Fall is here, officially that is. The mornings are a bit cooler and we reach for a bit of warmth from food to take the chill off.
Today’s column will continue my efforts to give readers a boost to their nutritional knowledge.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source for our body and all carbohydrates are broken down into some form of glucose. Foods which contain carbohydrates are fruits, vegetable, grains, milk and milk products. Everything except fats and proteins contain carbohydrates.
Added sugars contain carbohydrates, like soda, candy and desserts. These are known as simple carbohydrates as well as fruits, vegetable, milk and milk products. These are mono and disaccharides. They enter the body quickly.
Sometimes, we refer to foods as comfort foods as they fill up our bodies for a longer period of time, like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. These are carbohydrates too, but take a little longer to break down and absorb into the body. They mostly contain polysaccharides, or longer chains of many glucose molecules. These are also known as complex carbohydrates.
How do we know how much and what type of carbohydrate are in the foods? Check the food label. That is where you will find calorie and nutrient contents. Polysaccharides are not listed under carbohydrates, just simple carbohydrates (sugar) and fiber is listed. If you add them together and subtract from the total carbohydrate, the remainder will be polysaccharides.
Which is better? We strive to eat a variety of carbohydrates because each gives us various nutrients. We also strive to eat half of our grains from whole grain sources as whole grains include all the parts of grain. Added sugars are added calories without the nutrients. Enjoy this salad or side dish. Both grains are whole grains and are polysaccharides. This nutrient dense recipe will keep you full and give lots of nutrients.
Harvest Salad: Rice and Barley
1 cup whole grain rice
1 cup barley
½ cup of chopped green pepper
½ cup sliced ripe olives
¼ cup of sliced cherry tomato
Dressing: 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup of olive oil
Bring barley and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Cook the rice according to package directions. Combine rice, barley, pepper, olives, and tomatoes. Combine vinegar, basil, green onion, oil, garlic and pepper in a shaker bottle. Shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate until chilled. Yield: 4-6 servings.