The thought of giving up your favorite spaghetti Pomodoro, mac ’n cheese, or go-to udon dishes may seem daunting when switching to a low-carb, high-fat diet like the ketogenic diet, but fear not!
Keto dieters have long found plenty of creative solutions to keep them from turning to pasta and noodles to stay full and happy.
Carbs are an important energy source (after all, your brain alone uses 20% of your body’s energy1) but too much reliance on them can affect your overall health and weight.
Products like candy, white flour products (bread, pasta, etc.), carbonated drinks, corn syrup, fruit juice, honey, and table sugar are notorious for digesting fairly quickly—leaving you hungry again sooner.
This can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin secretion from the pancreas.
This means a sudden energy upsurge and crash, like consuming soda or products with sugar in them. Carbs also cause water retention, which results in your body holding onto unnecessary water weight.
It’s time to shift away from your pasta dinners to healthier substitutes that are equally filling and delicious. Let’s take a look at what foods can replace one of the all-time carb favorites: noodles!
The following are the most popular noodle substitutes, many of which are plant-based, and will no doubt help kick those noodle carb-cravings to the curb.
With each substitute you’ll find a plethora of amazing recipes online so you can quickly get started on making a healthy noodle dish for your next meal.
Zucchini noodles, also known as “zoodles”, have become a popular dish in recent years.
These veggie noodles are packed with vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants that help you maintain good health. Best of all, zoodle dishes are easy to make and have a low-calorie count.
When cooked, the zoodles can have a similar texture to al dente pasta. To make a low-carb zucchini pasta, all you need is a spiralizer or peeler to cut the zucchini into spaghetti-like strips.
Throw a skillet on the stove, toss in some keto-friendly oil, and add the zucchini and water to cook it for roughly 5 to 7 minutes. Season your dish with some salt and pepper, and you have one tasty and healthy dinner that will also kick those carb cravings to the curb.
Spaghetti squash is typically harvested in the fall or winter and has an orange exterior. It got its name due to its insides resembling spaghetti when scooped out. This tasty food is a great source of folic acid, fiber, and potassium.
Spaghetti squash in noodle form takes more time to prepare than zoodles, but they’re just as healthy and delicious, so give them a try!
Just be conscious of your portion sizes, as spaghetti squash does contain some carbs.
While your standard egg noodles are high in carbs and will surely throw you off your keto diet, egg noodles are carb-free and just as satisfying. All while delivering an abundance of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and good fats.
They also contain smaller amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, folate, vitamin E, and plenty more, so keep ‘em around!
This noodle replacement has a very similar texture to homemade egg noodles. While they aren’t quite gluten free, they contain zero carbs and only require three main ingredients to make: cream cheese, eggs, and wheat gluten.
You can omit this last ingredient, but it helps add texture to your noodles.
You can use them the same way you would use regular pasta—in casseroles, soups, and tossed in a yummy sauce.
Also known as miracle noodles, shirataki noodles can go a long way in satisfying those strong cravings for ramen or spaghetti.
With a slightly translucent and gelatinous texture, these noodles are made from blending flour from the konjac yam (a member of the Asian yam family) and tofu, which helps give it a denser feel. They’re super popular in Asian cuisine, so don’t be shy in giving them a try.
One serving of shirataki noodles only contains 20 calories and 3 grams of carbs, making it a perfect noodle substitute for hungry keto dieters.
Composed of 3% fiber, 97% water, and with traces of fat, protein, and calcium, shirataki noodles are also vegan, kosher, and gluten-free.
These tasty noodles will help you feel fuller for much longer as they move through the digestive system slowly and delay nutrient absorption into the bloodstream2.
In case you’ve never heard of it, “Julienne” is a French word that is also a common cooking term which means to cut a food into super thin slices.
Grab your favorite keto-friendly veggies like carrots and zucchini and cut them Julienne-style to form a noodle-like dish using a mandoline or sharp knife.
Boil up these bad boys in just a few minutes and toss them in your favorite sauce for a healthy and simple noodle replacement.
There are simply tons of ways you can get creative in the kitchen without forfeiting flavor! Swap out your typical pasta dinners and lo mein orders with some of these noodles substitutes to keep you going strong on your keto journey.
Not only do they taste great, especially when take time to prepare them and match them with delicious keto-friendly sauces, but they are also great for your overall health.
Dishes like zoodles with marinara sauce taste just as good as the real thing and have the added benefit of not making you feel guilty for deviating from your keto lifestyle.
 Raichle ME, Gusnard DA. Appraising the brain’s energy budget. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002;99:10237–10239. doi: 10.1073/pnas.172399499.
 Chutkan R, Fahey G, Wright WL, McRorie J. Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: mechanisms and evidence for fiber-specific health benefits.J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Aug;24(8):476-87.