Combine Your Carbs
We love carbohydrates! Yup, you heard that right. Carbohydrates are your body’s main and preferred source of energy. They help fuel everything from breathing, blinking, organs pumping blood, bowel movements, mental clarity, and the list goes on. So you might be thinking, ‘why do carbs get such a bad wrap if they have all these benefits’? Let’s dive right in!
Carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains and dairy. They play a critical role in giving us energy. Something most people don’t realize is that your body doesn’t understand the difference between sugar because it does a beautiful job of breaking down all food and converting the carbohydrates within that food to the body’s preferred substrate known as glucose. Here’s what the body does know, sugar from whole foods like cucumbers, papaya, breads, yogurt, etc. have additional benefits to them like vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, fiber and so on; sugar from a lollipop is simply sugar and water. So how your body goes about processing it looks a little different and yields a different outcome. This is not to say that lollipops, candy, or a sugar and water mixture is bad, it’s simply a choice. For example, if you’re running a marathon your body will start needing additional energy input, a.k.a. food, sometime during the run. Knowing that the body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrate, runners will lean on quick acting carbohydrates like gels, tabs, lollipops, sports drinks, etc. depending on their training.
Now that we have that out of the way, we want you to remember that carbohydrates are your friend and they are delicious. Depending on what food you’re choosing they offer so many benefits which is why it’s important to look at the diet as a whole, rather than singling out one particular piece unless medically necessary while working with a dietitian.
During National Family Meals Month, we want you to know that all carbs are great. Kids and adults alike love to explore different flavors and textures not only eating with them but playing or creating with them (we’re thinking back to the macaroni necklace days). Something we love doing is combining our carbohydrates during meals to bring interest, different flavor profiles, textures as well as nutrients to the plate. Here are our favorite ways to blend those carbs weather it’s in a sidedish or a topping on a salad:
- rice + red beans
- quinoa + chickpeas
- farro + black beans
- cous cous + lentils