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My Favorite Low-Carb Hacks

Couple things you should know:

First: I just started back to a weight loss/healthy eating plan. The best way and healthiest way for me to do that is a low-carb diet. Also, my family has just started a competition and you know how I feel about competition....I like to win win win win win.

Second: In full disclosure you should know that I'm eating a pop-tart while I write this post. It's a cheat day and Pop tarts are my downfall EVERYTIME (and donuts, but whatever).

The last time I did this (yes, there was a last time...clearly I didn't make the LIFESTYLE CHANGE I was supposed to, but poptarts and whatever. I just didn't), I learned a few things that helped me keep my sanity, a few hacks, if you will....

1. Tomato Pizzas

There is no way I'm eating a salad on pizza movie night. And since that happens every Friday, I needed an easy plan. So I make tomato pizzas. I cut off the ends and slice up a tomato, typically into four slices. Lay them flat on a foil-lined pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle italian seasoning and garlic salt on top. Top with mozzarella cheese and pepperonis. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until the cheese gets bubbly and starts to brown a little. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan and eat with a fork! You still get that cheesy goodness without the carbs!

2. Sugar Free Gum

Gum has helped me so much with my cravings for something sweet. I like to have a mint flavor and a fruity flavor on-hand. When, during the day, I'm not actually hungry but just wishing for something sweet, I chew gum and it actually does help!

3. Cheese Chips

Guys guys guys. Where would the world be without cheese? A very sad place, that's where. A friend of mine on a similar plan told me about making cheese chips. You can use any kind of shredded cheese to make them. My favorites are cheddar and Parmesan. Foil line a pan and make little piles of shredded cheese about 2 inches in diameter. Pat down the pile so it's kind of flat. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 5ish minutes, but you have to watch it, it can burn fast. Watch for it to just start to brown around the edges and then take it out of the oven. Pat it down with a paper towel to help with the grease situation. Peel them off and stack em on a plate and see if they even make it 5 minutes before you eat them all.

**Bonus Hack** If you have a Costco membership, sometimes they sell pre-made Parm Chips.

**Bonus Bonus Hack** You can make taco shells out of baked cheese too. It's the same concept as the chips but you make bigger piles and right after you take them out of the oven, peel them off the foil and shape them on the edge of the pan before they dry so they make the taco shell shape. Then you can pile on your taco meat and more cheese of course. You're welcome for this. I know how life-changing it can be to find out you can still eat tacos low-carb.

4. Parmesan Cheese

I know we just talked about cheese, but can we really have enough? But seriously, Parmesan makes everything better. I like to refer to it as Parm, like we're besties and that's my nickname for it. So I throw some parm on roasted veggies, on kale chips (makes alllll the difference.... especially when you cook them low and slow), and as mentioned above, even by themselves for cheese chips. Anything drizzled with Olive Oil and topped with parm makes me a happy girl.

5. Cauliflower Rice

Ok, hear me out. I once made cauliflower rice and used it for fried rice and decided it wasn't worth the effert. UNTIL, I discovered that the good people at the vegetable places got smart and started making them for us and selling them in the frozen veggie section. Totally worth the $1.19 for the steam-in-bag option. I just used this very thing to make fried rice for lunch last week and got extra points in my family challenge for all the veggies it counted for. YUM.

6. Cherry Coke Zero

I try to limit myself to one a day (also because I get points taken off for the family plan, but I have to live I tell you, I HAVE TO LIVE!). Here's the thing though, I really don't like Coke Zero, but the CHERRY Coke Zero is MUCH MUCH better. I typically will pour a cold can over crushed ice and it feels like a treat.

7. Pretty Water Cups

What good healthy plan doesn't include drinking half your body weight in water ounces? None, that's what. You know what helps me drink lots of water? Pretty cups. Call me vain, tell me I throw like a girl, but it totally helps me. Kyle brought me back this really pretty YETI cup from Thailand that has a flower print on it (it only cost $11 there!!) and I love it so much that I always want to hold it and drink from it.

**Bonus Hack** Drinking from a straw helps too.

So those are my hacks and how I manage to keep on the plan. That and cheat days that involve pop tarts. What hacks do you find that help you stay on track? Seriously, let me know your favorites in the comments below!

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