I’m in a constant battle with carbs. My heart says yes but my love handles keep telling me no… We’ve parted several times in the past but distance just makes the heart grow fonder. After years of battling with each other, I think we’re finally starting to develop a healthy relationship. Over time I’ve learnt that carbs can be your best friend or your worst enemy. There’s good carbs, bad carbs, and horrifying carbs out there, and choosing the right ones will keep your relationship going strong! I realize I’m starting to sound like the Dr. Phil of carbs so let’s move on!
I’ve had a lot of people ask how I keep up with meal prepping. At least 50 people have asked me how I eat the same thing every week without getting bored. The answer to that is that I don’t! Some people have no problem eating the same meal week after week and if it works for you, that’s completely fine… but if you’re like me and need some variation in your food, switching up your carbs is one of the easiest ways to keep things fresh, new, and delicious. As I mentioned in my meal prepping guide, carbs should be part of your weekly meal prep. Each meal should consist of 1 protein + 1 veggie/green + 1 carb. My hope is that after reading this post, you’ll have plenty of ideas for that 1 carb!
When it comes to carbs, try to steer away from simple starches and towards more complex carbs. Everyone’s nutritional goals are different but regardless of whether you’re looking to bulk, maintain a weight, or shred some pounds, complex carbs are a great option for everyone.
L-R: Wild Rice, Whole Grain Pasta, Rice Noodles, Quinoa-Amaranth-Millet Blend, Quinoa Pasta, and Barley
Rice is a meal prep staple for many people. From Jasmine to Arborio, there’s dozens of varieties out there. Rice can be quite starchy but brown and wild rice are two great options. Rice stays good in the fridge for about a week. If you find that your rice gets hard, simply sprinkle some water on it when reheating and it’ll soften right up.
Pasta can be a great carb option. The important thing with pasta is to look at serving sizes and portion your meals accordingly. If you have a food scale, weigh it out so that you know how much you’re consuming. Traditional pasta can get a little starchy but luckily, there’s dozens of healthier options readily available. My favorites are whole grain pasta, quinoa pasta, and brown rice pasta. For individuals avoiding gluten, rice noodles prove to be a great substitute. Most varieties of pasta take under 10 minutes to boil and stay fresh for a week.
Quinoa is my personal fav! Have I said that already? Despite being a great carb option, quinoa is a complete protein and takes exactly 15 minutes to cook. It’s also a great option for those looking to avoid gluten. Cook up a batch on Sunday and it’ll last you the entire week. Quinoa comes in red, black, and white varieties. You can also find many different quinoa blends. My favorites are quinoa-rice blends and quinoa-amaranth-millet blends!
Barley can be eaten just like rice, quinoa, or pasta. It’s a versatile grain with a mild nutty flavor that takes on the taste of whatever you pair it with. Did I mention it’s loaded with fiber!? 100 grams of barley will provide you with a whopping 17 grams of dietary fiber!
Lentils… While it’s true that lentils are an excellent source of protein, they’re an equally excellent source of carbs. There are dozens of varieties out there and they can be prepared in hundreds of ways. 100 grams of red lentils will provide you with 20 grams of carbs (8 grams of fiber), 9 grams of protein, and only 0.4 grams of fat. Lentils are commonly used in soups and stews but can also be boiled dry. Salads topped with boiled green lentils are delicious (I’ll post a recipe soon!).
Some other great options include sweet potatoes, whole grain breads, tortillas, and beans. I’d love to hear your favorite carb options. Comment below and tell us your favorites!
P.S. This week, I’ll be providing all the tools to make your Meal Prep Sunday a breeze! Look out for grocery lists, meal plans, and recipes for this weeks Meal Prep Sunday!