Carbohydrates have received a bad rap over the past 10 or so years.  Diet plans like Atkins have led us to believe that all carbs are evil.  While it’s true that some carbohydrates will wreak havoc on the waistline, there are plenty of foods that contain the healthy carbs our bodies need to function.

A healthy diet consists of about 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% healthy fats.  Depending on your specific goals, that percentage can fluctuate some, but this is a good guideline to start with.

Let’s take a look at why our bodies need carbohydrates:

  • source of energy
  • regulation of metabolism
  • regulation of blood sugar

Obviously, carbs serve a very important purpose in our nutrition so why are they so vilified in diet plans?  The reason is simple – those plans that advocate the drastic reduction or complete elimination of carbs fail to recognize the difference in carbohydrates.  Most of the carbohydrate-laden food that most people are aware of consist of foods such as pasta, rice and bread.  Those foods are refined carbohydrates and can cause blood sugar spikes that are followed by crashes.  Have you ever had a large spaghetti dinner and felt like you needed a nap afterwards?

The good news is that there are plenty of healthy foods that will fuel your body naturally and not leave you feeling drained or bloated.  And because these foods are not processed or refined, they are better for your waistline and weight as well.

Let’s take a look at 25 healthy carb foods that can actually help you lose weight by replacing the refined carbohydrate foods in your diet:

  • Vegetables (all of them)
  • Bananas (Try this Chocolate peanut butter banana ice cream)
  • Apples  (Try these Cinnamon baked apples)
  • Strawberries
  • Lentils  (Try this Spinach Lentil Soup)
  • Kidney beans
  • Almonds  (Try these Almond Joy bites)
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Chia seeds  (Try this Chia pomegranate pudding)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Oats  (Try this Easy homemade granola)
  • Quinoa  (Try this Spicy Shrimp Quinoa)
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Chickpeas  (Try these spicy roasted chickpeas)
  • Popcorn (air popped)
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Millet
  • Black beans  (Try these Black bean and sweet potato tacos)
  • Green peas

While it may seem difficult to replace refined carbs in your diet, you may find it surprisingly easy (and just as tasty) to replace them.  Chickpeas, for example, make a great crunchy snack when they are seasoned and roasted; you’ll never even miss the bag of chips from the vending machine.  Try some of the recipes I linked to above and see how simple it is to add these foods into your diet!

Do you struggle with refined carbs?  Do you have any favorite healthy carb foods from the list above?  Tell me in the comments below!

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