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26 simple ways to make carbs HEALTHY to help you lose weight

PASTA, aartappels, pizza, pies…some of our favourite foods don’t exactly scream out good health.

So whether you’re hoping to improve your general health or simply want to lose a few pounds, a five-cheese stuffed crust pizza with extra salami probably isn’t the way to go about it.

You don't have to give up pasta - just tweak it to make it more nutritious

You don’t have to give up pastajust tweak it to make it more nutritiousKrediet: Getty – Bydraer

Maar, ‘naughty’ carbohydrate-based meals don’t always HAVE to wreak havoc on the waistline, or contribute to poor gesondheid.

In werklikheid, our bodies do actually need certain carbs.

Eli Brecher, Nutritionist and Founder of Eli Brecher Nutrition, explains that “consuming healthy carbohydrates in moderation” is “vital for our body to function optimally”.

Sy sê: “As the body’s primary fuel source for children and parents alike, carbs can support concentration at school and cognitive performance at work, as well as energy levels for an after-school game of football or a Kim deel haar oefensessies op sosiale media en laat nie meer aanhangers in die duister oor die toning van haar lyf nie in the gym.”

Egter, voeg sy by, it is important to note that some carbs are more nutritious than others.

Sy sê: “Instead of banishing carbs from our plates, we should focus on choosing carbs that offer a higher dose of fibre and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as opposed to foods with added sugars and refined grains.”

Ready to transform your most loved, carb-based dishes into their healthier versions?

Here’s how…

6 WAYS TO TRANSFORM PASTA

A family staple, pasta dishes can actually provide plenty of goodness, so there’s no need to fear the fettuccine.

Eli recommends swapping white pasta for the whole grain variety, as this will provide more gut-loving fibre.

“Or go a step further and choose chickpea-based pasta or red lentil pasta for a higher fibre and protein content, both of which fill you up faster so you’re less likely to overeat.”

Not sure how this new found pasta will go down with the kids?

“If you don’t want to overhaul your pasta type overnight (or that of your children), you could start by replacing just half the portion of pasta with one of these options, and mixing them together with some white pasta,” says Eli.

As for sauces, instead of a heavy creamy pasta sauce which can rack up major calories and high levels of fat, Eli suggests opting for a homemade tomato sauce.

“This is high in the antioxidant lycopene. Stir in a handful of wilted spinach for a boost of iron, vitamin K and magnesium.”

Antioxidants are needed to help protect our body’s cells against disease, while iron can help prevent fatigue.

3 WAYS TO TRANSFORM RISOTTO

This rice-based dish is often made with heavy, creamy sauces.

Eli recommends swapping the heavy cream and butter for a naturally creamy puréed vegetable such as pumpkin or butternut squash.

Plus, sneak in vegetables such as peas and onions for some extra goodness.

“You could also experiment with higher-fibre grains such as brown rice or quinoa risotto, instead of traditional risotto rice.”

Eli explains that fibre is essential for good gut health and helps lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity en bowel cancer.

“Fibre can help with weight loss as it encourages the body to feel full.”

4 WAYS TO TRANSFORM PIES

Making a homemade pie this weekend? It doesn’t need to be a fat trap.

“Make your pie crust using wholewheat flour or oat flour, or swap half your flour for ground almonds for an extra boost of protein, fibre and vitamin E,” says Eli.

Vitamin E is essential for a healthy immune system plus it helps maintain healthy skin and eyes.

“Amp up the nutrient content of your pie by sneaking in vegetables – a savoury pie could feature mushrooms, leeks or courgette,” adds Eli.

If you’re opting for a shop bought pie, choose a crustless pie or quiche to help reduce the calories.

5 WAYS TO TRANSFORM PIZZA

Friday night pizza night just got a little healthier.

Instead of white, refined bases, Eli suggests choosing a whole grain crust.

“Use lighter cheeses, top your pizza with lots of vegetables such as mushrooms, sweetcorn and olives and be mindful of portion sizes – perhaps share a pizza and a salad between you and a friend, so you’re only having half the pizza.”

You could even use wholegrain wraps as a pizza base, for a much lighter, lower calorie option.

3 WAYS TO TRANSFORM JACKET POTATOES

Instead of topping your humble spud with mountains of fatty cheese, try tuna, low-sugar baked beans or shredded chicken and avocado.

“Why not make this into a jacket sweet potato instead of a regular white potato,” says Eli.

“Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene to support a healthy immune system, and they are lower on the glycaemic index than white potatoes, meaning they are less likely to spike your blood sugar.

“Whichever potato you choose, be sure to eat the skin, which is where most of the fibre is found.”

5 WAYS TO TRANSFORM SANDWICHES

A lunchtime classic, sandwiches might be a carb-heavy option but they can provide a lot of goodness, when done right.

“Go for wholegrain seeded bread over white bread and load up on vegetables such as cucumber, tamatie, lettuce and peppers,” says Eli.

Working from home, and don’t need to pack your sandwiches? You could try making an open face sandwich, which means using half the bread.

“For a lighter spread, go for mashed avocado, hummus, tahini and a drizzle of olive oil over full-fat mayonnaise or butter,” adds Eli.

Be sure to add a source of protein too to help keep you fuller for longer.

Try shredded chicken or other meat (leftovers work well), tuna or sliced boiled eggs.