5 Carbs That Help with Weight Loss
Almost every health magazine you read paints carbohydrates as the enemy.
Sure, eating white bread and white pasta every day isn’t good for your waistline. But carbs play a vital role in maintaining a healthy diet and the proper nutritional balance—as long as you eat the right ones.
For starters, there’s a big difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. The body absorbs simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta and sweets quickly, leading to a spike in your blood sugar. These types of carbs give you energy but don’t have vitamins, fiber and minerals—all of which are essential to a healthy BMI (body mass index) and great overall health. Complex carbs are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and take longer for the body to digest, making you feel fuller for longer. They include foods like whole grain breads, pasta, beans, legumes and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.
If you’re trying to shed weight, you don’t necessarily need to shed carbs from your diet. Here are five of the best carbs to eat for weight loss:
QuinoaQuinoa, a whole grain, is gluten-free and packed with fiber and protein. A one-cup serving has 5 grams of fiber & 8 grams of protein. Quinoa’s fiber content means that it’ll keep you full and help to stave off cravings that could lead to unhealthy choices. It’s also a good substitute for rice and a great ingredient to use as a base for salads. Quinoa takes 10-15 minutes to cook, so make a big patch and use it throughout the week in a variety of recipes.
Popcorn is a great snack, but stay away from the microwaveable kind if you want to lose weight. Air-popped popcorn is healthy and easy to make. Just put a one-fourth cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag and microwave it for two minutes (it’s a simple trick that most people don’t know about). You’ll get three cups of delicious popcorn, without all the oil, salt and artificial ingredients.
Beans & LentilsBlack beans, kidney beans and lentils are rich sources of fiber and protein. One cup has 12 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein. These foods are also great meat substitutes if you’re thinking about going vegan or vegetarian. They are slowly digested and will keep you full for hours. Add them to salads, brown rice and hearty stews or soups to create filling and nutrient-rich lunches or dinners.
High-Fiber CrackersLooking for a healthy snack food to satisfy cravings in between meals? Then, you should have high-fiber crackers in your pantry. Made from whole grains and natural ingredients, these foods don’t contain unhealthy oils, sugars or chemicals. They pair well with natural cheeses, vegetables or peanut butter. Just grab a small storage bag and pack them with all these ingredients for a healthy snack on the go.
Instant oatmeal has its virtues—it’s a quick and easy breakfast, especially when you need to get the kids out the door in a hurry. However, if you want the same taste but with more of the nutritional benefits, opt for 100 percent whole grain oatmeal. It cooks in the microwave within a few minutes and contains 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of soluble fiber, which lowers your cholesterol. It also gives you long-lasting energy that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Carbs can be a powerful weight loss ally. Instead of skipping them, find healthy ways to incorporate these foods into your diet every day. Your body will be all the better for it.
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