Disqus for Where Are My Knees

#mybestsandwich - Carbs

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

"Carbs" has become a dirty word in recent times, especially in the weight loss world and the phrase 'No carbs before Marbs' comes to mind when I think about them. Plans like Atkins have led people to cut them out from their diets all together but not all carbs are the same and it is the type and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important. Fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs is good for our health. A survey conducted by YouGov revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of British women aged 18 to 35 who have been on a diet are cutting carbs, with a third (33 per cent) ditching bread in the last year.

Let's dispel some carbs myths...

Will carbs make my gain weight?

Consuming more calories than we need is what makes us gain weight rather than where they come from. Carbs can be useful and if we choose wholegrain ones which contain plenty of fibre they help us to feel fuller for longer. But beware processed carbs including sugary cereals, rice and pasta because they are stripped of vitamins, minerals and fibre so are less satisfying than wholegrain varieties. But they are way too tasty to cut out all together though right? ;)

Why do we need carbs? 

In a healthy balanced diet they are the body’s main source of energy. High fibre, starchy carbs release sugar into the blood more slowly than sugary foods and drinks. Vegetables, pulses, wholegrain varieties of starchy foods, and potatoes eaten with their skins on are all good sources of fibre. Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can promote good bowel health, reduce the risk of constipation, and some forms of fibre have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. 

Cutting out carbs means that you may miss out on essential vitamins and fibre, calcium and iron. A low carbohydrate diet can be accompanied by headaches, weakness and irritability in the short term so there's no harm in treating yourself to your favourite sandwich from time to time. 

My favourite sandwich has to be the classic BLT. You can't deviate from the five classic ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and bread. I like to use some low fat mayo and I either trim some of the fat from the bacon or I use bacon medallions which are pretty lean. Yum!

Remember, before you embark on any new diet or fitness regimen:

• Carbohydrates help you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on the unhealthy things and providing a great source of fuel before or after a workout
• Bread is low fat, low sugar and around 80 calories a slice, so if you’re watching your weight you can fit it easily to your health plan
• White bread is a good source of non-dairy calcium as white bread is fortified with calcium
• There is no singular dietary cause of bloating; low stress, eating a well-balanced diet containing fibre & drinking enough water can help

If you want to find out more about carbs, how they relate to your health or try some bread recipes head to http://fabflour.co.uk/fab-bread/

*post is written in association with the Federation of Bakers and the Flour Advisory Bureau.

Tomato & Basil Risotto

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Today’s recipe – Tomato & Basil Risotto is very simple to make and is a perfect midweek dinner to serve on its own or as a side to some grilled chicken. It's also the type of dish where you could use up any left overs you have like roasted veg from your Sunday roast or cheese that needs to be used up. If you don't have any of the ingredients listed you can experiment a bit.

Remember, risotto should have an overall creamy consistency; it shouldn't be too dry and the rice should be al dente, chewy but definitely not mushy so don't overcook it like I do by mistake sometimes. 

20g salted butter
10ml olive oil
3 tomatoes – cored, seeded and diced
½ onion – diced
1garlic clove – crushed
220g Arborio rice
400ml vegetable stock
20ml double cream
30g fresh basil – chopped
70g goats cheese – sliced
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Roasted vegetables (optional):
100g butternut squash – diced and roasted
½ red pepper – diced and roasted

Serves 4

1. Heat the oil over a moderate heat and add the onion as well as garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion softens. Then add the tomatoes and seasoning. Sauté for a further 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice, mix thoroughly and sauté for 3-4 minutes. You can add the optional roasted vegetables at this stage.
3. Gradually add the vegetable stock, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.
4. Continue stirring until the rice is tender and creamy but still firm, then add the butter and cream.
5. To serve, top with basil and cheese.

Nutritional information: Calories - 283kcals Salt - 1.1g Fat -12.2g Saturated Fat - 7.1g Sugars 2.4g

The idea that making risotto requires hours of stirring over a hot stove is a total myth so I hope you give it a try this weekend. Have you got any risotto suggestions for me? I would like to try one using some nice seasonal asparagus next time or maybe a mushroom risotto.

Ingredients were provided by Care Home Provider, Sunrise Senior Living.