In the past, carbohydrates have been labeled as the cause for weight gain, and it was recommended that diets should contain little to no carbohydrates if your goal is weight loss. Research and practice has revealed that we must have carbs to provide energy for our bodies. However, all carbs are not the same and some are much healthier for you than others and will contribute less to potential weight gain. Everyone, whether a typical active person or an athlete in training, must have carbohydrates in order to function at their best and most efficiently.
Here are some good options for beneficial carbohydrates:
Quinoa is trendy at the moment, most particularly because it was unknown to most people until recently. It not only has wonderful nutrition, but is a good alternative to more typical carb sources that are less nutrient full. In quinoa you will get Vitamin E, potassium, iron, excellent protein, magnesium, fiber and is a huge source of amino acids, nine to be exact. These amino acids are crucial to repairing and building muscles, and a well functioning immune system. Packed inside quinoa are even more benefits: anti-inflammatory qualities, antioxidants, and even particular fats that are known to be beneficial to the heart. All these benefits make it a superb carbohydrate that will take the place of less healthy options.
Here are some recipes that will appeal to your taste buds as well as your health:
Quinoa chicken nuggets “Tasty baked chicken nuggets with a crispy quinoa coating – so easy and healthy!”
Healthy quinoa chicken curry bowls ” …I used tomato and eggplant again because the combo of those two lovers in the Spanish Chicken and Potatoes was whoa good, and once again, even for the non-eggplanters in the house, the veggies delivered.”
Roasted red pepper, quinoa and white bean burgers – “The awesome thing is that these quinoa burgers are just as delicious off the bun as they are sandwiched in between.”
Oats are usually thought of as a breakfast item, but is a clean carbohydrate that is making a resurgence today. Though oats had become less popular in diets with the focus on low carb eating, the benefits are not to be overlooked. The dietary fiber in oats provides better digestion in the large intestine, and is filling, reducing hunger between meals. The combination of antioxidants in oats, along with the fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, preventing extreme blood sugar spikes. And oats can even help you bring down your cholesterol! The secret to that is the beta-glucan in the grain. Your best choices are the least processed of the oats, steel cut oats and rolled oats.
Oats are no longer just for breakfast, as you can see in the recipes below:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Overnight Oats – “This looks and tastes like dessert, but it’s surprisingly healthy! The ‘hidden’ banana and pumpkin provide sweetness and fudginess to these pudding-like overnight oats. Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan!”
Pumpkin persimmon overnight oats “…The bright, sweet, juicy bits of persimmon mixed with the rich, cinnamon-scented pumpkin was just what I was looking for.”
Oatmeal blender pancakes – “These healthy oatmeal blender pancakes are packed with protein, whole grains and fibre! We love these for breakfast topped with our favorite fresh fruit!”
Generally, at one point or another, we all crave some sort of crunchy munchie. And thankfully, there is a healthy way to meet this craving! Popcorn contains a fraction of the amount of calories as compared to potato chips, in fact five times less calories! And that is comparing one ounce of potato chips – which isn’t many – to one full cup of popcorn. Now, if you add in all sorts of butter, popcorn loses the race with chips and even be higher in fat than potato chips. It doesn’t carry all the added benefits as some of the other items in this article, but it sure can be an excellent snack and not derail you health goals.
Try some of these ingenious popcorn flavors during your next movie marathon:
Apple Pie Popcorn “A healthy sugar free snack that tastes like apple cinnamon cheerios.”
No sugar vegan caramel corn “No refined sugars required for this delicious recipe! Just need a little maple syrup and coconut oil! You will be amazed at how amazing this caramel corn is.”
Dark chocolate sea salt popcorn “A healthy sweet and salty snack of popcorn drizzled with melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. Part dessert, part snack – completely delicious!”
Whole wheat pasta
Pasta has been seen as a negative in healthy diet goals, but whole wheat pasta actually has benefits even with the carbohydrates it brings. The vitamins alone might be enough to convince you; riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and B vitamins. These vitamins are crucial to help you use the energy from these carbohydrates. Protein rich, and fiber rich, it will reduce those hunger pangs between meals and the combination of protein paired with fiber helps to smooth blood sugar spikes from eating carbohydrates. For quite some time pasta has been banned if you are dieting, however this can be mitigated by watching your amounts at meals. Stick to one half to one cup of pasta per meal, and enjoy veggies, protein and a healthy sauce with it and you won’t sabotage your dietary goals.
Here are some mouth-watering recipes that use whole wheat pasta:
Skillet whole wheat pasta with chicken & tomato sauce – “Every home cook needs a go-to healthy pasta recipe, with a great homemade tomato sauce. This one will take you only 30 minutes, from stovetop to table.”
Spicy whole wheat linguini with sausage and roasted peppers – “If only you could taste how good this dish is! I love using spicy chicken sausage to give it a little kick, but if you want to make this mild for your family, simply swap it for sweet Italian.”
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese – “I added a bit of crushed red pepper into the sauce to make it a little spicy. It turned out great, I will definitely be making this again.”
Following pasta, breads have been equally banned from healthy diets, with the exception of whole wheat bread. But there is another that has unique qualities that will meet those bread cravings – sourdough! Sourdough bread contains probiotics as it is made through the fermentation process in this specialized bread recipe. In the fermentation, some of the gluten is actually broken down, which will not only give you the good bacteria, but will reduce that blood sugar spike, and be easier to digest. Some people with a gluten intolerance have found that they are able to eat sourdough breads because of this benefit.
Try some of these recipes with Sourdough bread:
5 ingredients homemade sourdough bread, step by step “The method is basically the same, but instead of the starter you just use more flour and water and some yeast. This is a great way to see how wonderful homemade bread can be.”
Artisan flour sourdough bread recipe “The color of the crust, the open and light interior, only the tinniest perception of sour notes and the way it crunches when toasted. I could go on and on.”
Sourdough Keto Baguettes “Unlike the traditional sourdough bread, this one doesn’t require several days of culturing – it takes just over an hour. To recreate the typical taste of a sourdough bread, I used vinegar and buttermilk.”
To go with the healthy sourdough bread, you can be encouraged that peanut butter makes the cut for being heart healthy due to the monounsaturated fats it contains. In fact, the studies report that you can have a 30% reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, and 21% reduced risk of heart disease when you have a high monounsaturated fat percentage in your diet. When you plan your peanut butter sandwich you can allow yourself two tablespoons of peanut butter, which will give you protein – eight grams, and fiber to fill you up.
If you’re a fan of peanut butter you really must try some of these unusual flavourings:
Peanut Butter, Strawberry, & Banana Quesadillas “Quesadillas are a traditional mexican dish that usually involves cheese and a savory mixture of vegetables and/or meat.”
Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins “These muffins are made with ripe bananas, peanut butter, honey, yogurt, and the combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour. In a nutshell they’re terrific.”
Breakfast Jar Parfait “I make overnight oatmeal, and in the morning I put this little treat together. It’s so quick too! It looks like a lot, but it’s about 5 minutes to put together.”
Yams (sweet potatoes) will meet your desire for sweet and smooth comfort food when cooked alone or in combination with other ingredients in recipes. Beta-carotene gives yams the orange coloring and is an excellent source of Vitamin A – giving 90% of your daily needs of this important vitamin, as well as Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is crucial for fighting off illnesses caused by viruses, aiding in digestion, and blood cell creation.
Try some of these yam recipes:
Baked sweet potato chips “These chips are awesome! So crispy and flavorful, and all they require is a little olive oil and a pinch of salt before going into the oven to bake for a couple hours.”
Baked Sweet Potato Latkes “There’s the crispy bits on the outside and the sweet soft potato-y insides and with a big dollop of sour cream on top they’re a little bit of heaven.”
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary “Considered a superfood, sweet potatoes are a powerhouse vegetable packed with flavor and nutrition. Skip the marshmallows, brown sugar or maple syrup. They don’t need it.”
Almonds and walnuts
Almonds and walnuts are wonderful choices, with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B biotin, and antioxidants. With the fiber and protein, they will reduce hunger cravings when used as a snack between meals. A serving of walnuts is one ounce and with that you will get four grams of protein and two grams of fiber. One ounce of almonds will give you three and a half grams of fiber, six grams of protein, and only 160 calories!
Here are a couple of clean and yummy recommendations:
Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almonds “Regular almonds are okay on their own, but I have learned they taste way better when you add a few healthy natural toppings.”
Low-Calorie Chocolate Almond Smoothie “The combination of almond milk and chocolate makes this protein-packed smoothie rich and creamy. Using raw almonds helps to add an extra boost of fiber and protein.”
Healthy dark chocolate walnut cookies “These cookies are ridiculously good and you can’t taste the reduced sugar or whole wheat flour in the least! They have the most wonderful hearty and fluffy texture and are bursting with walnuts and fat chunks of dark chocolate chunks”
Bananas may not be expected to be on this list, due to the natural sugar they have, but their nutrients should place them on your list of healthy diet choices. Vitamin B6, potassium, manganese and fiber truly add to your benefit. Many people are now using them in baking instead of fats, or you can eat them whole or put in shakes and smoothies. And those not quite ripe bananas give you a starch that can aid you in your weight loss.
Want to know how to make the best banana dishes? Try some of these
No-Sugar-Added Banana Cream Pie Parfaits “Creamy, Homemade No- Sugar- Added, banana flavored pudding is layered between cookie crumbles using my grain free, sugar free vanilla wafers all in a perfect travel size mason jar for an easy grab-n-go snack for the kids!”
This sugar and gluten free yummy banana walnut cereal “If you don’t want to make your own cereal, you must try Wheat Free Market’s line of granola and other tasty low carb foods! I was stunned at how tasty and chewy this granola was”
Caramel Frosted Banana Bread “Look no further for the best low carb, gluten-free banana bread recipe. Ground chia seed, that nutritional powerhouse, gives this bread the perfect banana bread texture.”