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Wednesday Wonders: Carb Overload

November 11, 2009

We interrupt this week’s discussion of fat for today’s nutritioulicious™ Wednesday Wonders!

Q: Hi nutritioulicious! I was recently at brunch with friends and ate more carbs than I normally do in one meal. Between my bagel with lox, noodle pudding, and a cupcake I felt like I had all my carbohydrate servings for the day! I normally try to balance my meals better, but sometimes there’s no option. What should I do when this happens? Do I include carbs at my next meal to have a balanced plate or do I avoid them to balance out the day?  — Elyssa

A: Hi Elyssa,

This is a great question, especially with the holidays coming up. It’s great that you balance your meals most of the time, because every meal should have a combination of protein, carbs (including whole grains and vegetables or fruit), and some healthy fat. But, like you said, sometimes it’s not possible to have a meal with all three macronutrient groups (protein, fat, carbohydrates), especially when you go out to eat. In fact, since you had salmon with your bagel, you had a more balanced meal than if you had just the bagel and noodle pudding, so you’re already one step ahead of the game! The protein and fat are important additions to the carbs to ensure you keep your blood sugar levels steady.

So what do you do when those carbs are calling your name? Enjoy them and balance out the rest of the day by limiting how many carbs you have later on. Everyone’s calorie needs, and therefore macronutrient needs, vary individually, but most women who are at a healthy weight and are moderately active need about 6 to 7 servings of grains per day. What’s a serving? One slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, or 1 cup of cereal.

Most bagel shop bagels are at least 4 servings of bread (for bread, 1 ounce is 1 serving). Add to that the noodle pudding and your cupcake and you’ve met your grain needs for the day. So on special occasions like these, feel free to make your next meal low-carb or carb-free and fill up on protein and veggies or fruit with some healthy fat. Remember, moderation is the key to nutritious and delicious healthy eating!

Do you have a Wednesday Wonder you’d like answered? If so, email me at jessica@nutritioulicious.com!

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  1. Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it.
    I was wondering, with regards to this question, what your advice on this issue would be for someone in recovery for an eating disorder. Same recommendation to go low-/no-carb for the rest of the day’s meals, or just proceed as normal and include all food groups in each meal as usual?
    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for reading. I’m so glad you are enjoying it!

      Your question is important, and somewhat complicated. Eating disorders vary, so the answer really depends on the individual needs of the person in recovery. Assuming that weight gain is in order, I would not recommend limiting or avoiding carbs for the rest of the day, as calorie needs will be increased overall, so the number of servings I mentioned in the post would not be the same for someone with an eating disorder. It is very important that someone with or recovering from an eating disorder work with a registered dietitian to ensure that she/he meets appropriate nutrition needs. I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks so much for your response! I am normal-weight and struggle with binge-eating (as well as restricting), and I definitely don’t need to increase my calories as I’m “in my range” so I’d be curious if that changes anything.

    1. It’s hard to give an answer about what would be right for you without knowing your history of eating behavior. If carbs are something you binge on then my recommendations would be different than if it’s a food group you restrict. Does this make sense? For personal recommendations I’d be happy to help you one on one.