3 Tips for Carbohydrates!
If you’re like me, your favorite MACRO is the Carbohydrate! Are they healthy? Are they unhealthy? When should I eat them? These are just some of the many questions that are always floating around about carbohydrates. And the answer is….it depends. It always depends. Everyone’s scenario is different. Our goals are different. Our tastes are different. Our bodies are just different. With that said, the best approach is to manage carbohydrates well, and of course choose healthy options that support your activity levels and help you feel great while doing it! Today I have 3 simple tips for you pertaining to your carbs that will help you get a grasp.
#1. KEEP THEM HANDY
Be in control of your carb intake instead of letting the carbs control you. More often than not, the most accessible carbs at the store or in our household are full of simple sugars and refined/bleached flours that we would classify as no good for you. In order to combat these choices, we need an army of healthy carbs at our immediate disposal. Items that have are just as easy to grab so that we can make the right choice more often. These items may take some prep time, but here are some awesome options for you that are easy to make and store well, after preparation, for future use.
Rice, white or brown: Easy to cook in a rice cooker and easy to reheat. When you reheat in the microwave add a wet paper towel over the top to add moisture for wonderful rice anytime.
Steel-cut Oats: Easy to cook on the stove in large quantities. Store it in a rectangular tupperware making it easy to cut out slices for future use. Add a little water or milk to the bowl when you reheat for moisture. Steel cut oats are great reheated because of the texture of the oat is maintained in the manufacturing process. They maintain their chewiness and are wonderful with other items added to it such as nuts and/or fruit.
Whole-Grain Pasta Salad: Whole grain breads and pastas can be a benefit to your diet, especially when yours calls for more carbs. Pasta salads refrigerate well and are ready to eat with ease once the initial prep is taken care. Consider using fresh veggies, olive oil, and olives!
Baked Yams: Sweet potatoes and yams are a great carbohydrate source anytime of day. Baking them is as simple as scrubbing, wrapping in foil, and baking at 375-400 degrees for about 45-60 minutes depending on size. Store them in the fridge and reheat as needed.
Fruit: Natures candy is always a better choice than processed sugar. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to have plenty of fresh fruit around. Dried fruit can work too, just be careful, often they sneak table sugar into those also.
#2. ADD A FAT
Fat is proven to slow down absorption in our body. This is a good thing. It helps our body get great use of all the micronutrients in our food and it also slows down the process by which carbs are absorbed into the blood stream as glucose. This is a good thing because when we pair a healthy fat with a carb, healthy or not, we get a better energy stimulus. Try it for yourself. Eat a Snickers bar one day and note how you feel 20 minutes later with some activity. Then the next day, eat a 3 musketeers and do the same. I’d bet the snickers has you feeling a bit better since it has peanuts in it to slow down the absorption of the sugar present in all of the other ingredients. The 3 musketeers is primarily just sugar. Great experiment!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Greek Yogurt with the FAT
#3 The Real 80/20 Rule
Many times I hear this ratio tossed around. More often than not it is an excuse to justify eating what you want when you want it. And the ratio often becomes 60/40, 50/50, or even 40/60 “good” to “bad” food. If you’re going to use this rule, you’ve got to create a real system for accountability and stick to it religiously. This is what the 80/20 rule really looks like from a few real perspectives.
Meals: 4 great meals and 1 not so good. This means in 7 days (21 meals), you get 4 cheat meals. This is definitely not an everyday thing.
Calories In: On a 2000 calorie diet, 20% is 400 calories. This means that 400 calories a day can be foods that are not on your AWESOME list. This doesn’t mean that you get to eat 400 calories in addition to your daily number. That would be a recipe for long term disaster. 400 goes fast when you’re eating sugary and/or salty foods. BEWARE.
Be honest with your 80/20!
I Hope that these 3 tips bring you some perspective and assistance. Hold yourself accountable, build great habits, and reap the long term benefits!! Stay healthy my friends.