By Eat This, Not That! Editors
Coffee sure does perk you up in the morning. But if you’re pairing it with sugary cereal, bagels, or donuts, you’re likely going to be feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. These empty carbs may be tasty on the tongue, but they aren’t going to do anything for your body’s satiety. Instead, filling your morning meal with healthy complex carbs for breakfast will leave you feeling energized! It’s all about picking carbs that are full of good nutrients for your body—like fiber.
Here are a few of the best healthy carbs for breakfast:
All hail the mighty oat! Oats have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving and your fiber-packed bowl will slow down the metabolism of the sugar from these carbs. No wonder they are The One Breakfast Food To Eat for a Longer Life!
“Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbs that fuel the body and fiber to decrease the risk of heart disease,” says nutrition and fitness expert Jim White. He suggests pairing oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts, and milk for a filling, nutrient-rich morning meal. Or try one of our overnight oat recipes!
2. Shredded Wheat
We’re not usually into recommending cereal since most boxes are belly bombs and blood-sugar-spiking nightmares. But this healthy cereal is made with just whole-grain wheat and wheat bran—two of our favorite complex carbs. In addition to serving up a decent share of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, a bowl of Wheat Bran also provides 20 percent of the day’s phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats.
3. Chocolate Milk
If you want to lose the gut, you’ve got to exercise—no surprise there. One of the best way to lose your gut is to exercise, and it’s important to fuel your muscles before and after. Did you know drinking chocolate milk can improve your gains?
In a study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects given chocolate milk before hopping on the stationary bikes were able to ride 49 percent longer than subjects given a generic carbohydrate-replacement beverage. And on top of that, they pedaled even harder. Total work performed by the chocolate-milk group was greater than the work performed by subjects drinking carbohydrate-replacement drinks or electrolyte-fortified sports drinks. The reason? Milk has naturally occurring electrolytes that keep you hydrated—more hydrated than water, in fact—and its natural sweetness helps push more energy into your muscles. Drink up!
Can you believe that mango has more carbs than a bowl of pasta? We know, it’s kinda crazy! But there are 50 grams per mango (!) and just a half fruit packs an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that wards off fat-storing cortisol spikes. If mangos typically make an appearance in your daily smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder and a handful of raw oats to increase your drink’s protein and fiber content, which slows the digestion of the fruit’s sugars.
5. Sprouted Bread
It’s official: You can stop fearing bread! Ezekiel bread is a nutrient-dense bread is loaded with sprouted lentils, protein, and good-for-you grains that keep you going. Top it with avocado, peanut butter, or a tiny bit of honey for a healthy and craving-crushing breakfast.
Whether you use it as the base for your banana quinoa muffins (yum!) or throw it into your omelets, this ancient grain is a solid start to your day. Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain, and it packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats.
Yes, apples are carbs, but they are also one of the very best sources of fiber—which means you should eat them at every opportunity. A study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, belly fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. And a study at the University of Western Australia found that the Pink Lady variety had the highest level of antioxidant flavonoids (a fat-burning compound) of all the apples.
8. Greek Yogurt
Packed with protein, crammed with calcium, and popping with probiotics, Greek yogurt has all the makings of the best weight loss foods. But here’s an easy tip to remember: Some of the carbs come from a yogurt’s naturally-occurring sugar, but they can also come from if there are added sugars. The Greek yogurt you choose really shouldn’t have more than 5 to 11 grams of carbs per serving; if you’re in the 20-ish range, your yogurt is most likely not the best for your body because of all that sugar.
A cup of blueberries has 21 grams of carbs, but they couldn’t be better for you. These little blue bullets are loaded with polyphenols—chemical compounds that prevent fat from forming—and they actively burn belly fat. It’s theorized that the catechins in blueberries activate the fat-burning gene in belly-fat cells. In one study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, blueberries were found to decrease lipids by 73 percent!
Last but certainly not least, the beloved banana is indeed a carby fruit. But these are complex carbs and bananas do a ton of great things for you, like instantly debloating a puffy tummy. Not only does the fruit increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, it’s also a good source of potassium, which can help diminish water retention. Bananas are rich in glucose, a highly digestible sugar, which provides quick energy, and their high potassium content helps prevent muscle cramping during your workout.