Cutting Out Carbs Is Easy With Delicious Chicken Enchilada Pie
7 minute read
As the winter approaches, we seem to be drawn to comfort foods. The problem is that these meals typically contain complex carbohydrates. While some carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet, too many can cause implications for your health.
Luckily, there are ways you can switch up some classic foods with lower carbohydrate options and still get the taste and comfort you are looking for.
Benefits of Cutting Carbs
Low carbohydrate diets have been controversial for a few decades, namely because carbs are a necessary part of a balanced diet. Because low-carbohydrate diets typically include higher amounts of fat, they were given a bad reputation by fat-fearing individuals.
However, as more research is done, low-carb diets (not no-carb diets) are seen to deliver many health benefits and are not associated with fat gain as previously believed. Here are some benefits you can expect:
Most diet fads come with hunger, which makes dieting a real struggle. When you are constantly hungry, you feel miserable and are more likely to give up the diet. Feeling hungry also tempts you to eat unhealthy foods as a measure of comfort.
Cravings are not typically associated with healthy foods, so you want to keep your appetite under control. Low-carb diets include more fat and protein, which fill you up and overall you consume fewer calories, preventing you from overeating.
More Weight Loss
Following a low-carb diet leads to more efficient and quicker weight loss. The reason behind this is that these diets allow your body to get rid of excess water and lower insulin levels, which means your kidney can remove excess sodium too.
It is important to remember to stick with a low-carb diet to successfully lose weight and keep it off. Many people start adding carbohydrates back to their diet again after losing weight, and this will promptly reverse the results you achieved.
Greater Fat Loss
There are different types of fat in your body and where this fat is stored influences your health. Visceral fat gets stored around your organs, specifically your stomach and a lot of fat in this area triggers widespread inflammation.
Low-carb diets are more efficient in reducing abdominal fat storage, which reduces your risk of inflammatory-related diseases. Low-carb diets are most effective at reducing abdominal fat specifically, but in general you can reduce fat storage from around all your organs.
Triglycerides are fat molecules and are a big risk for heart disease. Carbohydrate consumption is the main factor responsible for elevated triglyceride levels.
By reducing carbs in your diet, you can dramatically lower triglyceride levels and protect your heart. When you follow a low fat diet, which is often the case for those trying to lose weight, triglyceride levels actually increase.
A low carbohydrate diet is better for you in terms of triglyceride levels and losing weight.
HDL (good) cholesterol levels increase with a low-carb diet. Elevated levels of this type of cholesterol actually lower your risk for heart disease. Triglyceride to HDL ratios are the best indicators for heart disease risk and low-carb diets significantly improve the ratio.
| Related: Study Shows Turmeric Is Good for High Cholesterol |
LDL is bad cholesterol that is linked to heart attacks. Size matters when it comes to LDL cholesterol and low-carb diets turn the dangerous small particles into larger ones, thereby protecting your heart. It is also important to make healthy lifestyle changes when managing or lowering cholesterol levels.
Better Diabetes Management
The digestion of carbohydrates results in simple sugars entering the bloodstream. Elevated blood sugar levels trigger the release of insulin, which transports the blood sugar to be used as energy or stored as fat.
Diabetics have insulin resistance and are unable to effectively reduce blood glucose levels, which can be dangerous to your health. By reducing carbohydrate intake, you reduce the need for insulin, an increasingly important financial consideration, and blood sugar levels remain naturally low.
Treat Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition associated with a high risk of heart disease and other diseases, like type-2 diabetes. Typically metabolic syndrome presents as abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and elevated blood sugar levels when fasting.
The good news is that each of these symptoms can be improved with a low-carbohydrate diet. Sometimes this only means making a small substitution in a recipe.
By replacing traditional crust with lower-carb tortillas, for example, you get the same authentic flavor, the same comfort and warmth, and fewer carbohydrates to digest.
5 medium flour tortillas
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (19-oz.) can enchilada sauce
3 c. shredded chicken
1 (15-oz.) can corn, drained
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. shredded cheddar
3 c. shredded monterey jack
Pico de gallo, for serving
Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
1. Preheat your oven to 350° and grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas in bottom of pan, pressing up the sides. Bake until lightly golden which should be about 15 minutes.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until soft. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the enchilada sauce and chicken and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
3. To assemble your pie, arrange an even layer of chicken on top of baked tortilla crust then top with half the corn, black beans, and cheeses. Top with remaining chicken, corn, and black beans. Then, place the remaining tortilla on top and sprinkle with the leftover cheese.
4. Bake until the tortillas are deeply golden and the cheese has melted. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then garnish with pico de gallo, cilantro, and sour cream. Serve immediately.
The Bottom Line
Following a low-carbohydrate diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring. You can switch up some of your traditional favorites with a low-carb twist and get delicious and nutritious meals every day.
Cutting back on carbohydrates is good for your health, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste to be healthy. With recipes like this one, you get all the flavor that you want without the heavy carbs.