Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods

Foods from this food group are a good source of energy, fibre and B vitamins. We should aim to make these foods the basis of meals. Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods like cereals are low in fat. It is what we add to them that can add fat, such as butter on potatoes or creamy sauces on pasta. Try to mash potatoes with milk or fromage frais, and choose tomato-based sauces for pasta and rice instead of creamy sauces.

Fibre is helpful in controlling our weight because it is satisfying without adding too many calories, but it has other health benefits such as preventing constipation, protecting us against some types of cancer and reducing our risk of heart disease. Wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta contain lots of fibre so try to include granary or multigrain breads, and high fibre cereals such as Weetabix, Shredded Wheat or Ready Brek into your diet. Make a point of eating the skin on new potatoes and baked potatoes, and why not try brown rice or pasta for a change.

Remember, fibre is like a sponge and soaks up water – so make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day (8-10 cups/glasses) to allow it to pass through the body easily.