Veggie substitutes are now becoming a trend, thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, such as the keto. From the cauliflower rice to zucchini noodles, these substitutes are the low-carb versions of your favorite foods, allowing you to still indulge in your favorite dishes without breaking the rules behind the low-carb diet. And now, there’s a new substitute that’s joining the craze and that’s plantains! In fact, plantain pasta recipes are all over the Internet now, from lasagna, spaghetti, and other delectable pasta dishes. But is it ideal for a low carb diet? Read on to find out.
Related reading: Does Low Carb Dieting Result In Successful Weight Loss?
What Is A Plantain?
Plantains belong to the banana family but is a starchier version of bananas. They cannot be eaten raw and are treated more as a vegetable than as a fruit. The fruit is a popular staple in various Caribbean cuisines and is either baked, steamed and fried. They are sometimes used as desserts when they ripen but the recent craze is to cut them into spirals to be made into “pasta” noodles.
Plantains are available in two different varieties. One is green and the other is yellow. If you are going to use it for pasta, it’s ideal to opt for the green version due to its neutral taste. The yellow varieties tend to be sweeter.
Is Plantain Low-carb?
Plantains are high in carbs. In fact, a cup of sliced plantains is equivalent to 48 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, they are not ideal for a low carb diet. But despite it being high in carbs compared to other veggies like spinach and broccoli, they can still be a healthy addition to your diet. Plantains are rich in fiber, beta-carotene, a great source of Vitamin A, and vitamin C. They also contain potassium and some B-vitamins, which are good for your health.
Plantains are made of complex carbohydrates and have a low glycemic index (GI) of only 38. Eating a moderate amount of plantains that have been cooked properly will therefore not result in an increase of your blood glucose.
Related reading: Is A Low Carb Diet The Same As Low GI?
Low-carb Diet and Plantain
As compared to zucchini noodles, plantain pasta is much higher in carbohydrates and calories. Yet, plantains are starchier, which makes them more pasta-like. Zucchinis have high water content, which is why they get a bit mushy if cooked longer to be used as pasta. It is for this reason why a lot of people would opt for plantain pasta instead of zucchini noodles when preparing pasta dishes using veggie substitutes.
Count your Carbohydrates
As mentioned, a cup of sliced plantains is equivalent to 48 grams of carbohydrates, which is a substantial amount if you’re on a diet that severely limits the intake of carbohydrates, such as the ketogenic diet. The initial stage of most low-carb diets would often restrict you to as little as 20 grams per day. So, plantains are not recommended if you’re on a low-carb diet.
You can fit in a small amount of plantain pasta in moderately low-carb diets. Just make sure you prepare the pasta with foods that do not contain carbs. For instance, you can cook chicken breast along with a few pieces of plantain pasta.
Related reading: 5 Healthy Fruits You Can Eat On A Low Carb Diet
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Plantain image by Rusty Clark