“Carb” sounds like a curse word to people who want to lose weight but not all carbohydrates are sitting around plotting the expansion of your behind. 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 (and therefore weight gain). Eating one specific carb for breakfast can work in favor of weight loss.
Oatmeal is the king and queen of breakfast carbs! “The fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer, so it may assist in weight loss by helping you avoid hungry snack attacks,” says Abbey Sharp, RD, of Abbey's Kitchen. Combine that happy full feeling with steady blood sugar and you start the morning with optimal energy to exercise. A meal made of empty carbs will leave you feeling ravenous and with little motivation to workout. And that’s the cycle that will continue all day. It’s bad news.
In ¼-cup of oats there’s 5 g. of fiber and 7 g. of protein. The fiber is part soluble – it slows digestions and makes you feel satiated –and insoluble fiber – the kind that helps you get smooth moves (wink). “Regular and healthy bowel movements reduce belly bloating and improve digestion,” says Sharp.
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. We know instant oats sounds really appealing – they’re instant! But once you make the switch to steel-cut oats you’ll never go back. They need a little more time to prep but it’s not difficult. We soak them in a bowl of almond milk overnight –delish!
Don’t mess up a perfectly healthy bowl of oats with a lot of sugary junk that will turn into fat. Sharp suggests you avoid sweetening with syrup and opt for natural flavors found in berries, grated apples or ripe mashed bananas. “Adding some fat or protein to oatmeal will further slow down absorption and stave off snacking,” says Sharp. Try toppings such nuts, seeds, flax, chia or Greek yogurt. We also love her trick for balancing out the carbs in oatmeal with protein: making proats, as in protein oats! Whip frothy egg whites into oats for a creamy, fluffy breakfast. Yum!