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Low-carb diets are here to stay. There are many variations, from South Beach to Paleo, and different reasons for banishing bread and pasta from your diet. Some people are allergic to gluten, while others just want to lose weight.
Until recently, the low-carb set had only a few uninspiring alternatives to one of America's most beloved foods. If you wanted pasta without the carbs, you usually ended up with something that looked like pasta but was sticky and noticeably inferior to the real thing.
Now, thanks to a gadget called the spiralizer, you don't have to settle for underwhelming pasta lookalikes. The spiralizer turns thick vegetables like zucchini and carrots into noodles you can use in salads, pasta dishes, soups and more. Best of all, this new way to eat veggies isn't just for low-carb diets. Anyone interested in healthy eating should try the many delicious recipes created for spiralized veggies.
You don't even need to buy a spiralizer to try this fad. Other kitchen tools you probably already own will produce the same effect. Will spiralizing turn out to be just another short-lived trend or a whole new food category?
Unlike juicers, espresso machines and other expensive must-have kitchen items, you can buy a handheld spiralizer for as little as $5. The most expensive version on Amazon is currently going for $400, but there are many good options in the middle for around $30 to $40.
You'll want to consider factors like how much kitchen space you have, how often you'll use the spiralizer and how many people you'll need to feed with it. For example, a person making dinner for one would be fine with the relatively low output of a handheld model, while someone feeding a family of four or more would want a larger version. (Take ease of use into account, too - the hand-held models work like a pencil sharpener and those with carpal tunnel or arthritis might find it uncomfortable to use.)
Unlike low-carb pasta alternatives, spiralized vegetables aren't processed. They contain no carbs, grains or gluten, plus they're versatile. You can eat veggie noodles raw for maximum vitamins or cook them in different ways, such as sautéed in olive oil or boiled in water.
Eating a veggie-focused meal adds appealing colors to your plate. Even the most veggie-resistant folks will find it hard to resist a beautiful plate piled with thin swirls of bell pepper or sweet potato. You can eat a fairly large serving without feeling the damage to your waistline. Just as in traditional pasta dishes, the sauce and toppings you choose will add most of the flavor. The Internet never runs out of ideas for new dishes, so you won't get bored with your spiralizer.
Time will tell if the spiralizer is here to stay, but it's worth trying, especially in the warmer months when we tend to crave lighter, more refreshing foods. Kids will enjoy watching familiar vegetables transformed into colorful ribbons, and cooks of all ages will have fun dreaming up new ways to eat their veggies!
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