Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Shopping Guide for Healthy Family : Carbohydrate

Knowing the importance
Why it is essential for us to choose the right carbohydrate for daily consumption? 
Don't be misled by fad diets that make blanket pronouncements on the dangers of carbohydrates. They provide the body with fuel it needs for physical activity and for proper organ function, and they are an important part of a healthy diet. But some kinds of carbohydrates are far better than others.
Choosing the less nutritional carbohydrate might caused you to overeat, consuming more energies and less nutrients, poor glycaemic control and health problems later on life.

How to choose healthy carbohydrates?
Choose the best sources of carbohydrates—whole grains (the less processed, the better), vegetablesfruits and beans—since they promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.  Skip the easily digested refined carbohydrates from refined grains—white bread, white rice, and the like— as well as pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods, since these may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Shopping Guide: The healthier version.
Why we need such guidance? why we need to really think of the list before we go shopping?
The reason is simple-- what you buy is what you'll prepare at home. The healthier choices you make, the healthier your meal will be. Do you think when you bought the processed grains they'll turn to whole grains when you cooked it?

Grains Section
Here's the common grains among malaysian. Yes, there are plenty of cereals and grains varieties but only some being put on stores shelves. No matter what type it is, always choose the wholegrain types. If it cannot be the whole part of your diet make it as the biggest part. Not only packed with vitamins and minerals, it's also proven to help you in fighting diseases and obesity! 

  • Rice : Brown rice is always a better choice. But, not many of us can accept the taste and texture. So, my suggestion is for you to buy regular white rice as well as brown rice. What you can do is to mix the brown rice and white rice during preparation with that you still get the benefits. Eventhough, having solely brown rice is far better. 
  • Pasta/noodles : we rarely found wholegrain pasta in Malaysia stores.There always be processed pasta no matter what type it is (penne, lasagna, spagetti, angel hair etc.). So, what to do? if you can find the wholegrain type, just go for it! Some stores might have it, so we'll be lucky enough to grab all those nutrients packed pasta! --Same goes to noodle varieties.
  • Flour - we always use processed flour for our pastries, baked goods, cekodok and every other things. So, why not buy whole wheat or wholegrain flour? you can easily differentiate these two flour one is fair white and another one is brown and you can see the seeds/grains altogether. And the taste is quite similar!
  • Oat - choose the right labels! Instant is totally instant--means they put alot of effort to get rid all the goodness of oats. Pick oats with labels- oat groats, rolled oat and steel-cut oats. To make it easy, just look at the texture, the simpler it be the less 'whole' it became.
Fruits & Vegetables Section
just pick any and make it colorful! Try different colors, textures, shapes, anything! why? because the differences means different type of vitamins, minerals, phytochemical, antioxidant..you named it!!

  •  Red- Red apples, Beets, Red cabbage, Cherries, Cranberries, Pink grapefruit, Red   grapes, Red peppers, Pomegranates, Red potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon
  • Orange/yellowYellow apples, Apricots, Butternut, squash, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Grapefruit, Lemons, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Yellow peppers, Persimmons, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Yellow summer or winter squash, Sweet corn, Sweet potatoes, Tangerines, Yellow tomatoes, Yellow watermelon
  • Green- Green apples, Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocados, Green beans, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Green cabbage, Cucumbers, Green grapes, Honeydew melon, Kiwi, Lettuce, Limes, Green onions, Peas, Green pepper, Spinach, Zucchini, watercrest
  • Blue/purple- Blackberries, Blueberries, Eggplant, Figs, Juneberries, Plums, Prunes, Purple grapes, Raisins
  • White - Bananas, Cauliflower, Garlic, Ginger, Jicama, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Turnips, bean sprout.
Breakfast Cereals Section
Kids love this section. why? because most of the cereals are sugar-coated, it's sweet, tasty and some are not sooo "wholegrain". In other words, it is processed cereals. Only a few cereals that are wholegrain, and they labelled it. Yes, they labelled the goodness, but did everyone notice that some of them also high in calories because of sugar contents?  You'll find cereals made with refined grains with nearly no fiber, and cereals made with whole grains and bran boasting 7 grams or more of fiber. There are cereals with so much sugar they seem more like boxes of little cookies. And there are cereals with sugar listed far down on the ingredient list.So, mum, do check the labels. Here's the tips:
1.     select cereals that are high in fiber, ones that are made with whole grains.
2.     Choose breakfast cereals with the word "bran" in the title, or at least on the box. Bran's biggest benefit is boosting the grams of fiber per serving.
3.     aim for a cereal that gets 25% or less of its calories from sugar. (If the cereal contains dried fruit, this could be a pinch higher.)
Nuts and seed
Typical Malaysian will use seeds in making sweetened porridge, traditional delicacies, ABC, and others. Some are healthy and some are not. Nuts and seeds itself are fabulous but the way you prepare will determine whether it'll be healthier or diet-disaster. 
what to choose at the shelves?
  • nuts : any nuts that is unsalted, roasted, not honey/sugar coated. Just simply at it's most natural state! Try to have walnut, cashew, pistachios--- all are expensive but believe me, they're all very nutritious and good snacks!
  • seeds : any seeds that you like! pick the different colors, shape and texture-- enjoy it!!
Some of us might not even put nuts and seeds in our shopping list, simply because it's hard to prepare or maybe just don't know how. But, having this in your diet is as good as having fruits and vegies, it's contain a lot of zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, phosporus, phytoestrogen and so many more!!


Bakeries section
  • Bread- white bread? wholewheat bread? wholegrain bread? kaya-filled/chocolate filled/red-beans paste bread? so many choices! Currently, we can see a lot of wholegrain bread and it's quite expensive. But buying them means you don't need the diet supplement! It's worthy!
  • Cakes, pastries, pies - if it is possible for you too find the baked goods that are using wholegrain flour, take that! but it's really sad to say it's not easy to find one~ and you'll easily get the trans fat and less fibre from these kind of foods.

So, mummies and daddies-- are you ready to shop healthily? why not give it a try. I'm 100% sure you'll feel healthier that way. 

All the best!

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