By the Editors of Eat This, Not That!
Although carbs for breakfast might sound like a surefire way to wind up sleepier than before you ate, these options can actually give you the energy and nutrients you need for a great day!
Frosted Flakes? No. Bagels? No. Donuts? Hell to the no. Sorry folks, but we're not about to give you permission to believe empty carbs are the answer to your morning jumpstart. We are, however, here to preach about which carbs are best for your body at the breakfast table. See which ones get our expert approval and then check out these 50 Questions About Carbs—Answered in 5 Words or Less!!
All hail the mighty oat! Oats have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving and your fiber-packed bowl will slow down the metabolism of the sugar from these carbs. "Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbohydrates that fuel the body and fiber to decrease the risk of heart disease," says nutrition and fitness expert Jim White. He suggests pairing oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts, and milk for a filling, nutrient-rich morning meal. For some awesome and easy ways to add oats to your morning routine, check out these 50 Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss!
2. Shredded Wheat
We're not usually into recommending cereal since most boxes are belly bombs and blood-sugar-spiking nightmares. But this healthy cereal is made with just whole-grain wheat and wheat bran. In addition to serving up a decent share of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, a bowl of Wheat 'n Bran also provides 20 percent of the day's phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats. While we have your attention, always steer clear of these 20 Worst "Good for You" Cereals!
3. Chocolate Milk
If you want to lose the gut, you've got to exercise—-no surprise there. And your best shot of fitting in a workout often comes by fitting it into your morning routine. But here's a fact that's not so obvious: Drinking chocolate milk can improve your gains. In a study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects given chocolate milk before hopping on the stationary bikes were able to ride 49 percent longer than subjects given a generic carbohydrate-replacement beverage. And on top of that, they pedaled even harder. Total work performed by the chocolate-milk group was greater than the work performed by subjects drinking carbohydrate-replacement drinks or electrolyte-fortified sports drinks. The reason? Milk has naturally occurring electrolytes that keep you hydrated—more hydrated than water, in fact—and its natural sweetness helps push more energy into your muscles. Drink up!
Can you believe that mango is one of the 20 Surprising Foods with More Carbs Than a Bowl of Pasta? We know, it's kinda crazy! But there are 50 grams per mango (!) and just half of one packs an entire day's worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that wards off fat-storing cortisol spikes. If mangos typically make an appearance in your daily smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder and a handful of raw oats to increase your drink's protein and fiber content, which slows the digestion of the fruit's sugars.
5. Sprouted Bread
It's official: You can stop fearing bread! There are at least 15 Reasons People Are Obsessed with Ezekiel Bread, but the quick answer is that this nutrient-dense bread is loaded with lentils, protein and good-for-you grains that keep you going. Top it with avocado, peanut butter, or a tiny bit of honey.
Whether you use it as the base for your banana quinoa muffins (yum!) or throw it into your omelets, this ancient grain is a solid start to your day. Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain, and it packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. If you're not inclined to integrate quinoa in the morning, then try these easy and filling 10 Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss for other parts of your day!
Yes, apples are carbs, but they are also one of the very best sources of fiber—which means you should eat them at every opportunity. A recent study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, belly fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. And a study at the University of Western Australia found that the Pink Lady variety had the highest level of antioxidant flavonoids (a fat-burning compound) of all the apples.
8. Greek Yogurt
Packed with protein, crammed with calcium, and popping with probiotics, Greek yogurt has all the makings of the best weight loss foods. But here's an easy tip to remember: Some of the carbs come from a yogurt's naturally-occurring sugar, but they can also come from if there are added sugars. The Greek yogurt you choose really shouldn't have more than 5-11 carbs per serving; if you're in the 20-ish range, your yogurt is most likely not the best for your bod because of all that sugar. Cross check your go-to choices with our list of The 20 Best and Worst Greek Yogurts!
A cup of blueberries has 21 grams of carbs, but they couldn't be better for you. These little blue bullets are loaded with polyphenols—chemical compounds that prevent fat from forming—and they actively burn belly fat. It's theorized that the catechins in blueberries activate the fat-burning gene in belly-fat cells. In one study at Tufts University, people who regularly consumed catechins increased their belly fat loss by 77 percent!
Last but certainly not least, the beloved banana is indeed a carby fruit. But these are good carbs and bananas do a ton of great things for you, like instantly debloating a puffy tummy. Not only does the fruit increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, it's also a good source of potassium, which can help diminish water retention. Bananas are rich in glucose, a highly digestible sugar, which provides quick energy, and their high potassium content helps prevent muscle cramping during your workout. Find out the 21 Amazing Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat a Banana for more perks!
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