The backbone of my healthy diet is moderation. As a personal trainer, I know I have to fuel my body the right way to keep it active and healthy. I live by the rule of cut back, not cut out. Pay attention and eat clean, but enjoy life. You must have a balance in how you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrates are a major part of how you stay healthy and energized throughout the day and if you’ve been avoiding them, it’s time to stop.
My carb philosophy balances on one fact: There is a difference between starchy and non-starchy carbohydrates. All have a role in your diet and should be consumed, but when you consume them (and how much) is crucial to staying healthy and getting to your desired weight. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Starchy carbs provide quick energy to your body and should be eaten early in the day.
These carbs will ensure that you’re ready to rock your busy schedule. The amount of carbs are high, especially compared to the fiber content and that’s why they’re considered starchy. Here are a few healthy, starchy carbs:
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Old-fashioned oatmeal
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole-wheat bread (Ezekiel bread is great)
- Brown rice
2. Non-starchy carbs are best for late afternoon and early evening meals or snacks.
Non-starchy carbs are higher in fiber, especially compared to how many carbs they contain. As your day winds down, the amount of carbohydrates you take in should also decrease — especially the starchy variety listed above. You don’t need all that energy in your body since you’re about to go to sleep. However, the healthy, non-starchy carbs will help you feel full and complete your balanced meal. Here are a few healthy, non-starchy carbs:
- Brussels sprouts
- Mixed greens (kale, spinach, arugula, romaine)
- Green beans
- Vegetables (no peas and corn)
Cutting back on starches in the evening will make a HUGE change in your body.
What I’ve outlined is a plan you can stick with because you’re not forced to give up carbohydrates. Consistency is key and portion control during the day is mandatory. Having six servings of pasta at lunch is not okay. Remember, food that isn’t used for energy or nutrients will be stored as fat! Enjoy everything in moderation and always follow these rules when consuming carbs.
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