Bread, cereals and starchy foods

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The food group including, Bread, Cereals, Rice, Pasta and Other Starchy Foods, form the basis of many meals, by adding in starchy carbohydrates and vegetables, you can ensure a healthy, balanced diet, without too much energy from fat. This group also make up about one-third of the total food intake. It is best to try and include some of this group at every meal, to give a balanced diet.

This group of foods are important to give fibre to aid digestion and digestive transit. In the UK, data from an NDNS survey show that UK adults do not consume enough fibre, so increasing foods in this group will help to meet the need for enough fibre.

This group is also a good source of iron that's required for red blood cells, Folate for the formation of healthy red blood cells and the nervousness system, calcium to develop and maintain healthy bones and B vitamins like Thiamin which help the body use the energy from the carbohydrates we eat.

There are choices within this group, try to eat potatoes with the skins on and check labels to make sure the salt and sugar levels are not too high in prepared foods.

Wheat is a major source of starchy carbohydrates in the UK and is made into a variety of products such as bread, biscuits, pasta, noodles, cereals, puddings and pastries.

Starchy carbohydrates are the best source of energy in a diet and refined carbohydrates are found in products such as white flour, which by law also has to have calcium, iron, thiamin and niacin added to it. Un-refined carbohydrates are less processed such as wholemeal flour.

In order to make sure that 50% of the energy from your meal comes from carbohydrates, it's important to use extra carbohydrates, such as using rice in dishes, instead of a fatty alternative like chips. Adding oats to crumbles and biscuits can be a healthier option than a pre-manufactured base, which often contains high levels of sugar.