The Case For Carbs
Carbohydrates: likely the most demonized of all food components, but why? Like the other macronutrients, fat and protein, we utilize carbs in many different ways. It’s key in the functioning of our kidneys, liver, brain, and muscles. Our carbohydrate stores get utilized when performing physical activity, and non-digestible carbohydrates aka fiber, are hugely beneficial in digestion and warding off heart disease and diabetes.
When we choose whole food sources of carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, whole or unprocessed grains (oats, quinoa, whole wheat, brown or wild rice, farro, to name a few!), and beans/legumes, we’re providing our body with fuel and the much needed fiber to keep things running smoothly. This fiber factor is also key in helping to balance our blood sugar levels. Fiber helps reduce the blood sugar spike post-meal that we might experience if we were consuming processed carbs in the form of white bread/pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, ice cream, etc. It’s when we choose these refined, highly processed carbs and added sugar that carbohydrates turn into the “bad guys.” Not that these foods are “forbidden” (especially as we’re in the thick of the holiday season!), but choosing whole food options more often is going to be beneficial for our overall health.
As mentioned, our carbohydrate stores are used during physical activity, and need to be replenished soon after a workout in order to get the maximum benefit. E + R Wellness Cafe’s Fig Toast is a great post-workout meal to replenish carbohydrate stores and get a dose of healthy fat and protein. The Fig Toast is served on a slice of hearty, unprocessed, bread topped with bananas, figs and hemp seeds (plus almond butter, of course!).
Want other balanced options that are filled with healthier carbs? Try any of the E + R Smoothies or Bowls, Toasts, or make your own munchies like these Crunchy Quinoa Almond Butter Bites.
CRUNCHY QUINOA ALMOND BUTTER BITES
1 C ROLLED OATS
1/2 C QUINOA
1/2 C ALMOND BUTTER [CAN SUB OTHER NUT BUTTER]
2 T COCONUT OIL, MELTED
1 T HONEY/AGAVE/MAPLE SYRUP
1 T VANILLA EXTRACT
1/2 - 1 T CINNAMON
1 T CHIA SEEDS
HEAVY PINCH OF SALT
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES & LINE A LARGE BAKING SHEET WITH PARCHMENT PAPER.
SPREAD OATS & QUINOA ON THE LINED BAKING SHEET EVENLY. TOAST FOR 10 MINUTES.
IN A SMALL BOWL, MELT ALMOND BUTTER & COCONUT OIL IN THE MICROWAVE FOR ~45 SECONDS. STIR IN SWEETENER OF CHOICE & VANILLA.
ONCE OATS HAVE COOLED, ADD TO A BOWL WITH CHIA SEEDS, CINNAMON & SALT. STIR IN WET INGREDIENTS UNTIL WELL COMBINED.
LINE A SMALL BAKING DISH, LIKE AN 8X5, WITH PARCHMENT PAPER & SPREAD MIXTURE EVENLY, PRESSING DOWN. FREEZE FOR 1 HOUR THEN CUT INTO BITE SIZE PIECES. *STORAGE: BEST IF KEPT IN REFRIGERATOR OR FREEZER. THEY WILL BE SLIGHTLY CRUMBLY!
Author: Lara Harris, MS, RD, LD, registered dietitian and owner of The Well Fed Guide, LLC.