Carbohydrates are macronutrients and the body’s main source of energy. They are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.
Over the years, I have heard much criticism about carbohydrates when it comes to losing weight. I have learned that eating carbs is important for not only having the energy you need to have effective workouts and get through the day, but also for weight loss, better sleep and more!
If you are looking to lose weight, check out some of my favorite benefits on why carbohydrates are a great choice for meal prep for weight loss.
- Gain Energy – Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of fuel. Without proper intake of carbohydrates, your body can become weak, lethargic and unable to focus on the simplest tasks. If you want to meal prep to lose weight, sweet potato is one of the best sources of carbohydrate that will give you needed energy in addition to boosting your metabolism to burn more calories. Make sure to add sweet potato as your carb source to your meal prep.
- Lose Weight – Carbohydrates are often excluded from many diets due to the myth that they cause weight gain. The truth is they are crucial weight control. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume each day. The good news is you can add fiber-rich foods to your meal prep to lose weight and to make you feel full more quickly and satisfy your appetite longer. High-fiber foods are generally low in calories as well, so getting enough fiber can help you lose weight.
- Improve Heart Health – Dietary fiber prevents cholesterol from accumulating in your arteries and creating dangerous blockages that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Adding whole-grain foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole wheat, oats, bran and quinoa to your meal prep for weight loss, gives you valuable fiber that can protect your heart and keep you feeling your best. Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as cakes, cookies, products made with white floor and processed foods, which are generally low in fiber and often high in fat and added sugar.
- Better Sleep – Oatmeal, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bananas, and brown rice contain large amounts of tryptophan, which relax the body and help put you to sleep. Oatmeal also helps your body produce melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep. Adding complex carbs to your meal prep for weight loss before bed can help you sleep more soundly through the night and fall asleep faster.
- Improve Digestion – Carbohydrates can help prevent constipation and indigestion. Insoluble fiber helps push food along your digestive tract, speeding up the digestive process. Without sufficient intake of carbohydrates, you may not get enough fiber to keep your digestive system regular.
- Increase Brain Function – Your body uses carbohydrates for optimal brain function. Integrate foods such as vegetables, oats, quinoa, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit to your meal prep for weight loss to aid in mental focus and a healthy mood. Without carbs you may become foggy-headed, feel light-headed, have a hard time concentrating, feel sad or depressed, or just not feel like yourself. You may have a hard time retaining information.
- Calm Your Nervous System– Complex carbs help provide a grounding effect to the body and reduce nervousness and anxiety. Carbs provide your body with exactly what you need to feel less stressed and bring balance.
Carbohydrates to avoid, if you want to meal prep for weight loss:
All refined grains and quick sources of sugar such as: enriched flour, products made “with whole grains” (which indicates they’re not 100% whole grain), evaporated cane juice, cane syrup, cane sugar, sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, and even “healthy sugars” like tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup, molasses, coconut syrup, and maple syrup.
Avoid buying breads, rolls, cereals, and other processed foods that contain refined grains or sugars. Eat whole grains, use fruit to sweeten your foods and get rid of processed options.
Body by Lauren® & Agility Barre®
Yoga (E-RYT 200) & Fitness (ACE, AFFA)