There are lots of different ways to incorporate healthy carbs into your life. These are some of my favourites. While a lot of people preach that in order to make progress you need to cut out bread and rice I have found reintroducing them into my diet to be very beneficial. It has helped me to develop a healthy relationship with food while still making progress.
When buying packaged foods I try to buy ones with minimal ingredients. For instance, when buying bread I like to try to purchase ones that include ingredients I understand and are 100% whole grain. I also avoid breads that are “enriched”. Enriched means the flour has been stripped of its nutrients and then replaced which really isn’t the same at all.
Beans and lentils are complex carbs and are an amazing way to get fibre, folate, iron, and potassium into your diet. They are actually quite high in protein too! While some people complain about being gassy after, I personally find taking the time to chew my food actually has eliminated this problem for me!
Quinoa is extremely high in nutrients compared to most grains. It’s gluten free and can be used for any meal including breakfast. You can look for quinoa pancakes and cereals. It’s great added to salads or served as a substitute for rice.
I grew up eating rice and love incorporating it into my diet. While a lot of people say there isn’t nutritionally much of a difference between white rice and brown rice I still prefer to eat brown rice. Brown rice has fewer carbs and more fiber. It also contains more vitamins and minerals because it white rice has been refined. Lastly, brown rice has a glycemic index of 50 compared to white rice which has a glycemic index of 89!!! The higher the number the quicker the food causes your blood sugar to rise before dropping. The biggest reason I would eat white rice before was because I disliked the texture of brown rice. Last year we splurged on a new Zojirushi Rice Cooker and it has forever changed the way we feel about brown rice. It makes it so fluffy and moist that my husband always double checks if it’s actually brown rice or white rice!
Oatmeal is one of my favourite carbs! I swear I could eat it at every meal! I try to eat rolled oats over instant oats but to be honest sometimes I’m just lazy! While the calories between rolled oats and instant oats are pretty much the same rolled oats have more nutritional value. Rolled oats also have a lower glycemic index compared to rolled oats and take longer to break down which in turn keep you feeling full for longer.
Sweet potatoes, potatoes and yams! When i’m in a hurry, sweet potatoes/yams are one of my go to foods to prep. I simply boil them, add in some salt and pepper and unsweetened almond milk and mash them! You can also top them with cinnamon and nut butters if you like things more savory. While both potatoes and sweet potatoes have great vitamins (A, C, B6) and minerals (potassium, iron and magnesium), fiber, benefits and are excellent sources of complex carbs I generally prefer sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes has less calories (more natural sugar), tons of vitamin A and more fiber. But, it really just comes down to personal preference because both are great!
What about pasta? If I really want pasta, I’ll eat it. However a lot of pasta is enriched and has been completely stripped of its nutrients. While this can be said for bread. I find it easier to part with pasta than bread. If I do want to include pasta in my diet I eat zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, bean pastas or sprouted grain pastas.