Make Your Carbohydrates Work FOR You!

Carbs, carbs!  We all love carbs!  And to be honest they are the absolute bread and butter of any sound nutrition regimen.  Carbohydrates keep us fueled, keep our digestive systems working right, and satisfy cravings like nothing else.  So why do they get such a bad wrap?  In a society gone crazy for ketogenic diets and gluten free everything, I see so many people throwing the baby out with the bath water.  But slow your roll there sister.  I'm about to teach you some tricks to help you OWN your carbs and make them work FOR you, not against you!

1. Whole Grain Over Everything.  It might not happen overnight.  You might have to start with just switching breads, doing 50/50 whole grain pasta, subbing out a portion of your pancake mix for whole wheat flour... but the goal should be whole grains every single time.  Not because it's going to cut back the carbs, but because it's going to pack so much MORE good stuff you need to get your nutrition balanced!  When you switch to whole grains, you're not only getting necessary carbs, you're also getting plenty of fiber to keep your digestive system happy and working.  You're getting added protein, aiding those toned muscles you've been seeking and reducing soreness after workouts.  You'll feel fuller faster, thus limiting portion size and keeping the mindless snacking in check.  Not to mention you're going to get a slew of other micronutrients you need to keep your systems working their best!  When you break down the benefits, it's really a no brainer, and you won't even miss the refined stuff after a while.

2. Less sandwich, more "on toast".  Rarely during the week will you ever see me eating an entire sandwich.  That's because a slice of bread is a serving, and two of them is honestly more than you need in one sitting.  Instead, I do a lot of toppings on toast - peanut butter on toast, tunafish on toast, turkey and cheese on toast.  Wrap it up like a taco if you must, but stick to just one.  You'll still be satisfied and without totally slamming your daily carb goals in one sitting.

3. Look for "low carb" substitutes.  While I'm not really a huge fan of cutting out carbs, one of the benefits of this crazy societal trend is that there are a LOT of low carb options on the market!  From breads to pastas, you don't need to get all that fancy anymore.  Just find substitutes that have been made for you.  My mom is a big fan of Dreamfield's pasta and I have recently started using edamame noodles and black bean noodles (yes they taste pretty darn close to spaghetti) that also give me the added protein and fiber I need to balance out and really make my carbs worth their weight in gold.

4. Time them right.  You don't want to blow all your carbs by 10 am and be starving late in the day.  You also don't want to save them all for dinner when you're not far from bedtime.  I try to get a good serving in first thing in the day to get me going and space them out through lunch, snack, and leave a little bit for dinner.  Doing this will keep you satiated throughout the day and avoid the food coma feeling you get when you pack it into one sitting.  Also, depending on your exercise routine, I'd suggest making one of those servings within an hour of your workout.  Perfect fuel for a good sweat!

5. Limit the sweet carbs.  If you're doing these things and still going way over your carb limit, I suspect you might have some sweet stuff you need to cut back on.  Sweet tea, juice, desserts... these can fill up your carb allowance fast, but without any real value.  You're going to be left hungry and low in other nutrients, even though your carb goals have been fulfilled.  I'm not saying you can't have any treats, but be mindful.  These things are silent killers when it comes to diet success rates, and you can't walk into them blindfolded.  Make sure it's worth it if you're using your carbs on these.

Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to a healthy relationship with carbohydrates!  Need more help?  Let me hold your hand and guide you through my system of sound nutrition without the use the of any specific supplements or programs!  Comment below and I'll keep you updated on the start of my next group.  I'd love to have you and teach you how you can gain total control over your diet and body goals!

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