Do you remember the time when carbohydrates weren’t so frowned upon? This was before the Atkin’s Diet, Paleo Diet and many others like them that demonized the carbohydrates foods list and included a daily regimen that revolved around a high intake of protein and fat.
Well, I for one never did and never will look down my nose at carbs. They actually play a very pivotal role in my diet. I use them strategically most times and gluttonously in rare occasions.
All and all, I’m the world’s biggest fan of balance, and I feel your diet should always include a balance of protein, carbs and fat.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The most important factor when eating carbs is making an educated choice on what type they are. Not all carbs are created equal.
You want to stick with ones that are high in nutrient content, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
To make it really easy on you, I’ve compiled a list below so you know exactly what to eat. I’ll even throw in some additional information because I care about you!
Healthy Carbohydrates food list
When it comes to legumes, think of pods. Peas, for example, have seeds that are covered up by a durable shell. Combined together, they are known as pods.
Beans are the same way. Both of these foods count as carbohydrates.
They also contain a generous amount of protein and iron, and have a sizable amount of fiber.
Soy beans are particular legumes you will find in Japanese steak houses as appetizers. You may know them more commonly as edamame.
They are steamed in their pods and dusted with sea salt. From a macronutrient perspective, they are about as close to a perfectly balanced food that you will find.
If you were to buy these in the supermarket, just make sure to always go for a brand that is not genetically modified.
All grains, both regular and gluten-free, are carbohydrates. This includes oats, barley, wheat berries, rice, bulgur, millet, buckwheat and rye.
All products made from these grains are also carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, cereal, pasta, rolls and crackers.
Always remember to choose 100% whole grain options when you are buying these products.
This will be clearly stated in the ingredient label. Also steer clear of any product that has less than 4 g of fiber per serving. If it’s low in fiber, yet claims to be whole wheat, it’s likely not.
I’m sure you’ve heard all the hype by now about this substance called quinoa (pronounced keen wah). Although it is commonly referred to as a grain, it is technically a seed. Regardless of how you refer to it, quinoa gets two thumbs up in my library of healthy foods.
It’s high in fiber and iron, gluten-free, and unlike other grains, it has all the essential amino acids present, making it a complete protein. It prepares in less than 20 minutes and is very adaptable to seasonings, sauces, dressing and salsa.
I even sometimes prepare it for breakfast and add Greek yogurt, berries, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Every single fruit in the universe is a carbohydrate. They all very in flavor, texture, appearance and size, but they’re still carbohydrates. From a nutritional perspective, you can’t really go wrong with fruit.
However, there are certain conditions that apply.
Be careful of dried fruit with added sugar or sulfur dioxide, and also be aware of canned fruit that often contains artificial flavors and colors. I would actually avoid canned fruit altogether to be honest. It’s too processed.
Try to get the most pure and natural form that you can.
I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, potatoes are not as bad for you as the experts want you to believe.
The bad news is, you should only eat a limited portion at any one sitting.
Here’s the deal…
It is in your best interest to choose sweet potatoes or yams over regular potatoes because they are higher in nutrients and lower on the glycemic index.
The “GI” as it’s sometimes called, is a chart that rates how fast a carbohydrate food raises your blood sugar levels.
Foods that are high on the GI should be kept to a minimum in your diet or avoided altogether.
A fast spike in blood sugar leads to an equally fast spike in insulin, which is a fat storage hormone. Do you see where I’m going here?
If you consistently spike your insulin, you create a favorable environment for fat gain.
I guess potatoes could’ve been put in this category, but they needed a little more intel so I separated them.
All vegetables are carbohydrates, but this is also very conditional. The amount of carbs they contain varies tremendously, depending on which ones they are.
Greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce and arugula are very low in carbs.
However, squash, carrots, beets, corn and other more dense and sweet-tasting vegetables are not. But this is OK.
They’re still packed with nutrients and should not be avoided unless you have an issue with your blood sugar and have been told by your doctor to stay away.
Don’t avoid them just because you heard Mildred at work talking about some crazy fangled diet plan she’s following to drop weight quickly.
Before I leave, just remember my original point. Choose the cleanest, most natural form of carbs that you can at all times and try to balance all of your meals with carbs, protein and healthy fats. Follow this plan and you can do no wrong.