8 Low-Carb Substitutes for People with Diabetes


Don’t worry—we’re not suggesting that you ought to remove all the carbs from your diet! Some people love to eat low-carb all day, while others like to choose their carbs carefully and reduce where it’s possible. (And hey, others might want to just eat all the carbs—to each their own!)

Here are a few recipes or products to help you enjoy your favorite meals with fewer carbs. (All of these products or recipes are also gluten-free!)

Substitutes for tortillas + bread

egglife egg white wraps
If you’re looking for an ultra-low-carb tortilla substitute, look no further! Made with cage-free eggs, these light and fluffy wraps contain less than 35 calories and less than 1 gram of carbs per wrap—and they are packed with protein! There are five flavor options: original, everything bagel, southwest, italian, and sweet cinnamon. This flavor variety makes it easy to mix it up when making different recipes.

You could use original egglife wraps for a quick nut butter and jelly roll up, italian egglife wraps for a low-carb pizza night, southwest egglife wraps for taco night, everything bagel egglife wraps for a protein-packed breakfast wrap, and sweet cinnamon egglife wraps for a sweet treat with strawberries and cream cheese. There’s so much potential to mix and match your favorite ingredients with these low-carb wraps, each with a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

Brazilian cheese bread (Pão de Queijo)
The only problem with cheese bread is that you never want to stop eating it. The simplest version is made from a simple combo of cheese, eggs, milk, olive oil, tapioca flour, and salt. Toss these in a blender, pour into a mini-muffin tin, and pop in the oven. 

The result is a satisfyingly crispy exterior, fluffy interior, and the perfect base for a breakfast sandwich or yummy lunch. The bread even keeps well in the freezer, so it can be made in batches and then used throughout the week!

Substitutes for pasta

egglife fettuccine 

egglife wraps don’t just have to be used as a wrap; you can also cut them into strips and make a simple fettuccine! Tossed with fresh veggies like bell peppers, asparagus and tomatoes, this pasta replacement feels hearty and fresh—plus without the blood-sugar-spike-tiredness that can kick in after regular high-carb pasta options. This is also a super speedy option because the wraps are ready-to-eat. You’ll just sauté the veggies, toss in the egglife strips and some pesto to warm them up, then it’s ready to enjoy!

Sautéed veggies

My personal favorite for quickly replacing pasta in any dish is to slice up bell peppers and onions combined with a bag of bean sprouts. (Instead of bell pepper, I might swap in zucchini, shredded carrot, green beans, Brussels sprouts, etc.) I leave the lid on at first to steam until tender, then remove the cover and sauté it to enhance its natural flavor. Then I’ll add regular ol’ Himalayan pink sea salt and fill my plate with veggies. I combine this veggie dish with a serving of meat and generally save the carbs for whatever condiment I might put on the meat: a “rub” product (that usually contains brown sugar or maple) or a bit of honey mustard or hot sauce! This simple substitute for pasta is a meal I eat at least three times a week, experimenting with different veggies and meats regularly.

Spiralized zucchini

If you love getting messy in the kitchen, spiralized zucchini, squash, or carrots are the lowest-carb option you can swap with traditional pasta. Plus, they’re fun to make! I use a basic manual spiralizer from Amazon, but a huge variety is available today. Some people go the extra mile to squeeze and soak up water before cooking, but it’s unnecessary. I like to roast the noodles in the oven for ten minutes, then sauté them in a pan with butter and salt. Add your sauces, veggies, and meatballs for the lowest-carb Italian night money can buy!

Substitutes for rice

Riced cauliflower

It’s pretty easy to find riced cauliflower these days! I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s, Costco, Amazon, and my local grocery store. For me, cauliflower rice tends to have minimal or no impact on my blood sugar levels. The carb count is wildly lower than starchy ol’ rice. Cooking it is nearly instant—whether frozen or shelf-stable, it generally just requires quick heating in the microwave or stove. The trickiest part of riced cauliflower is simply creating the flavor. The product itself has a pretty mild flavor but is not very exciting on its own. Instead, you’ll want to add a sauce and herbs of your choosing. Sauté it beforehand in butter or olive oil to jazz it up. Use it in any recipe that calls for rice, and enjoy its low impact on your blood sugar levels!

Shirataki (“miracle rice”)

Shirataki rice is a quirky creation. Made entirely from konnyaku flour—which comes from the konnyaku plant—it contains zero carbohydrates. It comes in rice and pasta, and you can find it in the grocery store these days near refrigerated tofu or on Amazon.

It has a funky smell, but rinsing thoroughly before cooking (as directed) helps reduce odor. Some people love shirataki products, and others can’t bear the flavor. Roast or sauté them with herbs or sauces to give them a more desirable taste. If you’re looking for genuinely no-carb pasta, this is it. 

Chickpea rice

A few different brands now make rice from chickpeas and other veggies. How creative! While chickpeas aren’t considered low-carb, they are significantly lower in carbs than traditional rice. Chickpea rice offers a whopping amount of fiber and protein, too. That extra protein and fiber mean it breaks down more slowly in your digestive system, too—making it easier to manage post-meal blood sugar levels. Easy to cook and ready for whatever flavors you want to add, it’s yummy and healthy. You can find a few different options on Amazon. 

The bottom line

Carbs are one of the trickiest foods to juggle your blood sugar. Swapping in some substitutes can help lighten the demands of diabetes while you save your carbs for the foods you aren’t willing to swap out. This product variety offers alternatives to keep your tastebuds happy and makes managing diabetes a little easier.

WRITTEN BY Ginger Vieira, POSTED 11/02/22, UPDATED 08/18/23

Ginger Vieira is an author and writer living with type 1 diabetes, Celiac disease, fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. She’s authored a variety of books, including “When I Go Low” (for kids), “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes,” and “Dealing with Diabetes Burnout.” Before joining Beyond Type 1 as Digital Content Manager, Ginger wrote for Diabetes Mine, Healthline, T1D Exchange, Diabetes Strong and more! In her free time, she is jumping rope, scootering with her daughters or walking with her handsome fella and their dog.