Deliciously healthy alternatives to carb-heavy pasta and rice

We love a giant cheese pizza or a bowl of pasta as much as the next person, but eating high-carb foods every evening can leave you feeling tired, bloated and irritated.

If you're trying to take a break from starchy carbohydrates like white pasta, rice and potatoes, you don't need to leave your plate empty.

From veggie sides to low-carb noodles, there are plenty of delicious alternatives out there that will leave you feeling full and satisfied… but not sluggish.

Here are some of our faves…

1. Pan-seared asparagus
Asparagus is in season at the moment, so you can expect to find some farm-fresh stalks in your local shop for cheaper than you would the rest of the year. Pan-sear them by chopping off the woody ends, laying them in a pan or skillet with a small amount of oil (or none if you prefer), covering and allowing to cook for around 5 minutes on a medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally. The perfect accompaniment to any meal and SO summery, too.

2. Mashed or riced cauliflower
Cauliflower might not sound like a very appetising alternative, but trust us here! It's deliciously moreish but is far lighter than white rice. Steam and mash cauliflower with a knob of butter, or rice it by pulsing or grating and then gently sautéeing. If you're feeling really adventurous, why not try a cauliflower pizza base?

3. Courgette spirals
The great thing about using courgette in place of pasta is that it can be easily stirred through your preferred sauce and will soak up the flavours perfectly. Use a Spiralizer or simply slice into thin strips with a julienne peeler before adding a squeeze of lemon juice or stirring sauce.

4. Mashed or roasted sweet potato
Although sweet potatoes are only slightly lower in carbs than standard potatoes, they have many more health benefits, including a high water and fibre content that will leave you feeling full but not bloated. Mash sweet potatoes up with some salt and pepper, or slice and roast them for 20-25 minutes.

5. Shirataki noodles
These wonder noodles are made from the Konjac plant and are virtually carb-free, though you wouldn't know it to taste them! They're full of fibre too. Find these noodles in health shops or online – they often go under names like Zero Noodles or Free Noodles.