Carbohydrates are, contrary to popular belief, hardly the enemy. Rather, eating the right ones can make you healthier and help you lose weight.
Let’s be honest. Carbs have gotten a bad rap lately. They’ve been blamed for everything from obesity to heart disease, all whilst the FDA still claims that they should be our primary caloric source on a daily basis. The truth is somewhere between these two sides. Rather than consuming carbohydrates indiscriminately from sodas and snack cakes, you should be eating the right kinds of carbohydrates.
Doing so will keep you full enough that you have to eat less (thus helping you shed extra pounds), keep you full and energized, and balance out your meals so that you are healthier. Discussed below are some excellent carbohydrate sources that you should integrate into your diet.
Whole Wheat Foods
Whole wheat is the older, more nutritionally sound brother of white flour. Unlike refined flour, whole wheat is generally rich in fiber (2 to 3 more times than white flour) and various minerals. It has significantly less simple carbohydrates and is just as versatile. If you’re making pasta covered in sauce, use the whole wheat variety; you won’t taste the difference. Whole wheat toast in the morning can be an excellent way to jumpstart your day and stay satiated until lunchtime.
You may not have yet heard of quinoa because it only recently made its way into the United States. With the texture of cous cous on steroids, quinoa is a whole grain that is packed with protein and fiber. In fact, replacing rice dishes with quinoa can drastically cut your simple carbohydrate intake whilst adding an excellent non-animal protein source to your diet.
This grain is often neglected in most kitchens, but the “pearled” variety (meaning the bran has been taken out) is chock full of soluble fiber that can help regulate your blood cholesterol. If you want a quicker cooking variety, try the parboiled type. It has a little less fiber, but it will save you some time if you’re in a hurry.
The name may be deliberately misleading. Wheat berries are actually parts of a grain rather than berries. In fact, wheat berries are the entire, untouched kernels of wheat. This means that they’re full of magnesium, zinc, B Vitamins, iron, and of course fiber. Add them to your pasta or make a batch for a tasty snack later. They are one of the healthiest foods that you can eat.
Popcorn is often tossed into the same group as potato chips and other snack foods, but it is actually a significantly healthier snacking option than the rest. Popcorn is a good source of fiber, and its airy texture keeps the simple carb count relatively low. The biggest mistake is when people drench their popcorn in butter or other toppings, essentially making it a saturated fat bomb rather than a healthy snack. Instead, sprinkle some regular popcorn with sea salt or margarine and enjoy.