Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knowing what to eat

There are seven food groups to consider: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, protein, sugars and fats.
Today we are going to look at grains.

The grain group includes all foods made from wheat, rice, oats, maize, barley, rye, quinoa or millet. These grains originate as the fruit, or seeds, of grasses and grass-type plants. They are cultivated on a large scale as staple crops - crops which provide more food energy for world populations than any other food group. Potatoes are also included in this group. At least half of all the grains you consume should be whole grain. Choose whole grain breads and breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta, and wild or brown rice, rather than their refined counterparts.

When grains are refined, the outer husk, the bran and the germ are lost, leaving only the endosperm, which is pretty much all carbohydrate. Gone are the vitamins, minerals and fibre that used to be part of each little grain. Keep them whole, and they will keep you healthy!

An average person, of average height, weight, age and activity levels, consuming an average of 2000 kcals/8400kjoules daily requires 5-6 servings of grains per day.
1 serving of grains equates to:
1 slice of whole wheat bread,
OR 1 cup of ready-to-eat-cereal,
OR ½ cup of cooked pasta, rice or cooked cereal,
OR a potato the size of a large egg.
Of course, young children may find whole grains difficult to cope with, so they need to be introduced gradually as teeth and tummies develop.

Even though grains are an essential part of our daily food intake, too much of even a good thing can cause weight grain.

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