How can I eat food that is healthy and filling but still function?
March 16, 2012 2:30 PM Subscribe
I have recently become appalled at just how carb-heavy my diet is. But without them, I crash. "What should I be eating instead?" and other glycemic questions follow.
posted by dean_deen to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
My usual daily diet consists of the following (and just fyi, I'm living on a somewhat low budget with rudimentary cooking skills, which is why this list is so limited, although I am trying to learn how to cook):
Breakfast-peanut butter on whole-grain toast, sometimes with a banana or an apple
Lunch--whole wheat pasta with canned spaghetti sauce
Dinner-some meat dish with sides of rice and a vegetable--sometimes home-cooked, occasionally from the Chinese restaurant where I work
My main problem with the way I eat is my body's tendency to freak out if I don't consume the above. For example, for breakfast I once ate a fruit salad consisting of two small apples and a banana, and I felt shaky afterward, even though I felt relatively full. The shaky feeling did eventually go away--which I have noticed in other instances where I eat but don't feel satisfied immediately afterwards--but it's frustrating for me to have to wait a few hours to feel normal.
I figure this is a blood sugar issue, and hence a too-many-carbs issue. I thought about doing the Atkins diet, but I'm weary of consuming so much fat. But conversely, I've tried healthy snacking--raw carrots, celery, etc--and veggies and fruits just don't satisfy me like something fatty does.
The other diet improvements I've tried to make have not been very successful: yesterday, I ate cooked cabbage with spaghetti sauce instead of spaghetti (I now realize that cabbage is mostly water, so I was setting myself up for failure here). I was still hungry afterwards until I had a cookie and some Guinness bread at a party later. This satisfied-yet-probably-didn't-eat-enough state set the stage for this morning: my sister recommended that I buy steel-cut oats because it is filling but won't spike your blood sugar, so I had that for breakfast; and indeed it didn't spike my blood sugar--but it didn't completely get rid of the shaky hungry feeling I had after I, um, emptied my bowels. So I'm wondering if it's a bad idea in general for me to consume low-GI foods? Is my need for filling but less healthy foods something that I can change through gradual dietary improvements, or is my body chemistry naturally like this, and I just have to deal with it? And finally, what cheap/easy-to-make dishes or foods can I eat to change my reliance on carbs or at least use as healthy carb complements so that my diet isn't so carby?