Tag Archives: Carbohydrate

Secrets to the healthy grain Polenta- low fat and versatile !

Polenta

An Italian accompaniment dish made from ground maize, polenta makes a great change from serving pasta and potatoes.

There are three different types of polenta sold in supermarkets and delis. Traditional polenta takes around 40 minutes to cook, and it does need to be stirred while it’s on the stove.
Supermarkets sell instant polenta, which can be brought to the table, piping hot, in less than 10 minutes. 
If all this seems too much like hard work, check out the ready-to-use pre-cooked variety. It’s sold in good delis as a slab or a roll.

My ingredients

Polenta 50g
250ml water
Prawns 60g
Light chive Philadelphia 30g
Brocolli
Tomatoes
Peas
Carrots

HOW TO PREPARE 
Because traditional polenta takes longer to cook, it’s an idea to get hold of a sturdy saucepan, which isn’t likely to scorch.
As a rough guide, allow 50g polenta per person and about 250ml water for cooking.
Add the polenta in a thin steady stream into a saucepan of boiling water. Don’t forget to stir it constantly, or it might go lumpy on you.
When cooked, polenta has a smooth, creamy texture and comes away from the sides of the pan.

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If you don’t like my serving suggestion why not try these yummy alternatives ?

SERVING SUGGESTIONS 

Serve it softly set, straight from the pan, with a hearty casserole or rich sauce.
You can also leave it to cool on a tray before cutting into fingers and deep frying.

Ring the changes – try using polenta instead of flour for a nutty, slightly crunchy flavour in cakes and biscuits.

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Creamy Tomato Polenta

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Mediterranean vegetable stack with chargrilled polenta and sauce vierge

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mediterraneanvegetab_86234

Crispy polenta cake

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/crispypolentacake_84562

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Crispy salmon, polenta chips and grilled asparagus

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/crispy_salmon_polenta_67895

Why low fat foods can end up making you fat!!

I wanted to share this post from Traineatgain because people assume that a product with the world low fat on mean it’s healthy!
In fact this is not always the case – a lot of the time it’s worse for you than the normal product. And this is where you get conned and even end up spending more money!
So make sure you always compare labels to the original person and look at per 100grams not just the fat but sugars, sweeteners and calories.

This great link explains more
http://traineatgain.com/why-low-fat-foods-stop-fat-loss/

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‘Empty’ calories and the glycaemic index

 Please see the links at the bottom of this article for more information as I am not a nutritionist/professional.

If you are trying to loose weight the media has likely drawn to those low fat rice cakes, drinks, chocolate, crisps…..be warned! These are empty calories… What do I mean?

“Food and drinks provide fuel for our body in the form of fat, protein, carbohydrates and alcohol. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source. The glycaemic index (GI) is a way to rate carbohydrates according to how quickly they are absorbed and raise the glucose level of the blood. It has replaced classifying carbohydrates as either ‘simple’ or ‘complex’. Foods that contain carbohydrates include bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, legumes, corn, potato, fruit, milk, yoghurt, sugar, biscuits, cakes and lollies.  ” *

CULPRIT- RICE CAKES Well think about it, after one rice cake do you feel full? No, because they are low in fiber fat and protein and *high GI- give it two hours and you’ll probably be craving again!

So you’ve eaten more calories than one slice of wholegrain bread and probably the same as a small portion of brown rice/half a tortilla etc…but you are more hungry and will then go and eat more.. You get the idea!

 

Don’t get me started on the flavoured ones – chocolate etc- the amount of sugar they put in (because they are low fat) is ridiculous. You’d be better off satisfying your craving with two small squares of dark chocolate (even healthier some nuts / banana / apple/  cinnamon etc). **

 

I am personally gaining weight at the moment, so if you are too – or you are happy the way you are!- then the plain ones are fine as long as you eat with a good source of protein (they are great with avocado or nut butter or mashed bananas). And some source of veg/fruit, eg sliced apple with nut butter and cinnamon.

For me they are perfect when I know I need to eat (been exercising or walking around london a lot that day) but I am not hungry, I can easily have them with some nut butter (good fats and protein).

I still would never advice eating the flavoured ones though. They are processed and not good or beneficial to your body at all. They have no food nutrients. If you need something sweet, try one plain one with a teaspoon of nut butter/apple/cinnamon/banana/cream cheese (DF) etc.

CULPRIT- FIZZY DRINKS (diet too) Another example is drinks! Cola, alcohol, lattes etc. however, if you are following a diet to help IBS you should be avoiding fizzy drinks and alcohol when possible anyway. Opt for de-caff as well. And don’t think diet fizzy drinks are any better. They are full of sweeteners and aspartame (this is in a lot of low fat/sugar products). There is evidence*** that artificial sweeteners (in low sugar/fat products) and diet coke causes you to be MORE hungry! Research shows “diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, and a second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose (blood sugar) in diabetes-prone mice.”****

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If you don’t like reading, watch this http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P5tpCpqABhM&feature=related.

There are of course many other foods. But you get the idea! Be careful with low fat yoghurts- they have double the amount of sugar and many sweeteners. Instead go for Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt / bio live yoghurt and then add frozen berries, berries, cinnamon , honey or some syrup (gluten free).

Some important info on GI which you will find helpful

*

“Carbohydrate-containing foods can be rated on a scale called the glycaemic index (GI). This scale ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on their effect on blood sugar levels over a period of time – usually two hours. The GI compares foods that have gram-for-gram the same amount of carbohydrate.

A low GI rating of a food does not mean you can eat a larger serve of that food – the total amount of carbohydrate and kilojoules consumed are still important.

Choose a diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes, but with smaller helpings of potatoes and less highly refined grain products and concentrated sugar.

LINKS TO WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION

 

*GI- http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Carbohydrates_and_the_glycaemic_index

**http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/50-seemingly-healthy-foods-are-bad-you

***diet soda http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/diet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html

asparteme/sweeteners http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/t/story?id=4271246&page=1&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2011%2F06%2F29%2Fdiet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html

****evidence http://www.uthscsa.edu/hscnews/singleformat2.asp?newID=3861