The 7 Best Carbs for Weight Loss

As it turns out, there's a list of complex carbs for weight loss that you should actually be eating. YES!

You may have noticed. Carbs are under attack. Popular diets, like the Ketogenic and Atkins diet, limit carbs to a negligible level to promote weight loss, but not all diets require a no-carb commitment. In fact, as it turns out, there is a list of complex carbs for weight loss that you should actually be eating.

That’s right. There are actually some healthy carbs out there! They’re called complex carbs, and they are digested slowly to provide lasting energy for your body. Foods high in these complex carbs are also high in fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.

To demystify the carb conundrum, we put together this short list of 7 best carbs for weight loss. This quick-reference will make it super easy for you to know what to eat (and what not to eat). We also threw in a few recipes, too, to really make your life that much easier.

1. Quinoa

Breakfast quinoa with bananas and blueberriesSkinny Ms.

This gluten-free, complex carbohydrate is also a complete protein. That means it contains all the amino acids your body needs (just like meat), making it an ideal complex carbohydrate to add to your plant-based or vegan diet!  It’s also high in fiber to keep you feeling full, which will definitely help you portion-control and lose weight.

Start your day off right with a breakfast quinoa bowl, or make a zesty quinoa salad for lunch.

2. Oats

Triple berry baked oatmealSkinny Ms.

Oats are a beneficial whole-grain to add to your diet because they support healthy digestion and can reduce bloating. They’re super high in nutrients and stabilize your blood sugar, too, making them a powerful ally in weight loss. Talk about a perfect way to start your day!

Try making this tasty Triple Berry Baked Oatmeal (which can be meal-prepped to last for days). Or, if you don’t have time to bake, make a super easy overnight oats recipe like Peach, Cherry, and Almond Overnight Oats.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Nacho stuffed sweet potatoesSkinny Ms.

Unlike starchy white potatoes, sweet potatoes are super low in calories while being high in dietary fiber. If you’re looking for the one ingredient that will keep you feeling full so you don’t snack all day, opt for sweet potatoes. They’ll also load you up with vitamin A from their beta-carotene, keeping your immune system boosted.

Indulge your snacking senses with this healthy Nacho Stuffed Sweet Potato, or roast up a side of Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Turmeric and Cardamom to go into your favorite rice bowl.

4. Brown Rice

Brown rice and red beans bowlSkinny Ms.

Brown rice is fiber-packed, but it’s also super hearty tasting. Sometimes, the mere thought of eating a hearty meal will make you more satisfied than one that skimps on flavor. It also contains resistant starches, which will boost your metabolism to burn more fat.

Try a Brown Rice & Red Beans Bowl to get a complete protein in a plant-based package. You can also load up on proteins and serve this Chicken Stir-Fry with Vegetables over brown rice.

5. Lentils

Mushroom fajita with lentilsvia

This protein-rich, complex carb is the perfect way to enjoy a meatless Monday meal. It has a nutty and earthy flavor that is completely satisfying, and the texture won’t leave anything to be desired, either. The fiber will fill you up, and they’re full of other nutrients like iron, magnese, and vitamin B6.

Enjoy lentils as a meat replacement in Mushroom Fajitas with Lentils or Lentils and Pea Risotto.

6. Whole Wheat Pasta

Penne pasta with lentils and kaleSkinny Ms.

I’ve been so conditioned that pasta is bad for me that it took me a while to accept this! Except that whole wheat flour has three nutrient-dense, filling parts of the grain. Pasta is the perfect way to fill you up while delivering a nutrition package to help you lose weight.

Combine pasta with other superfoods in this Penne Pasta with Lentils & Kale recipe, or go fresh with a One-Pot Caprese Pasta.

7. Black Beans

Black bean patty on a bunSkinny Ms.

Black beans are a fat-burning powerhouse while also building muscle tissues. That’s because they combine complex carbs, proteins, and fibers all in a tiny little package. Unlike animal protein sources, black beans don’t have any “bad” saturated fats, either.

Make it a complex carb combo with these Everything Fiesta Black Beans & Oats patties, or go festive with Jamaican Style Black Beans with Coconut Cornbread Crust.

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