10 Staples to turn your pantry into a healthy source for a low-carb lifestyle

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Whether a dedicated low-carb adherent or simply looking to cut back on carbs, you won't regret putting these low-carb staples in your shopping cart.

Low-carb staples

Ditch the carbs without sacrificing taste or nutrition with these 10 low-carb staples

1. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to smoothies or sprinkle over low-carb yogurt or on salads. Make these Easy Herbed Flaxseed Crackers to serve with your favorite dip or simply as a crunchy snack.

Per tablespoon:
2 grams (g) total carbs
0.1 g net carbs (net carbs = total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohol)

2. Psyllium husk

You are likely aware of psyllium as a fiber supplement, but did you know that psyllium husk is a secret ingredient in many low-carb baked goods, such as these Keto Coconut Rolls? A rich soluble fiber source, psyllium helps provide a chewy texture.

Per tablespoon:
8 g total carbs
1 g net carbs

3. Vinegar

Most kinds of vinegar are essentially calorie- and carb-free. Vinegar has potential benefits for weight loss and blood sugar control, and the flavor perks are undeniable. Consider stocking a variety, including rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, for marinades, dressings, and pickled vegetables.

Per tablespoon apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar:
0.1 g total carbs
0.1 g net carbs
Per tablespoon balsamic vinegar:
2.7 g total carbs
2.7 g net carbs

4. Tahini

Made from sesame seeds, the versatile tahini paste provides healthy fats and a good source of B vitamins. Use it to make this simple Avocado Tahini Dressing, drizzle it over roasted vegetables, or enjoy it as a dip.

Per tablespoon:
3.2 g total carbs
1.8 g net carbs

5. Almond flour

Almond flour is a common ingredient for low-carb and gluten-free baking, adding healthy fats, protein, and a mildly sweet flavor. You can also use it as a breading for pan-fried chicken, fish, or vegetables (such as zucchini or mushrooms).

Per 1/4 cup:
5 g total carbs
2 g net carbs

6. Avocado oil

Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats and has a neutral flavor making it a good choice for a wide range of cooking. Refined avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, so it can hold up to higher-temperature cooking techniques such as stir-frying.

Per tablespoon:
0 g total carbs
0 g net carbs

7. Sweetener of choice

Fortunately, there are many newer options for low-carb sweeteners to satisfy a craving for a treat. Erythritol-based sweeteners (such as Swerve) handily replace sugar, since they come in granulated, powdered, and "brown sugar" varieties. Monk fruit sweeteners, derived from a small tropical melon, make another popular choice for low-carb baking. Liquid stevia can also sweeten beverages or salad dressings.

Per tablespoon low-carb sweetener:
0 g total carbs
0 g net carbs

8. Cocoa powder

Although tempting, chocolate goodies contain loads of added sugars. However, unsweetened cocoa powder has no sugar and is minimal in calories and carbs. Add it to coffee or smoothies for an antioxidant boost. Cocoa powder may even be used to add a rich flavor to chili, stews, and steak rubs.

Per tablespoon:
3.1 g total carbs
1.1 g net carbs

9. Pecans

With their slight, natural sweetness and a powerful nutrition boost, pecans provide a rich source of healthy fats, fiber, and minerals such as zinc, magnesium. To enhance their flavor and texture, toast them until they start to brown and become fragrant. Use them as a salad topper, or simply as a crunchy snack.

Per one ounce (about 20 pecan halves):
3.9 g total carbs
1.2 g net carbs

10. Spices

Rely on antioxidant-rich spices for flavorful low-carb cooking. A well-stocked, healthy pantry includes dried basil, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger powder, paprika, and turmeric. Keep a variety of spices on hand to help you avoid the hidden carbs and high sodium found in many packaged seasoning blends, such as taco seasoning.

Per half teaspoon serving of most spices:
Under 1 g total carbs
Under 1 g net carbs

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Diabetes->Carbs & Carb Counting Meal Planning & Diets->Paleo & Low Carb
Sep 22, 2021
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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