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Challenge: Lose the Baby Weight. WEEK 3. Choosing Quality Carbohydrates

April 4, 2011

All carbs are not evil.


True, some carbohydrate choices are better than others–whole wheat bread is better than white, and anything filled with fiber is better than something without–but to rule out an entire food group based on the assumption that carbohydrates make you fat is just plain WRONG.


More often than not, it is what we DO to the poor hapless carbohydrate that makes it fattening.  The perfect example is the baked potato. It starts off as a food that is rich in natural energy (carbohydrates) and contains valuable nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. We often choose a portion that is too large–because bigger is better–right? Then, we top it with butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon. This turns our 80 calorie per half cup food that is filling, low fat, and rich in fiber into a cholesterol and calorie nightmare.


Same goes for cereal. Many cereals are low in fat and full of vitamins and fiber. A cup of Cheerios with a cup of  1% fat milk is about 200 calories. However, a 3/4 cup of Crackling Oat bran is 200 calories (without milk) and has about 8g of fat, much of it saturated. The culprits? Sugar and coconut oils.


Carbohydrates supply energy. They are our body’s optimum choice for fuel. They provide B vitamins and fiber, which helps our body to regulate cholesterol. They are GOOD for you. The trick is to be mindful of portion size and mindful of added fat and sugar.


A half cup serving of carbohydrate is 80 calories. The best choices are beans, potatoes, whole grain foods such as oats, wheat, quinoa, or corn.  What you don’t want is something white or refined that has had the fiber and nutrition stripped out of it–like white bread.


Last week I shared my tips for increasing portion size without increasing calories–you can mix carbohydrate foods such as rice, noodles, or potatoes with low starch vegetables such as green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, tomato, carrots, celery, etc. These foods have between 5-20 calories in a half cup serving and provide the filler that allows you to eat a satisfying portion of food without breaking your calorie budget.


Subway restaurant is a great place to put this plan into action. Take a 6” sub on whole grain bread and stuff it with unlimited veggies and a serving of lean meat and a small portion of cheese for calcium. Provided that you lay off the high calorie dressings, your sandwich should provide a balanced meal for less than 500 calories.


Stay tuned for Wednesday’s article–cooking with whole grains.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bonnie permalink
    April 4, 2011 10:38 pm

    I love the end of this article where we justify our Subway lunch…lol! 🙂 It really wasn’t unhealthy.

    • Jen permalink*
      April 5, 2011 2:06 am

      It was very healthy! I didn’t even touch the chips 🙂

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