Simple vs. Complex Carbs: What You Need to Know

Carbohydrates often get a bad rap despite many carbs being a perfectly healthy addition to a balanced diet. While there are some not-so-nourishing carbs out there, there are also some super healthy carbs that will provide you with energy and a myriad of nutrients, as well as helping to regulate your blood sugar levels. You may have already heard of simple and complex carbohydrates… What is the difference between these two?

Basically, simple carbs are what you traditionally think of as sugar i.e. fizzy drinks, biscuits, chocolate, fruit juice, breakie cereals laced with sugar etc. Simple carbohydrates contain just one or two sugar molecules so they are easily broken down by the body, which can lead to spiked blood sugar levels followed by a blood sugar “crash”.

On the other hand we have fibre-rich complex carbohydrates which are made up of sugar molecules in long, complex chains. This means they take longer for the body to break down, providing you with sustained energy, helping to avoid those nasty energy crashes. The sources of complex carbs tend to be in their wholefood state i.e. they haven’t been stripped of all their amazing nutrients.

Here are our 6 favourite foods that are rich in complex carbs, ensuring you keep your blood sugar levels in check and also get a super boost of healthful nutrients:

Quinoa

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, quinoa is something everyone can benefit from by including it in their weekly diet. Rich in protein, essential fats, fibre and complex carbs, quinoa is the perfect low GI pantry staple, a deliciously satisfying base to so many meal options. Quinoa is perfect in your breakfast porridge, in your lunch salad or served alongside a steaming bowl of curry for dinner.

Millet

We are ALL about millet right now, not only because of its nutty, slightly sweet flavour and fluffy texture, but also because it is brimming with essential fats, protein, minerals, fibre and complex carbs. Check out our 5 Favourite Ways To Use Millet so you can get cookin’ with this fabulous gluten-free grain.

 

Lentils

Lentils are not only yummy and moreish for your winter-warming meals, but also another food that is high in complex carbs. We just love adding these nutrient bullets into our stews, soups and curries to provide the body and mind with plenty of protein, iron, fibre, minerals and of course complex carbs!

Brown Rice

Compared with white rice, brown rice has maintained its integrity of nutrients and has not been stripped of the all-beneficial husk, bran and germ. This means it is a complete wholegrain that still contains the fibre, vitamins and minerals that are no longer present in refined white rice. Check out this nourishing recipe for unique use of brown rice: Banana Cardamon Brown Rice Porridge.

Sweet Potato

Ahhhh, the beloved sweet potato is one of our ULTIMATE complex carbs because of its versatility, sweet taste and satiating effect. Sweet potato is packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and of course plenty of complex carbs. Our Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a delightful post-workout dinner that will be sure to refuel your body and your mind.

Beetroot

Packed with dietary fibre, folate, manganese and vitamin C, beets are one of our absolute fave complex carbs. They also contain natural sugars that give a deliciously sweet yet earthy flavour. Try dunking the delicious Tika Chips (which feature both beets and sweet potato!) into beetroot hummus for an energising, tasty and nourishing snack.

Get your July Delight Box here to try two of our fave complex carbs, beets and sweet potato, in the delectable Tika Chips that we just cannot get enough of! WARNING: They are ridiculously addictive!xo