Have you heard that you need to be on a low carb diet to be healthy or to lose weight? Although many successful eating plans promote this approach, you may just need to look at what kinds of carbs you are consuming in order to achieve your health goals. Here are some tips for replacing starchy foods with healthy, complex carbohydrates.
Why Starchy Foods Get Bad Press
Starchy foods tend to have a higher amount of carbohydrates and sugar, but not as many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. They can also affect some people when it comes to lowering their blood sugar levels.
According to Healthline.com, diets high in refined starches are linked to a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. In addition, they can cause blood sugar to spike rapidly and then fall sharply.
Changing your diet isn’t about being clean 100% of the time, but just making small changes to increase the nutrients and health of your meals. Which means starchy foods aren’t all evil, but there are some good reasons to reduce them if possible.
Types of Starchy Foods to Reduce in Your Diet
Not sure what a starchy food is? Here are some easy examples:
Baked pastries and donuts
White potatoes without the skin
As you can see, most of these are highly processed foods that don’t contain many nutrients. But the good news is they are really easy to replace with healthier foods that will be very similar, but provide more nutrition in your diet.
Healthy Carbs to Replace Them With
Don’t worry – you don’t have to give these foods up or go on a low-carb diet! You are just going to replace them with their healthier counterpart.
Trade out sugary cereals – Try switching from sugary processed cereal to steel-cut oatmeal or natural granola.
Enjoy whole wheat and whole grain bread – Make the switch from regular white sandwich bread to whole wheat bread.
Switch to brown rice and quinoa – For rice, if you want to eat less white rice, you can enjoy brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa.
Switch to sweet potatoes – While it is completely fine to eat white or red potatoes, you can reduce starches by enjoying sweet potatoes instead.
Healthy pasta substitutes – There are many varieties of pasta that isn’t just white pasta, including those made from whole grains, brown rice, and chickpeas. Spiraled vegetables are also a very popular choice to replace standard white pasta.
As with all diet transformation strategies, you don’t want to completely change everything you eat right from day one. Consider just switching out the starchy carbs one meal or variety at a time, like going with brown rice this week, then trying whole wheat bread next week.