Let’s face it… everyone loves carbs! Nothing is better than pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. My last meal on earth would either be seafood spaghetti or the creamiest, ooziest, cheesiest risotto. Oh my god YUM.
Unfortunately only some body types can break these bad boys down, eating bread on the regular having a great old time not gaining any weight. My body however likes to take such carbohydrates and turn them straight into fat, first stop my ass, followed by a trip down to hang out with my knees. Even if I exercise (hard) 5-6 times a week I still find it difficult to get the results I damn well deserve if I don’t consider my carb intake.
So if you think your carb intake could be giving you the same trouble, your metabolism is slow or you are simply not getting the results you deserve with regular exercise. I highly recommend the following approach when making “choices” around the majority of foods you consume. Note, this is not a diet, it’s an approach to choice eating that I believe is not only lifestyle friendly but offers people the ability to take control of their weight (ongoing and for good).
RULE ONE: Meals dominated by bread, pasta, rice and wheat are NOT everyday foods. These are special treat foods that should only be enjoyed once or twice a week. Trust me, nothing tastes better than a hard earned bowl of pasta or a hamburger and chips on the weekend! Treat yourself as opposed to fooling yourself. If you can’t live without bread, at least consider having toast for breakfast every 3rd day and mix it up with a kick start of protein (eggs), good fats (avocado) or lower carb fruits on the majority of other days. The same goes for cereal and muesli –read the back label! The sugar and carb count speaks for itself (anything over 10 grams per serve of either is not ideal).
RULE TWO: SOME fruits are packed full of natural sugar (albeit not refined) and in result still particularly high in carbs. It is therefore critical these foods are identified and portion controlled, as they are still harder to burn at the end of the day. Perfect example, washing down your meal with orange juice because it is “healthy”? In reality, one 250ml serve of juice is FULL of sugar and carbohydrates. The average Nudie juice has between 20-30 grams of carbs AND sugar per serve, read the back label! Instead, get to love sparkling water with lemon or water with strawberries and mint. Or, if you really love your juice at least water it down 1/4 juice. Ideally, high sugar fruits (identified in PDF link below) should be consumed in small portions in their natural state as a meal or snack once a day, not as a side beverage.
RULE THREE: Eat majority ‘Lower Carb’ Fruit & Vegetables. There are plenty of delicious choices that are super nutritious, offer plenty of carbohydrates for energy and will keep you full and satisfied. For instance zucchinis, green beans, tomatoes, cauliflower and even pumpkin- go hard! You can use these veggies to replace traditional carb meals, such as cauliflower puree instead of mashed potato and zucchini sliced and spiralled to create pasta and lasagna substitutes. I also enjoy majority lower carb red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon. Red berries and full fat Greek yogurt! YUM.
RULE FOUR: Get to know your healthy carb count! There are plenty of slow release good carbs that are high in fibre and low GI. Quinoa, lentils, kidney beans, chick-peas, sweet potato! I often add these veggies to my salads and enjoy as small serve sides with protein to help add some weight and satisfy those carb craving. I would not however sit and eat a big bowl of quinoa for dinner. These foods should ‘add to the meal’, not lead the meal. So I portion control these vegetables to half a cup per serve as they still have 4 x the carbohydrates as the veggies mentioned above, so its just good to be aware and not eat huge portions.
RULE FIVE: DO NOT be afraid of GOOD FATS & PROTEIN- I repeat, do not be afraid! Good fats keep you fuller for longer, leave you feeling satisfied and are used by your body as fuel and energy when you exercise. I strongly believe (from personal experience) that eggs, olive oil, cheese, avocado, nuts, full fat milk and yogurt are easier for the body to process and burn as an energy source than complex carbohydrates. So basically take that food pyramid you learnt in school and flip it upside down. In fact, I will do it for you.
See below my very own food pyramid PDF that summaries this discussion for you to keep to help guide your choices into an easy to reference group of 3;
- ‘ Treat Foods’ 1-2 meals per week, twice per week
- ‘Portion Controlled’ 1- 2 small serves per day (1/2 cup)
- ‘Everyday Foods’ Majority of most meals
P.S I do not claim to be a professional nutritionist, this is all based on personal experience, my own results and 10 + years of cooking and reading about food and carbohydrates. These foods should also be consumed with a diet rich in protein such as chicken, pork, fish, red meat etc, noting this discussion is focused on better understanding carbohydrates.
CLICK HERE!!!!Food Pyramid
Plus the real life version I made below then enjoyed eating my way through!