol. As a solution, we’ve compiled our favorite recipes for healthy, waistline-friendly alternatives to the usual warm-weather menu items. Serve them proudly at your next cookout—they’re nutritious and delicious!

Trim Potato Salad:
3 med. potatoes
1/3 c. vegetable stock
1/4 c. low fat plain yogurt
3 tbsp. green pepper, minced
1 hardboiled egg (minus the yolk), chopped
1/3 c. onion, minced
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in skins and cut into bite size pieces (potato skins have all the nutrients!). Allow chopped potatoes to cool until just warm. Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly until well mixed. Chill and serve.

  • No-Pounder Beet Burgers: 1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice
    1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
    1 cup shredded beets
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Fresh black pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1 teaspoon dill
    3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
    1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs
    Olive oil for the pan

Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, and then change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat. Now transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Place the mixture in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Form the patties by taking a heaping 1/2-cup of mixture, and shaping it into burgers with your hands.

Pour a very thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through. Serve on a whole-wheat bun with all your favorite trappings.

  • Skinny Pasta Salad 1/2 lb. rotini (springs)
    2 lg. carrots, diced
    3 ribs celery, diced
    1 lg. red pepper, diced
    1 med. white onion, diced
    20 sliced black olives
    1 lg. cucumber, diced
    1 lg. tomato, diced
    Dill weed, black pepper, Mrs. Dash, basil
    1/2 bottle low fat Italian dressing (or more if needed)

Cook the pasta as per instructions on box, then chill. Chop all the vegetables and mix together.

Add dill, black pepper, and basil to taste (fresh is best). Add the chilled pasta, Italian dressing, and toss together. Chill and serve cold.

  • Low Fat Hot Dogs:The trim tip for this summer favorite is easy—simply make the switch from meat to meatless. Smart Dogs by Lightlife are fantastic hot dog substitutes without the mystery meat or saturated fat. In fact, each link has 0 grams of fat, 45 calories, and 8 grams of protein. All that nutrition and they still taste great! Grill these puppies, and top them off with a whole-wheat bun, diced onions, relish, ketchup, and you’ve got a new summer classic!

What is your favorite summer-time food?


Where to Go for the Best Sushi in the Low Country

Best SushiWhen nothing will do but sushi, South Carolina’s Low Country has plenty to offer your palate. Here’s a guide for anyone in search of great Japanese cuisine in the greater Charleston area.

Wasabi of Charleston

Please a crowd at Wasabi of Charleston, which offers sushi and hibachi dinners, plus an extensive drink menu (including plenty of sake choices!). In addition to classic Japanese cuisine prepared by professionally trained chefs, Wasabi boasts an exciting nightlife and hosts special events including birthdays and anniversaries. Open for lunch (11:30 to 3:00) and dinner.

O-Ku Sushi

This upscale sushi hotspot was cited by Esquire magazine as one of the country’s 20 Best New Restaurants in 2010. So far, its finely prepared entrees and small plates have lived up to the hype. With locally sourced ingredients, a sleek interior design, and an assortment of hand-crafted cocktails, O-Ku’s unique take on Japanese favorites provides something for everyone to love. Open for lunch (11:30 to 2:00) and dinner.


In addition to its unique cocktails and hand-rolled sushi, Bambu boasts an outdoor patio and live music every weekend night during the summer. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the Charleston-influenced Japanese and Thai dishes, the quirky décor, and the community-style tables (private booths are available too!). Bambu further distinguishes itself from other sushi haunts in town by offering diners a glimpse into the sushi-rolling process, which they can observe via a webcam stationed in the kitchen. Open at 5:00 p.m. daily.


Tsunami’s four locations and extensive menu (which includes hibachi, sushi, and other traditional Japanese fare) make this an ideal site for a night out, no matter what crowd you’re with. The restaurant makes a special effort to accommodate those with food allergies and special diets, making this restaurant the place to go for those with food restrictions. Open for dinner daily.



Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

thanksgiving dinnerMany of our patients express concerns about eating a healthy Thanksgiving dinner. They don’t want to overindulge, but they do want to enjoy dinner with their friends and family. You can have your cake and eat it too if you’re careful.

Have plenty of fresh, raw veggies available.

These will play a major role on your Thanksgiving plate, so make sure you have plenty of raw vegetables and salads on the table. Good choices include broccoli, peas, beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, cabbage, and romaine lettuce. If you cook sweet potatoes or squash, use butter, not margarine, and keep fat to a minimum.

Eat an appetizer.

Don’t go to the Thanksgiving table ravenously hungry, as you’ll overeat. If you’re going to someone else’s home, have a small snack before you go, or serve appetizers if dinner is at your house. A small amount of fat will help tide you over until dinner, so try sliced avocado, nuts, or smoked salmon with a little cheese on a cracker.

Bake the turkey and eat the white meat.

Instead of deep-frying, bake the turkey and avoid eating the skin or visible fat. Eat mostly the white meat, which is lower in calories and fat than the dark meat.

Use less of the pan drippings to make gravy.

If you use half of the pan drippings in your gravy, you’ll have all of the flavor and half of the fat.

Mentally divide your plate in quarters.

Put fresh vegetables on half your plate, turkey on one quarter, and potatoes and stuffing on the remaining quarter. You’ll be able to taste everything, but with half your plate full of veggies, you’ll eat fewer calories. Eat slowly, and stop when you’re comfortably full—long before you feel stuffed.

Drink water.

Avoid the high-calorie drinks and have a simple glass of water. Dress it up with a splash of juice or a slice of lemon or lime.

Don’t go back for seconds unless it’s for veggies.

When you’ve eaten what’s on your plate, wait for a while before you go back for seconds. It takes time for your stomach to communicate with your brain that you’re full. If you’re still hungry, have more vegetables, preferably raw.

Share dessert, or have just a nibble.

If Aunt Shirley’s cheesecake is too hard to resist, have a small piece, or take a couple of bites from Uncle Dave’s piece. If you like to try several desserts, take small spoonfuls and savor them.

What are your favorite tips for eating healthy at Thanksgiving?

Let Bread Be Your Friend, Not Your Foe

breadIn their desire to eat healthy, many people have lumped all breads and grains together and given them something of a negative reputation, which they do not deserve. This post will touch on the differences between the breads and grains you should be eating and those you should minimize.

Remember, you can eat anything you like in moderation.

We won’t tell you not to eat something, but we will suggest reducing your intake. We set ourselves up for failure when we say that we won’t eat something, because then we tend to crave it. Have a little, not a lot. Have one slice of bread instead of three, or one cup of grains instead of two. Sensible is the way to go.

Go for brown instead of white, and eat as much whole grain bread as possible.

In general, brown grains and rice are nutritionally superior. White bread and white rice have been processed, meaning they have lost some of their nutrients and fiber. The closer you can stay to the grain as it appears in nature, the better.

Whole-grain bread is better than wheat, which is better than white. To know if you have whole-grain bread, the first ingredient will contain the word whole. Sometimes wheat bread isn’t truly whole wheat—it’s mostly white bread with enough wheat added to change its color. Look at what kind of flour is used in the bread. Wild rice is healthier than brown rice, which is healthier than white.

A note about seeded breads: sometimes these are nothing more than white bread with seeds, so read the label to see which type of flour is used. And don’t let the words unbleached or enriched fool you, as they often mean processed. The key word is whole.

Check fiber content.

Bread should have at least 3 grams of fiber per slice. Less fiber means you’re not eating whole-grain bread.

Read labels.

Often, it’s not the grain that’s the issue, but the sweeteners, additives, and preservatives that have been added to the finished product. Many companies add high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils and vegetable shortening (trans fats) to baked goods, so read your labels. Some bakers now avoid using those harmful chemicals in all their products.

It’s not enough for the label to say 0 trans fats, as a food can have a small amount of trans fats and claim to be trans fat free. You need to read labels.

Eat bread with proteins and fats.

As bread is a carbohydrate, it can raise your blood sugar. Eating bread with proteins and fats, especially if you choose white bread, can somewhat blunt the rise in blood sugar. Many margarines contain trans fats, so be careful what you spread on the bread.

Have you been participating in breast cancer awareness activities this month? If so, what did you do?