Following on from last week’s email about building a healthy plate and the topic of protein, I’m going to continue working around the plate and this week talk about carbs.
Carbs get a lot of bad press, but carbs are essential for so many body functions – energy and brain function being two major ones. I think a lot of the confusion stems from the use of the phrases ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbs and essentially I am going to focus on the carbs that I recommend you include on your plate.
Carbohydrates are not only as I mentioned above an amazing source of energy, but they are also an essential source of fibre, so it’s a double win to include them on your plate.
My healthy plate is broken down into two types of carbs ‘healthy carbs’ and ‘vegetables’. Vegetables are also carbohydrates in case you didn’t know and the key differentiator between the two is that my ‘healthy carbs’ section features carbohydrates that contain starch and the plate section of ‘vegetables’ are those that don’t contain starch.
This week the focus is on the starchy carbs.
Start small and work up!
How often do you include starch containing carbohydrates with your meal? The foods that includes are; potatoes, grains (rice or quinoa), legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans etc.) and pasta.
How much starchy carbs should you be consuming?
Aim for a small amount of starchy carbs equating to roughly the following:
- 1 small potato or sweet potato
- ¼-½ cup of rice or quinoa
- ¼-½ cup of legumes
- ½ cup of pasta
HOW to update your plate?
If you don’t currently consume any starchy carbohydrates add them to your next shopping list. All of them are really easy to pre-prepare by pre-cooking potatoes, grains or rice in advance or fresh.
WHY starchy carbohydrates are an important component to your plate?
- High in fibre
- Grains are a really good source of B vitamins (an important component of energy production)
- Storing glucose as glycogen
- Hormone regulation
- Resistant starches are prebiotic fibres that help to feed your gut bacteria (see below).
Tip: cook your grains and potatoes and allow them to cool. This increases the resistant starch content which is a prebiotic digestive fibre that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Now that you are armed with the HOW and WHY of the importance of carbohydrates, I hope you join me by assessing your carbohydrate intake and remember, start small and work up!
I’d love to see your photos of you participating in my 12-week challenge. Feel free to email them to share with our community or tagging details below.
Have a great week.
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