Pastas, potatoes, pizza, pancakes… some of our favorite foods don’t exactly scream healthy.
So whether you are hoping to improve your overall health or simply want to lose a few poundsA five-cheese pizza with a cheese crust and extra salami might not be the way to go.
In fact, our bodies actually need some carbohydrates.
She says, “As the body’s primary source of fuel for children and parents alike, carbohydrates can support focus at school and cognitive performance at work, as well as energy levels for an after-school soccer game or work out In the gym.”
However, she adds, it’s important to note that some carbohydrates are more nutritious than others.
She says, “Instead of cutting carbs off our plates, we should focus on choice carbohydrates that provide a higher dose of fiber and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as opposed to foods with added sugars and refined grains.”
Ready to turn your favorite carbohydrate-rich dishes into healthier versions?
Most read in Diet & Fitness
6 ways to transform pasta
Family staple pasta dishes can do a lot of good, so you don’t have to be afraid of fettuccine.
Elle recommends replacing white pasta with whole grain varieties, as this will save more Gut Loving the basic.
“Or go a step further and choose chickpea-based pasta or red lentil pasta for higher fiber and protein, both of which make you feel full faster and therefore less likely to overeat.”
Not sure how this new pasta will go down with the kids?
“If you don’t want to fix your type of pasta overnight (or your kids’ ones), you can start by substituting just half a portion of pasta with one of these options, mixing it in with some white pasta,” says Eli.
As for sauces, instead of a heavy, creamy pasta sauce that can add extra calories and high levels of fat, Elle suggests opting for homemade tomato sauce.
This contains a high percentage of the antioxidant lycopene. Add a handful of wilted spinach for a boost of iron, vitamin K, and magnesium.”
Antioxidants are essential to help protect the body’s cells from disease, while iron can help prevent fatigue.
3 ways to make risotto
This rice-based dish is often made with heavy, creamy sauces.
Elle recommends replacing heavy cream and butter with creamy, naturally mashed vegetables such as squash or butternut squash.
In addition, eat vegetables like peas and onions to get more benefits.
“You can also try high-fiber grains like brown rice or quinoa rice, instead of traditional risotto rice.”
“Fiber can help with weight loss because it encourages the body to feel full.”
4 ways to transform pancakes
Making a homemade pie this weekend? It doesn’t have to be a fat trap.
“Make a pie crust using whole wheat flour or oatmeal, or replace half your flour with ground almonds for an extra boost of protein, fiber, and vitamin E,” says Eli.
Vitamin E is essential for a healthy immune system as well as helping to maintain healthy skin and eyes.
“Boost the pie’s nutritional content by sneaking in the veggies—a delicious pie can have mushrooms, leeks, or zucchini,” Eli adds.
If you’re choosing a store-bought pie, choose a pie without a crust or a quiche to help cut calories.
5 ways to transform pizza
Friday night Friday night pizza just got a lot healthier.
Instead of refined white bases, Elle suggests opting for a whole grain crust.
“Use lighter cheeses, stock the pizza with lots of veggies like mushrooms, sweet corn, and olives, and pay attention to portion sizes—maybe you share a pizza and salad with a friend, so you only get half the pizza.”
You can also use whole-grain rolls as a pizza base, for a cheaper, lighter option.
3 ways to turn jacket potatoes
Instead of adding mountains of creamy cheese to your humble biscuit, try tuna and low-sugar baked beans or shredded chicken and avocado.
“Why not make this into a sweet potato jacket instead of regular white potatoes,” Eli says.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene to support a healthy immune system, and they’re lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes, which means they’re less likely to spike your blood sugar.
“No matter which potato you choose, be sure to eat the peel, which is where the most fiber is.”
5 ways to transform sandwiches
Classic lunchtime sandwiches may be a high-carb option but they can provide a lot of goodness, when done right.
“Go for whole-grain bread instead of white bread and load up on vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers,” says Eli.
Working from home and need to pack your own sandwiches? You can try to make an open-sided sandwich, that is, use half the amount of bread.
“For a lighter spread, opt for mashed avocado, chickpeas, tahini, and drizzle olive oil over full-fat mayonnaise or butter,” adds Elle.
Make sure to add a source of protein as well to help you feel fuller for longer.
Try shredded chicken or other meats (leftovers work well), tuna, or sliced boiled eggs.