Healthy Carbs For Your Six Pack
Anyone who has spent hours at the gym to get the perfect six pack appreciates the hard work and dedication needed to sculpt those abdominal muscles. Keeping a six pack takes an equal amount of commitment. That means staying vigilant with your diet and exercise regime with an ab machine.
Choosing the right food is always a struggle, particularly when it comes to carbs. Those carbohydrate-rich foods just seem to taste so good but they can very quickly turn a finely chiseled six-pack into a barrel. At some point, most of us think we need to completely ditch carbs to get into shape. Completely eliminating carbs is a huge mistake. Our body needs carbs for energy. The key is to look at healthy carbs that won’t derail your six pack, yet will deliver the energy source you need to maintain your six pack and stay healthy.
Legumes are a definite plus for anyone watching their weight. Things like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas are super simple to incorporate into meals and they are packed with dietary fiber and loads of nutrients. The soluble fiber has been proven to lower cholesterol levels and improve bowel health. Apart from being a healthy carb, they are also a rich source of protein which is great for muscle strength and regeneration. You can add legumes to your salads or make a rich, hearty soup with them. They also make a great side dish with grilled meat and roasts. They are cheap and easy to prepare so look at consuming them several times a week.
Broccoli is the king of the cruciferous vegetable family. It is a potent source of antioxidants and it is great at controlling blood sugar levels. It’s also an incredibly healthy carb. One cup of broccoli has a miniscule 6 grams of carbs and virtually zero fat. It’s also a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. The beauty of broccoli is that you can eat is cooked or raw making it a versatile addition to your menu plan. You can add little florets to your salads and stir-fry dishes, or make a rich, creamy broccoli soup. Just don’t overcook it and turn it to mush.
Oats are the perfect breakfast food because they deliver a powerhouse of healthy carbs, protein and nutrients. They are a great source of beta-glucan which is a fiber that dissolves in water and forms a gel type substance in the gut. Not only does this make you feel full faster, it also acts like a broom, sweeping everything along in your gut and digestive system. This means you’ll have a healthy gut, and a healthy gut is usually a nice flat gut so you will be less likely to blow out your six pack. You can also add oatmeal to other foods like pancakes and waffles, or you can add it to your bread mixes. To keep it from getting boring as a breakfast food, add nutrient rich fruits or a little honey and start your morning with a smile.
Quinoa is a very versatile grain that you can incorporate into any meal. It has a low glycemic index so you’ll feel fuller for longer and it has more protein and omega-3 fatty acids than a lot of other grains. The health benefits don’t stop there. This wonder grain is also packed with vitamins and minerals. It is gluten-free and the carb content is minimal so you can enjoy it guilt-free. Quinoa is a fantastic carbs for those wanting to maintain a six pack because it keeps you feeling full for longer, decreases your appetite and the fiber is great for your cholesterol levels and overall digestive health.
Rich and creamy, Greek yogurt is the ultimate “diet food” because it doesn’t feel like a diet food. Packed with calcium, protein and probiotics, it’s a great food for maintaining a taut belly. A cup of Greek yogurt only has about 8 grams of carbs so you can enjoy it without feeling guilty. You can include Greek yogurt with your morning cereal, add it to your salad dressings or add a handful of berries or nuts for a fantastic tasting dessert. You’ll get a great dose of potassium, iodine and other essential nutrients and it’s also considered a great post-workout recovery food thanks to the high content of protein and amino acids.
Bananas make the perfect, go-anywhere snack for people on the move. They are packed with nutrients like potassium and magnesium as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. A medium sized banana has around 30 grams of carbs so you can still enjoy a couple of bananas each day without worrying about your six pack. Bananas are the perfect energy boosting snack thanks to the natural sugars, but they also contain decent amounts of soluble fiber that are great for digestion. You can eat your bananas as a healthy snack all on their own or you can add it to your desserts or breakfast oatmeal. Mash a couple of bananas with healthy grains in banana bread or pancakes for a healthy treat any time you need one.
If you’re looking for a natural treat that actually inhibits fat from forming in your belly, grab a handful of blueberries. The polyphenols in blueberries not only stop fat from forming, they also actively burn belly fat so you can achieve and maintain a six pack. There are only around 20 grams of carbs per cup of blueberries so add them liberally to cereals, puddings or yogurt for a delicious and healthy treat. The health benefits continue as blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and neutralize many of the free radicals you may have in your system so they’ll slow down the aging process. They will also provide you with a load of dietary fiber and keep your cholesterol levels quite low. Small and sweet, blueberries are nature’s candy that you can enjoy whenever you need something sweet.
There’s a reason why the old quote, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away, “is still popular today. That’s because apples are a great source of fiber and antioxidants. One apple has around 20 grams of carbs but thanks to all the other benefits you can go nuts and eat several of them every day. Apples are sweet and delicious making them a popular fruit to eat. You can eat them on their own or add it to many dishes, including salads. The best apples for maintaining a flat belly are the more tart and acidic ones like granny smith apples but all of them are a great addition to your daily food intake. They will help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check and pectin helps to regulate blood pressure and keep glucose levels low.
If you can’t eat a steak without potatoes, you’re not alone. But you can substitute ordinary potatoes with sweet potatoes. Not only are they super delicious, but they are also loaded with healthy carbs and they’re high in fiber which is great for a six-pack. A medium-sized sweet potato has 19 grams of carbs so it’s fine to include with your favorite steak. Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index so you’ll feel fuller, for longer and you’re less likely to overeat. They are also a great source of beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals. Cut them up as fries, but bake those instead of deep frying and you’ll have a great side dish that won’t demolish your abs.
If you still must have potatoes with your meals you can. Just eat them cold. When you chill boiled potatoes, you transform the digestible starches into resistant ones. This process of retrogradation promotes fat oxidation and reduces abdominal fat. Along with these benefits, you’ll still get all the nutrients in the potato like potassium, magnesium and antioxidants. Leave the skin on for added nutrients. If you’re thinking a cold potato is not the most appetizing side dish you can think of, mix it with other great vegetables and turn a boring plate of cold spuds into a stunning potato salad. This is best with a vinaigrette dressing, but if you prefer a creamy one, just mix in a spoon or two of Greek yogurt.
A healthy diet includes all the food groups and that includes carbs. In fact, carbs are just as important as all the other types of food we need to consume to stay healthy and they are an essential source of energy. It just comes down to making healthier choices and using them in a variety of delicious ways so you don’t get bored with eating the same thing every day. Incorporate these healthy carbs into your daily menu plan and you’ll not only maintain your six pack, you’ll enjoy fabulous foods that will leave you feeling satisfied and won’t derail your efforts at staying fit and healthy.