If you’re anything like us, you have a love/hate relationship with carbs. How could you not? After all, they do get a pretty bad rap. Starchy foods like baguettes, rice, potatoes, pasta and bagels are basically blacklisted on low-carb weight loss plans like the Atkins and South Beach diets.
While there is some truth to the claim that carbs add inches to your waistline, not all carbohydrates are inherently bad. In fact, there are plenty of healthy carbs that can actually help you lose weight.
Yes, you read that right.
You can still eat carbs and slim down just in time for swimsuit season. How is this possible? Healthy carbs do a really good job of filling you up, suppressing your appetite and speeding up your metabolism. The less you eat, the more weight you lose. It’s as simple as that.
Of course, there are a few conditions. You still have to stay active and control yourself when it comes to portion size. We know how hard that last one can be, especially when the stuff you’re eating is finger lickin’ good.
Speaking of finger lickin’ good, we found six healthy carbs for weight loss that are perfect substitutes for your starchy favorites. We chose these six specifically because they have a low glycemic index. For reference, the Mayo Clinic states that anything 55 or lower is considered to have a low glycemic index, while foods 70 or higher have a high glycemic index. The lower the score, the less it affects your blood sugar.
Ready to slim down? Start by making a few simple swaps at mealtime and you’ll be on your way to dropping those extra pounds in no time.
1. Wheat Tortillas
Glycemic Index: 30
Love sandwiches? Ditch the bread (whole wheat bread has a GI of 71) and roll your favorite fixings into a wheat tortilla. We love ours lightly toasted and smeared with hummus (GI = 6), mustard, cucumbers, leafy greens, avocado and tomato.
Glycemic Index: 55
Swapping oatmeal for your daily bowl of Cornflakes (GI =93) could make a major difference in your weight loss plan. Top your bowl with diced apple (GI = 39) and a dusting of cinnamon for a healthy breakfast.
Glycemic Index: 53
In addition to being a great source of plant-based protein, quinoa is also one of our favorite healthy carbs for weight loss. Use it in place of white rice (GI = 89) for a healthy base to your favorite stir-fry. We love making a batch on Sunday night and having it handy to toss into dishes throughout the week.
Glycemic Index: 10
Get the most out of your legumes by purchasing them dry and soaking them for a few hours prior to cooking. Canned chickpeas will work in a pinch, but their higher glycemic index (38) makes them a touch less desirable. Chickpeas add wonderful texture and flavor to both salads and soups.
Glycemic Index: 32
We can’t live without pasta so we’re assuming you can’t either. When you’re in need of a noodle fix, go with fettuccine. This particular type of pasta has the lowest glycemic index when compared to macaroni (GI = 47) and spaghetti (GI=58). Toss with some garlic and olive oil or vegan marinara to keep things light.
Glycemic Index: 35
When it comes to carbs, carrots probably aren’t the first things you think of. They do qualify, however, and are actually among the lowest-carb root vegetables. We love ours roasted with garlic and paired with rice noodles (GI = 53) in this recipe for Crispy Tofu with Roasted Carrots and Snow Peas.