What do casseroles, fried foods, pasta toppings and pastries all have in common?
Besides being delicious, they all have the ability of being prepared with the glorious crunchy goodness that is breadcrumbs.
We all can think back to the times when our mothers and grandmothers made the classics — whether it be meatballs or baked mac and cheese with a crunchy top layer. Just thinking about it can make your mouth water.
What Are Breadcrumbs and Why Aren’t They Low Carb Friendly?
Breadcrumbs have multiple uses. They can be used for breading/crumbing different dishes, topping casseroles, stuffing chicken, creating a thicker consistency for stews and broths, meatloaves, etc. The list goes on and on.
Breadcrumbs are just that — little crumbs of dry bread.
There are breadcrumbs within different types of textures, such as dry and fresh.
Dry breadcrumbs come from baked or toasted breads, having little to no moisture. This type of breadcrumb is perfect for the powdery texture you are looking for to add that extra crisp topping to any meal. Fresh breadcrumbs are taken from softer bread — making a softer crust. These are perfect for incorporating into stuffings or meatloaf.
You can obtain breadcrumbs from the majority of breads out there today. Like most bread, breadcrumbs are considered a grain. Typically, one cup of breadcrumbs contains 78 grams of carbs, 14 grams of protein and six grams of fat.
Needless to say, breadcrumbs are not low carb or keto friendly.
4 Low Carb Substitutes for Breadcrumbs
If you were to take away all the different meals breadcrumbs are used for, you wouldn’t be left with very many options. For beginners, starting a low carb or keto diet can seem hard enough without restricting yourself from some of your favorite foods. The easiest way to start a low carb diet is by finding alternatives to foods you frequent the most so you feel satiated without feeling deprived. So what are some of the best low carb substitutes for breadcrumbs?
Image: Low Carb Keto Crumbs
One of the more common types of breadcrumbs out there today are Panko breadcrumbs. Originally used in Japanese cuisines, Panko breadcrumbs have become more popular over the years. Unlike most breadcrumbs, you can’t exactly make Panko at home from your own bread.
Panko is lighter and crispier than your average breadcrumbs as well as absorbing less grease and oil, making the end result an all-around lighter dish. Panko is made out of yeast, wheat flour and oil. While you can’t make Panko out of your leftover bread, you can find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
Like other breadcrumbs, Panko can be used for the breading of fried foods as well as a great binding agent replacement for eggs for those individuals seeking a vegan option. One quarter cup of Panko is about 70 total calories, including 14 grams of net carbs, three grams of protein and a half gram of fat.
Unlike Panko, pork rinds lack any carbs whatsoever, allowing you to consume them without any worry of going over your carb limit of being kicked out of ketosis.
So, what are pork rinds exactly?
Pork rinds are technically pieces of skin from a pig. You typically see them prepared as a snack, being fried or roasted in pig lard. This process is what gives the pork rinds the puffy shape you often see them take. While they are popular in the United States, many countries around the world indulge in their fair share of pork rinds as snacks as well as staple additions to their different cuisines.
Pork rinds are a great low carb substitute for breadcrumbs. However, instead of grinding them up in a food processor, you’re better off placing them in a baggie and crushing them using a rolling pin to keep the larger pieces. This will allow for a greater range of texture in your end result.
When it comes to nutritional value, pork rinds are the perfect snack (and breadcrumb option) for individuals on a low carb or keto diet. One ounce of pork rinds contains 152 total calories, including nine grams of fat, 17 grams of protein and zero grams of carbs. As you can imagine, making pork rinds yourself could prove to be a bit of a challenge. However, you can find pork rinds in most grocery stores in the country.
As low carb and keto diets have gained more popularity throughout the years, so have certain foods. Almond meal has proven to be a great low carb substitute for multiple purposes, with breadcrumbs being no exception. In fact, many low carb recipes requiring breadcrumbs you see today use almond meal/flour more often than not.
Almond meal is made from crushed up almonds, to put it simply. This means that you’re not only getting a great low carb option for breadcrumbs, but you’re getting all the health benefits from almonds as well. Some of these benefits include being gluten-free, being rich in fiber, as well as being an abundant source of different vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
You can even season your almond meal breadcrumbs, for instance with italian seasoning, making them customizable to fit any meal you wish. Make it as simple or intricate as you wish, however you’re perfectly fine only adding salt to the almond meal to create the perfect low carb breadcrumbs.
You can find almond meal in the organics section of your local grocery store. The average almond meal contains around 180 total calories including 15 grams of fat, three grams of net carbs, two grams of fiber and seven grams of protein per a quarter cup serving.
Coconut flour is another amazing low carb substitute that has multiple uses and benefits. Not only is it a great low carb flour option, but it can be used for breading purposes as well. The benefits of coconut flour don’t stop at it’s macronutrients. Like coconuts, coconut flour provides the same benefits, seeing as it’s only ground up coconut, in its simplest form. This low carb flour is high in fiber, healthy fats, protein and is low in sugar, providing a low glycemic index.
Coconut flour also helps with energy due to its abundance of healthy fats, help maintain health blood sugar and help aid in digestive health.
One serving of coconut flour is a total of 120 calories, including four grams of fat, four grams of protein, six grams of fat, four grams of protein, six grams of net carbs and a whopping ten grams of fiber per one quarter cup serving.
Are you feeling anxious or nervous about starting a low carb or ketogenic diet? Have no worries. Finding low carb substitutes to your favorite foods is the first step to easy into a low carb or keto diet. Whether you’re looking for alternatives to mashed potatoes, bread, or any of your other favorite high carb meals, we’re here to help. Try one of these low carb substitutes for breadcrumbs the next time you plan on making a fun, satiating meal.