I feel like I need to get one thing straight. Despite popular opinion, carbohydrates don’t need to be avoided! In fact, they are a perfect source of fuel to get you through the week. Your brain takes up a lot of energy that you expend throughout the day and carbs are its primary fuel source. This means that if you don’t include the right carbs in your diet your head will be fuzzy, you’ll lack energy, feel fatigued and even your libido and mood can suffer, not to mention your workout regime. So, here are my top five healthy carbs that will help you power through the day.
This tasty carb delivers a complete protein as well as oodles of vitamins including vitamin B6 (which supports your body’s immunity), potassium (which enhances metabolism), thiamin (which improves your cardiovascular system), niacin (which balances cholesterol levels) and riboflavin (which is important for energy production). It’s packed with minerals such as magnesium, copper, folate and zinc as well as phytonutrients, which fight inflammation and disease. I often use cooked quinoa instead of oats to make a delicious porridge in the morning – you might not think it works, but it really does!
Foods such as lentils, peas and beans contain complex carbs, fibre and protein, so they fill you right up! You can include them in lots of dishes, such as soups and stews to stave off hunger for hours as well as adding more nutrients to your dishes.
Rye or pumpernickel bread
The darker the bread the better – whole grains are packed full of fibre. Rye in particular has been championed among the weight loss world as it fills you up and doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels like white breads, pastas, rices and processed sugary foods do. This means that you can avoid uncontrollable hunger and diminished energy levels.
This is my absolute favourite! Oats are a slow release carb, which means that they are a fantastic choice for your first meal of the day because they drip feed you for hours. This is unlike other breakfast options such as sugary cereals, jams and croissants which will spike your blood sugar, causing you to crash straight away and leaving you feeling both hungry and tired. Oats are also a great way to get more cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre into your diet.
Chock full of beta carotene which is essential for vision and a healthy immune system, this vegetable is a great alternative to the starchy white potato that is usually a staple on our plates. Slice them into wedges and pop in the oven for a healthier version of stodgy chips!
One final tip
Bloating can be major issue for us ladies – in fact, some women can gain between five to 10 extra pounds of water during their periods. If that’s you, try to avoid salty foods, drink more water than you usually would, sip green or herbal tea and season your food with oregano, as it acts as an anti-inflammatory.