Refined carbohydrates are trouble when it comes to managing a healthy weight. In fact, because refined carbs have been stripped of most layers of nutritional value, they are essentially empty calories. This means that while you have to account for the calories that you are consuming when you eat these refined carbohydrates, you don’t get to benefit from all of the potential nutritional benefits that the right carbs can offer.
The good news is that there are multiple ways you can easily cut out refined carbs without having to sacrifice the foods you love. The following suggestions will help you to maximize the nutritional value of the foods you love without leaving you feeling deprived or hungry at the end of the day.
1. The Pasta Alternative
You can easily replace your white pasta with a whole wheat version, and you’ll instantly raise the amount of fiber, protein and vitamins you will consume. White pasta is processed in a way that stripped all of these layers. Although most manufacturers enrich the white pasta after they’ve stripped the nutrients from it, the pasta still doesn’t hold the same nutritional value is it does when it’s sold before being processed in this way. Whole wheat pasta comes complete with all the layers of nutrients nature intended, and because of this it fills you up for a longer period of time than refined carbohydrates will.
2. The Rice Alternative
White rice has been stripped of nearly any nutritional value it is supposed to provide. This is why it’s important to choose options that haven’t been processed to this degree. While it’s an excellent option, if you aren’t a brown rice fan there are other alternatives you can choose from when replacing the white rice in your diet. Couscous and spelt berries are great alternatives and provide a unique taste and texture that’s fun to experiment with.
3. The Bread Alternative
White bread offers few nutritional benefits, and many brands are riddled with ingredients that simply aren’t necessary. Eating refined carbohydrates in the form of white bread can result in weight gain, and because refined carbs are digested so quickly into the system, they tend to leave you feeling hungry shortly after consuming them. Using whole wheat, whole grain, rye or multi-grain breads that don’t have a lot of extra ingredients in them will fill you up faster and keep you that way longer than its white counterparts.
4. The Sugar Alternative
Sugar is considered a refined carbohydrate and it’s processed in the body in a very similar way as white pasta, rice and bread. Instead of using sugar in recipes, consider using agave nectar which is low on the glycemic index. This means that it’s absorbed into the body at a slower rate than sugar or honey, so it provides a steadier stream of energy throughout the day. Agave nectar is also sweeter than sugar, so you don’t have use as much, which can make it more cost effective for you to prepare the foods you love at home.