13 No-Cook SmartCarbs for Easy EatingArticle posted in: Nutrisystem for Men
Despite what you may hear, carbohydrates can definitely be a part of a successful weight loss plan. Nutrisystem is proof that you can enjoy the foods you love while you lose weight—even carbs! The key is choosing nutrient-rich options that provide fiber to keep you healthy, energized and full between meals.
To make it easy for you to pick out carbs that help you shed excess pounds, Nutrisystem’s dietitians have put together a handy Grocery Guide that you can refer to when you’re making a shopping list. This Grocery Guide lists a wide range of options for SmartCarbs that are all high in nutrients and fiber. With so many tasty choices to choose from, you’re sure to find a few you love!
Now here’s the best part: There are many no-cook SmartCarbs that are ready to eat with little to no preparation necessary. Talk about healthy eating made easy!
For easy reference, one SmartCarb is between 80 to 120 calories with at least one gram of fiber. Check out these no-cook SmartCarbs that fit perfectly into your Nutrisystem weight loss plan:
Serving Size: 1 cup
Why: When you bite into berries, you get a burst of sweet, delicious juice and a load of immunity-boosting vitamins. But berries are also great no-cook SmartCarbs for a weight loss plan, as regularly eating berries has been shown to help people lose weight. In one study, published in the journal Nutrients, berry consumption led to increased fat-burning and reduced blood sugar spikes in overweight men.
Try: Of course, you can enjoy a cup of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (or a mix of them) as a snack all by themselves. Fresh berries are ideal for eating alone. Keep frozen berries on hand for using with other foods, such as smoothies. Fresh or frozen berries can also add flavor and texture to plain non-fat Greek yogurt, a zero-prep PowerFuel. For a special treat, make a tray full of our Cannoli Stuffed Strawberries. No baking necessary!
2. Whole Grain Crackers
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Why: With whole grain crackers, you get a satisfying crunch without waiting whenever you are craving a crisp snack. Whole grain crackers help you to practice your knowledge of portion control. Take out exactly one serving and then close the box to prevent you from having more than you need. You can also pre-portion out little baggies of crackers so that you can easily grab and go on those busy days.
Try: Look for whole grain crackers with at least three grams of fiber and choose low-sodium varieties. Some brands add sugar that you want to avoid. Others have seeds that enhance the texture of the crackers and add a bit of protein, so they can be a good choice. Pair whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese (a zero-prep PowerFuel) for a classic, quick-and-easy snack that’s filling and satisfying. We also love to dip crackers into this four-Ingredient Chickpea and Avocado Dip that you can prepare in under five minutes.
Serving Size: 1 medium banana
Why: Bananas are one of the most convenient no-cook SmartCarbs because they come in their own packaging, so you can take them wherever you go and eat them whenever hunger strikes. Plus, bananas can leave you feeling full for hours. They’re also a great source of potassium. Research shows that consuming more potassium speeds up weight loss, according to a report in Nutrients.
Try: Bananas with peanut butter, a zero-prep PowerFuel, are a classic snack that’s quick and easy. Keep a banana or two in the freezer to add to smoothies or to make cool and creamy Mint Chocolate Chip “Nice Cream. Three-Ingredient Banana Pancakes are a hearty way to start your day.
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Why: Hummus is a smooth and savory dip made with mashed chickpeas and tahini. Like other foods with beans, hummus is high in fiber and a good source of protein. Eating hummus for an afternoon snack kept study subjects from feeling hungry until dinner time and helped to prevent blood sugar spikes, according to a report in the Journal of Nutrition.
Try: Use hummus as a creamy spread on sandwiches instead of high-fat mayonnaise. It also makes a great salad topper instead of using dressing. Dip bell peppers or baby carrots in hummus to make one of your daily servings of veggies tastier. On the go? Try packing up your veggies and hummus mason jar-style with this simple hack.
5. Whole Wheat Bread
Serving Size: 1 slice
Why: Forget anything you’ve heard about avoiding bread when you’re trying to lose weight. Fiber-rich whole wheat breads are no-cook SmartCarbs you can enjoy when you’re craving a simple sandwich or just a piece of toast. A slice of whole wheat bread gives you two grams of fiber. And it’s ready to eat right out of the package!
Try: Be sure to check the label when buying bread. The first ingredient should be 100 percent whole wheat flour. Pair a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter (a PowerFuel) and sugar-free jelly for a classic PB&J. Top the bread with fat-free cream cheese and slices of cucumber for a filling, low-calorie lunch or snack. You can also use a six-inch whole wheat pita bread as the vessel for tuna salad, shredded carrots and lettuce for a simple lunch.
Serving Size: 1
Why: An apple a day may not really keep the doctor away, as the old saying goes. However, it can satisfy a craving for something to crunch on. Apples are high in vitamin C, which your immune system needs, and they’re packed with fiber. Eating apples was linked with accelerated weight loss in a survey of research, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Try: Whether you prefer flavors that are sweet, tart or somewhere in between, there’s an apple variety for you. Honeycrisp is both extra-sweet and extra-crunchy. Granny Smith is green on the outside and deliciously tangy inside. Swipe apple slices with your favorite nut butter to add a boost of energizing PowerFuel. You can make Apple Slaw in minutes. It takes the Nutrisystem Grilled Chicken Sandwich to the next level.
7. Whole Wheat Wraps or Tortillas
Serving Size: 1 slice
Why: Like whole wheat bread, whole wheat wraps are a ready-to-eat SmartCarbs that you can use for a wide variety of meals and snacks. A single small whole wheat tortilla has about 102 calories and over three grams of both protein and fiber.
Try: Be sure to look for whole wheat flour at the top of the ingredient list on a package of wraps. Beware of colored tortillas labeled with vegetable names, such as “spinach” or “tomato.” They are typically made with refined flour and only have a small amount of vegetables for color, so they are not as healthy as they may seem. Whole wheat wraps and roll-ups come together in second sand can be filled with your favorite PowerFuels, Extras and Non-Starchy Vegetables. These Roasted Red Pepper and Turkey Pinwheel Wraps are easy to make and fun to eat.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Why: The tropical flavor of pineapple makes any meal or snack a little more festive. The fruit is a great source of essential vitamins and fiber. It also has a compound known as “bromelain” that aids digestion and may trigger your body to burn fat as fuel, according to a study in Food Science Biotechnology.
Try: Many supermarkets today offer fresh pineapple already cut into bite-size pieces, so you don’t have to trim it up or even guess if it’s ripe. You can enjoy canned pineapple but be sure it comes packed in water, not sugary syrup. Use chunks of pineapple to add bulk to smoothies. A wedge of pineapple turns plain seltzer into a special drink. In 15 minutes, you can turn the fresh fruit slices into warm, fragrant and juicy Cinnamon Sugar Air Fryer Grilled Pineapple Sticks.
9. Canned Beans
Serving Size: ½ cup
Why: Kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas and other types of beans and legumes are some of the best sources of fiber. The fiber is “soluble,” so it’s digested slowly and keeps you full. Beans also come with lean protein, making them a weight loss superfood. Eating beans four times a week has been shown to dramatically reduce risk of coronary heart disease, says a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Try: Dried beans can take hours to cook. But when you buy them canned, the cooking is already done. That means you can enjoy the benefits of beans anytime you want. Canned beans, which are pre-cooked and rinsed, are easy to add into many prep-free meals. Add kidney beans to a wrap filled with shredded chicken, fat-free cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa. Toss chickpeas into a salad for extra protein and fiber. Sweet tooth? You can whip up a batch of our rich, chocolaty Black Bean Brownie Dip in a blender and use it to bump up the flavor of fresh strawberries or whole wheat crackers.
Serving Size: ½ cup, prepared with water
Why: Oats have many health benefits. They are rich in fiber and have been shown to help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. Some research has also highlighted their ability to decrease hunger and improve digestive health. In one study of overweight individuals with Type 2 diabetes, “short- and long-term oat intake had significant effects on controlling hyperglycemia, lowering blood lipid and reducing weight.”
Try: You can add plain, dried rolled oats to smoothies, protein shakes and smoothie bowls (Try this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Shake recipe!). Looking for an easy no-cook breakfast option? Try making overnight oats for a grab-and-go morning meal. No microwave or baking necessary! Before you go to sleep, make a batch of Mocha Coffee Overnight Oatmeal and the next morning it will be ready to go when you are. If you have a little time to whip up a healthy snack, try using oats to make some no-bake energy bites.
Serving Size: ½ cup
Why: Just like whole apples, apple sauce if a good source of fiber in vitamin C. If you buy individual, pre-portioned containers of applesauce, they are easy to pack in your lunch and take with you on the go.
Try: Look for unsweetened applesauce and avoid varieties with added sugar. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra low-calorie flavor. Warm it up for a comforting snack and pair it with a PowerFuel like walnuts.
12. 100% Fruit Juice
Serving Size: ½ cup
Why: On those days when you’re just not that hungry, 100-percent fruit juices can make for good no-cook SmartCarbs. While we don’t recommend using them for every SmartCarb (juice is higher in sugar and doesn’t provide much fiber compared to whole fruit), but you can enjoy it in moderation. Orange juice is high in vitamin C and is often fortified with other vitamins and minerals.
Try: You can enjoy a glass of orange juice by itself or blended into a smoothie, slushie or protein shake. It can also be frozen into popsicle molds for a sweet and refreshing treat during the warm summer months. Of course, it’s also a great addition to any protein-packed breakfast.
13. Dried Fruit
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Why: Pantry friendly and packed with nutrition, dried fruit like raisins, dried cranberries, apple chips and dried apricots are no-cook SmartCarbs that make great grab and go snacks. The nutrition facts will vary based on the specific fruit that you choose. We like to think of dried fruit as nature’s candy, since it’s so sweet and completely all-natural.
Try: Avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar and stick to one-ingredient only. Whip up a quick and easy homemade trail mix by combining your favorite fruit with nuts, seeds and spices. You can also incorporate dried cranberries into a salad or whip up the classic “ants on a log” snack with raisins, celery and peanut butter.
Not sure what to pair with your no-cook SmartCarbs? Check out these budget-friendly PowerFuels for some inspiration!