When you hear the word 'carbohydrates' or 'carbs', it is an automatic response to think of bread, pasta, cereal etc However carbs are also found in many other food sources such as fruit, dairy, legumes and many sweets.
While dieting, carbohydrates are often the main macronutrient that is altered and lowered to get you lean. We suggest not cutting carbs completely out of your diet as they are a powerful source of energy to the body, help with your immune system, fertilisation, preventing pathogens, blood clotting and help with development - make you grow (a great macro to include for muscle building/bulking). Although providing many benefits, there are healthier carb swapping options you can make... Read further to find out these options.
Many food groups contain carbohydrates. However, here are some tips of choosing the best ones are some are more nutrient, vitamin dense and healthier than others.
Grains, Bread & Cereals
When choosing one of these options always aim for a high fibre, low GI, as it will keep you fuller for longer.
The healthiest starchy vegetable options containing many vitamins and minerals are those such as sweet potato, pumpkin and corn.
Legumes & Beans
Kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are all legumes that are very nutrient dense in vitamins and minerals. They are rich in protein, B Vitamins, iron, folate and are low in GI.
Fruits come in two forms or carbohydrates: fructose or glucose. All are nutrient dense containing many vitamins, minerals and high in fibre.
Lactose is the ingredient in dairy that makes it a carbohydrate. Dairy products are very rich in calcium, protein and nutrients.
Treats & Sweets
These sometimes foods such cakes, cookies, pastries to name a few, are often very low in vitamins, minerals, protein and nutrients. Their foods are very high in carbs, fat, sugar and sodium... so it is important to watch your intake and portion sizes!
Here are some everyday food options you could reconsider to make you carb choice a more nutritious and healthier one...
Full of fibre and have you feeling fuller for longer. They are also very good for roughage.
Baked beans can come in many flavours, often these contain a lot of sugar and carbs.
Black beans! They contain fewer carbs and are higher fibre.
If topped on a salad, it can add nutritional benefits such as dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals.
High in carbs, sugar and fat. Keep away from creamy dressings. Fat-free salad dressings often contain a lot of sugar to make up for fat reduction.
To ensure you will be getting little or zero carb content and lots of healthy fats choose from an oil or vinegar based dressing.
Available source of carbs
Potatoes are classified as a starchy vegetable. If the skin has been removed from the mashed potato, there will be little fibre remaining.
Mashed pumpkin, which is lower in calories and contains fewer carbs
'Healthy pancakes' such as protein pancake mix, swapping flour for almond meal or ground oats.... will be a high protein, lower carb and sugar option without sacrificing taste. For healthy, still delicious toppings, you could use fresh fruit, sugar-free syrup, natural sweeteners, cinnamon, lemon etc... be creative!
Normal pancake mixture will normally contain flour mix and be high in sugar, heavy dairy (such as buttermilk)
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Pasta actually has several nutritional benefits such as is it low GI, provides sustained energy, cholesterol free, low in sodium to name a few.
Most pasta is made from refined white flour. It is also high in carbs and contains gluten (not a smart choice if intolerant).
Zoodles! - The new latest fad. Zoodles it is spiralled pasta made from Zucchini. Zoodles are a great way to incorporate more veggies into the diet, are gluten free, low carb, wheat free and grain free.