#1 Crisps[caption id="attachment_3587" align="aligncenter" width="425"] High protein crisps now exist on the market[/caption] Your average bag of salted crisps will serve you between 10-20g of carbohydrates, 5-15g of fat and just 1-3g of protein… Now that doesn’t sound too bad for a snack does it? However, if you look at the flip side, it only contains 1g of dietary fibre, lots of starchy medium-high GI carbohydrates, minimal micronutrient benefits and often will include unnatural compounds such as additives, flavourings and preservatives. You can create your own homemade variation of crisps! They are simple, tasty, nutritionally packed and give you a sense of pleasure knowing you’ve made then yourself. The recipe is artless:
- Simply slice root vegetables into fine disks of strips with a sharp knife (we suggest using sweet potato, parsnip, beetroot, carrot, the list is endless!).
- Spread the slices out to make 1 layer on a suitable tray for the oven, mix with a tablespoon of healthy oils (extra virgin olive, rapeseed, coconut etc) and season with your favourite spices (salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, garlic).
- Pop them in an oven for around 30-40 mins at a low temperature of 150-160°C and give them a toss halfway.
#2 Biscuits & Cookies[caption id="attachment_3589" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Try to avoid raiding the biscuit tray![/caption] That biscuit tin is so tempting at times isn’t it? No matter how high up you put it on the shelves, it always manages to come down in the evening to complement your favourite programmes and soaps on TV! However, due to large sugar content comprising of high glycaemic index carbohydrates and heavy saturated fat content, there probably isn’t a worse time to eat them – especially if you’re not exercising later on that evening. Another very simple homemade variation that can even be used as part of a post-workout snack is these 2-ingredient oat bites! As a substitute to butter and added sugar, mash 2 bananas into a smooth texture and combine with 90g of oats. Believe it or not, this is your baseline set of ingredients. You may wish to add extras such as dark chocolate, berries, nuts or seeds. Mould the mixture into as many cookie bite shapes and sizes as you wish, and place on a tray in a 180°C oven for around 12-15 minutes. As before, for even more protein you may want to try a high protein bar or even protein cookies - both have great macros.
#3 Pasta and Rice[caption id="attachment_3591" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Rice is a popular dish...[/caption] Although quite crucial, many people are relatively naïve to the effects of cooking on the nutritional content you see on the back of a products packet. Uncooked to cooked per 100g, pasta contains around 74g and 31g of carbohydrates and 13g and 6g of protein respectively. White rice contains 79g and 29g of carbohydrates and 7g and 3g of protein respectively. Therefore, pasta and rice aren’t necessarily as carb packed as you may think. However, there are techniques and variations you can use to reduce your carbohydrate intake even more.
- Research has shown that leaving your cooked pasta or rice to cool before eating changes the structural properties even further. When cooled, a compound called resistant starch is formed, which functions similarly to insoluble fibre when in the body, therefore providing less energy for the body to use or store. Further research has found that reheating these cooled carbohydrates causes even more resistant starch to form, suggesting that your next-day leftovers are better for you when trying to cut carbohydrates!
- Browns. Wholewheat variations of foods such as brown rice often contain fewer carbohydrates to their ‘white’ partners (23g vs. 29g per 100g rice). This may be a lot, but it is a start. Most impressively however, wholewheat variations contain a much larger amount of fibre and micronutrients which enrich our bodies with the compounds necessary to complete functions and reactions such as fat burning, reducing blood pressure etc.
- Courgette. Ever heard of courgettie? Courgette when treated right can actually incredibly resemble pasta for taste, texture and aesthetics. With just the use of a peeler and knife, remove the skin from the courgette, and carve thin layers of courgette until you have the desired quantity. You can then use these as lasagne sheets, or even slice them into spaghetti strings!
- Quinoa has an extensive content of micronutrients to wow any food-fanatic! With large quantities of iron, magnesium and manganese, it is a must for anyone aiming to improve their health as a whole. It can also be used as a substitute for rice with its similar properties, although containing fewer carbohydrates (21g per 100g), more fibre, more protein and almost 0g of fat.