What’s your view of Carbs? Good or Evil?
Some of you think of them as being so evil that you do your best never to eat any. Others love carbs so much, they eat them all the time. I was in the 2nd group – just give me a plate of carbs and I’ll be happy.
What I’ve learned is that both mindsets are wrong.
Carbs are essential for your good health, but when eaten to the extreme, carbs can cause health issues that can be devastating.
But what happens when you begin your healthy eating lifestyle, yet your cravings for carbs seem to be never ending? You’ve had a dreadful day at work, you’re under stress, you’re so busy your healthy eating has been put on the back burner.
When you feel stress, cortisol, the stress hormone, skyrockets along with your blood sugar. To compensate, your body releases the fat storage hormone, insulin, to help bring your blood sugar back to stable. When that happens, the insulin tends to overcompensate, and your blood sugar dips lower than it should. Your body becomes confused and thinks it needs more energy, and thus, a carb craving is born.
Now that you know this, you can take steps to outsmart your body when it comes to carb cravings.
First, you can take steps to reduce your stress or learn healthy coping mechanisms for when it arises. Next, you’ll need to change your eating habits to satisfy that carby craving without derailing your progress. This is what I’ve learned to do in order to back away from the carbs.
Here are a few of my favorite tricks on how to do this…
The Salty Swap
I’m a “salt” snacker, so every time I needed a carb boost, I would grab the bag of tortilla chips and eat away. This salt attack would normally happen around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon; which is when our sugar normally crashes after eating a carb loaded lunch. As I began to transform my eating to healthier foods, I began to eat a healthier lunch and rarely have an afternoon carb attack. But when I do, I no longer grab the bag of chips.
Next time you can’t shake your craving for a crunchy, salty snack like chips, go for something that gives you what you want in a healthy way. For example, carrot and celery sticks with a side of hummus will fill you up and fuel you for the rest of your day. You can satisfy your craving with air-pop popcorn or roasted chickpeas, sprinkling each with a little sea salt to fulfill your saltiest desires.
The Sugary Sweet Swap
Are you a “sweet” snacker and look for anything to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Next time you’re longing for a dessert, trick your brain with something naturally sweet that isn’t full of refined sugars and processed junk. A one-ounce square of dark chocolate, as long as it’s at least 80% and pure is a satisfyingly indulgent choice that won’t derail your habits. Let that ounce dissolve in your mouth and enjoy your indulgence.
You could also have a banana “shake” using almond milk, a dash of cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla extract for a treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth, guilt-free.
The Pasta and Bread Swap
And of course, there’s the staple items you’ve always eaten with every meal because that’s what you’re used to.
Rice, pasta, bread, even cereal…these are all high-carb foods that will derail your efforts if you eat them too often.
We’re a bread family, and I don’t mean the white loaf bread on the grocery shelves. Nope, we are a TRUE bread family. I learned to make homemade bread as a teenager and never stopped. When the sourdough starter craze hit in the late ’70s, we had more bread than we could possibly eat. Then the bread machine hit the market and my bread making days expanded. A few years ago we discovered the art of Artisan bread; now we could have hot homemade bread every night. If I didn’t make the bread, well there were the good ole fashioned southern homemade biscuits with plenty of butter, jam, or gravy. Okay, I’ve got to get off this subject quickly.
Luckily, I found that there are swaps you can make that will fill you up while still being wholly satisfying. Cauliflower is a great way to make pizza crust, breadsticks, mashed “potatoes,” and rice. Using a spiralizer will help you make noodles out of vegetables that taste amazing too. I now use healthier options for all my pasta and bread meals.
Now that you’ve gotten some ideas on how to tackle those carb cravings — arm yourself with these ingredients in your kitchen at all times, so these swaps become second nature.
Let me help you with some more carb swaps. Here’s a FREE Healthy Carb Swap Chart you can download, print and use when making your shopping list.
Do you have some healthy carb swaps you enjoy? Great – I’d love for you to share your favorite swaps in our members Facebook Group –