Pastries…pasta’s…bread…oh my! With all the up to date information we all have learned that the more processed the carbohydrate source is the lower its nutritional value and the quicker the crash of energy comes (i.e. white bread, white paste, white rice). Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of these foods as much as anyone else but I would like to share something with you that I have learned over time during my long journey towards living well.
I remember one of my biggest struggles of adapting the healthy lifestyle was feeling deprived. What I mean by this was mainly having to reduce all my portions in order to stay in control of my calories. I struggled with this not because I wasn’t satisfied with my food but merely because I wasn’t full enough. I always made sure that all my foods were delicious because this allowed me to stay on track since I truly loved the taste of my food, but I just wasn’t full enough. I tried many different strategies to allow myself to stay fuller. A few of my strategies were drinking more water, making certain meals bigger than others, moving the times of my meals around. Although these strategies did work for a period of time it never lasted because in the end it still resulted in the same problem, me still feeling hungry. So how could I possibly fix this if I wanted to make this my life? Then it hit me.
I started to look at the foods I was currently eating and began to notice that I could actually swap out some of my current food items with other foods that were lower in calories, bigger in portion hence allowing me to feel fuller. For example, a typical dinner for me would normally include ½ cup brown rice. On a nutritional perspective, ½ cup brown rice equals 110 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Looking at this on a visual perspective, ½ cup of brown rice is actually quite small on the plate. If I were to swap out this portion of brown rice for broccoli I could eat 4 cups which equals 120 calories, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein! Have you ever seen what 4 cups of broccoli looks like on a plate? It’s quite a lot and it’s very filling too. I eventually started to look at all food items this way. I noticed I could eat more vegetables for less calories than I could grains. Over time I began to notice that I was living grain free and finally I always felt full. The high fiber and water content in all the vegetables allowed me to feel this way. In addition, as an amazing result I have finally been able to maintain my current weight despite eating more and even training less.
It’s important for me to point out that this is by no means the popular Paleo diet because I still enjoy my non fat cottage cheese, Ketogenic diet, or even Low Carb diet because I am still getting my recommended amount of carbohydrates a day even by replacing my grains with vegetables. I suggest you give this strategy a try! Just like anything else start slowly and I promise you nothing but a full stomach.
Alyssa Monique Lemus is from Orange County, California. She is a drug-free bikini fitness competitor, personal trainer, sponsored elite athlete and blogger for Quest protein bars. A recent graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Public Health, she wants to continue her education towards being a certified physician assistant and holistic nutritionist. Her passion is to motivate others reach their highest fitness goals. She believes living a fit life is an ultimate blessing. Photo Credit: BillyBow Photography.