Friday, January 14, 2011

Eating to Survive - Staples

If you read the first post in the Eating to Survive series you should already be familiar with the 6 food groups in the Caribbean. 
The main nutrient that we get from foods in the Staple food group is Carbohydrate.  Foods from this list can be interchanged in the meal plan since each group contains roughly equal amounts of calories and carbohydrate.

For a meal, you should be having  3-4 servings of Carbohydrate on your plate.
What is a serving of Carbohydrate? This varies for each food within the group, the table below shows the accepted standard that we use here in the Caribbean. It should be noted that this list is comprised of the more popular carbohydrates that are consumed and does not represent ALL the available carbohydrates.

Bread, Rice and Cereal Substitutes
Bread/toast, shop, sliced
½ slice
Bread, hard dough
1 thin slice
¼ small  
Hamburger bun
½ medium
Hot dog roll
1 small
Biscuits, cream cracker type
3 only
Biscuits, saltines
6 only
Rice, cooked
½ cup
Rice and Peas, cooked
½ cup
Noodles, boiled
½ cup
Macaroni, boiled
½ cup
Spaghetti, boiled
½ cup
Cornmeal porridge, medium consistency
½ cup (cooked with water)
Dumpling made from 2 tbsp flour/cornmeal
1 only
Canned Corn, Whole kernel
½ only
Bran cereals such as Bran Buds, All Bran
1/3 cup

Starchy Fruits, Roots and Tubers
2 pieces
1 piece
1 slice
1 medium
Green Banana/green fig
1 medium
Irish Potato, boiled  
1 medium  
Irish Potato, mashed
½ cup
Plantain (ripe)
1 piece  
Sweet Potato
1 slice
1 slice

Based on what we've said before we know that you need 3-5 servings of Carbohydrate on your plate, that means you would need 3-5 slices of bread for a meal as we can see that 1 slice of bread is a serving. Also you would need to consume 9-15 cream crackers in a meal, if crackers are the only foods from the Staple food group that you are going to consume.

If you are going to consume a meal of Ackee and Saltfish with ground provisions as your staples:
1 slice of yam,1 slice sweet potato, 2 pieces of breadfruit, 1 dumpling and 1 piece of (ripe) plantain is sufficient for that meal. This is if we are consuming the maximum 5 servings of Staples needed for a meal.

That is it for the Staples food group, feel free to comment or ask questions.