Schools Nutrition Carbohydrates BY MAGIC BREAKFAST'S NUTRITION TEAM Carbohydrates provide the human body with its primary source of energy from food and are made up of sugars, fibre and starch. So let’s take a closer look at this particular food group (the yellow section circled in the Eatwell Guide below): Carbohydrates are a really important part of our diet and should make up one third of our total daily intake of food. It is also recommended that we base our meals around this food group to ensure a good energy source is readily available to us. This is because when starchy foods are digested they are broken down into the glucose that provides us with the energy that we need to fuel our bodies - our muscles and brain in particular. Children, as they grow, have increased energy requirements. Active boys, especially, can have higher energy requirements than adult men. So it is vital that we choose the right types of carbohydrates to provide this energy need. Types of carbohydrates: - Starch (such as is found in grains and root vegetables) - Sugars (including added sugars and naturally occurring food sugars such as lactose in milk and fructose in fruit and honey) - Most types of fibre A good way to ensure that a child is eating enough carbohydrates for breakfast is to try to include 2 servings in their meal. A serving could include: - 2 slices of bread - 1 portion of breakfast cereal - 1 medium piece of fruit - 1 tub of low fat yoghurt - 200ml of low fat milk Top tips to remember: 1. Choose a mixture of high-fibre, white, wholegrain and 50:50 varieties of carbohydrates for a child's breakfast options and then the additional fibre can be included by encouraging them to eat fruit and vegetables too. This will also give them the vitamins and minerals they require. 2. Porridge oats deserve a gold star in the world of carbohydrates! Not only are they a good source of complex, slow releasing energy which will keep a person fuelled all morning, but they also contain a soluble dietary fibre called beta glucan which is great for maintaining cholesterol levels and keeping the heart healthy.