However, as with most things that taste nice, normal tortillas are amazingly high in carbs. In fact, the average medium-sized tortilla contains anywhere from 18 to 25 grams of carbohydrates.
If you can feel your heart sinking, don’t be too worried as it is possible to buy, or , as you will see below, make your own low carb tortillas.
Actually you will see that it is quite easy, and now when you’re at it you might as well make a bigger portion and freeze them.
What is a tortilla?
For those of you unfamiliar with tortillas and who may be looking for a suitable substitute for bread a tortilla is a Latin American flat bread.
As already mentioned, tortillas are brilliantly versatile, as they can be eaten by themselves, cut open and used envelope-style to make tacos, armadillos and burritos. Tortillas can be baked or fried to make chips and stale tortillas are regularly toasted to make tortilla shells.
However, when looking for low carb tortilla it is important you look for tortillas made from whole-grain flour or flax seed.
Many tortillas, in particular chips, are sold as “healthy” because they contain virtually no fat.
Unfortunately though, according to Dr Phil McGraw these type of tortillas tend to be high in bad carbohydrates, which will offer your body literally nothing in the way of nutrition.
The majority of tortillas in the shops are made using wheat-flour, although in Mexico they are made using a specially formulated maize flour.
Maize tortillas are particularly low in fat, usually containing just over a gram in your average sized flat bread. They are also a good source of potassium, fiber, calcium and B vitamins.
Low carb tortillas are also low in fat and while they obviously do not contain the same carb count as the average tortilla, they are still a great source of essential nutrients and vitamins.
There is also further hope in the shape of a study being conducted by the University of Florida, which is concentrating on making a special carb-free tortilla called the Falquita. Strangely enough the Falquita looks and feels like an average tortilla but is actually constructed entirely from meat. Only time will tell if the Falquita takes off and becomes a real alternative to the low carb tortillas on the market at the moment.
Shop Bought or Make Your Own?
I, and countless dieticians and nutritionists no doubt, will always recommend that, where possible, you try and make your own food as oppose to purchasing it from the grocery store.
For example, a lovely low-carb cottage pie will taste so much better made from scratch by you than if you bought a pre-made one from the store.
Yes, it is more time consuming but you know exactly what is going into your food and therefore, know it is most definitely low in carbohydrates. Making your own food will also reduce the amount of money you spend on your groceries over time.
Making your own low carb tortillas is easier than you would think and I believe they taste far better than any you can buy in the shops.
Make Your Own Low Carb Tortillas
You Will Need – ½ Cup of Whole Grain Flour
½ Cup of Almond Flour
Three Tablespoons of Low Fat Butter
One Tablespoon of Salt
One Cup of Soy Flour
One Cup of Water
• Mix your three flours together with the salt.
• Cut small amounts of the butter into the mixture until it begins to resemble something along the lines of bread crumbs.
• Slowly add the water, around two tablespoons each time and mix all of the ingredients well until they form a ball. Cover the dough and set to one side to rest for around 20-minutes.
• Divide your dough ball into sixteen even pieces, before rolling each piece gently into a small ball.
• Sprinkle a board or your counter top with a thin layer of low carb flour and proceed to flatten each of the dough balls. You are aiming to form a circle, roughly six-inches in diameter.
You can also do what I do, place the dough balls on a piece of baking paper, put another piece on top, and flatten them into circles. In that way you don’t have to use more flour, and it makes everything really easy.
• Heat up a non-stick skillet-style pan over a medium heat and place each of your tortilla circles in the pan – one at a time.
• Gently cook each circle until both sides have turned a soft golden brown color.
Top Tip – As you cook each tortilla, store them between damp pieces of kitchen towel. This will help keep your tortillas soft while you are waiting for them all to be cooked.
I freeze my home-made low carb tortillas, they easily keep fresh for a month and once defrosted they can be reheated in the microwave (for around 15-seconds) and they taste as soft as the day they were made.
I do tend to eat a lot of tortillas, there are some great low carb dinner recipes out there for tortillas, so it is a good job they are not only low in fat but each tortilla contains just 1.5 grams of carbs.
If you fancy a twist on the classic, try adding herbs (such as coriander or parsley) and spices (such as cayenne pepper and paprika) to the dough before mixing.
I love tacos and have practically grown up eating them, passing my love onto my children too. Once I had mastered making my own low carb tortillas, I decided to seek out low carb dinner recipes that included tortillas and I came across this gorgeous low carb taco recipe.
Low carb Beef Tacos
You Will Need – Two Cups of Lean Ground Beef
Three Tablespoons of Cumin
Three Tablespoons of Chili Powder
One Teaspoon of Garlic (minced)
One Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
Three Tablespoons of Chopped Onion
Ten 6-inch Low Carb Tortillas
• Cook off onion, on a medium-heat, for around one-minute before adding the minced garlic and cooking for a further two minutes until soft.
• Add the ground beef and continue to cook off until the meat has browned.
• Add two teaspoons of water to the beef before adding all of your seasoning ensuring the beef has been evenly coated. Once you’re happy the meat is adequately covered you can remove from the heat.
• Place the meat filling into a tortilla circle and roll in your preferred way. You can make hard shell tacos if you want, however this requires the tortilla and filling be fried and that will add to your carb count.
Top Tip – Once your meat has browned, tip the excess fat out of the pan before adding your water and seasoning. Not only will this further reduce the fat, carb and calorie count of this dish, you will notice a difference in the taste straight away.
This taco recipe really is delicious and makes great use of your home-made low carb tortillas. You can obviously make the dish as spicy as you want by reducing or upping the amount of spices you put into the meat. My kids are not really into spicy food, so I always reduce the amount I put in for them. However, when me and my husband have it we make it really spicy and it always goes down a treat.
Low Carb Tortilla Snacks
One of the great things about low carb tortillas, especially those you make yourself and freeze, is they make really great, easy snacks. By now I am sure everyone is aware of my love of sandwiches and how upset I was when I first reduce my carb count and thought I would be saying goodbye to bread forever.
I now regularly use low carb tortillas, as well as other healthy options, to make myself a sandwich. My absolute favorite is ham salad, just ensure the ham you use is as lean as possible and you can add all your salad favorites. I also do a mean low fat cream cheese tortilla, which I usually warm through slightly before eating to make the meal extra tasty.
One of my family’s favorite snacks with low carb tortillas is quadrilles. Well, I say snack, we have had this many a time for our evening meal with a nice salad or sweet potato wedges. A quesadilla consists of a low carb tortilla filled with a savoury filling along with cheese. Popular fillings for quesadillas include vegetables, avocado, ham, refried beans and pork, which are then topped with cheese and heated up until it melts. I often call quesadillas inside-out pizzas because that is what they remind me of however, what ever you decide to call them there is no disputing they are as tasty as they are healthy.
Low Carb Tortillas – Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
You Will Need – One Pound of Diced Chicken Breast (as lean as possible)
One Tablespoon of Olive Oil
One Packet of Fatija Mix (available from most grocery stores)
Two Red Bell Peppers (chopped)
Two Green Bell Peppers (chopped)
One Onion (chopped)
Ten Six-Inch Low Carb Tortillas
One Cup of Low-Fat Cheddar Cheese
• Mix the chicken pieces with the fatija mix and cook off over a medium heat until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
• In a separate pan, add the oil, peppers, and onion and cook for two minutes before adding your chicken, mixing well and cooking for a further ten minutes.
• Add the chicken mixture to one half of your tortilla, sprinkle with the cheddar cheese before folding your tortilla over. Repeat this with all the low carb tortillas and then place on a baking sheet or tin.
• Bake the tortillas for around ten minutes at 350-degrees or until you notice the cheese has completely melted.
• Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes before serving.
These particular quesadillas are better served for dinner, as they are a little too heavy for a lunch time option. When I made this for our family dinner, I served it with Spanish tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and sweet potato wedges
Top Tip – You will need to be careful what cheese you use when making quesadillas, as most cheeses are fairly high in carbohydrates. When doing your grocery shopping look out for low-fat, low-carb cheese options and use those. Alternatively, use ordinary cheese sparingly and allow the carbohydrate count into your daily allowance. If you are eating your low carb tortillas as a sandwich, try filling it with cottage cheese. According to a Harvard University Health Publication, cottage cheese is not only low in carbohydrates, it also contains important vitamins and minerals.
Low Carb Tortillas – A healthy Lunch Box Option
I am extremely fortunate that my family have embraced my new low carb eating habits and more or less tried everything I have asked them too. Admittedly, in quite a few cases they haven’t even noticed a difference – my children still don’t know their porridge is now bran.
With all the dietary changes in my house, one of the most popular is my home-made low carb tortillas. As well as making great sandwiches or quesadillas, the tortilla makes a great addition to yours or your child’s lunch box. I regularly make my children’s favorite sandwich- peanut butter and jelly- using my own low carb tortillas. I have also made all manner of salad tortillas for myself, my husband and the children too. There is no disputing the fact that tortillas are versatile and with all the low carb dinner recipes out there that include tortillas, you will never get bored.
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