07 Oct 2013

Yup, you heard me right! 10 carbs to keep you slim. There is a huge  misconception that carbohydrates are the food that puts on weight, however what many have failed to realize is that HEALTHY carbs are what give your body energy and help you burn fat. It’s the nasty, processed (fake food!) carbs like white bread, pastries, and other things that contain high amounts of sugar and fats that add bulge to your belly. I’ve put together my list of my 10 favorite carbs that will help keep you slim and get fit.

1. Oats

Old-fashioned rolled, steel cut, oatmeal they are all highly beneficial and should be incorporated into your diet.  Research suggests oats may help remove LDL (the bad cholesterol) and reduce heart disease. The soluble fiber makes you feel fuller for longer, which in turn helps control your weight. The densely nutrient and antioxidant packed oats are a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron, what’s not to love.

My favorite way to have them: carrot cake style (CLICK HERE for my delicious breakfast recipe) – add some grated carrot and a sprinkle of cinnamon, stevia to taste and there you go!

2. Brown rice

Is among the richest sources of carbohydrate. One cup of brown rice has 45 grams of carbohydrate.  Brown rice is a whole grain and is considered healthier than refined grains such as white rice because they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They provide slow releasing energy and promote less fat storage, as they are absorbed more slowly (low GI).

My favorite way to have them: with a little heat…. Mexicana style – lightly fry off some onions, garlic and chilli, mix in some black beans, the brown rice and top with some cilantro and black pepper….yum!!

3. Chickpeas

Rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help keep you fuller for longer and assist digestion. One cup has an astonishing 6g of fibre and 7g of protein. By eating this plant based protein source instead of meat you are helping to reduce the world’s carbon footprint! It’s also low GI, helps stabilize blood sugars and is proven to reduce LDL.

 My favourite way to have them: Spinach hummus with carrot sticks – In a food processor mix cooked chickpeas, tahini, a pinch of salt, handful of spinach and some black pepper…delicious 🙂

4. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are among the most nutritious sources of carbohydrate. They are extremely low in sugar and great for controlling weight. Their rich vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrients content help promote health and protect against heart disease and cancer.

My favorite way to have them: My Very Berry Smoothie – mix as many different berries with one banana a dash of water and some ice in a blender for 2 minutes and there you have a delightful nutritious snack. To make it even more nutrient dense, add a large handful of spinach or kale (you won’t even taste the greens!).

5. BananasIMG_3274

Are a good source of potassium which promotes bone health and and magnesium which benefits your blood pressure. The yellow super fruit is high in fibre so keeps your bowels nice and healthy. While also providing nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have vitamin compounds for eye health.

My favorite way to have them: Whole – I love them on their own as a little snack when I’m feeling a little peckish, however I could happily eat them all day long. (Give me some almond butter with my bananas, which is an extremely healthy fat that helps you absorb vitamin A, and I will love you forever!)

If you want to know more about bananas look at these 25 interesting facts on the benefits of bananas (click here)

6. Quinoa   quinoa_topic600

Its delicious, high in fibre, rich in protein and gluten free. I’m sure you’ve heard of this little grain that packs a powerful punch, its now one of my kitchen staples that I just couldn’t live without. Don’t be scared of the pronunciation and start cooking this grain. Just one cup has 8g of protein and it has double the amount of fibre than most other grains.

My favorite way to have them: In my super food salad – just grate some raw beetroot, slice some carrot, handful of edamame beans, some alfalfa sprouts, 1 cup of cooked quinoa, a drizzle of flaxseed oil, a splash of balsamic, a squeeze of lemon and some black pepper……oooooh I want one of these now!

7. Barley

Barley contains soluble fiber that helps keep blood cholesterol levels healthy, containing an impressive 16g in a 100g serving. This hearty grain controls blood sugar, lowers LDL, is low GI and simply tastes delicious. It has a nutty and rich texture, which is perfect in stews, soups and broths.

My favorite way to have them: In a broth – I make a homemade natural organic stock when I have left over chicken or fish bones but you can buy organic and gluten free stock cubes from a health store. Cook the barley; add in your chosen veggies. I like to have mine with root veg such as parsnips and carrots but anything goes, pour in some boiling water, add your stock, salt and pepper to taste and even throw in some leftover chicken you may have…be creative, this is perfect on a winter’s afternoon.

8. Sweet Potatoessweatp

The vibrant orange color of this wonderful root vegetable is an indicator of its abundant source of the powerful vitamin A antioxidant. This orange goddess is high in fibre aiding digesting and helping control your weight, one cup contains 4g of fiber. It also the perfect choice after a workout and the high potassium level helps soothe sore muscles and maintains the right amount of fluids in the body.

My favorite way to have them: Smashed! haha you are probably thinking what is she on about. Simply slice and boil the potatoes and then drain, once cooked add black pepper and a pinch of sea salt then mash the potato until it has no lumps. Don’t be tempted to add butter or milk it doesn’t need it!!! It’s so scrummy au natural!!

9. Kamut

Once considered the food of the pharaohs. This cousin of durum wheat is now a popular alternative to brown rice. It has up to 40% more protein than wheat with a whooping 11g per cup. Its fiber content is also not to be overlooked with 7g per cup. Kamut also has higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids than most grains.

My favorite way to have them: Spinach and kamut salad with chilli orange dressing. This is so simple to make, simply cook the kamut as advised on the packaging add baby leaf spinach some pine nuts and drizzle with an orange chilli dressing (cider vinegar, fresh chilli, orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, salt and pepper).

10. Buckwheat

This excellent meat substitute contains a concentrated nutritional punch! Its non-allergenic, may help with diabetes and is great for digestion with an extraordinary 18g of fiber in a one cup serving. Buckwheat is gluten free and contains 8 essential amino acids promoting health. This highly versatile superstar does not have strong flavor therefore can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

My favorite way to have them: Soba noodle stir-fry. This is great when you haven’t had time to do your food shop as you can use any leftovers you have. I buy my buckwheat soba noodles from the health store and throw them in with  veggies such as broccoli, onion, pak choi, sesame seeds, a little chilli, and some tempeh mixed with a gluten and salt free soya sauce also bought at the health food store.

So there you have it: the right carbs are our friends and are extremely good for our bodies. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and it’s given you some interesting knowledge on some of the foods we may classify as fattening or unhealthy as they are labeled as a CARB!  I highly recommend that you try and incorporate some of these foods into your diet as they can have such a beneficial impact on your body and mind. Please feel free to tag me in any of your recipes using these ingredients on Instagram. You can follow me @staysharpbestrong



As Seen In