Most of us have been taught over the years that carbs are evil and should be avoided at all costs. We have been told that eating carbs completely sabotages all the hard work we did to get into that bikini. The truth is, not all carbs have the same effect. Healthy eating with carbs is doable, and cutting them out of your diet could actually be a bad thing.
Good Carbs Bad Carbs …Carbs Carbs
It all comes down to sugars and what type of carbohydrate you’re consuming. Lactose (found in milk), fructose (found in fruit), and refined grains such as white rice provide a measure of energy. Albeit only for a short time. Unfortunately, these types of sugars don’t give the body enough fuel to amount to much. In turn, they become what is known as empty carbs/calories. However, they do have some amount of fiber and certain nutrients, thus use them wisely and sparingly.
Eating too much refined sugar can also lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar. Refined sugar gets processed so quickly that it can make you feel like you need to immediately eat again. This will hamper your success if you’re trying to lose weight.
Obviously sodas are loaded with empty calories, but fruit juice can be tricky as well. Many people assume that because it’s a fruit, it’s good for you; not so, many of them contain sugar just like soda does.
Energy and Healthy Eating
If you have a good exercise regimen–and you should–it’s important to remember that carbs provide energy. Whole grains are a great way to build up that energy for a proper workout.
“They (carbohydrates) are our primary energy source during exercise. We can’t get to the same level of intensity if we’re carb depleted,” says Dietician, Dr. Kelly Pritchett
Healthy Eating with Carbs & Protein
Besides carbs, healthy eating consists of protein as well. Tuna, salmon, almonds, eggs, lean turkey or chicken breast, and any kind of bean are great sources. Eating a breakfast that is high in protein is one of the best ways to start your day. It will give you the energy and brainpower you need to get through the morning.
Avoid sugars and starchy foods at lunchtime, and keep small, healthy snacks handy. Not only does this keep your metabolism up, but it also keeps your blood sugar from dropping suddenly. Remember this will make you feel like you’re starving.
For dinner, opt for grilled chicken, fish, or pork instead of red meat and add lots of dark, leafy greens. It’s also a good idea to steer clear of snacks before bedtime; instead, have a glass of water, which will not only hydrate you, it will fill you up.
If you’re a picky eater and/or get tired of eating the same thing sticking to a diet can be difficult. It’s also difficult to stick to a meal plan that is sure to include all the nutrients you need. Take some time and go online to check out all the recipes that anyone can do. There is no shortage of meal prep ideas no matter what your tastes are or what your budget may be!
Cheating at Healthy Eating
Remember, it’s okay to have a “cheat” day. Allowing yourself to have a little of your favorite dessert or bread is not only acceptable, but it’s also necessary. Cutting out your favorite foods completely is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll backslide. Consequently, do yourself a favor and have a few bites. Just remember that moderation is key.
About the author
Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.
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(Article updated from September 2016)