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SourceURL:file:///Users/hcbimble/Desktop/Steve%202012/BLOG%20Content/Starches.doc One of the more confusing categories of foods are STARCHES (AKA Carbs, AKA Carbohydrates).  As a parent you may find yourself asking, do carbs need to be Whole Grain?  Do Carbs make you Fat?  What is a Carb anyway?  What is more frustrating about Carbs is they should make up about 50% of you and your family’s calories. Here are a few facts you need to know: -Carbohydrates in any form turn into sugar -Sugar is the main source of energy for all humans -Yes, it is OK to eat carbs but WHERE they come from MATTER!   Choosing healthy carbs make all the difference.  Did you know that you can get just about all the carbs your body needs from vegetables and fruits?  You hardly need to eat breads, pastas or rice but if you are going to eat them make sure you choose wisely. When choosing vegetables, there are starchy and non-starchy kinds.  Non-starchy are the leafy kind, like spinach, kale, lettuce to name a few.  You can tell how starchy a veggie is by its consistency, so as it gets thicker and harder to cook it is more starchy.  Root vegetables, potatoes, squashes, are more starchy (can you tell the difference in their consistency?) and provide more calories so get more of the non-starchy veggies to avoid too many calories. Fruits are a healthy source of carbs, but I suggest limiting them to 2 per day to avoid the extra sugar. If you decide to have breads and pastas, look at the ingredient label and make sure the 1st ingredients is WHOLE.  Whether its WHOLE WHEAT or WHOLE OAT doesn’t matter for the sake of this conversation but it will have more nutrients if it is WHOLE. It will also have more FIBER, which just happens to be a form of carbohydrate.  Look for the bread or pasta to have 3 grams or more of fiber.   Carbs are confusing, so simply start asking questions when choosing the food that you and your family will eat such as, “are our catbs coming from veggies or some unhealthy source of carbs?”……..   Whatever you do, don’t stress over it.  Your kids pick up on issues and they need to feel good and healthy about the foods they eat.  If you have more questions, seek out a Registered Dietitian to learn more and come up with a healthy eating plan for your family.  Happy New Year! Steve Della Croce, MS, RD, CDN

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