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Healthy Low Carbohydrate Foods
to Start Your Weight Loss Success

By: Karen Marschel

Eating a low carbohydrate diet can be great for weight loss but make sure you are also eating smart for your health. You need to think about weight loss for short term and long term success. The tips below have helped many of my clients lose weight and keep it off and if they do not work, then you simply are not overeating carbohydrates and need to take a different approach.

To make these tips more useful I would suggest writing down everything you ate yesterday so that you can make notes as you read through the suggestions.

The first carbohydrate to assess is the sweets. This includes any desserts and also beverages with added sugar. Do not count diet or sugar free foods or beverages. Circle or highlight all of those sweets you had yesterday. Then try to reduce that intake down to one serving daily. Examples of a serving could be one small to medium cake or brownie, 2 cookies, 1 regular 12oz soda, or 1 regular size candy bar.

Carbohydrate cravings are a common problem, especially chocolate cravings. Try planning one serving into your day instead of cutting them out completely and you will tend to feel less deprived. If you find you are eating large amounts of sweets try gradually cutting down the amount more gradually. For example if you are eating 10 servings daily try first reducing to 6 servings and gradually work your way down.

Next, look at your starch intake. Sweets and refined starch carbohydrates are generally low in nutrients and fiber, and often do not satisfy our hunger for long. Check to see if any of your starch foods are whole grain. Look at some of the starch foods in your kitchen such as the breads, pasta, crackers, and cereals. Check the ingredients list below the Nutrition Facts label for whole grains. The word whole needs to be in the first few ingredients. Examples would be whole wheat, whole oats, or whole grain.

Why is whole grain important? Whole grains still have all 3 parts of the grain (bran, endosperm, and germ) after milling. This keeps all the natural nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants intact rather than being lost in processing. Now - practice substituting whole grains for your refined starches over the next several weeks and try to make at least half of your starches/grains whole grains.

Don't cut your fruit intake. In fact, you really want to increase your intake of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables because you will get more fiber and nutrients for very little calories - and they help satisfy hunger and often that sweet craving.

You can also continue drinking milk even though it has natural carbohydrate. It is still a calcium source - just keep the portion to about 8 ounces.

Make sure your overall carbohydrate intake is not too restrictive. If you are feeling weak with no energy for exercise then you have cut back too much. Some fad diets will suggest you completely eliminate carbohydrates for a while but this is not necessary and definitely not a healthy long term solution.

One last tip - try to also spread out your carbohydrate intake over the day and not load up at any one meal. Small snacks are often necessary for hunger control. These tips should help you jump start your weight loss and I wish you well on your healthy carb-controlled eating!

Karen Marschel, RD, LD, CDE is a registered licensed dietitian providing personalized online nutrition programs for weight problems, diabetes prevention, migraines, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. For more food and nutrition tips sign up for her free newsletter at http://www.DietMN.com

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