Today I'm going to focus on Carbohydrates. Why? Well it's the foundation. It's what gives you energy both immediate and sustained.
- Simple carbohydrates are shorter chains of sugars, usually coming from food items with a noticeably "sweet" flavor. Candy, fruit and sports drinks are all examples of simple sugars.
- They provide short term energy and are quickly broken down by the body. Hence they don't make you feel satiated for very long.
- Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are longer chains of sugars predominantly coming from foods without such a noticeably sweet flavor, such as rice, bread, potatoes, oats, pasta, and things of that nature.
- In general, since the body takes a little longer to break these down, they give you energy for a longer period of time than do their simple sugar counterparts.
It's important to get these complex carbs because you need to have sustained energy and quality energy in reserves. When you put your body into action, any action like getting your kids ready for school or running up your stairs to get something that energy has to come from somewhere.
Adding Good Carbohydrates
For optimal health, get your grains intact from foods such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and other possibly unfamiliar grains like quinoa, whole oats, and bulgur. Not only will these foods help protect you against a range of chronic diseases, they can also please your palate and your eyes.
Until recently, you could only get whole-grain products in organic or non-traditional stores. Today they are popping up in more and more mainstream grocery stores. Here are some suggestions for adding more good carbohydrates to your diet:
- Start the day with whole grains. If you're partial to hot cereals, try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats. If you're a cold cereal person, look for one that lists whole wheat, whole oats, or other whole grain first on the ingredient list.
- Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks. Check the label to make sure that whole wheat or another whole grain is the first ingredient listed.
- Bag the potatoes. Instead, try brown rice or even "newer" grains like bulgur, wheat berries, millet, or hulled barley with your dinner.
- Pick up some whole wheat pasta. If the whole grain products are too chewy for you, look for those that are made with half whole-wheat flour and half white flour.
- Bring on the beans. Beans are an excellent source of slowly digested carbohydrates as well as a great source of protein.
Check out the mypyamid.gov worksheets to see how many servings of carbs you should be getting for your calorie range. If you feel like you're lacking energy when it's time to get up and go and it's not from lack of sleep you may be lacking proper energy storage.