When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, or even if you’re just trying to figure out the best way to lose weight, knowing how to easily cut carbs from your diet is the number one go-to directive you’ll get.
For diabetics, carbohydrates in general are the focus. Carbohydrates elevate blood glucose levels, and are the one food group that determines your A1c results, based on the way they affect your body.
See for yourself… There are numerous studies available that prove what your doctor/nutritionist/endocrinologist tells you.
So – what are some EASY ways to cut carbs from your diet? (Note, I said EASY but changing habits is never easy, no matter how worth it.) Please note: “Carbs” is not just the candy, cookies, and sweets you may be thinking of. Everything has carbs. The goal is to find the daily number that works for you, and stick below it. (Talk to your nutritionist, please. Everyone’s different, but the standard recommendation is to not go below 20g/day, and to get it from natural plant sources like fruit and vegetables.)
- Eliminate sugary beverages. No joke. (Ideally, you’ll eliminate artificially sweetened beverages, too… but that’s another blog post.)Did you know that ONE can of soda has anywhere from 35-40g of sugar (carbs)? For many people who are losing weight and keeping control of their diabetes, that’s a FULL DAY’S ALLOTMENT!
One serving of juice can have up to 50g of carbs, too. Don’t bother with it, not as a diabetic. It’s not worth it.
Just stop. Cold turkey. Don’t ‘try’, don’t ‘cut back’ – just resign yourself to drinking water, tea (hot or iced), and coffee. Seriously. And don’t give your kids soda (of any kind) or full-strength juice all that often (if at all) either.
- Fruit is NOT off limits. But certain types should be. The best option, hands down, are berries. ANY kind of berries. (The good news is that not only are they lowest in sugar, but they’re the highest in other nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.) So stick to berries when you’re craving something sweet.
(FYI – Please eliminate dried fruits, severely limit tropical fruits [pineapple, mango, kiwi, figs] and melons, and try to stick mostly to strawberries, blackberries and raspberries over blueberries.)
- Fill up on protein and healthy fats. This means less butter, ribeye and bacon kind of fat, and more coconut oil and fish oils. I really find that when I have eggs at breakfast, and I skip the toast or potatoes, I just feel better. I feel lighter (carbs just kind of sit in your gut, giving you that sick ‘full’ feeling for a few hours), but I’m also truly not as hungry. I use a diet tracker that actually has shown me that I eat FEWER calories on days where I start with eggs. Sometimes, I even eat them for dinner, too!
Try my Spinach, Mushroom & Egg Scramble for a tasty meal that gives you healthy carbs (from veggies), fills you up, and satiates your need for protein!
“Instead of pairing toast or bread with my morning omelet, I fill it with tons of vegetables and top it with salsa.” — Toby Amidor, MS, RD nutrition expert and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen
- That brings me to the obvious: No bread, pasta, or rice. And limit your potatoes tremendously. This is a hard one for me. I LOVE bread. I LOVE pasta. I LOVE potatoes in any form. So for me, I pretty much only eat bread like once a week – if that – and whenever I really want potatoes I just have a few bites and I’m good. It’s about consciously recognizing your ‘trigger foods’ and making sure you stop or avoid.
- Eat at home as often as possible. Dining out offers a) too much temptation and b) very often too little nutritional information and c) wayyyyyyyyyyy too much food for a ‘serving’.
Learn to cook healthy, tasty meals for yourself and/or your family. Everyone should be getting healthier, not just you!
- Find good swaps. “Axe the jam and jelly, two sources of processed fruit sugar, and mash up fruit like raspberries or banana instead.” —Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN Another great swap would be instead of buying sugar-laden yogurt with “fruit on the bottom” (or whatever), get some plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt and add in some mashed up fresh fruit. Again, the idea here is to get your taste buds used to ‘naturally sweet enough’, so stay away from adding artificial sweeteners too. You don’t need them, honest!
- Boost your vegetable intake – a lot. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you’re cutting carbs and you’re ‘missing’ something, think instead on how to add more veggies, which are low in carbs [even the dreaded ‘carrots and peas’] to your plate. Even if it’s just a cucumber salad. They don’t have to be canned and cooked the way your grandma did it in the Great Depression… but the great news is that in doing so, you’re naturally increasing your fiber which kills hunger AND carb cravings.
That’s all we’ve got for now, but I’m interesting in hearing about how YOU have cut carbs from your diet! Please post in the comments, and don’t forget to share this post with your friends! 😉