Top 11 Healthy Foods Highest in Carbohydrates

Written by Andrew Brewer. ⚕️Reviewed and fact checked by our medical team.


It’s a given that carbohydrates provide energy to our body and our brains. But there are good carbohydrates and carbohydrates that are so bad that they are practically nothing less than evil. If you are a body builder, you will want to load up on carbs to give you the energy and strength for weight training.

However, you need to follow a reasonably healthy diet, as well. Otherwise all those lovely strong muscles will be hidden under layers of fat. So yes, carb loading can be good, but it has to be done right.

Keep on reading and you will find 11 best healthy foods highest in carbohydrates.

Key Takeaways

  • Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy to our body and brain, but it’s important to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates for a healthy diet.
  • Simple sugars found in candy, pastries, fruit juices, and refined carbohydrates cause a dramatic spike of insulin in the bloodstream, leading to a quick burst of energy that doesn’t last long and can cause fat accumulation. Instead, choose complex starchy carbohydrates like legumes and whole grains, and fiber-rich vegetables for sustained energy and insulin regulation.
  • The ideal meal should include a protein, a starchy carbohydrate, and a vegetable high in fiber, such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, lentils, fresh beans, peas, leafy green vegetables, cabbage, zucchini, asparagus, Brussel sprouts.
  • Stay away from processed foods and sports drinks with high sugar content, and choose fruits with low sugar content like strawberries and blackberries.
  • Low-carb diets may not be healthier or help with weight loss if they don’t provide enough of the right kinds of carbohydrates, leading to sugar cravings and potentially harmful consumption of simple carbohydrates.

Stay away from processed foods

If there is one simple thing to keep in mind it is just stay away from processed food. All of those sports drinks with so much sugar in them, empty calories of sweets like donuts and other pastries, even whole grain breads and pasta. Yes, if you are going to eat bread and pasta, then whole grain would be your best bet. But believe it or not, once the whole grain is pulverized into the form of flour, a lot of its benefit disappears.


There are healthy grains, fruit and vegetables that are high in carbs, and you should have them as often as you can.

Carbohydrates are divided into three categories:

  • Simple Sugars – These are the sweetest foods, because their carbohydrates come mostly from sugar. Because they are such simple carbohydrates, they are easily broken down by our bodies. That means you get a very quick spurt of energy, but it doesn’t last long. It doesn’t satisfy you for very long either. And worst of all, it causes a very dramatic spike of insulin in the bloodstream. And this is not just candy and pastries. Fruit juices are extremely high in sugar. Also, all of the refined carbohydrates found in chips, pretzels, bread and pasta are treated by your body just like candy. They may not be sweet, but they are simple carbs with the same effect as candy. You may be amazed to hear that even milk contains more sugar than protein. Many different types of fruits are extremely high in sugar as well. This is particularly true of dried fruit, but even fresh fruit such as figs, cherries, grapes, melon and mango. There are fruits which are significantly lower in sugar, and we’ll talk about them a little later on the list of good carbs.
  • Complex Starchy Carbohydrates – These are the best source of carbs for athletes. Yes, we’re talking about your legumes and whole grains. But the whole grains you want to choose are those which have as little processing involved as possible, instead of the ones mentioned above that pulverize the grain into flours. So look for oatmeal, brown rice or quinoa. Because these carbohydrates are complex, the body takes much longer to break them down. That means you’ll be able to retain energy for longer.
  • Fiber – Though starchy carbs are simply great, fiber has its benefits, as well. And remember, you want to stay away from processed foods, so we are not talking about added We are referring to the fiber that is found naturally in vegetables.

Why is fiber so important? Because it slows the release of insulin into the bloodstream. Remember, when insulin spikes, your body stops using fat for fuel. And when it stops burning fat, the fat accumulates. Obviously, we want to keep that from happening.

Your ideal meal should include a protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable high in fiber

So what do you have to choose from? Let’s take a look.

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Brown rice
  3. Quinoa
  4. Fruit with relatively low sugar, such as strawberries and blackberries
  5. Sweet potatoes
  6. Lentils
  7. Fresh beans (not from a can) & peas
  8. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and turnip greens
  9. Cabbage
  10. Zucchini and other types of squash
  11. Asparagus, brussel sprouts and almost any other vegetables

By combining choices from these eleven foods with protein at every meal, you will not have to worry about having enough energy to get through a bodybuilding workout. You will also not have to worry about fat accumulation. These foods will trigger a very gradual release of insulin into the bloodstream, so that your body will continue burning fat throughout the day.

Remember, both your body and your brain need carbohydrates to function at optimum levels. When you don’t have enough of it, your mind can get foggy and your energy will lag. And you need both starchy carbs AND fiber.

And the one thing you want to stay away from is foods that are high in sugar. Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to eat a lot of sweets and pastries or pastas and bread, but you are not doing your body any favors by consuming fruit juices and sports drinks that are high in sugar, either.


Don’t sabotage your hard work by consuming the wrong foods!

By making sure you are getting adequate servings of the RIGHT types of carbohydrates, you will:

  • Have more energy AND a sharper mind
  • Keep fat from accumulating
  • Develop strong muscles and bones

And don’t fall for the old story that low carb diets are healthier and let you lose weight faster. Because, guess what, if you don’t get enough of the RIGHT kinds of carbs in your diet, you will start craving sugar.

And then it will become a LOT harder to resist all those sweet, simple carbohydrates that are so bad for your health. Instead, think about having some of those low in sugar fruit choices for dessert or when you are looking for something a little sweeter.

When your body is getting enough of the right food, it doesn’t start craving the wrong foods

Lean protein and the right carbohydrates should make up the majority of your diet. That way, the occasional splurge won’t throw you too far off track from your goals.


  • What are carbohydrates, and why are they important for our health?

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that provide energy to our body. They are important for our health because they help fuel our brains and muscles, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote the growth and repair of tissues.

  • What are some examples of healthy foods that are high in carbohydrates?

Some healthy foods high in carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, bananas, lentils, and whole-grain bread.

  • Are all carbohydrates created equal?

No, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbohydrates, such as those found in refined sugar and white bread, are digested quickly and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and vegetables, are digested more slowly and provide sustained energy.

  • How much carbohydrate should I consume in a day?

The recommended daily carbohydrate intake varies depending on age, sex, weight, and activity level. As a general guideline, carbohydrates are recommended to make up 45-65% of your daily calorie intake.

  • Can carbohydrates be bad for my health?

Consuming too many refined carbohydrates, such as those in sugary drinks and white bread, can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and other health problems. However, consuming healthy carbohydrates in moderation as part of a balanced diet is important for good health.

  • Is it better to get carbohydrates from fruits or grains?

Both fruits and grains can be good sources of healthy carbohydrates. Fruits provide natural sugars and important nutrients such as vitamins and fiber, while whole grains provide complex carbohydrates and fiber. It’s best to include a variety of both in your diet.

  • Are there any carbohydrates I should avoid completely?

Refined carbohydrates, such as those found in sugary drinks, candy, and white bread, should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether. It’s also important to limit processed foods high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at are here with you every step of the way!