Carbohydrates 101

Despite what you may have heard in the news, social media and through friends, carbohydrates are a great source of nutrition and are an essential part of your diet. I want to stress the importance of this as more and more people are attempting low-carb diets. This gives our children the impression that carbohydrates are not good for us and the results are we begin to see students avoiding whole grain breads and cereals….something their bodies and their minds need!

Avoiding carbohydrates mean you will lose out on the nutritional benefits of healthy carbohydrate choices such as whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables and legumes. These foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that everyone must have in their regular diet.  As it relates to your children, their bodies need carbohydrates for energy and optimal brain function and without them academic and physical activities become difficult.

Here are some healthy carbohydrate choices that you should try to eat daily:

  • Whole wheat and multigrain breads
  • Whole grain pitas and tortillas
  • Whole grain pastas and rice….that’s right, pasta!
  • Whole grain cereals such as Multigrain Cheerios and Mini-Wheats
  • Fresh and frozen fruits….yes, even bananas!
  • Fresh and frozen vegetables….yes, even potato!
  • Beans
  • Milk

An example of a healthy lunch with healthy carbohydrates:

Tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread topped with some fresh lettuce, tomato and avocado, a glass of milk to drink and a banana for dessert. It’s a small satisfying lunch that incorporates the four food groups by using healthy carbohydrates, proteins and fats!

carbohydrates

Please continue to enjoy carbohydrates; it’s not always about the amount you eat, but the type you eat!

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

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