There are a lot of ways to lose weight. From trendy diets to heart-pumping workouts, there’s something to help everyone achieve their goals. However, no matter how dedicated you are to your diet, cravings are bound to pop up. Things like a sweet tooth are very hard to banish completely. Pretty much everyone — up to 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men — experience some sort of food craving. That’s why the most successful diets include carbohydrates and a bit more flexibility.
But we’re now learning that eliminating carbs altogether is not the best way to go. Rather, the key to choosing better carbs for weight loss is looking for whole, unprocessed foods.
“If you are going hungry, you are not getting enough complex carbs,” says Sophie Uliano, author and wellness expert. “This is why most diets end up failing. You shouldn’t be going hungry.”
Uliano and many other nutritionists agree that you should also eat carbs. Your body needs them and they’re an important part of a balanced diet. And so, here are seven of the right carbs to eat to curb cravings and still drop pounds.
Instead of chowing down on processed sweets packed with added sugar, grab a piece of fruit. Mangoes or grapes are especially effective and delicious. They’re naturally sweet and have plenty of fiber.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrient-rich carbohydrates. Their vibrant color comes from beta-carotene, so they’re a rich source of provitamin A as well as vitamin C and potassium.
3. Whole Grains
Not to be confused with processed baked goods, whole grains are high in fiber and contain many important nutrients. They provide nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium, iron and more. Eating whole grains has been linked to living a longer, healthier life, and their high fiber content also means they may help you feel full.
4. Hibiscus Tea
Technically it’s a beverage, but this warm tea can successfully satiate dessert cravings. Uliano relies on it herself. She recommends brewing up a cup of naturally sweet hibiscus tea when your sweet tooth rears its ugly head.
5. Brown Rice
This whole grain and complex carb will help stabilize your blood sugar. Compared to white rice, it has more vitamin B3, B1 and B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron and dietary fiber. These vitamins and minerals are diminished or completely eliminated when white rice is processed.
Oats are an all-star whole grain. They’re filling and pair well with fruit or savory toppings. Oats may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
“Eating a lot of fiber by way of a whole food plant-based diet will also help you to feel fuller, longer,” says Uliano.
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are a nutrient-dense legume and can help promote weight loss. In fact, cooked chickpeas contain about 27 percent carbohydrates and are a good source of plant-based protein. They contain vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin K, which help build and maintain strong bones.