7 Expert Tips to Help You Cut Out Refined Carbs Today
Hi, I’m Serena from Kitty mom.
As a loving mom and wife, I know the hassle that comes with raising a family. Sometimes you barely have enough time in the day to get the kids to school, get the chores done, and make dinner. When life gets hectic like this, it’s easy to lose sight of your health. Pretty soon, you’re eating refined carbs and other unhealthy processed foods.
Sure, these foods are easy to buy and quick to prepare but they are also hurting your and your family’s health. But avoiding unhealthy foods doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s why I’ve put together these 7 tips to get rid of refined carbs from your diet.
1. Get in a Good Mindset
The biggest mistake I see people make when they try to get healthy is not taking the time to be prepared. The most important thing you can do to get healthy is mentally prepare yourself for the change. If you want to get healthy, you need to think healthy!
Reading articles, like this one, about healthy lifestyles is a great place to start. Research the common dietary mistakes that we make and how to fix them. Read up about all the different vegetables and their various nutrients. Teach yourself about a healthy lifestyle. If you have this knowledge, fixing your diet will be easier.
Then, when you think you are ready to make a change, prepare yourself mentally for the difficulty. If you’re cutting out sugars and carbs for the first time, you will have cravings. Those cravings can be difficult to overcome. If you are mentally prepared to face the cravings, you’ll have an easier time.
Make a mental plan for yourself. Write down promises to yourself in a journal that you can refer to when the cravings hit you. This will help you commit to following a healthy diet for yourself and for your family.
2. Eliminate Sweet Drinks
Sweet drinks are the most common source of sugar in most Americans diets. This may seem surprising but even fruit juice can have 10 teaspoons of sugar in it! The best way to fix this dietary problem is to eliminate sugary drinks from your diet completely.
Start with soda. Coca cola, sprite, ginger ale, and all other sodas should be the first sweet drinks you eliminate. These drinks have so much sugar in them and are a leading cause of health-related issues like diabetes. Cutting out soda from your diet can lead to a loss of up to 5 pounds of fat per year, without adding any extra exercise.
If you’re accustomed to drinking soda during the day, try switching to soda water. You can add a splash of lemon or lime to give it a bit of flavor. Replace fruit juices with fruit infused waters. Try slicing strawberries and cucumbers and letting them soak in filtered water for a few hours. You’ll get a hint of sweetness with all the health benefits of hydration!
3. Avoid Packaged Junk Food
That packet of m&m’s that looks so tempting when you’re in the checkout line at the grocery store? The couple of starbursts you throw back every now and then? Those little sugary snacks are adding up and causing huge problems for your overall health and wellbeing.
Although most packaged junk food has the calorie count printed on the front these days, that number is only half the story. Even if the 260 calories in your bag of m&ms fits within your daily budget, all the extra sugar is wreaking havoc on your body.
The sugar that comes in these candies gives you a massive insulin spike, a huge rise in blood sugar, and any extra sugar is stored as fat in your body. Eating these snacks might provide immediate pleasure, but it is terrible for your health in the long term.
Instead of eating these convenient but unhealthy snacks, prepare yourself before you leave the house each day. On Sundays, make a big bag of trail mix that you can snack on throughout the week. You can even make a game of it with the kids, mixing the trail mix altogether. Include a reasonable amount of dark chocolate with heart-healthy nuts and seeds to provide you with healthy energy and something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
4. Cut Back On Bread & Pasta
Pay attention to how often you’re eating bread and pasta throughout the week. These are easy foods to put on the table, but they lack important nutrients that you and your family need.
White bread and pasta are made from processed, bleached flour that has been stripped of most of its nutrients. When you include this as the base of your meal, you’re getting tons of unhealthy sugar and refined carbs with no nutritional value.
If your family is carb obsessed, try switching to whole grain pasta and bread first. This will at least bring more fiber and nutrients into the meals. Also, try to change the balance of your meals to include more protein and vegetables, with less of the plate being used for bread and pasta.
If you can make some simple changes, such as eating more proteins and vegetables, you’ll find that it is easy to start to eat less bread and pasta.
5. Cut Back on Carbohydrates Overall
The fact is, the more carbohydrates you eat, the more carbs you are going to crave. If you feel that you are always craving breads or candies, it might be because you are always eating them! When you start to reduce the amount of carbohydrates that you eat every day, you will soon feel fewer and fewer cravings for carbs.
Eating carbs give our bodies a spike of blood sugar and a corresponding increase of insulin. This gives us more energy in the moment but in the long term it leads to an energy crash. The simple, refined carbs are easy to digest, so we use up all the energy very quickly. When our blood sugar goes back down, our body wants more, so we get cravings for more carbs!
On top of that, when we eat carbs we also get a spike of dopamine in our brain. Dopamine is a chemical in our brain that leads to a pleasurable feeling. Because of this dopamine, eating sugar makes us momentarily happy. Have you ever had that feeling of happiness while eating junk food, only to feel regret later?
When that happy feeling goes away, we are left feeling sad and regretful. This, in turn, makes us crave more carbs. Break the cycle by reducing the amount of carbs in your diet.
Begin by writing a list of all the carbs that you eat on a regular basis. Then work on reducing them one by one and replacing them with healthier options. Remember, you cannot just eliminate one food, you must also replace it with a healthier food.
6. Eat Smart at Restaurants
Be conscious of the decisions that you make when you eat out at a restaurant. Restaurants love to hide extra sugars and refined carbs in their dishes. Why? Because it makes them taste better! If you’re only eating out at a restaurant once a month, it is totally fine to indulge. But if you’re eating out regularly, you’ll want to learn how to order healthier choices.
Salads are always a great option for healthy restaurant meals but be aware of the dressings and toppings that come with the salad. Does it come with croutons or extra bread? Ask for the salad without the bread or ask for nuts instead.
The other thing to pay attention to is the salad dressing. Some dressings can have lots of hidden sugar that will derail your efforts to eat a healthier diet. Ask for simple vinaigrettes or oil based dressings and avoid fruity dressings that are full of sugar.
When salad just doesn’t sound tempting, choose options on the menu that include plenty of vegetables and proteins, with fewer carbs. If there are no low carb options, try to ask for meals with complex carbohydrates such as whole grains or sweet potatoes.
Be a conscious diner and you’ll soon realize that you can eat a healthy restaurant meal that is still very delicious.
7. Learn Simple Food Substitutions
Thankfully, as more and more people are becoming health conscious, we are learning more tricks to make it easier. There are tons of fun and easy food substitutions that make cutting out carbs a breeze. As an added benefit, they will help you eat more veggies.
Love pasta but can’t afford to eat that many carbs? There are so many vegetable based pasta substitutions out there. Try roasting a spaghetti squash then topping it with your favorite tomato-based sauce. Interested in raw food options? Shave a zucchini into noodles and serve it with your favorite topping! Zucchini noodles, or as I love to call them, zoodles!
For those of us who love rice based meals but need to cut back on our white rice, cauliflower comes in for the rescue. Just pulse some washed cauliflower in a food processor until chunky then fry lightly in some coconut oil. Voila! Cauliflower rice.
There are so many simple substitutions just like this. The more you explore, the more variety you will find. Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Make it something your whole family will enjoy by experimenting with all the different vegetable substitutions available.
The Takeaway: Cut out Refined Carbs for Better Health and Happiness
Eating a diet that is full of refined carbs and junk food might taste good in the moment, but it will only cause dramatic health problems in the long run. Make the loving choice for yourself and your family. Choose to eat foods that nourish your body and your soul. You can use this list as a guide and start getting healthy today! Go back to my first suggestion and begin to mentally prepare yourself. Pretty soon, you’ll have the healthy life of your dreams.