Healthy eating is about eating a variety of foods from different food groups proportionately, without eating too much of one thing. When planning your menus or shopping, you should include a portion of starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes and grains, which are wholegrain as much as possible.
Why starchy carbohydrates?
There's so much information about how carbohydrates are 'bad' and should be avoided, when in fact starchy carbohydrates should be your main source of energy in a balanced diet. Starchy food also contain fibre, calcium, iron and B-Vitamins. Starchy carbohydrates include:
Grains such as oats and barley are a good source of nutrients which we all need and increased consumption can help with:
- Lowering blood pressure and the risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol
- Contains fibre
- Provide B-vitamins which are good for the central nervous system, the skin and eyes, and helps to release energy from the foods we eat.
And it helps the environment!
Oats and barley is considered a sustainable food with much of what we might eat being grown across the UK. This means that it travels less to reach our plates and in turn costs less and reduces the impact on the environment.
How can I add grains to my weekly meals?
- Choose wholegrain cereals for breakfast, porridge, banana oaty pancakes or try some overnight oats.
- Make a pasta salad or a rice box for those lunches at work.
- If you have a thing for bread, try different kinds such as seeded, granary or wholemeal.
- Add oats as a topping for cottage pie instead of potatoes or oat crusted salmon.
- Consider couscous as an alternative to rice for your next chilli-con-carne or curry.
Only one thing to remember... it's all about balance.
There's also lots of information on the NHS Eatwell Guide page.
*Look for products labelled 'gluten-free' if you have an intolerance to grains/gluten.