The healthiest food sources of carbohydrates
According to Dr Dana, the best sources of carbs are fruits such as antioxidant-loaded blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli and sprouts.
“Dark berries have great anti-inflammatory properties, and they’re loaded with antioxidants,” says Dana. “Dark leafy greens are packed with health benefits, like fibre, folate, iron, calcium and vitamins C and K.”
Wholegrain bread and grains such as brown rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta and oats are also a healthy source of carbohydrates, as are Greek yoghurt and cheddar cheese.
“Stay away from bright white – that means all the nutritional goodness has been stripped. Wholegrain is much better and will give you more fuel for your body,” says Dana. “Look for hormone-free products and don’t shy away from cheese – just eat it moderation! The biggest benefit of consuming dairy is you’re getting complete proteins and carbohydrates at the same time – winning!”
The keys to getting carbohydrates right
- Check the labels on wholegrain products, the more wholemeal, the better.
“Bread is a great example – the package might say ‘wholemeal’ on the front, but that sometimes means it includes only some wholegrains. Make sure you flip the loaf over to check the ingredients list – look for the words ‘wholemeal’ or ‘wholegrain’ high up in the ingredients list.”
- Carbs come from more than just starchy breads, pasta, rice and potatoes
“Think fruits, vegetables, dairy and wholegrains,” says Dana.
- Cook carbs the way you’re going to enjoy them most
“Whether that’s boiled, baked, steamed or any other process that works for you. Just be mindful of the additions that can harm nutritional value, like adding too much butter or drenching food in oils and dressings. It’s best to keep vegetables and grains as pure as possible.”
- Everybody needs carbohydrates for energy, not just athletes
“Carbs are the fastest and easiest way for the body to produce energy, which is why we often hear about ‘carb loading’ or stocking up before a big match. Everyday people use plenty of energy going about normal business, let alone if they hit the gym or sports field.
- Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates!
“There is a real need that your body has for carbs and trying to eliminate all those important micronutrients is not attainable. When we’re talking about carbohydrates to eat less of, we’re referring to the processed foods like cake, lollies, pastries and white bread.”
Looking for a healthy and easy way to carb load? Try the spiced cauliflower brown rice recipe below!