By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk
In the world of nutrition and science we tend to point to “food villains” and look for for quick fixes. For a long time, fat was a “food villain.” People went on low-fat diets to try to lose weight. When that didn’t work, the pendulum swung back and it became all about avoiding carbs like the plague. But all carbs are not created equal!
Our bodies need carbohydrates. It’s not for nothing that we tend to crave “sweet” things – our instincts tell us that we need the energy and nutrients that hide in these foods. But a whole food is always superior to a processed food. Instead of loading up on candy bars and soda, we can satisfy our body’s need for carbohydrates with whole foods from nature.
Here are a few carbs sources that are not only satisfying and delicious; they are packed with nutrients too.
Sweet potatoes are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is great for your skin – especially for preventing skin damage. The delicious sweet taste also makes them incredibly satisfying – even for the biggest of sweet tooths. The fiber helps slow down absorption of the carbohydrates, preventing a spike in your blood sugar.
Winter squash is another great source of nourishing carbohydrates. Butternut squash is delicious in soups, or baked and cubed into salads. Kabocha squash works great for baking and stuffing with your favorite vegetables. And both have a bright orange color signifying their high beta-carotene content.
Buckwheat is not a grain but a seed and, despite its name, is not related to wheat at all and is completely gluten free. One of the great benefits of buckwheat is it’s high protein content and low glycemic index. Buckwheat can easily be eaten sprouted as a granola alternative and buckwheat flour is great for making gluten-free pancakes.
Wild rice is considered a grass and contains almost double the protein of brown rice! It is high in fiber and great for keeping the digestion in check and is a great source of minerals and antioxidants. Wild rice has a yummy chewy texture and nutty flavor and is delicious served cold as a salad as well as in soups.
Quinoa is an ancient seed from South-America and has been a staple in diets there for centuries. It’s considered a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. It’s great as a sweet porridge for breakfast, a cold salad, or a side dish at your dinner table.
We can’t talk about healthy carbs without mentioning fruit! Not only are fruits packed with antioxidant, minerals and fiber – they taste absolutely delicious and are the best sweet treat you can give yourself. If you are concerned about sugar content, just choose fruits that are lower in sugar such as berries, green apples and kiwi and avoid bananas and other tropical fruits such as pineapple, which have a higher sugar content.
I hope you found some new ideas and can let go of your fear of carbs. Not all carbs are created equal! If like your healthy carbs, tell us what’s your favorites and how you like to prepare them below.