Advice: What Carbs Should I Be Eating?

Advice: What Carbs Should I Be Eating?


Carbs are such a hot topic. Carb free, high carb, low carb..what on earth should I be eating?

I first got into healthy eating through the paleo route..I went from my very low fat diet of fruit, low fat yogurt and diet coke to slow roast meat, nuts and veg. It was a massive change, I ate no grain and very little carbs (just sweet potato here and there) It was ok for while but I realised actually it’s good to have some. Carbs don’t make you fat or kill you, it’s just about getting the right ones in.

So what are the best ones?

I’m all about supercharging my diet. There are so many foods to choose from when it comes to carbs, so I like to eat the most nutritious ones.

1. Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet

Quinoa – the hottest grain on the planet it seems. Providing a good source of carbs and protein, it’s gluten free and can be jazzed up a as porridge or tossed through a salad. You musn’t forget about Quinoa’s very sexy siblings, buckwheat and millet. Again, both gluten free and protein packed. Buckwheat has a nice nutty texture and is great in a risotto. Millet can be used like quinoa and goes really well with a curry.

2. Root veg -sweet potato, pumpkin and potato

Did I say potato…yes I did. The poor little potato has got a bad rep over the years but they aren’t bad for you, it’s just the main uses are deep fried chips. Anything deep fried sadly doesn’t do your body any good. Stick to boiled or baked potato. However, I’m more of a fan of sweet potato, rich in skin glowing vitamin A and C they are one of natures superfoods.

All Root Veg are also great ways of getting carbs into your diet. Stick to 1 serving per day and mix it up with other sources of carbs.

3. Basmati Rice

Although I don’t often cook with it, rice is also a beautiful food that has been used for centuries. This staple is so tasty and contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid and has such a lovely nutty taste. I have to say I don’t digest rice that well, since I have been working on healing my gut with probiotics and fermented foods, I’m a lot better with rice and my boyfriend is half Indian so wolfs it down. Remember to listen to your body, it knows what’s right.

4. Bread – Rye bread or Sourdough

Now we couldn’t do a post on carbs without tackling bread. Bread is something that is also given a bad rep, but it’s those like the Hovis white slice which is the real enemy. A slice of rye bread with avocado is a great way to start the day, and if you are just making the transmission to a healthy life and can’t quit, get away from the white stuff and why not try sourdough? Its’ been fermented with a sourdough culture (how all bread used to be) which means it’s easy to digest.

Biona makes some great gluten free breads which are tasty with your eggs in the morning too!

5. Brown rice pasta, courgetti or soba noodles

Pasta is a staple at my house but it usually is made from some form of vegetable. Sadly the way wheat is made today is very different to how it used to be. It is mass produced and genetically modified, the crops yield more so companies can make more money but this sadly means less nutrition. Pasta that sits on the shelves is often also very old, so I like to make courgette noodles or use brown rice pasta or soba noodles in asian dishes.


I like to fill my plate 1/3 protein, 1/3 non starchy veg 1/3 from the above.

This doesn’t always work for everyone. You might be diabetic, have gut issues or allergies so check with a practitioner to devise the best plan for you, but I hope this post make you feel more confident in your carb choices and gets you experimenting with some new foods.


  • Harriett

    Hi, I’m confused about complex carbs, i know what healthy carbs to eat but i just wanted to know when to put them into my body at the right time of the day? they say we should be eating fats and protein during the day and if your going to the gym, you need to have rich carbs meal in the evening and rest day should be reduced carbs meals. Is that right? Can you not have carbs in the morning with eggs? i have been reading Joe Wicks’s book, Cleaning Eating Alice, Madeleine shaw, Rhitrition who is registered nutrition and i have learned a lot.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Madeleine, I’m needing to put on a little weight for my health, and was wondering if like having too many carbs is a bad thing, I try to keep to healthy flapjacks like your recipes for snacks and things as well as granola and rye bread and rice and quinoa, is having too many carbs bad? I roughly have 3-4 servings a day, also any ideas for healthy puddings or snacks that can help a sweet tooth/filling? I love your videos and snapchats as I find you so positive! X

  • Riley

    Hey Madeleine! What’s the best way to fill my plate if something like qunioa is acting as my protein? I am trying not to eat as much meat because it doesn’t make me feel that great. Thanks!

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hey, I’ve got loads of vegetarian and vegan recipes on my website – go check out the recipe tab there is loads of recipes that use quinoa xx

  • Katie

    Help! I have found all the recipe in Get The Glow so simple and delicious but my quinoa bread was a complete fail and fell to crumbs, any suggestions? Thanks

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Hi Katie, you need to use quinoa flakes not the grain x

  • Lisa

    What about spelt bread? Is that better than normal white bread? I’m trying to go sugar free!!

  • Line H

    This was so helpful, thank you so much. I’ve been confused about carbs for a while now! I just bought your book yesterday, and I can’t wait to get reading :)

    • Madeleine Shaw

      I hope you enjoy the book and very pleased you found this helpful x

  • Strawbs4

    Hey Madeleine, I love to get a home made smoothie into my day with my vitamix but have recently found out I’m allergic to apples :( most recipes that I see have apples in- any ideas on something I could substitute with that’s low sugar? Thank you x

  • Daisy Mae Rushforth

    Hi Madeleine! I suffer with IBS, which flares up more when i eat wheat and starchy foods. I have suffered all summer without a stable diet and just over indulging in the foods i shouldn’t be eating. i want to make the change and try and go gluten free. I thought if i go roughly 80/20% (80% gluten free) then il feel much better, your blog has already inspired me! but i was just wondering if you could suggest any replacement foods, for when i cut gluten out?

    Thank you!

    • Madeleine Shaw

      It depends which kinds of foods you want to replace. Theres a whole section about cutting out gluten in my book x

    • Daisy Mae Rushforth

      Bought your book yesterday! It’s really helpful. Started your 6 week plan and I am feeling really determined! X

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Amazing! Let me know how you’re getting on! x

  • Faye Lindley

    Hi Madeleine, I was wondering whether you had any recommendations for a supermarket to shop at which houses all of the above foods (in your blog post), but without being too expensive? Would Waitrose or Asda be suitable for this?

    • Madeleine Shaw

      I’m launching something new on my website this week where you’ll be able to find all of these :) Asda, Tescos or Sainsbury are all similar in price but I also like to shop online x

  • Sarah-Paige

    Thanks Madeleine! I started out my healthy eating journey with the paleo way of eating but I am enjoying re-introducing some grains back into my diet. What’s your take on oats? Best to buy gluten free?

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Only if you have a sensitivity to gluten. Otherwise go for whole organic oats x

  • Kate

    My 4 year old helped me make avocado and spinach pesto with rice spaghetti for lunch today – then my two girls and I ate it for lunch and it was delicious. I just wanted to tell you that my whole family is getting the glow alongside me now and I am thrilled that my children are as enthusiastic about spinach as they are about Chewits! Any more tips on fab foods for children and their growing needs would be much appreciated – my children eat a pretty healthy and varied diet but they are still sugar monsters!

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Thanks Kate this is amazing! I’ve just launched a kids app called George and the Ice Cream Castle (if they’re the right age for that?) it’s in the App store. I think a lot of my recipes are great for children especially the healthy alternatives like Chilli Con Vegetables. Let me know how it goes x

  • Katia Mello

    Hi from Brazil ! How are U ? Loving your tips/recipes !! Any Soba noodles recipe for us ? I bought it but i cant find how to use it … X

  • Butterpuff

    Hi Madeleine….how long did it take your body to adjust to a new way of eating? X

    • Madeleine Shaw

      A few months xxx

  • Penny M

    Hi Madeleine, love this post! Do you recommend wild rice too?

    • Madeleine Shaw

      Yes love it x

  • kelly

    Hi Madeleine, what’s your opinion on amaranth? X

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