By: Meaghan Edwards MS, RD/LD
Carbohydrates have received a bad image in our time due to our society’s over indulgence in them. There are carbohydrates that you should avoid due to their lack of nutrient benefit in them however there are several ones that are good for your body. Eating well balanced meals that include all food groups is going to be the best for everyone, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain current weight, or just trying to live a healthy life style. Completely cutting out a food group can cause health issues on a long term effect. Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred energy source, not eating them will make our body use protein and fat as an energy source instead of using those food groups for their true purpose. So, instead of choosing the refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice, and white potatoes) choose these nutrient dense carbohydrates instead.
- Beans/legumes- beans and legumes are high in soluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol levels and will also keep you feeling fuller longer. They can also play a role in keeping your heart healthy because they are high in phytochemicals. They are also a high protein source, which is another added benefit.
- Sweet potato- sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A which plays in a role in eye sight and skin health. They are also packed full of other vitamins and minerals that effect more than just eyes and skin. Not only are they nutrient dense, they have a sweet taste that can help with our sweet craving.
- Fruit- fruit is another thing that is naturally sweet and full of vitamins and minerals. Each fruit, depending on the one you choose, is going to be full of vitamins and minerals that will help our bodies function properly. Choose a variety of fruits to incorporate into your diet. Try the fruits that are in season for the most flavorful ones.
- Whole Wheat – whole wheat/grains provide you with soluble and insoluble fiber. The fiber in them will help improve your digestive system and also help you feel fuller longer. They can also help improve cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease when ate in the correct amounts. You can stop avoiding bread and pasta as long as you monitor your portion of each and choose the 100% whole wheat.
Remember that the more color you have on your plate, the more nutrients that meal will contain. Continue to choose a protein and vegetables in addition to your carbohydrate, and also and monitor your portions on all the foods that you choose. Any food done in excess can affect your weight loss, weight management, and health in the long run.