Ok girls, I know cutting carbs is probably the most impossible task you could ever tackle, especially if you live in Egypt where a meal without carbs isn’t complete, but after a lot of research, this is what I came up with!
Here are a few simple tips to go carb free, or at least decrease your carb intake by 70%. After all, getting fit is 70% what you eat and 30% how much you work out.
1. Farewell to bread, hello crackers!
In case you didn’t know, crackers – and I’m not talking about Tuk and the other butter-filled ones – are very light in calories. For example, for every five Ritz crackers you eat, you only consume 80 calories.
On average, each cracker is around 15 calories. So instead of having toast in the morning or using a slice of bread as a dipping device, use crackers. Technically speaking, you can have up to 12 crackers and consume less than 200 calories. What a bargain!
Don’t stick to typical cracker uses, you can eat them with way more things than you think. Be creative!
2. Quinoa, anyone?
Yes there is a new trend in town, and it’s called Quinoa. Quinoa rice is basically grain-like crop grown into edible seeds that are as versatile as rice. It has become more popular now because of its ability to take the flavor of whatever it is cooked with and because of its high source of protein (50% more than brown rice). Basically, you are fooling your mind into thinking that you’re eating rice but you’re actually eating healthy, edible, tasty protein!
Can’t find quinoa in your local supermarket? Couscous and brown rice are similar and all three are healthier substitutes for white rice and with the right side dish or recipe, they can even be more delicious. So think twice next time you reach for the white grains.
3. Start with the healthy, end with the carb
In the Middle East, carbs are more essential in our daily diet than most other countries. However, by doing it right, you can eat carbs everyday, but in smaller portions.
During lunch or dinner, start with the least fattening dish on the table (like salad) and fill your tummy with that. Follow it up with the next least fattening thing, probably protein. End your meal with the pasta or rice on the table. You would have filled your tummy with healthy food and ended your meal with a small portion of carbs, just to satisfy your mind that you’ve had your daily carb intake.
Can’t resist boycotting pasta? No big deal. Pick just one or two days a week to eat pasta. That way, when you crave pasta, you don’t need to freak out or feel deprived, you know you can have some in just a day or two!
5. Be creative
There is so much you can make that is satisfying and absolutely carb free and protein rich. Creating fun salads can be exciting and by mixing it up, you’ll never get bored of a mundane green salad.
A few healthy items you can spice up your salad with:
- Couscous, quinoa, brown rice
- Green onions
- Tuna, egg (Nicoise salad)
- Red beans
- Colored peppers
- Fereek (toasted cracked wheat grain rich in fiber)
- Nuts – try pine, almonds and pecans
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Mustard (increases metabolism)
6. Veggie Snack
Always keep cut fruits and vegetables in your fridge so when you’re in the mood to munch, healthy snacks are ready for you. We all know that it’s way easier to snack on chips and ready-made munchies. So be prepared and make your healthy snacks fun.
7. French Fries
I don’t think I’ve ever seen french fries and refrained from having one. It’s one of the most tempting and irresistible finger food in the world! So, what can we substitute for french fries? My favorite is baked potato wedges/chips with rosemary. This dish avoids all the frying and oil, you get full faster with the size of the wedges or chips, and you add flavor with rosemary. I know it’s still carbs, but at least way healthier than fried carbs!
You shouldn’t cut carbs completely out of your diet because, first of all, you probably won’t know how to and second, your system needs all types of food so that it doesn’t forget how to digest certain minerals.
Lastly, carbs are a good source of energy for all you active gym-goers and athletes out there. However, substituting and minimizing your carb intake will definitely be much more effective, and I’m positive you will see results within the first few days!