The List of Good Carbs

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Join me on my "I Fit and Healthy" journey! Maria is an Upstate New Yorker interested in all things healthy-living related! She started the "I Fit and Healthy" Blog to document life and her pursuit of healthy living. By day she work in digital media and advertising. By night she’s a first-rate wife and mom of two crazy little girls! She is self-proclaimed addicted to her iPhone/iPad and always on the hunt for the latest health tools and fitness gadgets.

Muscleheads started it, but Atkins took it mainstream. We’re talking about carb-hating. And with that kind of onslaught, you almost feel bad for carbs. The funny thing is, bad rap or no, carbohydrates aren’t evil – they’re just high-maintenance.

Carbs are an integral part of any diet, even the strictest ones, and you can make them work for you. Here’s the list of “good” carbs and how to put them to good use.

White Potato (1 mediumbaked): 159 calories, 4 g protein, 36 g carbs, 0.2 g fat, 4 g fiber.

Eaten baked with no fat added, potatoes aren’t half bad. They contain more than twice the folate, a vitamin key to muscle growth, of sweet potatoes, as well as potassium, which is good for recovery – provided you’re eating the skin. White potatoes digest rather quickly, so eat them after workouts.

Whole-Grain Pasta (1 cup, low-fat): 174 calories, 7 g protein, 34 g carbs, 1 g fat, 4 g fiber.

Whole grains are all the rage these days, and for good reason. The only drawback is that they digest more slowly, so stick with regular past postworkout. Top with tomato sauce to get a dose of lycopene, the powerful antioxidant that boosts heart health and aids muscle recovery.

Brown Rice (1 cup cooked): 218 calories, 5 g protein, 46 g carbs, 2 g fat, 4 g fiber.

Brown rice is pretty much the king of the cupboard, which means the parts with all the bran and germ are still attached. Those parts are also full of fiber, which slows digestion and cleans out your colon. That means the only time not to eat brown rice is immediately after workouts.

Sweet Potato (1 medium, baked): 165 calories, 4 g protein, 38 g carbs, 0.2 g fat, 6 g fiber.

Sweet potatoes are among the more slowly digesting carbs, which translates to steady insulin release so you can eat them any time of day other than postworkout. They’re also high in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity and aids in muscle growth and repair.

Couscous (1 cup cooked): 176 calories, 6 g protein, 36 g carbs, 0 g fat, 2 g fiber.

Don’t be fooled; couscous is no whole grain. Actually, this processed food is made from the same type of white floor (semolina) as pasta, meaning it offers no real vitamins or true health benefits to speak of. Yet couscous is a fine alternative for your postworkout carb-cramming session. [via]

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