Low-Carb Chicken Pasta Ideas

Overview

If you are trying out a low carb diet or need to eat less carbs for health reasons, there is probably a lot of tinkering you must do with your entire diet. Eating low-carbohydrate foods isn't just cutting out lots of starches and sugars, but also about replacing them with quality proteins and good fats. There are several alternative recipes and ingredients for the classic favorite dish of chicken with pasta. You can create this dish low carb by substituting the pasta with different types of pasta or even vegetables, and adding a lot of vegetables with natural sauces.

The Basics of a Low-Carb Diet

Eating low carb can be complex, but there is the main process to keep in mind about how the diet works. First off, carbohydrates are what store up to create fat in the body, but are first broken down as sugar molecules during digestion. If these carbohydrates are continually being ingested and digested, the body uses this sugar to burn for energy, thus letting the rest of the carbohydrates build up as fat. If you cut out a lot of these carbs, your body will be forced to turn to the stored fat to burn for energy, thus helping you lose weight. There's a big difference between low-carb and low-fat diets. Instead of cutting out all the fats, you are just cutting out more carbs, which makes your body burn fat and maintain lean muscle. If you love chicken and pasta dishes, you can still have them but in an altered recipe.

Materials for Recipes

Pasta is known for having a lot of carbohydrates, so it is best to find alternatives for the pasta in entree recipes. You can substitute whole wheat pasta, tofu pasta or vegetable pasta for more nutrients and less carbs. If you want to go with almost no carbs in the pasta part, you can even julienne certain vegetables such as squash, zucchini and carrots to simulate stringy pasta. Have boneless, skinless chicken breast meat to use. To really spice up the dish, add some seasonings and a ton of vegetables. Good vegetables and other ingredients that are low carb and tasty include Swiss chard (and other hearty greens), mushrooms, red, green, orange or yellow bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, red pepper flakes, sprouts, endives, bok choy, radishes, avocado, cucumbers, green beans, edamame, jalepeno peppers, scallions, onions, snowpeas, leeks, eggplant, artichokes, fennel, okra, turnip and pumpkin. Avoid adding corn, potatoes or beets to the pasta dish, as these are high in carbs. Herbs such as cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme are ideal additions to add some flavor to the dish as well.

Recipe Instructions

When you prepare the chicken, prepare it in a simple way, such as grilling it, baking it or sauteing it on the stove top. Use about 1 cup of chopped pieces. Don't add butter or Pam spray; if anything, just add salt, pepper and olive oil. Olive oil is full of good fats and seen as low carb. Cook about 1 1/2 cups pasta, boiling in water until al dente, unless it is julienned vegetables. In this case, you just warm the 1 1/2 cup of veggies on the stovetop, making them a little soft but crispy on the outside. Throw together the chicken pieces and the pasta, then sprinkle 1/2 cup each of vegetables on top of the pasta and chicken dish, tossing it with some utensils to mix it thoroughly. Experiment with different mix and matches, such as chicken, whole wheat pasta, with bok choy, zucchini, bell peppers and cilantro. Or else mix it up with vegetable pastas, chopped chicken, red pepper flakes, scallions, snowpeas and eggplant.

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.

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