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Build a healthy lifestyle: Replacing simple carbs

Posted by Mary Ann P.

I'm trying to make a healthy change every week in hopes that after a year I'll have painlessly created a new lifestyle for myself. This week I thought I'd look over the carb situation.

When I think about carbohydrates, I usually think of refined sugar. You know candy, cakes, sugar plums perhaps. In other words I think of things that are bad for me.

In reality they're found in a lot of healthy foods. Simple carbs are digested quickly. If you're eating a healthy diet you can get simple carbs from fruit, milk or yogurt. So if you're hit with a sugar craving try a serving of skim milk, or some fresh pineapple. You'll get your simple sugar along with some protein and vitamins.

Complex carbs take a little longer to digest. What this means for you is that it'll be longer before you get hungry again. They have fiber and lots of good vitamins and minerals as well. To add complex carbs to your diet eat whole grain breads, cereals and pasta. Make sure to look at the label to be sure it's whole grain. Not all multi-grain or wheat products are whole grain. Some of them are as refined as white flour products. The simplest way to tell is to look at fiber content. If it has less than a couple of grams of fiber per serving it's probably over processed. Brown rice, peas, beans and lentils are also great sources of complex carbohydrates.

This week I think I'll try replacing the usual bowl of ice cream with a bowl of frozen blueberries and yogurt. Sounds like a good simple carb swap to me.

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