We need carbohydrates for fuel and optimal brain and bodily function. I know with certain diets, they exclude carbohydrates or limit you to specific types of carbohydrates. I am a big proponent of eating all the macronutrients so fats, proteins, and yes, carbs.
There are 2 main types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates can be absorbed by your body quickly, while complex carbohydrates take longer to be absorbed and generally have more fiber and nutrients. Both are good, and depending on your activity and timing of your meals, one may be more beneficial than the other. For example, since simple carbs are faster and easier to absorb, which makes this a great meal after a workout because your body needs to replenish its glucose stores quickly. For complex carbs, I like having these before a workout, like oatmeal, so I can be fueled throughout my workout. Here is a list of my favorite healthy carbohydrates.
Fruits – Don’t be afraid to eat fruit! Yes it has sugar, but these are natural sugars with vitamins, minerals, and water. Do not get it confused with sugar in candy which is completely processed.
Vegetables – These have carbohydrates and nutrients. Some vegetables may be more carbohydrate dense than others, but nonetheless, they’re fiber and nutrient dense.
Oatmeal – Good old fashioned oats is one of my favorite breakfasts and pre workout meals. You can find ones with extra fiber to increase your daily fiber intake. Be sure to look at the sugar content. Sometimes instant oats can sneak in more sugars. Don’t like how bland it is? Add some cinnamon or a little maple syrup, honey, or agave.
Whole wheat bread/english muffin – I like making a quick sandwich with these!
Rice – Typically I stick with brown since it has more nutrients, but I like white rice for my post workout meal.
Rice cakes – These are a quick snack! You can put some peanut butter or eat them plain.
Pasta – I like eating whole grain pasta for extra nutrients!
Quinoa – This is so easy to make – just pop it in a rice cooker! It’s also so versatile too and goes with pretty much everything.
Beans/legumes – These are a great source of slow digesting carbohydrates and also have some protein as well!
Carbohydrates give us the energy to work out and perform daily activities. Getting every macronutrient, including carbs, is vital to good health and fitness! Remember to incorporate them with every meal, even if it’s only fruits and vegetables.