Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta & other starchy foods

Starchy food is an important source of energy and dietary fibre. It should make up about a third of the food you eat. Try to eat wholegrain and wholemeal varieties when you can.

There are lots of delicious things to eat in this group, including bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, pasta, couscous, bulgar wheat and pearl barley. Eat brown, wholegrain or wholemeal options when you can.

Where do I find wholegrains?

Look out for jumbo oats, wholemeal bread and brown rice. These contain more fibre than their most refined versions.

Why are wholegrains good for you?


Grains like wheat and oats are made up of three parts:

  • The majority of the grain – about 80% – is a concentrated source of starch called the endosperm.
  • The germ provides healthy fats and some vitamins.
  • The bran is the outermost layer and contains dietary fibre, B vitamins and phytochemicals.

White bread and other refined products only include the starchy part of the grain, whereas wholegrain foods contain beneficial nutrients from the germ and bran, too.

Add more wholegrains to your diet:

  • Try a wholegrain cereal for your breakfast.
  • Swap white bread for wholemeal or wholegrain and try oatcakes or wholemeal crackers
  • Eat brown rice instead of white and try our high fibre white pasta.

Did you know…

  1. Bread, rice and potatoes provide you with energy and are low in fat.
  2. Starchy foods should make up about a third of your plate at every meal.
  3. Boiling or baking potatoes is a healthier way to eat them, rather than roasting or frying them in oil.

Watching your weight?


You don’t need to cut out bread, rice, potatoes and pasta as these foods are low in fat. But adding creamy sauces, butter, margarine or oil increases fat and calorie content, which could result in weight gain, so try to limit these options.

Tips for reducing fat in your diet

Healthier recipe ideas with wholegrains

Healthier desserts

 If you think wholegrains are boring, think again! Popcorn, barley, buckwheat, bulgar wheat, wild rice and quinoa are all wholegrains.

Whether you’re cooking dinner, putting together a lunchbox or creating a delicious, healthier breakfast, discover our recipe options for wholegrain healthier eating:

Healthier recipe ideas