Hey Angels and Alphas,
Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source, and they’re absolutely vital to regulating every bodily process from thinking, to breathing, to high-intensity weight loss training.
Unfortunately, carbs sort of inherited the “bad” label from fats, and now they’re the subject of myths, misalignment, and misinformation all throughout the fitness community.
If you decide to cut down on carbs drastically, this will most likely leave you feeling sluggish and desperately craving sugary and sweet treats.
But the truth is – carbs aren’t created equal. While processed carbs lead to energy crashes and blood sugar spikes, whole food sources are actually amazing sources of micronutrients and satiating fiber.
And with experts recommending about 50% of our calories (on average) should come from carbs every day, you’re probably left wondering – what *are* some healthy options that I can always resort to when looking for an energizing meal?
LET’S START WITH PASTA AND BREAD.
Bread and pasta, most of the time, get a reputation in the weight loss community for being “bad” carbs. But that’s simply not the case. They’re both complex, budget-friendly carbs that can provide our bodies with necessary boosts of energy. That being said, whole-grain options that are packed with more fiber, micronutrients, and not to mention, protein, are obviously superior to white flour products. And even more so, the latter can actually be useful if you need some quick-digesting carbs for your next run.
The key here is to balance these carbs with protein, fat, and veggies, so we can provide a variety of nutrients and keep our bodies satiated and our blood sugar levels stable.
POTATOES ARE ALSO A GREAT PICK.
Potatoes (and sweet potatoes) are easily-accessible, complex, nutrient-dense carbohydrates. They’ve got all the fiber, vitamin C, and potassium you might need, and they’re so versatile it’s crazy. In Casseroles, in salads, baked topped with guacamole, as additions to soups and salads, mashed, there are so many healthy and delicious meals you can create with potatoes, you can write a book about it. And people have!
LET’S TALK ABOUT BEANS
Beans are such a great protein source and a food beloved by weight loss enthusiasts. And they’re a starch. And they’re full of complex carbs. AND they have gut-friendly fiber. What can’t beans do? They’re great in chilies, dips, salads, stews, pastas, soups, tacos, everywhere! Just always make sure to keep an eye on their sodium content and rinse them before you use them to cook your meal.
WHAT ABOUT QUINOA?
Quinoa is all the hype right now – a nutritious seed that has become super popular in the health and wellness community. It’s supposed to be a pseudocereal (?) basically meaning it’s prepared and eaten like traditional grains.
Although it’s a high-carb food, it’s also an amazing source of protein and fiber, as well as being rich in countless plant and mineral compounds. Due to being high in protein and fiber, it’s also very satiating and touted as a weight-loss jewel. Not to mention, it’s gluten-free.
*A NOTE ON MAKING BREAKFAST COUNT
Start your day off right – with a quality carbohydrate at breakfast. Carbs aren’t only amazing when you need to revitalize yourself after a grueling training session, but they’re also fuel for whenever you need it. With combined with the right amount of protein and fat, they each have their place in a great, satiating, well-rounded meal. If you reach for oatmeal with fruit and nuts (or nut butter), or a whole-grain bagel topped with an egg and sliced tomato, you win breakfast – and you win the day.
**WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE SNACKING ON FRUIT IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT
Fruits are also amazing carbohydrates – they contain natural sugars packed around other healthy nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Apples, bananas, pears, berries, and other portable fruits can become an amazing snack when paired with a handful of almonds or some Greek yogurt.
If you want to keep your body energized, revitalized, and healthy, you need to eat enough high-quality carbs. (High-quality carbs = minimally-processed carbs.)
But as with any nutrient, you have to look at the big picture of what else you’re putting inside your meal. When combined with lean proteins, healthy fats, and more fruits and veggies, you’re basically creating a plant-lead diet that will turn you into a much more lean, healthy individual. With a diet like that setting you up for success, you can even afford to squeeze in the occasional cup of ice cream.