Subbing cauliflower for potato can help cut carbs, experts say

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For people looking to lose weight by cutting carbs, one tip is to use cauliflower in recipes that normally call for potato. (KABC)

After gaining weight in graduate school, Halley Todd is a lot more careful about her diet this year.

But she isn't dropping those extra 20 pounds with mashed potatoes. She and other carb counters are getting crazy for cauliflower.

"About a cup of cauliflower that's cooked is going to be around 25 calories, where a cup of potatoes is going to be around 200 calories," said dietitian Lori Brizee.

Mashed, raw or roasted, cauliflower is low in calories and packed with vitamin C. A medium-sized head of cauliflower, which can serve several people, has fewer carbohydrates than a single potato.

But cauliflower has one problem, at least this year: bad weather damaged this season's crop, driving prices up considerably.

Also, some might think it is a pain to prepare. For them, Trader Joe's has frozen riced cauliflower in the freezer section.

Brizee urges her clients to add cauliflower and other vegetables to potatoes as a low-calorie way to fortify their meals and serving sizes. As a cruciferous vegetable, it also contains compounds that help prevent cancer and heart disease, she notes.

Do keep in mind that some starches have a key component that can help with weight loss. Oatmeal, bananas, beans, sprouted bread and even potatoes contain resistant starch, a compound in food that isn't absorbed but just passes through your system.

Just remember to keep those portions moderate.

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