Carbs are not the enemy
Posted: 12/06/2019

With over 18 years as a personal trainer, trust me, I’ve heard it all when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to losing weight. From Low Fat being best to you, to carbs make you fat, most of these “rules” are loosely based on facts or have snowballed out of control over time. So I wanted to sat the record straight once and for all on one of the most misunderstood macronutrients.

When it comes to carbs, as long as we know the right ones to eat and how we should be eating them (and the bad ones we should try to avoid), there’s no reason to eliminate them from our diet. In fact you may be pleasantly surprised with just how much fat you can lose and how much energy you’ll have when you include good carbs in your diet

But first thing's first, know your good carbs and bad carbs. When you hear the word ‘carbohydrates’, I’m sure pasta, bread and rice spring to mind. I love  them all, but the best way to go when looking at these types of carbs is to go for the least processed options. Rye or sourdough bread, wholemeal or spelt pasta and brown rice are my picks. You can also find ‘good carbs’ in the form of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grain rich food that take time to break down into glucose. Bad carbs are the ones you’ll find in store bought pastries and packaged goods and these are the ones that wreak havoc on your health and your waistline.

With this in mind, here are the benefits of including good carbohydrates in your diet.

1. They contain essential fibre

2. They beat the bloat

3. They give you energy

4. They’re good for your heart

5. They can aid weight loss

Try this day on a plate to see how good carbs can work for you and be bloody delicious. All of these recipes have carbohydrates as their main macronutrient source, but I promise you these won’t be leading to weight gain any time soon!

Green Smoothie Bowl


1 banana

1 kiwi fruit

2 tablespoons avocado

1 cup baby spinach

1 tablespoons vanilla protein powder (optional)

1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (smooth)

1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon chia seeds


Place 3/4 of the banana, 1/2 kiwi fruit, avocado, spinach, protein powder and peanut butter with almond milk in a blender and blend until smooth (add water if necessary).

Pour mixture into a bowl and top with chia seeds and remaining banana and kiwi.

ABC Salad


2 beetroot (baby)

1 carrot

1 cup baby spinach roughly chopped

2/3 cup chickpeas (tinned) drained and rinsed

1.5 tablespoons almonds (raw and unsalted) roughly chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Dressing

2 tablespoons avocado

1 teaspoon tahini

1 clove garlic minced

1 sprig spring onion roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon cumin (ground)


Grate the beetroot and carrot and place in the bottom of a medium size jar.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Add dressing to the jar, mix well and allow to sit in the fridge for a few hours - this is the perfect lunch for making in the morning and taking to work because the rest time allows the grated vegetables to soften.

Just prior to serving, shake the jar well and add spinach, chickpeas and almonds. Season with salt and pepper.

Chickpea Loaded Sweet Potatoes


1/2 sweet potato

1 teaspoon olive oil (extra virgin)

1/4 bunch basil (fresh) leaves and stems finely chopped

1/4 tablespoon oregano

1/2 cup chickpeas (tinned) drained and rinsed

1/2 bunch asparagus tough stems removed

salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Dressing

1/4 bunch basil (fresh) finely chopped, reserving some extra for serving

1 teaspoon olive oil (extra virgin)

1 teaspoon tahini

1 tablespoon coconut milk (from carton)

1 tablespoon water

1 cup rocket leaves

salt & pepper to taste


Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Place sweet potato on a lined baking tray and place in the oven to roast for 50–60 minutes. To test if cooked, insert a knife through the centre.

After the sweet potato has been in the oven for 30 minutes, start to prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add chickpeas and asparagus to the bowl and roughly coat using a spoon or your hands.

Remove the tray from the oven and carefully scatter asparagus and chickpeas around the sweet potato. Season tray generously with salt and pepper and return to the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potato is completely cooked. This will depend on the size of your sweet potato.

Meanwhile prepare Green Basil Dressing. Add basil, oil, tahini, coconut milk, water, salt, pepper and half of the rocket to a small food processor. Blend until well-combined. Alternatively, chop all ingredients finely and combine in a small bowl.

To serve, remove tray from the oven, carefully slice open the sweet potato as it will be very hot. Stuff with asparagus and chickpeas. Serve with fresh rocket, extra basil leaves and the Green Basil Dressing.

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