Enjoy grain foods and legumes to stay in shape

Many Australians have drastically reduced their intake of carbohydrates in an effort to reach their weight goals. Core grain foods are still an essential part of a balanced nutrition plan ensuring a variety of fibre types for bowel health, essential micronutrients such as thiamin and magnesium, as well as a source of physical and mental energy. Wholegrains also help protect against diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

The new dietary guidelines recommend 3-4 grain food serves per day even if you are watching your weight. Focus on low GI, high fibre wholegrain choices to ensure they provide maximum 'bang for your bucks'! This could include oats for breakfast, wholegrain bread or a quinoa salad at lunch, a small serve of brown basmati rice or soba noodles at dinner, or a wholegrain cracker with hummus as a snack.

The new guidelines also encourage the inclusion of legumes 2-3 times per week. They are very budget friendly, low in saturated fats, contain protein, fibre, zinc and iron, as well as a range of other vitamins and minerals. They can be used as a protein alternative or as part of your vegetable intake. There are a great range of canned beans and legumes if you don't have time to soak and cook in  the traditional way.

Try baked eggs with cannelini beans for breakfast, minestrone soup or four bean mix with tuna in a salad for lunch, and chilli with kidney beans for dinner. Roasted soy or chicknuts are also a great snack alternative.

Author: Holly Frail

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