Foodswap: replace cake with sugar-free jelly

cake jelly

Sometimes it’s good to end on a sweet note. Sometimes a coffee won’t cut it.

A sugar-free jelly (Jello) can be a fantastic way to finish a special meal without the calories and carbs of a more traditional pudding.

To go one better, if you’re a low-carb dieter, try replacing a little of the cold water with double-cream instead, to get a rich blancmange instead.


Two ways to enjoy your day’s carb count


On the left, a pile of fruit, nuts and vegetables  that collectively contain 30g of carbohydrates. On the right, half a burger bun, which also contains 30 grams of carbs.

If you’re on a carb-controlled diet (and you probably should be), 30 grams could be roughly your whole day’s intake. Which would you prefer?

How sugary is your fruit?


Getting your5-a-day is important, right? So why am I advising you avoid fruit?

Because, just like any other absolute piece of advice, there are some that are better and some that are worse. It would have been better had the advice been 5 veg a day, but the authors knew people would struggle with that.

Fruit is a plant’s gift to you – it wants you to eat it. So it loads it up with lots of lovely sugars to make it sweet, appetising and calorific.

Here’s a helpful graph. The top-left offers the most sugar for your mouthful, down to the bottom-right where the sugar is also offset by the amount of fibre it gives. When planning a low-carb or a low-cal diet, the lower down the graph, the less sugar and therefore the less kcal/carbs you need to worry about.


Foodswap: spaghetti out, courgettes in


If you’ve a pasta-fetish and you can’t imagine how those on a low-carb diet cope without a big steaming bowl of spag bol, trust me and give this a go instead.

Get a Julienne Peeler if you’ve not already got one. I like this one as it has a guard, which means you can leave it in the drawer without worrying about slicing your fingers.

Get a courgette (or a zucchini, if that’s what you prefer to call them). Use the peeler to make thin strips of courgette and flash fry them in oil or butter for about two minutes.

You’ll find your new spaghetti-replacement has only 3g carbs per 100g. Fantastic. As an added bonus, the different colours of the green outside and creamy inside make the dish more interesting, too.

Serve with a Bolognese or cream-based sauce and there’s a midweek evening meal in about 8 minutes of total prep and cooking time.

Foodswap: cucumber & pork scratchings for crisps

Hear me out!

No, it doesn’t sound like a great swap at first. But if you’re on a low-carb diet, pork scratchings are a perfect crisp replacement. They’ve still got the crunch you’re looking for but with no carbs. Why not make a hot sauce dip from mayonnaise and Franks or Tabasco sauce?

Cucumber works too. I find that if you cut the cucumber on a diagonal you end up with a good-sized crisp replacement that goes very well with this low-carb hummus recipe.

If you’re entertaining for Easter, give these a go on your guests and see how well they respond!

Your mileage may vary

gI_79198_One%20size%20does%20not%20fit%20all[1]We’re a funny lot, us people. Give us any subject, and we’ll probably find a way to argue about it.

Some people get very upset when others tell them their approach to dieting. Others become zealots about their own method and wish they could pull the wool from other people’s eyes to let them see the light!

Why do people who find a diet that works for them try to force it on everyone else? Because they’re so overjoyed that they’ve found the holy grail and they want you to benefit too. It comes from good intentions. But YMMV.

In case you’re not familiar with this term, it stands for “Your mileage may vary”. In the 70’s, American car adverts had to include this in the small print if they mentioned a car’s fuel economy. Nowadays it’s used on the internet to indicate that your personal experience may differ.

Your body – and your mind – are different from mine. And (unfortunately) this means that the diet method that worked and works for me won’t always be the one that works for you.

But some diet tips completely contradict each other! How can I make sure I have a good breakfast if I’m not meant to eat until lunchtime? Why would locking myself into a commitment to go to the gym twice a week work well if I should really be trying to increase my non-exercise activity?

Because the approach that works for you is personal (unfortunately, that’s a fact). The only way you can work out what’s right for you is to experiment and to build a ‘suite’ of mental and nutritional approaches or rules that work for you.

Of course, once you have you’ll probably want to write a book about it. Or perhaps a blog (why would anyone do that?) And that’s ok – in fact, it’s great! But never claim that your approach is the ONLY ONE. After all, YMMV.