We don’t believe in extremes, which means we’d never go on a no-carb diet. Everyone needs carbohydrates in their diets! In fact, the right ones will actually help you slim down the extra weight in your middle. So let’s think about adding more “good” carbs to our diets in an effort to help reduce and prevent body fat. Good carbs, also known as slow carbs, are rich in fiber so they release energy into the blood stream slowly and help you avoid spikes in insulin and blood sugar. The fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer so you don’t go town on snacks between meals. Here are ones we adore!
"Although they may not be the foods that immediately come to mind when planning a low-carb diet, fruits fit in,” says Rebecca Lewis, a dietician at HelloFresh. If you want to modify your diet and scale back on carbs, it’s important that the carbs you do keep eating are nutrient dense. And a healthy diet def includes naturally low-carb foods like fruit. Add them to meals throughout the day and use them for naturally sweet snacks. Berries have the highest amount of fiber and the lowest amount of sugar of all the fruits. Go heavy on raspberries and blackberries. They have the highest fiber content of all berries. Melons, specifically watermelon and honeydew, rank as some of the lowest carbs per serving, says Lewis. Plus they have the highest water content of all melons to keep your body hydrated and feeling satisfied.
If you need to kick the bad habit of bread, cereal and other refined carbs for breakfast, oatmeal is here to take their place. Not only does it have protein, but also the soluble fiber keeps you feeling full for longer (maybe even full enough to nix a mid-morning snack). Make sure you choose steel-cut oats over rolled or instant. They’re not pre-cooked and are processed in a manner that helps them maintain more fiber and protein than other versions. Plus the hearty, chewy feel of steel-cut oats helps you to slow down breakfast and feel full.
“Fiber helps to boost metabolism,” says Brooke Zigler, a registered dietician in Austin, Texas. “Your body has a tough time digesting high fiber foods which means you burn calories while trying to get the job done,” she says. Plus, all of that fiber in your belly is playing interference with fat and calories. It actually absorbs calories and fat from other foods before your body is able to absorb the enemies. Boom. Weight loss. A prime way to eat fiber is through whole grains like brown rice, barley and bulgur, which are also low in carbs. Refined carbs like the ones in your favorite pastas have little nutritional value. This can cause a rise and fall in your blood sugar, which then drives you to search out more unhealthy foods and eat them ravenously. Always choose whole-grain varieties labeled “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat”. Then check the ingredient list to verify that enriched, refined flour is not the first ingredient.
If quinoa were a super hero, its super power would be to go slow. It reduces belly fat and takes inches off the waist because it’s absorbed into the blood stream at a slower pace then “bad” carbs like white pasta. “Quinoa is one of the healthiest carbs,” says Jessica Rosen, a holistic health coach and founder of Raw Cleanse. Why? It’s gluten-free, high in fiber, packed with antioxidants, and is full of nutrients like iron, zinc and magnesium, and is a low-calorie protein. "Unlike most high-carbohydrate grains, quinoa sustains the appetite without skyrocketing blood glucose levels,” says Rosen. “It actually lowers blood glucose levels which is significant for healthy weight loss because excess glucose gets stored as fat in the body.” We love that quinoa takes on multitude of flavors so it’s incredibly versatile for breakfast, lunch and dinner.