Whole grains are healthy carbs, giving you lasting energy, plus they’re a rich source of fibre to help you feel full for longer and keep you regular.

When you eat them at a meal, these good quality carbs slowly release glucose into your blood stream to fuels your brain and muscles, and promotes the production of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’. The bottom line: healthy carbs help you feel good.

The latest report from the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council  found most of us are eating half the daily target of whole grains each day. But when you take healthy carbs off the menu, your brain treats it as under-feeding. This triggers cravings in the hope you’ll respond with a quick sugar hit (think cola soft drink, lollies or chocolate). Apart from a short-lived power surge, the empty kilojoules sabotage your weight loss efforts.

South Australian researchers at Flinders University have also found that restricting healthy carbs increases your risk of feeling angry, depressed and anxious. By comparison, participants that included healthy carbs across the year-long study were happier and lost on average 13.7kg.

Ready to go with the grain? Here’s how to double your daily fibre intake (without even trying that hard!) Pick one of these ideas for each meal.


  • ½ cup cooked rolled oats, blueberries, walnuts  
  • ¼ cup muesli, sliced strawberries, yoghurt
  • 1 slice whole grain toast, smashed avocado, poached egg


  • ½  cup microwave brown rice, cucumber, capsicum, canned salmon  
  • ½  cup leftover cooked pearl barley, roast pumpkin, rocket, feta
  • 1 whole grain wrap, avocado, tomato, baby spinach, canned tuna


  • 1 cup wholemeal pasta with bolognaise sauce, side salad
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa with grilled chicken, side salad
  • 1 cup glass noodles with stir-fried pork, vegetables 
© Prevention Australia