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6 Nutrient-Dense Carbs You Should Eat

Marissa Vicario
Written by Marissa Vicario

The no-fat craze of the 90’s taught us to fear fat, and since then, with every new diet trend comes a new food to eliminate. The latest craze is avoiding grains.

If you’re a moderately active individual with a healthy digestive system, your body needs some carbohydrates for energy. Which ones and how much depends on a variety of factors and is different for everyone.

Experience and research show that restricting foods your body needs will eventually cause cravings for them. So what's my advice to clients who tend to shy away from carbs?

Eat carbs that count.

Making carbs count is as easy as being smart about the ones you choose. Some of my favorite nutrient-dense carbohydrates that supply loads of energy and numerous other health benefits, include:

1. Quinoa

This ancient Incan grain is considered a superfood and not only a carb but also a complete protein. It’s gluten-free and most people find it easily digestible.

2. Sweet potatoes. 

A slow-burning carbohydrate, sweet potatoes make a nutritious, anti-oxidant rich snack or side dish. Short on time? Cut them into chunks, steam and drizzle with a little coconut oil and sea salt.

3. Legumes. 

Fiber-rich legumes help stabilize blood sugar and keep you feeling satisfied longer. Lentils are a good choice because ounce for ounce, they’re also high in protein. Soaking dried beans and cooking them with spices or sea vegetables makes them easier to digest.

4. Buckwheat. 

Not a wheat but a seed, buckwheat is another gluten-free whole grain that contains eight essential amino acids and disease-fighting flavonoids. Buckwheat groats are easily incorporated into sweet or savory dishes. Also check out buckwheat soba noodles for a nutritious pasta alternative.

5. Winter squash. 

Now is a great time to take advantage of the many varieties of Winter squash available. While squash is typically a starchy vegetable the numbers can be misleading. Its pectins reduce inflammation and regulate insulin and it’s extremely versatile for baking, roasting and pureeing. Spaghetti squash, in particular, makes a nutritious swap for pasta with your favorite sauce or pesto.

6. Root vegetables. 

From beets and carrots to turnips and rutabagas, the complex carbs that are sweet root vegetables can literally save you from your sweet tooth by staving off sugar cravings. They’re also the key to a strong immune system, healthy digestion, clear skin and much, much more.

With so many nutritious options, you may think twice about skipping the carbs on your plate and push over the protein to make some room.

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