Carbs have gotten a bad rep. We put the blame of unwanted weight gain solely on this particular type of food and go to extremes to try to curb the "negative" effects that come with eating them. But there are a lot of misconceptions when dealing with them, and avoiding them completely does way more harm than good.
To understand the benefits of a low-carb shopping list, we turned to registered dietician and certified nutritionist Mary Jane Detroyer to break down everything we need to know about carbs and to give us a shopping list for when we want to make low-carb meals at home. Scroll down to see what she had to say.Stocksy
What Are Carbs?
A common misconception is that carbohydrates only pertain to bread, pasta, and grains, when really they are found in a lot of food groups, including fruits and vegetables. "Remember, carbs are what are found in grains; starchy vegetables; dairy products like milk, kefir, yogurt; fruit, and sugar, or any combination of those foods," says Detroyer. "Vegetables have the lowest amount of carbohydrates per serving of all of those foods."
As for a no-carb diet? She says that should never be the goal. "I think people need to limit, not eliminate, their intake or refine them," she says. "Rethink highly processed carbohydrates, like bread, white rice, potatoes, cookies, cakes, juice, candy, crackers, etc." She explains that cutting carbs means you are depriving your body of energy, your liver will make glucose for your brain and other organs to stay alive and function and will use muscle to produce, and you will miss essential vitamins and minerals used for metabolic processes in your body."
To get the right balance, she says that a low-carb meal consists of the following: protein, fat, vegetables, and a small amount of starch.
Benefits of a Low-Carb Meal Plan
You might want to consider focusing on low-carb meals if your digestive system is sensitive from too much carb intake and to prevent certain diseases. "This is beneficial for people who do not metabolize carbohydrates well, those with a genetic tendency to diabetes," she says. "A low-carb or carb-controlled diet is very beneficial to prevent diabetes or keep it at bay for as long as they can."
The Shopping List
She does give clients a shopping checklist to keep them on the healthy-eating track, but she is a true believer in choosing foods that you like and making it work. "It is not the list that creates a low-carb eating plan; it is how the person chooses from the foods they have in their kitchen and how they eat them," she says.
But if you're looking for some general direction on what to buy the next time you go grocery shopping, she says to focus on the following:В
Enough to provide two to three servings daily.
Throw in starchy vegetables like potatoes, white and sweet yams, winter squashes, and plantains.В
Carrots, celery, onions, and garlic (not only do these add flavor to any dish, but they also have a long shelf life).Stocky
Enough to provideВ two to three servings daily.ВStocksy
Yogurt (Greek yogurt provides the most protein)В
5. Grain Assortment
Whole-grain crackers (such asВ Akmak, Ryvita, and Wasa brands)