But grain-free meals don’t necessarily make for healthier meals. When you’re doing it right, eating some types carbs — especially for breakfast — can be a surefire way to stay full and energized throughout the day. Who wants to load up on sugar in the name of skipping bread, anyway? (Looking at you, beautiful smoothie bowls).
When you eat carbs, they are broken down into two sugars: glucose, which is essential for fueling every single cell in your body, and fructose, which provides shorter term energy (and can be stored as fat). When you hear a term like “complex” or “simple” carbs, it refers to how quickly a food is broken down into these elements. Complex carbs like whole grains, legumes, nuts are the better option. They’re high in fiber and are broken down slowly in the body and converted into long-lasting energy.
Simple carbs, on the other hand, are found in white bread, white rice, candy and soda, among other foods. Consuming simple carbs gives the body a spike of energy that’s followed by a crash, which not only leaves us exhausted, but doesn’t keep us full for long. They’re why carb consumption is so often associated with weight gain.
If energy is what you’re looking for, loading up on complex carbs is actually a great idea, especially in the morning.
“Carbohydrates are fuel for your body. The right type of carbs can give you the pick-me-up to start the day,” Angela Ginn-Meadow, RD, told The Huffington Post. “Basically, overnight the glucose stores provided by dinner are depleted, and a breakfast with nutrient-rich carbohydrates will replete the glucose required for energy.”
Convinced yet? If you’re willing to give the whole carbs-for-breakfast thing a try, Elisa Zied, RD and author of Younger Next Week, has a few easy recipe suggestions that are loaded with complex carbs.
Oats & Nuts
- 1 cup cooked oats
- 2 tbsp. nuts of your choice (almond and walnuts are good options)
- 1/2 cup fresh fruit
Top oatmeal with with nuts. Fresh fruit can be mixed in or served on the side.
Yogurt & Cereal
- 1/2 cup or 1 cup low-fat or non-fat yogurt
- Handful of high fiber cereal (Zied suggests Barbara’s Puffins)
- 1/2 cup of berries
Pour cereal and berries on top of yogurt. Mix if desired.
Eggs & Toast
- 1 slice 100 percent whole grain bread or a 100 percent whole grain flour tortilla
- 1 scrambled egg
- 1 slice of cheese
- 1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
- 1/2 cup fresh fruit
Serve toast or tortilla with scrambled egg and cheese on top. Serve fresh fruit and milk on the side.
Time to change up that breakfast routine.
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