Starchy foods are foods like bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and potatoes, and these foods are an important part of a healthy diet. Wholegrain varieties of these foods are the best healthy choices for starches, and starches should make up approximately 33 per cent of the foods we eat. They are a good source of energy and nutrition. They also contain fibre, iron, calcium, and B vitamins. It is often thought that starches are fattening, but they contain less than half the calories of fat.
Bread (white, pumpernickel, whole wheat, rye, bagels, English muffins and buns), rice (brown or white), potatoes (white or sweet), pasta, barley or couscous, legumes (dried beans, peas or lentils), corn, pretzels, popcorn, and other starchy foods like cereals are often low in fat. It is what we add to them, such as butter on potatoes or creamy sauces on pasta, that makes a difference.
Lots of starchy foods can combine to make meals high in starches. Spaghetti, chicken noodle soup, pizza, and macaroni are heavier meals that are full of starch. Breakfasts that are high in starch are applesauce oatmeal muffins, granola breakfast bars, many ready-to-eat cereals, bagels, whole wheat waffles, and pancakes. Desserts loaded with starch are bread puddings and summer frozen fruit bars. These are just a few recipes that are high in starch but also high in nutrients!
Increasing Starches in Your Diet
To increase the amount of starchy foods you are eating, you can increase amounts of rice and pasta and use less sauce and meats. Add beans or lentils to your casseroles, stews and curries; this will also bump up the fibre content, and because you will be able to use less meat, the meal will be more cost effective and lower in saturated fat. People can sample different varieties of breads such as seeded, wholemeal and granary and opt for thick slices. Use brown rice instead of white; this also enhances the taste of the accompanying foods. Choose wholegrain cereals or mix some in with your normal cereal. Porridge is a good winter selection, and whole oats with fresh fruit and yoghurt are good in summer. Oats are a great source of fibre.
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