In the time I’ve been a health coach, I’ve observed a very strong, common trend amongst my clients and pretty much anyone else who asks me for nutrition advice: we all eat way more carbs than we need.
Bagels or cereal for breakfast, pizza or a sandwich for lunch, pasta or rice for dinner. Oh, and bananas, potato chips, and Snickers bars for snacks. Yep. That’s too much.
I’m not going to get into the medical consequences of this carb-frenzy now — that’s what at least half of the nutrition literature you can put your hands on talks about. Today I’m just offering you simple solutions to tackle the issue without feeling deprived.
Before I get into the neat ideas, I want to remind you, yet again, that the more real food you eat, the more satisfied you’ll be, with less food in general and less carbs, in particular. That’s really the place to start, always.
Here are the tips:
1. Drink water.
If you’re still drinking soda, juices and the such, you need to understand that you could easily be drinking more carbs than you’re eating. Not smart, since drink calories are 98% empty. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to O.D. on carbs, I rather have a nice chocolate mousse once, enjoy it and go on with my life. Oh, I’m talking to you too, frequent beer, wine and martini drinkers.
Get used to drinking water regularly and have the sugary drinks rarely, if at all. It’s by far the smartest thing you can do to radically cut the carbs and calories you ingest.
2. Eat sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are delicious. They also contain more nutrients than say, white potatoes, white bread or white rice. Several years ago, when I was weaning myself off gluten and sugar, I took to carrying baked sweet potatoes with me and having them for my snack. By the time I got sick of them, I had already gotten into the gluten-free, lower carb groove.
3. Use cauliflower.
Mashed cauliflower is an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes and contains about 25% the carbs. Sweet deal. You can also use it to make pizza crust and “rice.” Google some recipes and experiment. It’s really fun (well, I think so) to replace ingredients like this.
4. Make blended veggie soups.
Veggie soups are awesome! They are super easy to make following a simple formula: vegetable + broth, water, or a combination + seasonings + fat in the form of butter, olive oil, cream or yogurt. Cook until soft and blend. Voila!
A great way to have your veggies — the secret here is that they are very filling and very nutrient dense, but also very low in carbs. I’ve used all sorts of vegetables following the above formula: leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, carrots, all sorts of squashes (summer squashes included), lettuce, peppers, celery, beets, mushrooms, asparagus… they all work.
5. Use lettuce.
You know those dishes that combine rice or some other grain, or pasta, or potatoes with vegetables and other stuff? Well, you can do the same dishes but instead of using the starch, use lettuce, or use half the starch and half lettuce. And please use nice lettuce, not tasteless iceberg.
Of course you don’t want to cook the lettuce, but you can mix all the other ingredients and mix the lettuce right before serving. Or serve everything over lettuce leaves. Depending on what you’re making, your finished product can be a warm or cold salad.
Lettuce leaves also make excellent wraps instead of tortillas or flat bread.
There you have it. There are many more ways to lower your consumption of carbs, but these I find are easy and effective, and stay in the real food realm.
Have you consciously lowered your carb intake? What has helped you? Share your favorite tip with us!