I am having a really hard time kicking my carb addiction: pasta and rice.
Any suggestions? –Katy P.
The key for you to beat your carbohydrate addiction to pasta and rice is two-fold. First, fill up on other complex carbohydrates and lean protein so your energy levels are even throughout the day. Second, if pasta and rice are trigger foods for you, meaning that you just can’t stop once you start, then you’ll need to avoid them and substitute other whole grains like corn on the cob or steamed red potatoes.
To prevent an urge to eat pasta and rice, go for a filling breakfast and lunch with adequate energy. Make sure your first meal of the day has an ounce or two of protein: cottage cheese, eggs, turkey sausage, peanut butter, Canadian bacon or the like. Combine it with a high-fiber carbohydrate like steel cut oats, wheat bran or quinoa cakes. Add fresh fruit, milk and/or plain yogurt to maximize calories and fuel your day. At lunchtime, bring on the vegetables and healthy fats! If you opt for salad it should be hearty and have 3-4 ounces of protein like beans, salmon, shrimp, or chicken. Top with an oil-based dressing, pine nuts or avocado to complete.
It’s okay to use pasta and rice sparingly, but not on their own if you are addicted. Try them as an ingredient within another dish. Brown rice combined with cottage cheese, sautéed onion, mushroom and sunflower seeds can fill zucchini boats, then broil for a vegetarian entrée. Leftover pasta works wonders! Noodles can pair with vegetables in a stir fry, macaroni added into soups, and shells with tuna salad.
Other alternatives to your traditional staples are kasha, lentils, and spaghetti squash. Experiment with different options and seasonings to match how you usually prepare your starches. You may find a new favorite. Who knew cannellini beans and pesto tasted so great? Bon appétit!
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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