Refined carbs cannot sustain your energy levels as well as unrefined carbs, therefore these should be limited in both meals and snacks. Wholegrain and unrefined starches provide additional health benefits and nutrients important for a healthy body. Unrefined carbs are known for having a low GI. Which means they maintain a gradual release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream and keep you fuller for longer. This limits the constant need to nibble on something in between meals. Good examples are wholewheat bread and brown rice although portion control is still important.
The combination of more than one type of starch, e.g. potatoes and bread, at a braai or other meal, easily contributes to eating too many carbohydrates. If you need to lose weight or avoid gaining weight, as part of your healthier lifestyle, cutting down on portions of excess carbs will make a big difference. An active person with a normal body weight can enjoy a slightly bigger portion of carbs, as long as it is burnt as energy. Balancing starch, protein and veg is important for every meal.
One quarter of your plate or about the size of your fist is the recommended starch portion size for meals. Preferably only eat one carb at a meal, rather than combining them, and fill your plate with non-starchy, low-carb veggies. Remember to keep the portions small when you do decide to dish up more than one carb to stay within the ideal portion size. Examples of starch include rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, cereals, porridge, mealie pap, rotis or samp. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, butternut, sweet potatoes and mealies also count as carbs. Always make the best choice and prepare these in a healthy way.