Healthy Carbs You Should Be Eating

Learn the best whole-food, nutrient-dense sources of carbohydrates. Get more healthy tips like this from Food Network.

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Sweet Potatoes

The intense orange color of sweet potatoes is part of what makes these tubers so healthy. They're chock-full of beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, which is essential for vision and a healthy immune system. You can drink your daily dose of sweet potatoes in this Sweet Potato-Pear-Cinnamon Juice.


Lentils and beans contain complex carbohydrates, as well as fiber and protein. These qualities make it a food that fills you up. 


Milk and other dairy products, like yogurt and cottage cheese, contain lactose — a type of sugar. Milk also delivers protein and sodium; the combination of these three components makes it a good beverage after intense workouts, according to research.


Fruit is the best way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Fruit gets its sweetness from fructose, which is balanced with fiber, water, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. While low-carb diets tend to shun sweeter fruits, like bananas and mangoes, these are actually a great source of quick energy.


Popcorn is actually a whole grain and it's high in antioxidants. Since the kernels pop up so big, you get 3 1/2 cups in a 1-ounce serving (if you air pop it, that clocks in at 110 calories and 4 grams of fiber).


Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and offer several other necessary nutrients, as well as a good dose of fiber — 4 grams in a medium potato. Although potatoes have a high glycemic index, it's rare that you eat them solo; mashing them with milk, topping with cheese and eating the fiber-rich skin takes that glycemic index down, keeping your blood sugar from spiking.

Whole Grains

Two sources you're probably familiar with are 100-percent whole grain pasta and bread, but explore other truly unprocessed grains — like rye, farro, oats and quinoa — for added health benefits. Each grain offers a slightly different profile: quinoa delivers "complete" protein, while oats are a great way to get cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.