You might have seen the new recommendations of what a healthy balanced diet looks like in the ‘Eatwell Guide’, released in March 2016 (for those of you who haven’t, take a scroll through our previous posts and you’ll find Megs breakdown of the guide itself – it’s a winner!).
Looking at this guide in more detail, we can quite clearly see that carbohydrates have a large role to play in our everyday diets. The main reason for this is to provide us with energy.
what IS ENERGY AND WHY DO WE NEED IT?
The food and drink you consume provides your body with energy, measured in the form of KJ (Kilojoules) and Kcal (Kilocalories). You don’t need to worry too much about these, other than these are the two measurements you see on packaging that tells you about the food or drinks energy content.
The reason that all of us need energy from food is to support our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Our BMR supports all the basic functions of the body (breathing, heart rate etc.) that keep us alive, so pretty important! We also need energy to support growth, physical activity and immune function. The level of physical activity we do can vary a lot, but in general, the more physical activity we do, the more energy we’ll use and the more we’ll need to eat! Great for people like me with a healthy appetite!
Carbohydrates are the main source of food energy in our diets. In the latest Eatwell Guide, we see different carbohydrates available (pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals & bread). Most of these come in wholegrain or whole wheat form, in other words brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread as opposed to white rice, white pasta and white bread.
Why is brown better?
The colour of the carbohydrate indicates its processing method and how much of the grain or wheat remains. For example, whole wheat pasta (brown pasta) is made from the entire wheat kernel and wholegrain bread (brown bread) is made from the wholegrain kernel. Studies show that wholegrains are a good source of fibre; compounds that can help with digestion, bowel movements (nice) and keep us fuller for longer. As well as fibre, this food group contains calcium, iron and B-vitamins, all good things! If you’re not a fan of brown bread, brown rice or brown pasta – try to ease yourself in slowly!
Below are a few tips to get those ‘good grains’ into you!
- Opt for wholegrain cereals, or mix some with your favourite breakfast cereals (beware of the sugar content!)
- Whole oats or granola with yoghurt and berries are a delicious thing, filling and nutritious!
- When you eat potatoes, eat the skin for more fibre
- Try different breads, such as seeded, granary or wholemeal – they are all loaded with fibre and one might tickle your fancy more than the others!
Until next time!