5 Carb-Loaded Snacks to Promote Weight Loss
By Caroline Cosgrove
Eat carbs to lose weight… say what?!
You read that right! If you listen to the mainstream media and follow current diet trends, it is a miracle that you eat anything at all. Carbs, fruit, fats… they all make you fat! (That’s false, by the way.) Even worse, diets are so restrictive and do more to sabotage your weight loss goals than anything else. Take it from someone who, for years, was a chronic dieter. I was constantly weak and cranky from depriving my body of necessary nutrients… maybe you can relate! It wasn’t until I learned to listen to my cravings as signals, my body’s own unique way of alerting me of missing dietary components, that I fully understood the importance of balancing carbs, fats, protein and vegetables for a healthy diet.
The Most Common Diet Myth – Carbohydrates Will Make You Fat
This is absolutely FALSE! Eating the right carbohydrates, even eating them at night, is not going to make you fat. In fact, if you eat the five that I am going to share with you, it might just help you break through your weight loss plateau that you’ve been stuck on. And as much as you want to scroll right through to the end to see what those are, I am going to ask that you stick it out with me to better understand why carbs are not the enemy here.
Your Body Needs Carbohydrates!
Carbohydrates provide your body with both glucose and fiber. Glucose is the body’s preferred energy source, fueling your organs and tissue so it can perform basic functions. With too little glucose, you may feel fatigued, weak and dizzy. On the flipside, too much glucose may leave you thirsty, with blurry vision, hungry and constantly battling dry skin. With prolonged elevated glucose levels, you run risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Whereas without enough glucose, your body looks to protein for energy, which leads to the breakdown of muscle.
Unlike glucose, fiber is not digested by the body, instead it passes through the body mainly intact. It’s function is to promote healthy digestion and regulate glucose levels in the blood, which is extremely important for a balanced body.
Here is the universal truth. The amount of calories – and quality of those calories, minus the amount of energy you expend, is ultimately going to determine weight gain or loss.
Retrain Your Brain to Reboot Your Metabolism
When you eat a lighter, fiber-rich diet of fruit, vegetables and lean protein during the day, you maximize your fat-burning ability when you are active. The side-effect is more bioavailable calories (energy), which in turn allows your body to function better and your brain to respond better.
Unlike when you consume a meal higher in fats, sugar and carbs, you’re left feeling groggy and tired. This is because your body requires your available energy to digest the calories you just consumed. Insulin levels rise to aid digestion, which triggers a rise in the level of melatonin and serotonin in the brain. Together, these hormones contribute to the sleepy feeling after eating a larger meal, which cause you to reach for sweet or high-calorie snacks late in the afternoon.
Give Your Body What It Truly Craves
After a day of positioning your body into a carb deficit, your body is understandably, craving carbs. Honor those cravings! When your body is naturally unwinding, or after a great workout, consume the majority of your complex carbs (these are not the cookies, cakes, refined sugars, etc… those are considered “simple carbs” and are not the healthy ones I am referring to here). When your glucose levels are low, you will refill them without having them spill over into fat stores. Your muscles rebuild and replenish from the demands of the day, allowing you to wake restored and ready to tackle tomorrow.
This doesn’t mean that you can, or should power down a box of donuts, an entire pizza or creamy-sauce drenched bowl of pasta. What it does mean is that, if chosen wisely, eating the right carbs (complex) at night can reprogram your metabolism and help to increase your weight loss efforts, as well as promote a better nights sleep. Enjoy whole grains with dinner and don’t be afraid to include these as part of your nighttime snack.
Remember, quality and quantity matter so be mindful with your portions and the type of carbs you’re choosing.
Now for the recipes!
Steel Cut Oats or Irish Oats
- ½ cup oats, cooked to package instructions (substitute unsweetened non-dairy milk in place of dairy-milk or water for a creamier texture)
- 1 tsp alcohol free vanilla
- Optional toppers:
- ¼ cup coconut milk greek-style yogurt
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp unsweetened toasted coconut
- small handful of raw, unsalted, toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds or cashews are great!)
- An oldie but a goodie! Skip the pre-packaged, sugar-laden variety and go straight for the organic steel cut oats. Why? Because rolled oats are highly processed, typically steamed, cut, steamed again and roasted, making them less nutritionally dense.
Quinoa and Brown Rice
- 1 cup cooked quinoa and brown rice (½ cup each)
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Combine with:
- 1 Tbs pure grade B maple syrup
- Lemon zest to taste
- 1 tsp Cardamom
- 1 Tbs toasted pumpkin seeds
- Cook over medium-low heat until milk is absorbed and quinoa and brown rice are tender.
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup sweet potato, pureed
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup oat flour (ground from rolled oats)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup roasted, salted almond butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners.
- Mix sweet potato puree, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and almond butter.
- Add milk and stir once more.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Spoon batter into muffin tins until filled almost to the top.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes (or more) until golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let rest in tins for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to let cool completely.
- ½ cup cooked wheat berries
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, raw with mother
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup kale (massaged with salt, rinsed)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- orange zest
- Loosely chop or tear kale; toss with wheat berries, blueberries and red onion.
- Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Combine salad with dressing and enjoy!
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels.
- Powdered Nutritional Yeast, to taste
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Heat oil over stove top in large pot (be sure to have a lid)
- Add kernels, cover, wait and listen.
- Once kernels begin to pop, gently shake over heat.
- When popping slows, remove from heat, dump into large bowl and toss generously with nutritional yeast and salt.
- If you have a popcorn maker, skip steps 1-4 and use as directed 🙂
Caroline Cosgrove is the founder of New Beginnings Health and Fitness Coaching, focusing on raising awareness of the health effects caused by the Standard American Diet. A Certified Holistic Health Coach and Online Fitness Coach, she educates her clients on the importance of creating a healthy, happy and balanced life, focused on exercise and nutrition. Her programs consist of both group and individual education, as well as children’s nutrition education.
Caroline is the mother of a healthy and happy 5-year-old girl, Sienna. Together, they are currently working to bring an organic vegetable garden to the school and to create a healthier school lunch program.
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