Keeping the energy going
I’m off to a national school next week to talk about the role of food in children’s health. I’ll be talking to them about how what they eat can make an impact on their ability to concentrate at school, their ability to play in the school yard and their ability to grow and develop. In order to do this, I’ll teach them about the main energy source of the body – carbohydrates. So what do we all need to know?
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. Carbohydrates come from the plant-based foods that you eat. For example, think of any grain such as oats, rye or wheat, any nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables and also beans and legumes.
When you eat carbs, you can either use them right away for your energy needs or your body can convert them into fat to use later. This is a simple fact that most people are shocked by – if I eat too many carbohydrates, I will put on weight, especially the fat around the middle.
There are three types of carbohydrates — sugars, starches and fibre. Sugars are simple structures that can be broken down easily by the body. You know that quick high you get from a bar or chocolate of packet of crisps! Unfortunately, that quick high is followed by a quick low, and you start craving more sugary foods. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are more difficult for the body to breakdown and starches and fibre are more complicated forms of carbohydrate.
If you are looking to supply your body with its energy needs, but not put on weight, the simplest answer is to use the correct portion size of a carbohydrate and to eat complex carbohydrates. Most of the recipes on my website are made from complex carbohydrates so try them out. This breakfast contains oats, which are great slow release carbohydrates to keep you going all morning.
Healthy Bircher Muesli – Serves 2
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup apple or orange juice
- 1 grated apple
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- Half a cup natural yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Dash of lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons of fresh blueberries and strawberries
Soak oats, grated apple and seeds in apple juice. Leave in fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, place in 2 separate bowls and sprinkle with yogurt, blueberries, lemon juice and honey.