Health Advocate Blog

Choosing healthy carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation. Many people think that in order to eat healthy, lose weight or prevent diabetes, they need to eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of carbs they eat. In reality, not all carbs are created equal. Carbs come in many forms, and some are healthier than others. When considering carbs, the type you choose is more important than the amount you eat. Read on to learn about healthy carbs and tips to include them in your diet!

Whole grains

These foods contain vitamins and nutrients that refined grains lack, such as Vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, iron and magnesium. Examples of whole grains to include in your diet are: brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, quinoa, amaranth, couscous, buckwheat, bulgur and millet.  Many breads and cereals are made with whole grain ingredients. Always check the ingredients before purchasing. Look for the word “whole” prior to the grain—for example, whole wheat. Read more about whole grains here.


This type of healthy carb is full of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Beans are the most common legumes. These include chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, edamame (soybeans), fava beans, lima beans and adzuki beans. Peanuts are generally classified as nuts, but are actually closer to the legume family. Learn how to prepare and how to eat more legumes here.

Fruits and vegetables

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can provide you with many of the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. These healthy sources of carbs are low in fat, high in fiber and full of vitamins. Want to know more about fruits and veggies? Click here.

Take action!

  • Replace at least one product you eat on a regular basis with a whole grain version
  • Snack on fruit like a banana, apple or orange between breakfast and lunch
  • Substitute a whole grain like brown rice for white potatoes or white rice
  • Start your day with blueberries or strawberries in your cereal or oatmeal
  • Aim to make half your grains whole throughout the day
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal
  • Switch your starches. Try other forms of starches such as quinoa, squash, corn and sweet potatoes
  • Eat beans as a side with dinner at least one night per week
  • Try whole wheat pasta
  • Substitute lentils for pasta in soups and side dishes
  • Snack on edamame before dinner

Be wary of unhealthy carbs!

Limit refined grains, white bread, pastries, and foods and drinks that are high in sugar. Click here for tips to reduce your sugar intake.

For Health Advocate members

If you are a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, contact your coach to learn more tips to help you eat healthy!