Heart Health Matters

Today, for tomorrow

Be clever with carbs

November is also known as Diabetes Awareness month. The way someone with diabetes should eat, is a lifestyle which is beneficial for everyone of us. Those with diabetes need to manage the amount and source of starches and sugars which they include in their meals, as their bodies are not able to metabolise these elements efficiently.

For the rest of us, too much starch and sugar are also not good for our health. When choosing sources of starch and sugar, it remains important to opt for those which are as unrefined, high in fibre and as unprocessed as possible. Carbohydrates are often the foods we choose as breakfast cereals, side dishes; like rice, pasta, bread and potatoes (also known as white starches) and sweet treats or baked goods.
Eating brown rice rather than white rice or making sweet potato wedges in the oven instead of deep-frying potato chips are better choices. Choose whole-wheat or brown bread instead of white bread, which is more refined. Have homecooked (not instant) oats with fruits and nuts for breakfast instead of boxed cereals, which can be very high in added sugar. Desserts don’t only have to be sweet and baked or doughy to be a treat. Fruit, nuts, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon are wonderful ingredients to add to a dessert instead of more sugar, to make it delicious.

Home-made meals and side dishes are another way to ensure that you know what goes into your family’s food. Using fresh ingredients, which you prepare with a healthy cooking method and season with natural ingredients, are indeed a better choice. Pre-prepared and convenience foods often contain lots of hidden sugars and starch, which could be less healthy. Use fresh vegetables like sweet potato, butternut, baby marrow and brinjal to serve with meat dishes. And always remember that even when choosing a healthier carb option, portion control remains important.

The recipes in all three Cooking from the heart recipe booklets are prepared with less refined, more natural and high-fibre ingredients. In the third book, there are many recipes with appetising alternatives to typical ‘white starch’ options to show you how easy it is to still enjoy tasty, yet healthier side dishes and meals. Visit www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za to find these recipes or follow the Facebook-page www.facebook.com/CookingFromTheHeartSA for weekly inspiration.

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