How To Cut Down on Carbs

Cutting back on carbs is easier than you think!

6. Swap Your Sides

Most restaurants offer carb-heavy side options with meals such as rice, potatoes, bread, and pasta. Even at home we tend to include a starchy side with every meal! They are economical and filling so your plate and tummy are full for not a lot of dough (pun intended). When cutting out carbs, you have to find a different way to think.

Use low-carb substitutions when cooking at home like mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes, spaghetti squash instead of pasta, and riced cauliflower where white or brown rice is called for. Try our Cauliflower Fried Rice, Skinny Spaghetti Squash with Marinara, or Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. There are a ton of other recipes on SkinnyMs. for you to do your low-carb experimenting with, as well.

When dining out, opt for side salads or fresh veggies with your meals. Almost all restaurants offer at least one fresh vegetable and side salad option. And you can always ask for starchy items like potatoes and rice to be left out of a dish. Most restaurants are very accommodating to special requests, and they are beginning to offer more and more options for patrons with special diets.

7. Be Cautious with Dairy

Most dairy products are quite good for you as they contain calcium, magnesium, and protein. However, many have hidden and added sugars; the worst offenders being flavored milks, yogurts, and smoothies. Even plain milk contains lactose, which is a type of sugar. The best and easiest way to reduce carbs in your dairy is to read labels and choose items that are lower in carbs or find an alternative.

For example, an 8oz serving of plain milk contains 12-13g of carbs, but unsweetened almond or coconut milk has fewer than 2g of carbs on average. making them excellent alternatives. Additionally, plain Greek yogurt with a few berries sprinkled on top is a much lower carb option than flavored yogurts, which can have anywhere from 10 to upwards of 30g of carbs per serving!

Smoothies purchased from shops or restaurants are almost guaranteed to be loaded with carbs. A 20oz smoothie can pack up to 100g of carbs from added fruits, sugars, and dairy. We recommend making your own smoothies at home. Use Greek yogurt, berries, spinach, and coconut or almond milk for a lower carb version. You can even throw in a scoop of low-carb protein powder to make it a meal replacement.

8. Find Alternatives for Your Cravings

We all have food cravings. After a rough day, sometimes all you want to do is to order a pizza or dig into a pint of ice cream. When thinking about how to cut carbs, don’t assume that you can’t have fun foods or give in to a craving every now and then. You just have to think outside the box a little.

For example, low-carb tortillas are a life-saver for me. I use them to make tacos, enchiladas, breakfast tacos, and even a quick pizza by spreading them with sugar-free marinara, mozzarella cheese, and turkey pepperoni before baking.

Craving sweets? That’s ok too! There are plenty of low-carb alternatives for sweets, like in our Skinny Strawberry Ice Cream. All it takes is a little research on your part to find a lower-carb version of whatever it is that you just gotta have.

9. Cut the Cocktails

You don’t have to give up the occasional adult beverage to cut the carbs, however you do have to be smarter about what you consume. Fruity cocktails are full of sugar, not to mention calories. Most beers and wines are quite high in carbs as well.

Next time you’re out for cocktails, order your favorite liquor on the rocks or with club soda and a twist of lime. Light beers are also another lower-carb option. If you prefer wine, go for dry reds and skip the champagne.

10. Track Everything

There’s just no way to know how many carbohydrates you are consuming if you don’t track the nutrition content of every morsel you put in your mouth. A good number to shoot for is fewer than 50g of carbs each day. You can either keep a food journal manually or you can use a nutrition tracker such as MyFitnessPal or Lose It! to calculate your daily intake.

The nice thing about using an online tracker is that the math is already done for you, and they have large databases of foods (including restaurants) already loaded into their systems. They even have the ability to scan barcodes to immediately add items to your daily food journal.


We are here to help you figure out how to cut carbs. These 50 Low-Carb Dinner Recipes should give you plenty of menu options for tasty, low-carb dinners and this Ultimate List of 44 High-Protein, Low-Carb Foods is a great resource for knowing which foods to consume when cutting carbs. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!

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Chef Heather

Heather is a trained chef and writer from Houston, TX. She has a degree in culinary arts, and is married to her culinary school sweetheart who is also a chef. Heather has a passion for creating healthy meals that don't sacrifice on flavor. She loves Crossfit and is always looking for ways to make healthier versions of her favorite meals. Heather believes the secret to sticking with any healthy meal plan is to include foods that you really enjoy!

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