It’s interesting how many diets “claim” that carbohydrates are unhealthy for you and that we shouldn’t eat them! And, that this simple food group (which has many varying levels of quality) is being called the culprit in America’s obesity problem. This advice is an unfair generalization of food. By comparison, take a look at the lean yet strong bodies of Japanese people, who regularly consume high-carbohydrate diets composed of large amounts of rice and starchy vegetables, with this in mind then, it’s impossible to conclude that all carbs lead to weight gain.

Whole grains have been a key component to the human diet since the time began, when we stopped hunting and gathering and settled into farming communities. Until very recently, people living in these communities, on all continents, had lean, strong bodies. In the Americas, corn was the staple grain, and in India and Asia, it was rice. In Africa, people had sorghum and millet. People in the Middle East enjoyed pita bread and couscous. In Europe, it was corn, millet, wheat, rice, pasta and dark breads. Even beer, produced by grain fermentation, was considered healthy. In Scotland, it was oats. In Russia, they had buckwheat or kasha. For generations, very few people eating grain-based diets were overweight.

So why is it different today? Well, nowadays people are gaining weight because they are eating too much artificial, processed, and chemicalized food. If Americans were eating bowls of freshly cooked whole grains and vegetables every day instead of processed junk food, we would not have a nation of overweight children (and parents). Whole grains, such as quinoa, are some of the best sources of nutritional support, containing high levels of dietary fiber and B vitamins and yes—protein (vegans rejoice). Because the body absorbs them slowly, grains provide long-lasting energy and help stabilize blood sugar.

As a parent, this is great news because now, you are armed with some alternatives to the buttered noodles and white rice. Try some steamed quinoa or millet, or perhaps some buckwheat or kasha—and yes, add some butter or soy sauce for flavor. Just let the your kids experiment and you’ll be surprised at what they’ll come up with!

Two “ Healthy Carb” Recipes

Toasted Millet Pilaf

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/4 cups millet

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup finely diced onion

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I put in almost 2 tspn)

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

1 cup peeled and coarsely grated carrot (about 2 carrots)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)

Finely grated zest of 1 orange (Or use lemon instead)

3 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger (vary amount based on taste)

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange (1/4 cup)

1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (really makes this dish yummy!)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the millet for 5 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan for even toasting. Transfer to a bowl.

2. In a medium, heavy saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, rosemary, and salt, and cook, stirring occassionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrot, cayenne pepper, orange zest, and ginger and cook and stir for 2 more minutes.

3. Stir in the millet, orange juice, and 2 1/3 cups of water. Raise the heat and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. (You can toast your pumpkin seeds in a skillet w/ some olive oil and sea salt, or on a baking sheet in the oven.)
Apple "Cookies"

plain yogurt
oatmeal for
brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel, core and slice apples (approximately 1⁄4” thick).

Combine some oatmeal and brown sugar in a bowl.

Mix a little vanilla extract into some plain yogurt in another bowl or
shallow dish.

Dip apple slices first in yogurt, and then into oatmeal mixture to coat.

Lay dipped/coated slices on a greased cookie sheet, sprinkle with a little
cinnamon. Repeat with as many apple slices as you like.

Bake for about an hour, until apple slices have softened and browned (the consistency will be like a moist-dehydrated apple).

Cool and serve!

Author's Bio: 

Beth Aldrich, mother of three, is an Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach, writer and public speaker, She is the publisher of,, the online magazine for women and is the host of the Seattle and online radio show, A Balanced Life with Beth Aldrich. Her favorite treat is chocolate cream pie!