Carbohydrates are the villain these days. The media and ‘fitness gurus’ portray them as something to stay away from and hide behind the sofa. Yes, there are many carbohydrates out there that could be classed as bad but there are so many fantastic sources of carbohydrates out there too.
Empty carbohydrates make up a lot of the Western diet’s calories so a lot of people have turned to low carb diets to lose the weight. However, carbs are still important. They are what the body uses first for easy energy. It is important to balance your carbohydrate consumption with fat and protein in order to run your body the most efficiently and not store extra calories as fat.
Carbohydrates are good in the right form. You want all of the carbs you eat to do double duty. Either they work as both a carb and a protein (or fat), or they are a mode in which the body can consume more of either protein or fat. Carbohydrates are also a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Quinoa is a great carb to add to your regular diet. It serves the same purpose as both rice and oatmeal, you can serve it as a side dish or eat it in the morning cooked like oatmeal. However, it is much healthier than either one.
While one cup of cooked quinoa contains 39 grams of carbohydrates, it also contains 8 grams of protein. Not just any protein, it is a complete protein with all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. One cup of cooked brown rice contains 45 grams of carbs with only 5 grams of incomplete protein.
Whole Grain Bread
Shock, I have included Whole Grain Bread. Bread is something that almost everyone enjoys but we generally eat too much of it. It is a great thing to have in the diet though and quite a versatile food. It is important to choose a whole grain bread without a lot of ingredients, especially one without high fructose corn syrup.
What’s important is what goes on top of the bread. A piece of toast is a great base for a lot of nutritious foods. Make a healthy sandwich with some lean meat and lots of salad. Top your bread with some natural peanut butter.
For a delicious and healthy snack or a light lunch, try smashed avocado on toast. Simply mash part of an avocado onto the bread and add whatever you like. Sardines or tuna are great choices, as well as tomatoes or eggs.
Fruit is the number one best source of carbohydrates. While some people might discount fruit because of its fructose content, the complete package of a piece of fruit is one of the healthiest things you can eat.
When you eat an apple, you’re not just consuming some sugar and carbs. You’re getting a good dose of vitamin C, as well as a serving of fibre. The fibre in an apple when you eat it whole helps your body digest the sugar more slowly, making you feel full and more energized for longer. Juicing fruit still supplies you with the nutrients the fruit contains, but the fibre is removed and you’re consuming a lot more sugar.
Other lower carb fruits with tons of vitamins are berries, as well as citrus fruits. A banana is relatively high in carbohydrates, but the complete package of a banana is a very healthy thing to eat, especially as a snack on the go before a workout.
These are just a few of some good sources of carbohydrates to add to your diet. I have kept it simple so you can take in these sources of carbohydrates rather than walking around with a long list of carbs to choose from. Not all carbs are bad and should be avoided, it’s just important to eat less of them if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.