A number of diets — Paleo, Atkins, ketogenic, and more — suggest limiting carbs to achieve optimal weight and health. But if you’re trying to shed pounds, are carbs off limits?
Perhaps surprisingly, no — a variety of carbs can actually be part of a healthy weight loss diet. “It all depends on the type of carbs, and the amount,” Sheah Rarback, a registered dietitian at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told Fox News.
In fact, “A good, healthy, whole grain, high fiber carb source can help you feel fuller longer,” Kristen Gradney, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a dietitian based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told Fox News. These types of carbs can actually help lower your appetite, increase satiety, and help keep your blood sugar in check, she said.
Fox News asked a few nutritionists for their tips on which carbohydrate-rich snacks are the best choices for those looking to lose weight:
1. A green apple with nut butter
When you’re eating a snack with carbohydrates, try to balance it with a bit of protein, Rarback recommended. That way, you’ll feel full longer. Protein-rich foods also use up a few more calories to digest and metabolize, Rarback said. She recommended a green apple, which is lower in sugar than a red apple, with some nut butter as a healthy, carbohydrate-rich snack.
2. Cut-up vegetables with a bean dip or hummusAnother great combo is vegetables and bean dip, Rarback said. The beans provide complex carbohydrates and protein, while the vegetables (and beans!) provide fiber.
3. A smoothie with milk, yogurt, and fruit
Instead of ice cream, try a smoothie packed with milk, yogurt, and fruit, Gradney suggested. She noted milk is actually a carbohydrate because it contains lactose, a type of sugar. It also has protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals, just like yogurt.
4. Fruit and nut bars
Gradney recommends eating carb-rich snacks in the mid-morning — to help prevent you from overeating at lunch — and right after work, when you may be hungry and more likely to be tempted by fast food or quick, unhealthy options. If you’re on the go, try fruit and nut bars with no added sugars, or even a small portion of dried fruit.
5. Half of a turkey or cheese sandwich
Lori Chong, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Fox News that half a sandwich can be an ideal snack, especially one made with a sprouted grain bread. This bread has a high amount of fiber, and because it’s not made with flour, has a lower glycemic index — meaning it causes less of a spike in your blood sugar. Mix it up to keep things interesting: Try deli turkey, roast beef, leftover salmon, or even cheese and veggies, Chong recommended.
6. Air-popped popcorn
Another healthy, carbohydrate-rich snack is air-popped popcorn, Chong said. This snack is high in fiber, and you can sprinkle herbs or even a dash of salt on the popcorn to increase flavor.