If you’re trying to cut processed carbs out of your diet without limiting your favorite vittles, I have some good news: Parmesan cheese is your friend. Whether you like the stuff in a can, or you prefer to buy wedges and grate it yourself, you can substitute it in place of breadcrumbs in most recipes.

Don’t Let Your Meat Loaf

Meatloaf has been an American staple with a fun name for generations, but you need something to go along with the eggs to hold the ground beef together, so it stays in a loaf without falling apart. For a long time, breadcrumbs bulked up our loaves, then when the low carb craze hit, someone decided crushed pork rinds sounded delicious for this purpose. But why introduce a salty snack food to your gran’s recipe when you can have cheese instead? You can use your tried and true recipe and replace the breadcrumbs or crackers with grated parmesan, or you can try this recipe.

Meat Loaf

Don’t Miss Out on “Breaded” Foods

If you’re a fool for crunchy textures, you don’t have to sacrifice your love of all things crispy just because you’re watching your bread intake. Powdered cheese can crunch up and give you that bite you’re searching for. There are a few different ways you can work parmesan into your recipes as a breading. You can use it on thin slices of raw chicken like this recipe suggests, or you can wait until your meat is nearly finished cooking and sprinkle some on the top. If you have a nonstick skillet, you can turn your chicken/pork/spam over in the pan and allow the cheese to brown and really crisp up. If you’re baking your dinner, the broiler works well for this purpose too.

Cheese Plate

Don’t Pass on the Cheese Plates

You know what’s tastier than a slice of cheese on a cracker? A slice of cheese on a cracker that is also made of cheese. All you need is a parchment lined baking pan, basil, and your preferred parmesan for this recipe. Once the cheese cools and hardens in a few minutes, you can use these crisps just as you would a regular cracker. If you want a quick snack without doing any baking, Wal-Mart sells them by the bag.

This is really just the tip of the cheese wedge. You can substitute parmesan cheese cup for cup in any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs or crackers to go into the meat mixture or on top for texture, from Italian meatballs to sausage stuffed peppers. Cheese makes everything better, and fortunately you can hold the carbs and still indulge in many of your favorite meals.