You’ve probably tried a fad diet or two in your time. I know I have! I’ve learnt from personal experience that eating a balanced meal including all food groups is the way to get results, and live a healthy lifestyle long-term. What I mean by food groups is Macronutrients; Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. I want to talk to you about Carbs as a lot of Women will ditch the Carbs when trying to lose weight.
What are Carbs?
“Carbohydrates or ‘carbs’ are an energy source in food that comes from starch, sugar and cellulose. Carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre in the diet.”1
So listen up ladies, DO NOT CUT CARBS FROM YOUR DIET! They’re a vital energy source, you just need to be strategic about when you eat them and make sure that you’re eating the right carbs. There are 2 types of Carbs – Simple and Complex.
Simple Carbohyrdates are what most of us grew up on…white bread, white rice, white pasta, honey, jams, soft drinks, fruit drinks. “All simple carbohydrates are made of just one or two sugar molecules. They are the quickest source of energy, as they are very rapidly digested.”2
Complex Carbohyrdates are the ones that get all the glory in the news though, and this is what we should be eating more of:
- Green vegetables
- Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, quinoa and whole-grain breads
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
- Beans, lentils, and peas
“Complex carbohydrates may be referred to as dietary starch and are made of sugar molecules strung together like a necklace or branched like a coil. They are often rich in fibre, thus satisfying and health promoting. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant foods and, therefore, are also often high in vitamins and minerals.”2
What about Fruit & Vegetables – are they Carbs?
“Fruits, vegetables and dairy are also technically made of simple carbohydrates but because of the fibre, protein and other nutrients, they act more like complex carbohydrates in the body and should be consumed daily.” 1
Add veggies to every meal – OK you might not want to for breakfast, but your other meals and snacks should include them.
Lunch: Roast chicken wholemeal wrap packed with salad; mixed salad leaves, capsicum (pepper), shredded carrot, tomatoes, beetroot. Add some quinoa or brown rice to bulk it up.
Afternoon snack: Wholewheat crackers with cottage cheese, baby spinach, cucumber / tomato
Dinner: Homemade Spaghetti Bolognaise with wholewheat pasta and add lots of veggies into your bolognaise (zucchini / courgette, mushrooms, capsicum, carrot)
It’s all about being more mindful about what you’re eating. A quick sense check at meal time (or when planning ahead for meal time) will get you in the groove. Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I included the right carbs?
- What veggies am I adding?
When is the best time to eat Carbs?
There are many different approaches to timing carbohydrate intake. However, one of the best places to introduce them is immediately post workout, to replenish the muscle glycogen that you burned during your workout.3
You’ll no doubt have heard that you’re not meant to eat Carbs after 5pm. MYTH! Eating Carbohydrates with your last meal is another good place to add carbs. Carbohydrates boost insulin, which in turn causes an increase in serotonin, which makes you feel happy and sleepy – perfect for helping you get a good night’s sleep.
For nutritional support as part of a training program to get results you can apply for my 12 week Signature Package here. Though please know that I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be, so I do not offer detailed meal plans tailored to dietary requirements.
Happy eating, Lucy x
Sources: 1. http://www.livestrong.com/article/27398-list-complex-carbohydrates-foods/