Carbs have gotten a bad rep recently. And that's too bad, because nutrient-rich carbs such as whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and even the occasional piece of pie can (and should!) be part of a well-balanced diet that's free from guilt. Cutting out carbs may help people lose weight in the short term, but this can lead to a restrictive, unhealthy relationship with food.
The trick is to be smart about how and when you eat carbs. Foods containing carbohydrates typically have a high glycemic index value, which reflects the effect they have on your blood sugar. When our blood sugar levels are stable (meaning we're getting a slow and sustained release of energy) we feel more energetic and satiated, and we don’t experience energy slumps.
Diets that consist mainly of low GI foods can help sustain a healthy body weight and reduce risk for diabetes and heart disease. To lower the GI of the cabs you eat, the simplest trick is to add fiber, fat and protein. This combination helps lower the overall glycemic index of a meal with carbohydrates.
Here are 15 super easy ways to do that:
1. Choose less processed foods.
Fresh fruit, for example, has a lower glycemic index (GI ) value than dried counterparts and fruit juice.
2. Add avocado.
A source of healthy fats is the perfect addition to a carbohydrate-rich meal.
3. Tomato juice, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Have one of these with your meal to help reduce the glycemic load.
4. Say hello to slow-cooked oatmeal.
Choose over quick oats for more fiber.
5. Pair with protein.
If you really want to have a piece of pie or cake, have protein with it. Try having a sweet food with a little peanut butter or cottage cheese.
6. Lightly steam your vegetables.
Or eat them raw to maintain their fiber content.
7. Choose firm fruits that aren't overly ripe.
The riper the fruit, the higher the amount of naturally occurring sugars.
8. Go with sashimi.
If you enjoy sushi, choose sashimi instead to avoid white rice.
9. Think outside the bread.
Instead of a sandwich, have a salad with a scoop of sandwich filling such as egg, tuna or salmon.
10. Rethink your pizza crust.
If you have pizza, choose a whole wheat thin crust instead of a thick, white flour crust. You can also opt for a cauliflower pizza base.
11. Pick the right kind of soup.
Soups made of lentils or other legumes are better choices than potato because of the higher fiber content of beans and lentils.
12. Eat an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter.
This increases the fat, fiber and protein content of your snack.
13. Do breakfast right.
If you eat breakfast cereal, try eating an egg straight after to increase protein and slow the release of sugar to your bloodstream.
14. Berries are best.
Choose berries for dessert instead of pineapples and bananas because they are lower in sugar and high in both fiber and antioxidants.
15. Get on board with dark chocolate.
It's a better choice than milk chocolate because it's lower in sugar and provides a source of health-promoting antioxidants. But remember, one small square is all you need to get those health benefits!
We don’t have to fixate on cutting carbs, or only eating protein, or following whatever other crazy fad has taken the wellness world by storm. When we take the time to listen to our body, and truly understand how our body uses food for nourishment, then can we enjoy genuine and lasting health and wellbeing.