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You most likely have heard the term refined carbohydrates and you’ve also probably taken note that they aren’t the healthiest food option. With that said, how many of us actually know what refined carbohydrates are and why they aren’t good for us? Let’s put it to rest!

Refined carbohydrates — also known as simple carbs or processed carbs — generally arrive on your plate in two forms: refined and processed sugars and refined grains. Refined carbs in the sugar category include “sucrose (table sugar), high fructose corn syrup and agave syrup.” When it comes to refined grains — “grains that have had the fibrous and nutritious parts removed” — the list is a bit longer as it includes pretty much any product made from refined wheat, such as all white flour products.

When you hear “refined” it should automatically make you set down whatever you’re holding. Refined means that the original raw ingredients “have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” turning the finished product into one consisting of “empty calories.” Basically, you’re consuming calories that won’t do any good for your body. If that wasn’t bad enough, most refined carbohydrates are “digested quickly and have a high glycemic index,” which means “that they lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals.”

The mixture of empty calories and high glycemic values has been linked to many unhealthy side effects, such as unwanted weight gain and obesity, which in turn leads to a higher risk of diabetes, as well as an increased risk of many other diseases.

With that said, kicking the refined carbohydrate habit is much easier said than done. Luckily, we’re here to help! In order to really get rid of those processed foods, try swapping out those refined carbohydrate staples for healthy, plant-based alternatives. Here are some recipes from the Food Monster App to try at home!

1. Toasted Turmeric Milk Oat and Teff Porridge Toasted Turmeric Milk Oat and Teff Porridge

Source: Toasted Turmeric Milk Oat and Teff Porridge

First and foremost, it’s important to find the perfect healthy replacement for white flour. There are many options to choose from such as almond flour, coconut flour, oat flour, rice flour, and one of the newest, gluten-free alternatives, teff flour. This Toasted Turmeric Milk Oat and Teff Porridge by Courtney West uses not only teff flour but fiber-rich oats, inflammation-fighting turmeric, and tummy soothing ginger.

2. Zucchini Bread With Fennel and Pistachios Zucchini Bread With Fennel and Pistachios

Source: Zucchini Bread With Fennel and Pistachios

When it comes to replacing that loaf of bread in your pantry, the options are countless! You can even use veggies to make your favorite sandwich bread such as this Zucchini Bread With Fennel and Pistachios recipe by Rebecca Fallihee, which uses a mixture of plant-based ingredients such as zucchini, ground flax, quinoa flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, and tapioca starch to duplicate a super-nutrient substitute.

3. Brown Rice Casserole with Curry Butternut Squash Brown Rice Casserole with Curry Butternut Squash

Source: Brown Rice Casserole with Curry Butternut Squash

This Brown Rice Casserole with Curry Butternut Squash by Elaine Lander is a naturally sweet and nutrient-dense alternative to that traditional bowl of white rice. Along with heart-healthy brown rice, this recipe also has healthy fat-filled coconut oil and coconut milk and flavorful cilantro and curry powder!

4. Raw Sprouted Wheat Berry Pastry Dough Raw Sprouted Wheat Berry Pastry Dough

Source: Raw Sprouted Wheat Berry Pastry Dough

The new craze of raw and sprouted foods is definitely for good reason. When seeds are able to sprout before being harvested they not only shed the hard to digest outer shell, but they also use up stored glucose and release more nutrients. This Raw Sprouted Wheat Berry Pastry Dough by Amanda Nicole Smith hits all the marks on the healthy list and is a great substitute for that refined carb-filled traditional pastry dough.

5. Ginger Kombucha Mimosa Ginger Kombucha Mimosa

Source: Ginger Kombucha Mimosa

One of the richest sources of refined sugars is in soda. Yet, you don’t have to give up sweet and fizzy beverages. Instead of that canned soda, make a big batch of this super-healthy, fermented Ginger Kombucha Mimosa by The Edgy Veg.

6. Cauliflower CarbonaraVegan Cauliflower Carbonara

Source: Cauliflower Carbonara

Instead of traditional refined carb, white flour-rich pasta, this Cauliflower Carbonara recipe by Emma Hyslop uses heart-healthy, gluten-free buckwheat soba pasta. Just as tasty, quicker to cook, and filled with nutrients and fiber!

7. Healthy Homemade Snickers Bar Healthy Homemade Snickers Bar

Source: Healthy Homemade Snickers Bar

When you think about giving up refined carbs you may not think about that candy bar that you afford once a week. Instead of indulging in a store-bought, refined carbohydrate-filled product, try making this Healthy Homemade Snickers Bar recipe by Patricia Idus. Instead of refined sugars, this recipe asks for dates, peanut butter, coconut milk, cocoa powder, and naturally sweet and rich cashews.

8. Bircher Muesli with Chocolate Chia PuddingBircher Muesli with Chocolate Chia Pudding

Source: Bircher Muesli with Chocolate Chia Pudding

This Bircher Muesli with Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe by Amarilis Moldes is the perfect swap out for refined carbohydrate and sugar-filled boxed cereal. This muesli uses fiber-rich oats, apple and chia seeds and vitamin and mineral filled bananas and raw cacao.

9. Chickpea Crackers

Source: Chickpea Crackers

Chickpeas are a diverse plant-based ingredient. They are great baked with a bit of oil or ground down to make gluten-free food substitutes such as these Chickpea Crackers by Melanie Sorrentino. Plus, these chickpea-based crackers are a nutritious and refined carb alternative to store bought crackers.

10. No-Bake Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake With Fresh MintNo-Bake Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake With Fresh Mint

Source: No-Bake Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake With Fresh Mint

Cake is one of those wonderful staples that some of us just can’t live without. Just because you cut refined carbohydrates doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake too! This No-Bake Cashew Chocolate Mousse Cake With Fresh Mint recipe by Quelcy Kogel uses nutrient-rich prunes, pure vanilla, and banana to sweeten, while also loading up on healthy fat-filled coconut milk, coconut oil, peanut butter, and hemp hearts.

11. Whole Wheat Pizza DoughWhole Wheat Pizza Dough

Source: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe by Nikki Stokes is the perfect refined carbohydrate-free alternative to your favorite classic pizza recipe! Instead of empty calorie white flour, this recipe calls for nutrient-dense whole wheat flour, healthy fat-rich olive oil, and your choice of gluten flour. 

12. Chocolate WafflesVegan Chocolate Waffles

Source: Chocolate Waffles

Still hankering for those crispy morning waffles? This Chocolate Waffles recipe by Hayley Canning uses fiber-rich and refined carb-free buckwheat flour, nutrient-rich coconut sugar, and antioxidant filled cacao powder for a twist on the traditional!

13. Crispy Cornmeal Pancakes With Blueberry SauceCrispy Cornmeal Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce

Source: Crispy Cornmeal Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce

This Crispy Cornmeal Pancakes With Blueberry Sauce by Jessica DeMarra provides a tasty and rich alternative to refined carbohydrate packed white flour pancakes. This recipe uses a mixture of cornmeal, gluten-free flour, and arrowroot powder with fiber-rich ground golden flax, healthy fat-filled coconut oil, and a bit of alternative milk of your choice.

14. Homemade BagelsHomemade Bagels

Source: Homemade Bagels

Bagels are one of those foods that you crave. They’re good warm or cold, generally doughy on the inside, have a slightly sweet flavor, and can be made out of pretty much anything. With that said, bagels are usually made from refined white flour. Instead, opt for making your own with this Homemade Bagels recipe by Alex Wolfe.

15. Raw Chocolate Mint Doughnuts

Source: Raw Chocolate Mint Doughnuts

Doughnuts are such a classic staple that it would be simply wrong to give them up. Luckily, there are lots of refined carbohydrate-free recipes such as this Raw Chocolate Mint Doughnuts by Emily von Euw. Emily uses almonds, rolled oats, naturally sugary dates, and rich raw cacao to create an incredibly tasty and nutrient-rich alternative.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

For more Vegan Food, Health, Recipe, Animal, and Life content published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter!

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