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Special Low-Carb Ingredients for Cooking and Baking

Foods to Have on Hand for Low-Carb Cooking

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Updated November 09, 2008

Although anyone can follow a low carb way of eating with no special ingredients at all, there are certain ones that I find most helpful in cooking and baking. Most can be found in a regular grocery store, some can be found in health food stores, and others must often be specially ordered (unless you’re lucky enough to live near a store that stocks it).
  • Almond Flour/Almond Meal
    I find this to be the most versatile low carb flour. It can be used for cakes, muffins, quick breads, biscuits, and more. (You can make this out of roasted almonds put through a food processor, but watch that it doesn’t turn to nut butter.)

  • Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Meal
    I’m learning more and more about using this high-nutrient, high-fiber, low carb alternative.

  • Coconut Flour
    Very high in fiber and requires different amounts of other ingredients than other nut flours.

  • Other Nut Flours
    Hazelnut and walnut flours have their place.

  • Vital Wheat Gluten
    This is just the protein part of the wheat, so it is low carb.

  • ThickenThin Thickeners
    This, and similar Expert Foods products, can be useful. StarchNOT is the one I use most.

  • Liquid Sucralose/Splenda
    This contains zero carbs and can be used in almost anything in place of powders.

  • Artificial sweeteners of your choice

  • Erythritol
    This sugar alcohol has almost no impact on blood sugar. It works really well with chocolate. Be sure to get the powdered type if you can, rather than granulated.

  • Good, unsweetened chocolate (quality really makes a difference.)

  • Cocoa powder

  • Powdered Egg Whites
    Help give structure to certain baked goods. Least expensive form is as "Egg White Protein Powder" such as NOW brand.

  • Gelatin (plain)

  • Xanthan or Guar Gum
    These are useful for thickening and binding.

  • Unsweetened Soy Milk
    This contains fewer carbs than any other milk and is neutral in taste.

  • Carb Counters Instant Mashers
    A versatile ingredient for binding crab cakes, making latkes, and even gnocchi.

  • TVP
    You serve as a substitute for rice in casseroles, bread crumbs in meatloaf, and even be a hot breakfast cereal.

  • Whey Protein Powder

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Coconut Oil

  • High Oleic Safflower or Sunflower Oil
    I use olive oil whenever possible. But for high-heat cooking, or baking that requires a more neutral taste, these are my favorite oil choices. These are specially bred to be high in monounsaturated fat, and have a relatively high smoke point. Saffola is one brand. You must be certain to get the high oleic types, as most of these oils are high in polyunsaturated fat, which is not what we want.

  • Better Than Bouillon
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