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Posts Tagged ‘food labels’

  1. Shopping for Good Carbs

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    January 14, 2013 by Johanna Burani

    Old Fashioned OatsLet’s face it, our mothers and grandmothers had an easier time food shopping than we do today.  They mostly cooked from scratch.  Their ingredients were simple: flour, sugar, butter, potatoes, milk, broccoli, spinach, apples, a chicken or pork roast.  They knew if their foods were fresh or not by “reading” their appearances rather than the labels they were wrapped in. They didn’t have to deal with “organic,” “gluten free,” “whole grain,” “low fat,” and so on.  How times have changed!

    Of course, we, too, can choose to cook our meals from scratch and many are doing just that.  But this is not an option for everyone.  So we must become savvy shoppers, knowing how to separate the marketing jargon from the true nutritional facts found on packaged foods.  This applies to concerns about calories, fat, fiber, salt, preservatives and, yes, good carbs.

    What are you looking for when shopping for good carbs?  Here are the most essential properties:

    • short list of ingredients – usually a good sign of minimal processing (e.g. Quaker’s old fashioned oats has one ingredient: 100% rolled oats)Food Label
    • natural ingredients – you should be able to pronounce and spell these! (e.g. Breyer’s vanilla ice cream contains milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor)
    • first ingredient is a whole and intact grain (e.g. brown rice, bulgur, lentils)
    • the food resembles its original form (corn on the cob vs. popcorn or corn flakes)

    Here is a partial list of good carbs to get you started:

    • all-bran cereals and large, thick oat flakes requiring 5+ minutes cooking time
    • all rye/pumpernickel-based breads and crackers
    • all pasta: cooked al dente (not overcooked or precooked)brown, long grain and wild rice
    • all whole grains: barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn
    • all legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, black-eyed peasall fresh vegetables, except parsnips, white potatoes, pumpkin, rutabaga
    • all fresh fruits, except watermelon, very ripe pineapple, very ripe, large bananas
    • all canned fruit in its own juice, except pineapple and lychees
    • all dairy foods: milk, yogurt, ice cream, cooked puddings, custards and mousses
    • all nuts and chocolate (especially dark)

    Happy shopping!


Gushers vs Tricklers


"Gushers" are quickly-digested carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and fuel appetite.

"Tricklers" are slowly-digested carbohydrates that are gradually released into the bloodstream and sustain satiety. These are the good carbs.


Johanna Burani
MS, RD, CDE
Nutrition Works LLC
Morristown, NJ, USA

Expert in individualized, low-glycemic index (low GI) meal planning.

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