We hear carbs get trash-talked all over the place and we’re always quick to defend them. Carbohydrates are your brain’s main fuel source and they also deliver really important nutrients, like B vitamins and the type of fiber your healthy gut bacteria love. BUT, not all carbs are created equally. So, we implore you…. instead of cutting carbs as your 2017 resolution, why not cut more processed carbs (foods made from white flour or any processed flour… often also called “wheat flour” so don’t be tricked!) and reach for the nutrient packed, fiber rich ones instead?
Here are our favorite ways to incorporate healthy carbs into your diet:
- Try overnight oats for breakfast. If you’re a diehard cold cereal eater, you might just love overnight oats. Because the rolled oats are soaked in milk overnight, they’re just as fast (maybe faster?) than cereal. Since the rolled oats are whole grains, with minimal processing, you’ll get major fiber benefits that help keep you fuller for longer.
2. Slice sweet potatoes into…toast. Sweet potato slices, cut to around 1/4 inch thickness, can be toasted (it takes 4-6 rounds in most toasters) until soft and golden and then used with a variety of toppings. We love almond butter and banana or mashed avocado and smoked trout or smoked salmon for breakfast. You can also use this technique at lunch and dinner to create a tuna salad sandwich or have a slice of toast with a dinner salad!
3. You can FRY that. If you follow us on Instagram, you know we love fries. Slice up any starchy veggie (potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, winter squash) into 1/4 inch sticks, toss with oil and salt, and bake until golden and crispy. These can be a nutrient and fiber rich side dish to any protein-packed entree.
4. Pasta swap. If you find yourself relying on pasta as the base of most lunches and/or dinners, try swapping a cooked whole grain (like quinoa, bulgur wheat, brown rice, or millet) instead. Place the cooked whole grain and some veggies in a bowl and top with the protein and sauce you’d normally use with pasta (we love pesto, marinara, or a soy-tahini sauce). Try this recipe for a Salmon Veggie Buckwheat Bowl with Pesto from the Popsugar Fitness 2-week Clean Eating Plan we designed. It’s a great way to use up (or cook ahead to use later!) leftover cooked whole grains and veggies!
5. Get creative with popcorn. Love to snack on crunchy carbs like chips and crackers? Try tossing popcorn with salt and spices and snacking on this instead. Spray the popped corn lightly with olive oil or coconut oil before tossing with spice mixtures like chili powder and sea salt, Italian seasoning, or cocoa powder and cinnamon.
6. Batch cook whole grains and beans. While cooking up a batch of whole grains or beans is more work than grabbing a piece of bread, if you pre-cook a larger batch of grains/beans then they’re a very speedy option. Cooked whole grains can replace breakfast cereal and stand in for bread topped with sandwich fixings. Beans can also be the base for a bowl!
7. Watch your plate real estate. Fill half your plate with veggies and a quarter of it with a high quality protein (like fish!), first. This naturally constrains the plate space you have left for carbohydrate-rich foods and ensures you get a balance of nutrients that helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, too.
Are you trying to eat healthier carbs in 2017? What’s your favorite less processed carb?