It’s little wonder we crave carbs – they make us feel good! Not only do they boost our mood by increasing serotonin levels, but they are also a key fuel for the brain, most other organs and our muscles during exercise.
However not all carbs are equal. Good quality carbs, or low GI carbs, cause a slow rise and fall in blood glucose levels whereas high GI carbs cause a spike and crash. And, stable blood glucose levels are important for our overall health, including prevention of many chronic diseases.
So, to start your day off right include good quality (low GI) carbs at breakfast – they will keep you satisfied until lunch, give you longer lasting energy and even better concentration.
Despite traditionally being quite a carb-heavy meal, breakfast doesn’t need to be high GI with these simple swaps:
Refined puffed cereal and flaked cereal; quick or instant oats
Rolled or Steel cut oats, natural style muesli, Bircher style muesli or low GI breakfast bars
Soft white bread, light and airy wholemeal bread, bagel, Turkish bread, focaccia bread, flatbreads, white pita, crumpets, English muffins and white tortilla wraps.
Dense high fibre wholegrain bread, authentic sourdough bread, grain and seed bread, pumpernickel bread, fruit bread, raisin bread, wholegrain high fibre wraps, white corn tortilla wraps.
Sugar, treacle, golden syrup, rice malt syrup, brown rice syrup and corn syrup, regular honey
Low GI cane sugar, date syrup, 100% Fruit Spreads, pure floral honey and pure maple syrup, low GI honey
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Soft drinks, cordials, energy drinks, fruit juice drink, rice milk, oat milk and sweetened condensed milk
Water, reduced or low-fat milk, reduced or low fat soy drink, almond milk, reduced or low fat yoghurt drink, fruit smoothie, coffee with reduced fat or skim milk, Milo or Ovaltine with reduced fat milk; 100% fruit juice (limit to 150ml) and 100% vegetable juice
The ideal breakfast is made up of good quality carbs (e.g. low GI bread, traditional oats), protein (e.g. eggs, low-fat yoghurt, baked beans), fresh or canned fruit (e.g. apples, pears, bananas) and a small amount of healthy fats (e.g. nut butters, avocado).