Are you planning on losing weight by cutting carbs? This is a good plan for healthy weight loss, however you DO need some carbohydrates to be healthy. The key is that some carbs are more nutritious than others. Also, it's is easiest to overeat when you snack exclusively on carbohydrates, because often times they do not fill you up. Therefore you take in more calories faster. This article will help you replace the processed carbs with their more nutritious and filling counterparts.
The most important thing to do when it comes to eating healthy, is to shop healthy. Put nutritious products that contain carbs on your shopping list so you have them always on hand. Check the labels of products when you shop for words like "whole wheat" and "whole grain." These carbs are less processed, more nutritious, often more filling than their white flour counterparts. Here are some guidelines to help you locate healthy alternatives to commonly used starches:
- Raisin bran cereal
- Multigrain Cheerios
- Whole grain bread
- Brown or wild rice
- Barilla Pasta Plus
- Whole grain crackers, such as Wasa, Triscuit or Ritz
When you are buying cereal, bread, or crackers, look at the ingredients. Check the fiber and sugar content against these recommended products to make a more informed decision about how healthy your choice is. Then check the labels to make sure that the first ingredient is "whole wheat" not "white flour." White flour is stripped of its nutrients, so it's not a good choice.
Have a balanced breakfast.
Cereal is pretty traditional for breakfast. And some cereals are better for you than others. Oatmeal, multigrain Cheerios, and raisin bran are a good place to start. Use 1% or better yet, lowfat milk in your cereal, or have cold cereal sprinkled on yogurt. Have a piece of fruit with your cereal for a balanced breakfast.
Substitute your sandwich's bread with whole grain bread.
At lunch, be sure to have whole grain bread for your sandwich. Again, keep your lunch well balanced by having lean meat proteins, some veggie fillings, and a yogurt or piece of fruit for dessert. For more ideas about good produce, protein, and dairy choices, see the resources section of this article.
Eat a balanced dinner with correct portions of whole grains.
Whole grain rice and brown rice are more nutritious than white, so they are healthier choices. Also, Barilla Pasta Plus has a higher protein content than other pastas, so the amount of carbs is lowered somewhat. I find that it has a better taste and texture than whole wheat pastas. Another good option is SmartTaste by Ronzoni. However, if you don't mind the taste of whole wheat pasta that is also a healthy option.
It is important to have a small portion of whole grains with your dinner. A good rule of thumb is to have a scoop of rice or pasta that is smaller than the size of your fist. If this seems like not enough food for you, and you are concerned that you will feel hungry, remember that the protein you select is what is really going to fill you up. And you can have all the vegetables you want (just make sure they are not covered with fatty toppings like butter and cheese).
Continue choosing multi-grains for snack.
A snack I like is to have whole wheat Ritz, Triscuit, or Wasa crackers with hummus or cheese and veggies. Check the serving size to find out how many crackers there are in a single portion size. If you are still hungry after eating the recommended portion of carbohydrates, remember you can have more veggies and fruits.
Keep up these healthy habits by shopping for whole grain products next week.
Remember: the key to eating healthy is balance and moderation. Carbs are probably one of the trickiest things to eat correctly, hence the recent no-carb diet fads.
I did try eating no carbs for a while. And I did lose a little weight. I think the reason it worked so well for me was that I really had been eating too much starch, and the wrong kinds of carbs. Once studies started coming out that no carbs is NOT healthy, and it can affect memory, I went back to eating carbs, but with a whole new appreciation for the amount I ate in a day.
So if you are trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, carefully examine how much starch you are eating, as well as the types of carbohydrates you're eating. You may find that substituting whole grains for white flour/rice as well as eating more vegetables than carbs makes a big impact in how you look and feel. A common sense approach ehat limits unhealthy carbs and sugary snacks will go a long way in improving your health.