by Hannah Pratt @corekitchenblog
Cutting refined sugar is high on so many 2015 resolution lists, but if you’re fit and active (or trying to be) axing carbohydrates entirely, is a foolish move. Alongside protein, muscles need carbohydrates to grow, so if you want to look fit and toned you need to be chowing down on plenty of the (wrongfully) bad-mouthed macronutrient.
Sweet potatoes, oats and quinoa are the obvious choices, but not varying your carbohydrates will lead to monotony, which is as damaging to willpower as it is to taste buds. Try some of the newly discovered grains causing a buzz in 2015, or some often overlooked storecupboard favourites.
Pronounced “free-kah”, this ancient grain has a smoky, nutty flavour - like a more robust bulgar wheat. It mixes well with most spices and is great for carbing-up warm winter salads, adding flavour and texture. As far as grains go, it’s got a seriously credible protein profile, making it perfect post-workout.
White beans, such as Butter, or Canelleni are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Their low GI (glycaemic index) level prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal and also provide a virtually fat-free high quality protein. As if all that wasn’t reason enough to eat more, they’re a good source of folate and manganese as well as a range of minerals including phosphorus, copper, magnesium and iron.
Butternut squash is rich in Vitamins A, C and E, as well as magnesium (great for sleep and muscle recovery) and potassium. It's obviously quite sweet, but has a nuttier, richer flavour than sweet potato, because it's a pumpkin rather than a tuber. It's lovely roasted with whole garlic bulbs and sage because they bring out the earthy, aromatic sweetness of the squash and the feta provides a salty, sour contrast to the pumpkin-y richness.
Black rice has a similar nutritional profile to brown rice, but with higher amounts of antioxidants. It is also a rich source of fibre and minerals, including iron. Compared to white, brown and red rices, black rice has the highest amount of protein and double the fibre of brown rice. It’s not as widely available as other rices, but if you can find it, worth bulk-buying!
This nutritious little pulse has a high protein and fibre content, and also contains several key vitamins and minerals known to benefit human health. The best thing about them is that unlike many complex carbohydrates, chickpeas have been shown to be one of the most well tolerated source of fibre, even for IBS sufferers. This is a great salad for the Winter months and has the added benefit of butternut squash as well as chickpeas. I like to make it in large batches so I can pair it cold, with salmon or chicken for lunchboxes and it's ideal as a warm side dish to roast chicken.