I can’t even tell you how often women tell me they struggle with managing their carbohydrate intake. I hear the word ‘carbo-holic’ on a weekly basis and I’m constantly being told by my women that carbs are their weakness or that they just can’t control themselves with carbs once they start. I want you to know: carbs are NOT our enemy. We actually need to eat them to function. You might notice that when you try to cut out carbs completely you become super-low energy, moody and your cravings get out of control. The reality is, the more active we are (and lets face it: moms running after young kiddos are active by default!) the more we need carbs to feel good and function well. It’s just a matter of finding the right kind of carbs that serve us, helps us maintain our blood sugar, and help us feel great.
I’m not about calling some foods good and some foods bad. Food does not have moral value, period. The truth is though, when we’re using a habit-based approach there are some carbs that are a smarter choice than others, moral value is not a thing. The idea of smart carbs vs. other carbs comes from Precision Nutrition. It’s one of the habits we cover in No Nonsense Nutrition Coaching. The idea is that smart carbs help to promote our health, and add value to our bodies. They’re the carbs that digest more slowly, helping us keep our blood sugar more stable and are full of nutrients. As a result of these properties, they also help us to avoid those crazy sugar crashes we feel after we eat more refined carbs.
Some examples of smarter carb choices include things like: fruit, starchy vegetables (like sweet potato), starchy fruits (like squash), whole grains (like quinoa), beans and legumes. These foods are considered smarter choices because the have lots of fiber to fill us up and digest slowly, they’ve got lots of nutrients and they help us manage our blood sugar.
In contrast, some examples of other, more refined carbohydrates are: most baked goods like cookies and cakes, sweetened drinks and most processed crackers, cookies, chips etc. that comes in a package. These foods are delicious, no doubt, and that in itself does have value. They’re foods that might give us an immediate buzz, but generally leave us feeling lower energy later, and hellooo cravings!
I would never in a million years tell you to only eat the smart-carbs and ditch the others. I’m a self-proclaimed ice-cream connoisseur and I love fresh baked goodies! Buuut, I would definitely advise eating our carbs with awareness, and noticing and naming the way we feel afterwards. If your overall eating is keeping you full, satisfied and balanced, I’d say you’re winning!
How can we balance out our carb intake to include a bit more of those slow digesting carbs? Take the next opportunity to grab a piece of fruit instead of a muffin. Try whole grain tonight with your dinner instead of a regular rice or pasta. Add a new starchy fruit or legumes to your meal planning repertoire. Just start with one little change and listen to your body to see how you feel.
Smart carbs are one of the 11 habits we focus on in my 22 week nutrition coaching program, No Nonsense Nutrition Coaching. Enrollment is open now through this Sunday only. If you’re tired of bouncing from diet to diet and you’re ready to level up and stay accountable, I’d love to be your cheerleader! Learn more about No Nonsense Nutrition Coaching and register here. As always, reach out to me any time with questions!