When you are trying to slim down one of the most difficult things to manage is your carb intake. Some weight loss plans promote “no carbs at all” or very little carbs. For many people, that is not a good idea, especially if you are looking to lose the weight and to keep the weight off long term because you have to commit to eating that way for life to keep the pounds off. Healthy carbs, like healthy fats, are necessary to the healthy functioning of your body and the metabolic process of burning fat.
What is the difference between a “good” carb and a “bad” carb?
While carbs are necessary for fat loss, some carbs are not the best for it. The main difference between a “good” carb and a “bad” carb comes down to whether or not they are simple or complex. A simple carb is one that the body can convert to glucose quickly. A complex carbohydrate is metabolized more slowly. A simple carb can provide you with a quick blast of energy and fuel, often followed by a crash similar to a sugar crash. The complex carb provides a longer lasting source of energy. FIBER is a major factor of whether a carb is complex or not. For example, an orange is complex and table sugar is not. This becomes important as the process of burning fat is something that takes hours, not minutes. You may feel tighter and lighter after you work out, but the truth is that it simply starts a process of burning fat that takes hours for the body to complete. The body needs a complex fuel source during that process to burn fat most efficiently that will not be loaded with unneeded processed sugar, fats or chemicals.
Here are some of the best carbs to eat when you are slimming down.
Quinoa is a grain that provides you with an excellent source of complex carbs. One of the best things about quinoa is that it can be used as a replacement for rice or pasta. The grain expands and softens when cooked and holds flavor well. White bleached rice is one of the hidden bugaboos of dieting as one cup of cooked rice (the typical dinner serving) can have more calories than the rest of the meal. Quinoa provides you with a replacement that is low calorie, has good fiber and still delivers on taste.
Surprise! Corn has made the list. Popcorn is a starchy food that can provide you with an excellent source of the right carbohydrates. The trick is not to ruin the goodness of popcorn with what you choose to top it with. A little butter is fine, but not butter flavored popcorns or a highly salted one. If you want a topping, add it yourself so you know how many calories are added. Try herbs and salt-less seasonings.
Oatmeal is a great way to start the day because it gives you a solid store of energy to work with. You won’t find that you get the mid-morning hunger pangs if you eat this first. Breakfast is exceedingly important when you are slimming down because your body is coming off of a fast period between dinner and sleep. If you don’t eat, your body may slow your metabolism to conserve energy. Imagine doing that every morning…you can see where the problem would come in. Making sure you take in the right, long-lasting fuel in the morning will prevent you from eating the wrong things during the morning. Try fresh fruit, cinnamon and nuts as a topping.
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread has more nutrients in it than most and unlike the white breads; it does not use processed flours. Processed and bleached flours take the complex carbohydrates of wheat and make them into simple carbs. Tip: Everyone gets tempted in the bread aisle to reach beyond the whole wheat and grab some multi-grain bread. Don’t do it. With rare exception, many multi-grain breads are nothing but white breads with a rolled topping. Stay with the whole, unbleached wheat brands and reach your goals.
Whole Wheat Pasta
The same goes for pasta as it does with bread. Whole wheat is better for you because it remains complex. Also, there is a surprising amount of riboflavin and fiber in whole wheat choices. Both of those are essential for weight loss.
Peas by themselves are a good source of complex carbs because of their starchy content and the shell provides the fiber you need. Its putting them with corn that makes it too much of a good thing and something that should be provided.
Another great carb is any bean or legume. Not only are these complex carbs but the protein and fiber content in beans make them more filling with less calories and promotes the fat loss process too.
Fruit is your friend. Sure, there is sugar in it but it’s not bleached white sugar or corn syrup. This sugar also comes with vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Fruit is great for those of us with sugar cravings who want to eat something healthy and natural. As long as you don’t have blood sugar issues, digestive issues related to fruit or specific fruit allergies, eat it up!
As long as you are not frying them, slathering them in tons of butter or overwhelming them with oil, have all the veggies you want. This goes double for uncooked raw veggies. Vegetables are an amazing source of fiber, nutrients and vitamins!