How should I choose healthy carbohydrates for my diet?

Maoshing Ni, PhD, LAc
Geriatric Medicine
There are many ways to include healthy carbohydrates in your diet. Choose minimally processed, whole-food carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, fresh or dried fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives. Also aim for at least three grams (g) of fiber in your breads and cereals per serving to be sure they stick with you longer.

Avoid foods filled with refined and added sugars, like candy bars, as they can send your blood sugar soaring and then crashing.

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Julieanna Hever, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Dietitian Julieanna Hever discusses some healthy carbohydrate options that are great to have in your diet. Watch Julieanna Hever's video for tips and information on healthy eating.

Chris Powell
The healthiest carbohydrates are the least processed ones. To learn more about how eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help you lose weight, watch my video.
Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

To include healthy carbohydrates in your diet, you can do as follows:

  • Begin your day with a high-fiber cereal; aim for 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Keep freshly cut, ready-to-eat vegetables and fruits in the refrigerator as snacks.
  • Put vegetables into your food while cooking dinner to bulk it up.
  • Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juice. You'll get fiber and more nutrients this way. Whole fruits also fill you up more than the equivalent number of calories in a liquid form.
  • Blend fruit and nonfat yogurt in a blender for a healthy breakfast or snack.
  • Eat whole-grain breads instead of processed, refined breads. These breads should list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour, or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the food label. Aim for brands that have at least 2 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Replace all-purpose flour in recipes with whole-grain flour.
  • Replace white pasta with whole-wheat pasta.
  • Say good-bye to white rice and hello to brown rice.
  • Add barley to soups and stews.
  • Add dried fruit to oatmeal, cereals, muffins, and yogurt.
  • Eat more beans, peas, and lentils. You can add them to salads, soups, and side dishes.
  • Enjoy low-fat popcorn.

It is important to shift the balance of carbohydrates away from simple sugars and refined carbohydrates and toward unprocessed carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.