You may eat a high carbohydrate diet and not even know it! Even good carbs, eaten in large quantities, can slow your weight-loss progress. But knowing the carbohydrate pitfalls and planning ahead to eat nutritious alternatives can get you back on track.
Replace Processed Carbs with Whole Grains
Grocery store shelves are loaded with processed cereals, pastas, rices, and white flour products. Processed carbs are low in nutrition and quickly turned into sugar (and then fat). Eating them makes you hungry quicker, tempting you to overeat.
Switching to whole grain pastas, rices, cereals, and breads not only forces your metabolism to work harder to break them down, but provides essential fiber and nutrients that will satisfy your hunger longer.
Become a label-reader and shop for “whole grain” products like:
- 100% whole wheat
- brown rice
- bran cereals
- 100% oatmeal
Add Lean Proteins
When scrutinizing your meals, do you find one or two carbs with each meal and even sometimes as a snack item? If you’re eating 60% or more of your daily calories in carbohydrates, you’ll find weight loss difficult.
Try substituting a lean protein at breakfast instead of your typical toast, bagel, or cereal bar. Or opt for a salad and protein at lunch instead of a sandwich or pasta.
Choose Low-Fat Vegetables for Each Meal
Vegetables are not a carbohydrate or fat, but are loaded with essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Adding them to meals is a great way to lose weight and stay healthy. Try incorporating two separate vegetable dishes into each meal, and keep raw veggies around for snacking. Avoid sauces with hidden carbohydrate or fats. Instead, opt for seasonings and herbs whenever possible.
Incorporate Low Carb Snacks Into Your Day
Make snacking a weight-loss tool instead of a pitfall. Don’t wait for snack-time urges, plan ahead with nutritious low carb options. Choose:
- nuts and seeds
- raw vegetables
- lean proteins
- low-fat dairy products
Instead of eaching for typical carbs like chips, popcorn. and pretzels, try:
- low-fat cheese sticks
- boiled eggs
- a slice of roasted chicken or turkey
- carrot sticks
Beware of the Fruit Trap
Even though fruits have healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are still a carbohydrate that your body treats as a sugar. Be careful to include, but not overindulge, in fruit.
Remember, carbs are quickly absorbed into your blood stream, causing spikes in insulin levels, which can cause low blood sugars and increased hunger (which make us eat more)!