I’m doing a post today on carbs, yup, I said it carbs! But more specifically grains/starches. Those who know me know that I am a “pro-carb” Dietitian. I really do believe that we need them in our diet but the main concern is that we tend to eat A LOT of them, so portion is key. How much is one portion you ask? A rough guideline (without going too crazy counting ...grams of carbohydrates) is about ½ cup of cooked pasta, rice, couscous, another whole grain, potato or sweet potato. 1 slice bread or 4-6 crackers would also be considered one portion.
Now why do we need them? They can provide much needed dietary fibre, as well as one of the main sources of energy for the body as well as the preferred energy source for our brain, B vitamins including folate. If you were to choose whole grains then you’d also be getting some vitamin E, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Talk about a power punch! And to top it off, some grains can provide a good source of protein to boot! But remember, portion is key. And as humans, we have a tendency to be poor eye-ballers when it comes to measuring foods if we don’t use the measuring cups. When I show clients how much one ½ cup really is, they generally are surprised and realize that they are overdoing the grains/starches at meals.
So my suggestion would be to ensure that you have a more nutritionally balanced plate of food, to maybe measure your cooked grains once maybe twice while making your plate so you really know how much you are serving yourself and make adjustments as needed. As there may be some days where you feel you need more and some days when you may need to eat less. I like to have some at 2 of my 3 meals; typically oats for breakfast and either a grain/starch at either lunch or supper.
What’s your favourite grain/starch?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.