HEALTHY VEGGIE SWAPS FOR YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT-FOOD CARBS

At Corefire, we love a big bowl of pasta or a cheesy slice of pizza as much as the next born-and-bred-NJ-resident; but what we don’t love is how too much of a delicious thing can leave us feeling bloated, lethargic, and uncomfortable. Don’t get us wrong: carbohydrates are an important macronutrient in an overall balanced, healthy diet, along with protein and fat. If you exercise frequently and intensely (hello, Corefire!), you most likely need extra carbs to help replenish glycogen (aka stored glucose in your muscles and liver used for energy). After a workout is the perfect time to throw some beets on your salad, have a sweet potato along with your turkey burger, or serve quinoa alongside your salmon.

 

However, “processed” carbs – like pasta, pizza, bread, crackers, cookies, and cakes – don’t necessarily do your body good. When a grain like wheat goes through processing, it’s stripped of it’s vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that make it healthy. What you are left with is a versatile but nutrient-poor flour product that can baked or cooked into any number of foods.

Without a lot of the original nutritional value, processed carbs aren’t very good at satiating you – that’s why it’s so easy to eat a huge bowl of pasta… and go back for seconds. #guiltyascharged

 

In particular, when you consume processed, nutrient-void carbohydrates without protein or healthy fats, you can fall prey to the all-too-familiar sugar rush and subsequent crash, even if you aren’t eating anything especially sugary. That’s because all carbohydrates are converted to sugar through the digestive process; however, when carbs are packaged up with fiber and other nutrients (like in an apple or a sweet potato), the body processes and utilizes it differently.

And while we truly believe that food is meant to be savored, we’re also keen on supporting you along your journey to becoming a healthier, happier, more optimized version of you. Food should be delicious AND nutritious, and most of all, make you feel great and perform at your best. So you should definitely #treatyourself when out to dinner with friends at a fabulous new Italian restaurant in town and get the house-made pasta, or enjoy some of the fresh baked bread you picked up for family dinner.

But for day-to-day carbohydrate sources, lean on whole foods sources, such as: sweet potatoes and other varieties, butternut and other squashes, beets, beans, and whole grains (like quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal). You will get the carbohydrates your body needs wrapped up in a package of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other key phytonutrients.

 

And let’s be honest: the best part of a bowl of pasta, slice of pizza, or sandwich is the toppings!

Try the following “smart” carbohydrate replacements in lieu of your usual processed option:

  • lettuce wraps for tortillas or buns
  • grilled, roasted, or baked sweet potato rounds, sliced eggplant rounds, zucchini boats, or portobello mushroom caps for buns
  • spiralized zucchini, beets, butternut squash, sweet potato, cucumber, or peppers for noodles
  • riced cauliflower or broccoli for rice
  • mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
  • Email Coach Liz for more healthy swap tips! 

While it might take a little extra prep work at first, it’s totally worth the effort. Not to mention many grocery stores offer options to make it more convenient, like pre-spiralized or riced vegetables. Do you have a favorite way to sneak in more “smart” carbs or use nutrient-dense veggies instead of the processed original? Comment below!

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