By Nannette Richford

For those on restricted diets, carbohydrates may seem like the enemy. Learning to eat foods that are healthy but are low in carbohydrates reduces blood sugar levels and promotes healthy weight. It is not always easy to break old habits, but you can choose healthy meals that are low in carbohydrates yet bursting with flavor. Once you get past the idea that you are being deprived of your favorite foods, you may find that your new diet provides more flavor and texture that you ever thought possible.

No-Carb Dinner Ideas

Cauliflower Rice

Use cauliflower to make 'rice'.

Make cauliflower rice as a substitute for regular rice. Although it is not carbohydrate free, one serving has a mere 4 g of carbohydrates compared to the 30 g or more of carbohydrates in regular rice. Simply grate one head of cauliflower, including the stalk, in a food processor or with a hand grater to the consistency of rice. Saute two cloves of minced garlic in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil or melted butter. Add the cauliflower and saute until crisp tender. Add green onions or other seasonings of your choice. Serve as rice with meats and vegetables.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash with a dash of herbs and melted butter.

Substitute spaghetti squash for pasta. This tasty vegetable has only 4 g of carbohydrates per serving and closely resembles the texture of spaghetti. Serve with sauce, meats and veggies or as a side dish with a dash of herbs and melted butter.

Lean Meats

Stir fry or grill lean meats.

Stir fry or grill lean meats like chicken and pork. Season with vinegar and herbs and spices for lots of flavor without the added carbohydrates from bottle sauces and marinades. Onions, chives, garlic and fresh herbs like oregano, thyme and basil pack a lot of flavor without adding carbohydrates.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are full of flavor.

Grill or steam low carbohydrate vegetables like onions, peppers and mushrooms with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and summer squash. Add herbs of your choice for a delicious low carbohydrate treat.

Fresh Salad

A fresh salad is full of fiber and nutrients.

Serve a fresh green salad made from lettuce, cucumbers, radish and other green, leafy vegetables. Consider adding spinach, beet greens, kale or cabbage. Top with finely grated cheese for a boost of flavor. Make your own dressing with vinegar, olive oil and your favorite herbs or try a splash of lemon juice to spice up flavor without adding carbohydrates.

Low-Carb Tortilla

Substitute low-carb tortillas for bread.

Substitute low-carb tortillas for bread with your meal. Brush with olive oil and minced garlic and toast in the oven or over the grill for a crunchy accompaniment in place of breads.

Combine Foods

Combine a variety of foods in your meals.

Develop the habit of combining a variety of foods in your meals. Providing a range of flavors and textures prevents you from craving the carbohydrates you are used to consuming. Before you know it, you will be so accustomed to eating your new low carbohydrate diet that you will wonder why you never tried it before.