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Healthy carbs for breakfast:

Updated: Jun 20

Hopefully after reading my last blog you are all experts on the carbohydrate physiology and chemistry. This blog is less nerdy and more practical. Now that you have a basic knowledge of what are healthy carbs and which ones to avoid, lets go over some strategies on how to actually get some healthy carbs in your meals.

First order of things is a trip to your kitchen, a list and then to the grocery store. It is much easier to avoid unhealthy carbs if you simply do not have them at home. For me, Oreos are my enemy, if they are at home, I can not stop myself, even though I feel sick afterwards. So we simply do not have them at home, sorry kids. Find out what your weak points are (chips, store bought cookies, candies, ...) and THROW them away. You are NOT wasting money, in fact you are saving money by reducing risk of future medical conditions and costs. One week of some diabetic medications costs more than your grocery bill for the week. And as for your kids screaming protest at the site of cookies in the trash bin (if you still have some at home), who cares, they will get over get it. In fact, the nice thing about children is their lack of long term memory, after a week of asking for Oreos and realizing there is none, soon they will start experimenting with the healthy cookies you make at home, and before you know it, its all peace and happiness. Plus, there is ample evidence that early nutrition has a long term effect on health, so what is bad for you is also bad for your kids. Teach them healthy habits early on. Now, I am not a Candy monster, I do think its perfectly fine to keep one or two unhealthy snacks, but only ones that you can control yourself, 2-3 small servings per week. Ice Cream is my choice. Lucky kids.

So, grab some garbage bags and head to the kitchen. With a clear conscious, get rid of these common unhealthy carbs:

  1. Cereals (yes, even for your kids. teach them from young age to eat healthy).

  2. Instant flavored oats

  3. Chips

  4. Cookies/candies

  5. Ice cream

  6. White bread

  7. White pasta and rice (ok if eaten occasionally, once a week is fine)

  8. Protein and snack bars (make your own)

  9. Dried fruits with added sugar (basically candy disguised as healthy fruit)

  10. For bakers: keep some all purpose flour, but most of your flours should be the healthy ones mentioned below.

  11. All Juices

  12. Flavored products like chocolate milk (make your own), BBQ canned beans, granolas with the picture of the pretty athlete on them and flavored yogurts. Why? Its all sugar, read my last blog.

  13. Trail mix that is really a jar of M&Ms or other candies and little actual nuts.

Keep 1-2 small delicacies for occasional desserts, but most everything else is bye bye . Throw them away. No regrets, I remember when I did this first I was shocked at the number of trash bags I filled. On the plus side, our pantry looks nice, clean and less populated.

Now its time to fill the cabinet with some healthy options. In general there are some healthy carbs that should always be in your food pantry for quick last minutes meals, they are also part of most recipes, so best to stock them.

  1. Rolled oats or plain instant oats

  2. Whole wheat bread (best if bought from local bakery or if you are really fancy, homemade). Locally we like On the Rise.

  3. Brown or wild rice

  4. Whole wheat pasta

  5. Barely

  6. Quinoa

  7. Beans: black, garbanzo, kidney, ... Either canned or dry. Just be sure its plain.

  8. Fresh fruits

  9. Potatoes

  10. Bakers: whole wheat flour, oat flour., almond four

This will give you a full arsenal of healthy carbs for most meals and snacks. In this blog I will go over some tips on breakfast. Lunch and dinner will be served in two weeks time!


Breakfast is one of the most important and yet neglected meals of the day. Now, there is really no solid scientific evidence that breakfast changes your metabolism, rather its effect is more behavioral. If you skip breakfast and you do not over eat later in the day because you are starving, then fine, skip it if you want. But if by lunch or early afternoon you are about to devour the whole house, then that is a sign of caloric deficiency, and it all started because you began your day on a empty tank. So, if late day overeating or fatigue is a problem, then its time to chow down on some healthy breakfast. Also note that coffee is an appetite suppressant, so if like my boss and wife, you drink coffee and lose your appetite, then eat breakfast with your coffee. As for me, I love to eat, so breakfast is always a feast.

For those of you who do enjoy a meal first thing after waking up, here is a guide on how to eat healthy carbs.

Rule 1: always include 1-2 servings of fresh fruit with your breakfast. Great source of healthy carbs and micro nutrient (instead of pills).

Rule 2: make sure your healthy carb is accompanied with healthy protein and fats.

Rule 3: hydrate (more on this later), but have at least 1-2 cups of liquid with your breakfast.

Now here are some tips on how to get started with healthy breakfast, I will also put a link for some recipes at the end.

Whole wheat bread: has healthy carbs, but lacks much protein and fat, so you need to add a healthy source such as eggs or natural peanut butter. (eggs are very healthy and do NOT raise your cholesterol or risk of heart disease, enjoy them). For peanut butter be sure you look at the ingredient list. It should include, peanuts only, no added oil, sugar or preservatives. Here is a link to some healthy options, my favorite is Richard's. Fresh avocado spread with salmon is another great healthy option.

Rolled oats: has healthy protein, but lacks healthy fat, add some crushed nuts or 1-2 tbs peanut butter. Stay away from flavored oats.

Quinoa: yep, you got that right, I was a doubter myself until I had it at a hotel in Colorado, made right it is delicious. Full of protein. Needs some fat, table spoon of olive oil or crushed nuts will do. Here is a sample recipe from one of my favorite website.

Beans: if any of you have been to South of border or any central or south American restaurant you know what I am talking about. Already rich on carbs and protein, an avocado or egg will give it healthy fats. Breakfast Burrito is one of my favorite post workout breakfasts.

Fruits: Fruit salads or just as a side to your breakfast. Unless you are a long distance endurance athlete, in which case you need to add some extra source of carb like oats or bread. For protein and fat have the fruit with a bowl of Greek yogurt, 2-3 side eggs or side of peanut butter.

Sweet potatoes: are a great side. Chop them in small pieces and with avocado oil, cut thin slices and bake in oven, or make a mash night before. For added protein and fat: have it with egg and avocado. Here is a sample recipe for a weekend.

Smoothies: if you are crunched for time, smoothies are another great way of having a healthy breakfast on the go. There is some evidence that smoothies may not stimulate all of our digestive hormones and signaling pathways as they bypass the chewing mechanism. I personally think this is just a little too much nit picking. Smoothies, if made healthy, are a great option for breakfast. In fact, if time is a limiting factor for skipping breakfast, then having a smoothie is a much better choice than no breakfast or an unhealthy breakfast. Fruits are a great source of carbs for smoothies. Nowadays most grocery stores have a variety of frozen fruits for making smoothies. We always have a berry mix in our freezer. For better taste you can also use fresh seasonal fruits, peaches are just around the horizon. Some added oats can provide extra carbs if you are a long distance and need extra carbs. For fats and protein, add Greek yogurt or peanut butter. Some healthy extras include frozen veggies, spinach, flax seed and small amount of fresh ginger. For liquid add glass of milk or milk alternatives such as almond milk, coconut water or just plain water.

Try and make your breakfast an exciting part of your day. Nothing is better than waking up and remembering that you are about to eat some delicious food. To get you started, here is some references that I use personally:

My favorite to go recipe books:

Rise and Run: written for athletes, but it really applies to anyone. Quick, healthy and delicious breakfast and snacks. Want cookies? They have some great healthy recipes. I also love their original book, Eat Slow, Run Fast.

Breakfast Bowl: Full of easy to make, seasonal quick recipes.

And my favorite online recipe blogs:

Love & Lemon: healthy, simple and creative. One of my favorite sites for all food recipes. Plus I like their name!

Cookie and Kate: Vegetarian recipes, but healthy, easy to make and delicious options.

Eating Well: Simple recipes and easy to navigate website.

And finally, here is a few sample recipes brought to you by the one and only master chef Babak Moini. These are some of our household staples. Simple, quick and of course delicious.

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