Let’s set the record straight: carbohydrates are not bad for you. In fact, these macronutrients are converted into blood glucose, which the body uses for energy. Having carbs in your diet is crucial not only if you follow a highly active lifestyle. While you need it to perform well in and enjoy all kinds of activities, even day-to-day tasks require a lot of energy. In fact, the brain uses about 20% of the body’s energy supply — depriving the brain of its main energy source isn’t really a good idea.
That said, the source of carbohydrates you consume makes all the difference. Whether simple or complex, the nutritional value of the two types of carbs ultimately depends on the food. For instance, fruit — a simple carbohydrate that is digested easily — is going to be a lot healthier than table sugar, which falls under the same category. Complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down and give longer-lasting energy, include white rice and brown rice. However, brown rice is considered more nutritious because the grain has not been processed and stripped of its nutrients.
It can be difficult to know which carbs area nutritious or not. To help you get started on a healthier diet, here are five “good” carbohydrates you should try.
Black beans are a superfood rich in antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Moreover, legumes like black beans can contribute to weight loss. Studies suggest that it has to do with their high fiber content, which gives more feelings of fullness for longer periods of time.
Black beans are also a staple in Mexican dishes! To make frijoles negros or Mexican black beans, all you need to do is soak and boil the legumes until they are tender. You can eat it as a side dish, turn it into a dip, or a staple ingredient in your homemade burritos. To make this dish at home, check out this page.
Brown rice is healthier than white rice because it doesn’t go through the milling process. Milling extends the shelf life of the product but also removes some nutrients that makes the grains highly nutritious. That’s why brown rice contains more protein and fiber than regular white rice.
The good news is that brown rice can be easily paired with any meal! You can eat it with a serving of grilled fish and vegetables, or you can also cook a Mongolian-style rice bowl and pair it with lean protein and vegetables. If you want to make Mongolian Rice Bowl at home, click here for an easy-to-follow recipe. It is recommended that you cook at least half a cup of brown rice per serving.
Bananas are present in most American homes, and it’s for a good reason! This fruit is a healthy source of fiber and healthy carbohydrates, plus it contains potassium, manganese, and vitamin B6.
One large banana is the recommended serving size per day, and you can simply consume it on its own — no need for fancy recipes! But if you want to make things more interesting, you can add sliced bananas to a bowl of warm oats, or even Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious and healthy alternative to white potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain more fiber and fewer calories compared to white potatoes. They are also incredibly rich in vitamin A!
One medium-sized potato is enough for a day’s serving. One way to serve sweet potatoes is to bake them fresh in an oven. Cut the potato into cubes, sprinkle some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of chili flakes for some heat. It’s a delicious side dish or a mid-morning snack!
One cup of pumpkin is enough to nourish you with protein, fiber, and vitamin A. Most of all, one serving only contains 49 calories, which is perfect if you want to trim your caloric consumption without removing nutritious food from your diet. It also contains the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene.
Pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that can be turned into a side dish, soup, or dessert. For a simple yet tasty way to eat pumpkin, why not try making the classic pumpkin soup? See this post for a recipe that’s sure to give you some comforting memories!
Carbohydrates are nothing to be afraid of. They’re filling, nutritious, and energizing. So if you want to bring more spring to your step, you might just benefit from consuming these healthy carbohydrates.
Article contributed by Roanne James