6 Carbs to Add to Your Diet to Help You Stay Slim

Submitted by admin on Tue, 04/03/2018 - 08:18

Farro, Kale & Squash Salad

Pictured Recipe: Farro, Kale & Squash Salad

Call it the Battle of the Carbs. On one side are good carbohydrates—found in fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains—that your brain and body need. Then there are bad carbs—the ones in doughnuts, white bread, soda and other sugary, processed foods. Over time, filling up on bad carbs raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes, not to mention a bigger waistline.

So here's a winning strategy. Replace refined carbohydrates with whole, unprocessed carbs, and you'll boost your heart health and lower your risk of diabetes. And because good carbs are typically rich in feel-full fiber, they can help you lose weight. A 2018 JAMA study shows that eating unrefined, high-quality foods, including good carbs, counts more toward weight loss than counting calories.

Here are 6 healthy, whole-grain carbs—plus tasty recipes and helpful cooking tips—worth adding to your meals.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa Power Salad

Pictured Recipe: Quinoa Power Salad

Consider it amped-up couscous. A 1/2-cup serving of this delicately flavored whole grain provides 2 grams of fiber, which can help you feel full longer. It also has 4 grams of protein, which can help tame your appetite.

To cook: Bring 2 cups water or broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 1 cup quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Note: Rinsing the grains first removes any residue of saponin, its naturally bitter protective coating. Try toasting quinoa before cooking to enhance its flavor.

Recipes to Try: Healthy Quinoa Recipes

2. Black Rice

Kung Pao Broccoli

Pictured Recipe: Kung Pao Broccoli

Black is the new brown when it comes to rice, say some nutritionists. While both black and brown rice are similar in nutrients, black rice—an ancient grain sometimes called "forbidden" rice—is higher in vitamin E and anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. And it's higher in fiber and lower in calories, so it can help you shed pounds.

To cook: Combine 1 cup rice and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Related: 10 Delicious Ways to Jazz Up Whole Grains

3. Barley

Bean & Barley Soup

Pictured Recipe: Bean & Barley Soup

Barley is available "pearled" (with the bran removed) or "quick-cooking" (parboiled). While both contain soluble fiber, pearl barley has a little more. A good source of potassium and other heart-healthy nutrients, barley can help you slim down. In one small Japanese study, eating barley helped people reduce their cholesterol, shrink their waistlines and lose dangerous visceral fat.

To cook: For pearl barley: Combine 1 cup barley and 2 1/2 cups water or broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
For quick-cooking barley: Bring 1 3/4 cups water or broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 1 cup barley. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Recipes to Try: Hearty Barley Recipes

4. Oatmeal

Flower-Power Oatmeal Bowl

Pictured Recipe: Flower-Power Oatmeal Bowl

Eating oatmeal regularly not only lowers your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and colon cancer, but its high fiber also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. And oats are kind to your waistline: research shows they can help reduce belly fat and overall body fat.

To cook: Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add a pinch of salt. Add 1/2 cup old-fashioned or "rolled" oats. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Related: The Right Way to Prepare Oatmeal and 5 Tips for Making It Better

5. Popcorn

Lemon-Parm Popcorn

Pictured Recipe: Lemon-Parm Popcorn

A review of 15 studies found that eating three servings of whole grains a day is linked to lower body fat and BMI. You can get one of those daily servings—and kill a snack attack—with 3 cups of popcorn (what you get by popping 1 heaping tablespoon of kernels).

To cook: Toss 1 heaping tablespoon popcorn kernels into an air popper.

Related: How to Make DIY Microwave Popcorn 4 Ways

6. Farro

Bacon, Tomato & Farro Salad

Pictured Recipe: Bacon, Tomato & Farro Salad

Known for its nutty flavor and chewy texture, this ancient wheat grain is packed with protein, and has more fiber than many other whole grains. Farro is most often available semi-pearled, with part of the bran removed. Whole farro has more nutrients, but you'll need to soak it overnight and cook it longer.

To cook: Combine 3 cups water or broth and 1 cup farro in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the farro is tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain.

Related: Whole Grain Cooking Guide

Some original reporting by Nicci Micco, M.S.

Watch: How to Make a Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

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Swapping out refined "bad" carbohydrates for fiber-rich "good" carbs can boost your heart health, lower your risk of diabetes and help you lose weight. Here are 6 healthy, whole-grain carbs worth trying—plus tasty recipes and simple cooking tips.
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Say good-bye to unhealthy "bad" carbs. These whole-grain "good" carbs can help you lose weight and boost your health.
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