When you first start out on the keto diet, you learn that potatoes are one of those sneaky high-carb foods to avoid. At the same time, you know that your diet should be 70 to 80 percent healthy fats, including grass-fed beef and other quality fatty meats. Many people can’t imagine a juicy steak without a potato, and potatoes are commonly an affordable side on most dinner menus. How can you enjoy your meat without potatoes? The good news is that there are options that will be just as delicious and fill the “potato role” in your meal.
But before you learn about potato alternatives lets learn a little more about potatoes themselves.
The Truth About Potatoes
Potatoes are a staple in the American family diet. From French fries and baked potatoes to potato salad and mashed potatoes, it seems that they are a part of just about any meal. There are so many things that you can do with potatoes, which is why it is one of the hardest foods to avoid on the keto diet.
The reason that potatoes are off the table is that they are high in carbs. In fact, potatoes rank higher than white bread in terms of making your blood sugar spike, and the whole principle behind the keto diet is to transition your body from getting its energy from glucose to getting it from ketones that come from fat.
Potatoes are a starchy vegetable that grows below the ground. They belong to a class of food called “tubers.” These plants are known for their starch and carbohydrate content. One serving of potatoes contains around 35 grams of carbs, and on the keto diet, you want to keep your carb intake below 30 grams. That is why potatoes are off the list of foods that are keto-friendly.
Low Carb Potato Alternatives
Cauliflower is the most popular food to replace potatoes for people who are on the keto diet. It has a mild flavor and a smooth texture after it is cooked. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, and it is known to be low-calorie and rich in folate, fiber, and vitamins C, E, and K. The fiber will help to make you feel full for a longer time.
In addition, cauliflower is an anti-inflammatory, and it has half as many calories per serving as potatoes. Anything you can make with potatoes, you can make with cauliflower, and it will taste great. For example, you can find recipes for the following cauliflower dishes:
- Cauliflower Gratin
- Cauliflower Tots
- Mashed Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Salad
- Baked Cauliflower Fries
- Roasted Cauliflower
As you can see, the options are limitless, and you will find that you don’t miss potatoes nearly as much as you thought you would.
Rutabagas are also a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, and they contain the same health benefits. They have a sweet, earthy taste, and are rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
A great choice for a potato alternative.
They are also low in calories. One serving of rutabagas contains only six grams of carbohydrates, which makes them a great choice for a potato alternative.
When you purchase rutabagas at the grocery store, they are normally coated in paraffin wax, so you will want to remove it before you cook them. You can slice the root and stem ends and then use a knife to remove the wax. The wax is there only to prevent the rutabagas from drying out, so you don’t need it once you are ready to cook them.
You can make many recipes with rutabagas that will serve as a great alternative to potato dishes. Here are a few ideas:
- Mashed Rutabagas
- Rutabaga Noodles (eat them raw or in a casserole)
- Rutabaga Gratin
- Rutabaga Hasselback
- Rutabaga Oven Fries
- Roasted Rutabaga
It will take you longer to cook rutabagas than it would potatoes, but the end result will be a dish that is a great alternative with low calories and low carbs.
3. Celery Root
Also called Celeriac, celery root is not the most attractive vegetable, but it is a great source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamins B6 and C. It is a cousin to common celery stalks, but it is more similar to turnips in its taste and texture.
Celeriac is low in calories and carbs. It has only seven net grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, and there are many dishes you can prepare with it. Take a look at the following:
- Roasted Celeriac
- Celery Root Mash
- Baked Celeriac
- Celeriac Fries
- Creamy Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup
- Celeriac Gratin
Many of these dishes will turn out to be the comfort food that potatoes is, and they are tasty, too. It often goes undiscovered because it is ugly, but the truth is that it tastes like potatoes mixed with celery and parsley. It is a delicious potato alternative.
Turnips are members of the same family of vegetables like cabbage, and they actually look like rutabagas. You have to be careful when you choose turnips at the store, as older and larger turnips can have a more bitter taste. Stick to turnips that are the size of a baseball. Make sure that you boil them in water, and keep the cover off the pot. This will get rid of any bitterness.
The great thing about turnips is that you can make almost any dish that you would make with potatoes. In addition, one cup of turnips has around six grams of carbs and two grams of fiber. They also contain calcium, iron, and vitamins C and K. Here are some preparation choices for turnip dishes:
- Roasted Turnips
- Mashed Turnips
- Turnip Fries
- Twice Baked Turnips
- Turnip Gratin
Turnips are similar to potatoes in that they take seasoning well, and you can substitute them into just about any potato dish for a low-carb alternative to your favorite side.
5. Daikon (also known as Mooli)
Daikon is a type of radish that is widely eaten in southeastern Asia. It can be prepared in many of the same dishes like potatoes, and it offers a great substitute as it contains only nine grams of carbohydrates in one daikon radish. In addition, it has two grams of protein, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, E, and B6.
Daikon has a mild flavor with a sprinkle of peppery taste. When you prepare it, you will peel, cut, and boil it until it is tender. Then you will be able to make whatever recipe you like. Check out the following ideas:
- Mashed Daikon
- Roasted Daikon
- Daikon Salad
- Boiled Daikon
- Daikon Fries
This vegetable has a similar texture to potatoes, and it is easy to prepare. If you don’t eat it all, you can save it for the morning and make Daikon hash browns to go with your breakfast. This is a versatile alternative to potatoes.
Kohlrabi is a vegetable that is related to cabbage, and it is widely eaten in Europe and Asia. It is also known as a German turnip, and it is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. It has a bulb that is normally purple, white, or pale green, and the inside is whitish-yellow. It also has left, but people often discard them. It is a little sweeter than broccoli or cabbage, but it has a similar texture.
Kohlrabi is full of nutrients, including fiber, two grams of protein, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins C and B6, and it only has two grams of net carbs per 100-gram serving, which makes it the lowest carb of all the options on this list. It is simple to prepare, and these are a few great ideas:
- Roasted Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi Fries
- Boiled Kohlrabi
- Mashed Kohlrabi
There are additional health benefits to this vegetable, including the fact that it contains a number of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanin, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These plant compounds help to protect your cells from free radical damage, and it gives you a health boost.
Jicama is a root vegetable that comes from South America, and it has a juicy and crunchy texture. It is a versatile food, and it works well as a potato substitute. Jicama is roundish, and its skin is a smooth medium brown. It has three layers, and you will remove the outer two before you prepare it. The inside layer is similar in texture and color to an apple. It has less than nine carbs per 100-gram serving, so it works as a substitute for potatoes.
Jicama is a little sweeter and crunchier than potatoes, but it will work in dishes as a potato substitute. As with the other alternatives, jicama has nutrients, including one gram of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and others. There are a number of delicious dishes that you can make with them, including:
- Baked Jicama Fries
- Mashed Jicama
- Baked Jicama
- Roasted Jicama
- Jicama Chips
The list continues on, as this is a versatile food, and people really enjoy the flavor and the texture. You might even find that you like it better than potatoes.
Why People Aren’t More Familiar with These Alternatives to Potatoes
You may wonder why people don’t use these alternatives more often, considering that they are lower in carbs and taste just as delicious. The reality is that some people do, but potatoes are easy. Everyone can identify a potato, and most people know how to prepare one. They are so common that they are mass-produced and available in most stores and restaurants.
Most of these alternatives are also available in most grocery stores, and restaurants are beginning to offer dishes that provide low carb alternatives. Almost anything you make with potatoes can be made with these seven foods. You just need to know how to cook them.
Low Carb Alternatives Will Become a Favorite
When you are starting out on the keto diet, you may think that nothing can replace the combination of meat and potatoes. It’s such a popular duo that it is a phrase that describes two things that fit perfectly together. The reality is that the alternatives listed above can just as easily work with meat.
Potatoes are comfort food, and they fill you up. The taste and texture mix well with the taste and texture of meat. The fact that it hasn’t become common for people to eat alternatives is more a matter of convenience than anything else. Until people began to realize that eating a lower-carb diet is actually better for the body, there wasn’t much of a need to find an alternative to potatoes.
Potatoes are versatile, and they can be prepared any way from chips to fries to mashed. The great thing about these alternatives is that many of them mimic this versatility, and they taste great, too. Each vegetable on this list has a slightly different taste and texture, but the end result is the same, and they will complement your meat and leave you satiated every time.
Cauliflower is particularly versatile, as it can be boiled to replace potatoes, but it can also be riced. It is very similar to potatoes in texture, and it is making an appearance in trendy restaurants already. Kohlrabi and Jicama are less known, but they are slowly emerging as great alternatives. All of these veggies will be situated near the onions and potatoes in the grocery store.
One of the scariest things about making the commitment to adopt the keto lifestyle is the thought of giving up foods that you love, including potatoes. Unfortunately, potatoes have to go because they have more than your entire daily allowance of carbohydrates in one serving. To get your body into ketosis, you must cut the carbs so that your body will stop using stored glucose for energy.
In spite of this, you can use any of these alternatives to create a delicious substitute to go with your meat. Cauliflower is by far the most widely used, and it will even appear in trendy restaurants. It is easy to prepare, and it complements the meat well. Once you branch out and try these alternative vegetables, you may find that you don’t miss potatoes at all.