Examples of starchy carbohydrates include bread (and bread products), potatoes, chapattis, pasta, rice, cous cous, noodles and breakfast cereals. Pulse vegetables also contain starchy carbohydrate. These foods increase the blood glucose even though they are not sweet in taste. The body digests them and breaks them down into glucose (sugar). Even though they raise blood glucose they should not be seen as ‘bad’ foods as they do a really important job, acting as fuel for the body to provide energy. We need energy to exist, go to school, play, do sports and to make our brains work. Children also need energy for growth. For all these things to happen, insulin must be present, as the body cannot use the glucose released from carbohydrate foods without it. All meals should contain a source of starchy carbohydrate and should be included in carb counting sums.
Wholemeal and wholegrain versions of these foods contain more fibre and nutrients, which maintains a healthy bowel and healthy body. If you make a change to increase these fibre foods, make sure your child has plenty to drink, as fluid is needed to help the fibre pass through the gut. Children under 5 should have both ‘white’ and wholegrain versions of these foods so they don’t become too full. For more on carb counting visit Carbohydrate counting