Recently I was chatting with a reader who mentioned that her husband was a meat and potatoes guy and the carbs were really hard to give up for both of them when it was time to lose the weight. It got me thinking about my own experiences and I realized I had a post in me about it. So this is the post about potatoes. 🙂
When I was a kid, my family was the tradition meat and potatoes type. Dinners were some sort of protein (often chicken) with some vegetables (frozen), some fruit (from a can) and some sort of carb like a baked potato or rice. As an adult I understand this now because that’s cheap. A bag of potatoes are like $1 and would feed a family for weeks, definitely cost effective.
When I moved out on my own I continued that behavior for dinners because it was all I knew. I made a lot of things from a box–like those Hamburger Helper type meals and the rice casserole bakes. Basically, the easy stuff you can put together in 5 minutes and doesn’t require any cooking skills. I depended on this type of eating for years. (As well as frozen pizzas, frozen burritos and fast food.)
Of course when it was time to lose weight I had to re-evaluate how I was eating. I had to stay within my calorie range each day and I had to make changes. Yet potatoes and rice and other carby-goodies like that remained a part of my diet. A dinner didn’t seem complete without rice or something like that. Also? A dinner roll. A dinner wasn’t complete without one. That’s a lot of calories!
When I moved in with Michael (almost 4 years ago now) my dinners changed pretty drastically. When I was living on my own, I ate a lot of Lean Cuisines with a side salad for dinners. It was just me and there wasn’t a reason to cook a big meal. Michael was the cook in the relationship and that started to change my thinking. I didn’t want to eat the frozen processed crap and cooking together was fun. He’s also into healthy eating (most of the time) and decided that white potatoes weren’t healthy and didn’t want them in his diet. I jumped on board because of the calorie counts in them, honestly. But then I got used to it and found that I didn’t miss the baked potato with everything on it.
We made the change to sweet potatoes. That became a staple in ours dinner rotation, probably once or twice a week. They were so much lower in calories AND healthier.
“Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after eating. Foods that have a low glycemic index do not cause a quick spike in blood sugar and thus do not overwork the pancreas, said Bovell-Benjamin. As a result, people don’t experience the same roller coaster of sugar highs and lows, which can lead to hunger and the consumption of extra calories. In other words, foods with lower glycemic indexes, like sweet potatoes and brown rice, make you feel full longer.” (source)
We also went through a phase of sweet potato fries! They were so good! We made them probably once a week, usually on the weekends with our turkey burgers. It was a good substitute to the high fat, fried onion rings and regular fries.
Slowly we phased out even the sweet potatoes. I don’t know if it was something conscious or if we just stopped thinking to buy them at the store. I really can’t answer that question. The same thing happened with the rice. We don’t eat it very often. I probably eat it more in Mexican restaurants than I do at home. Again, no idea why we stopped eating rice.
Sometimes we eat quinoa, sometimes couscous or Israeli couscous, but it’s not very often. If I had to guess I’d say once or twice a month. What I find most interesting is that I never felt like I was missing out on something, or like I was torturing myself by not eating carby things like that. I just didn’t miss it. You really can change your habits and cravings for the better.
QUESTION: Have you ever tried limiting or phasing out carbs like potatoes and bread? How did it go?