Starchy Carbohydrates – Not All Carbs Are Bad!

oats

Healthy eating is about eating a variety of foods from different food groups, and in proportion – not eating too much of one thing.

When thinking about what you are planning to eat, one of the bigger groups in the Eatwell Guide that you should base your meals around are starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes and grains, choosing wholegrain where 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:

  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Grains
  • Pasta

Why grains?

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?

You can choose wholegrain cereals for breakfast, porridge, banana oaty pancakes or try some overnight oats.

Make a pasta salad or a ricebox for those lunches at work. If you have a thing for bread, try different kinds such as seeded, granary or wholemeal.

You could also add oats as a topping for cottage pie instead of potatoes or oat crusted salmon

You could also consider couscous as an alternative to rice for your next chilli-con-carne or curry

Remember it’s all about balance, make sure you also add meat (if you eat meat), plenty fruit and vegetables, fish, and dairy or alternatives to your meals.

*Look for products labelled ‘gluten-free’ if you have an intolerance to grains/gluten.