Carbohydrates are the main fuel for the body and give you energy.

There are 2 kinds of carbohydrates:

  1. Simple carbohydrates
    • Easy to digest
    • Raise blood sugar very fast
  2. Complex carbohydrates
    • Have fiber and take longer to digest
    • Raise blood sugar slowly
    • Help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range

Fiber is found in plant foods:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

There are 5 food groups with carbohydrates:

  1. Starches
    • Grains
    • Starchy vegetables
    • Beans
    • Legumes
  2. Fruit
  3. Milk and yogurt
  4. Non-starchy vegetables
  5. Sweets and condiments

There are 2 food groups with no carbohydrates:

  1. Protein
  2. Fats

Note: These are not free foods just because they do not have carbohydrates to count.

Starches (15 grams of carbohydrate)

Choose whole grains and starches that are less processed. They are a main source of energy.

  • 1/2 cup cooked unsweetened oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cereal
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 hamburger or hot dog bun
  • 1/4 bagel
  • 1/3 cup cooked pasta or rice
  • 1/3 cup baked beans
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 cup potatoes, corn or peas
  • 4-inch cob of corn
  • 3 ounces baked potato
  • 2 ounces French fries
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 13 chips (1 small bag)
  • 6 saltine crackers

Fruits (15 grams of carbohydrate)

Choose fresh or frozen fruits most often. They help with healthy growth.

  • 15 small grapes
  • 4-inch banana
  • 4 ounce apple or pear
  • 6 ounce orange
  • 1 cup diced melon 1 cup berries
  • 1/2 cup canned fruit (packed in light syrup or juice)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice (fresh squeezed or store bought)

Milk and milk substitutes (12 grams of carbohydrate)

Milk and milk substitutes are important for bone health.

  • 1 cup milk (non-fat, low fat, whole)
  • 1 cup plain rice milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plain almond milk
  • 1 and 1/3 cups plain soy milk
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

Non-starchy vegetables (5 grams of carbohydrate for 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked)

Non-starchy vegetables have fiber to keep you full, and are low calorie and low carb.

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Gourds
  • Green beans
  • Green onion/scallions
  • Jicama
  • Kale (cooked)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers (sweet and spicy)
  • Radishes
  • Spinach (cooked)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tomato
  • Canned tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • Water chestnuts

You do not have to measure or count leafy greens, such as:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Uncooked spinach
  • Uncooked kale

Condiments (grams of carbohydrate varies)

Do not forget to count carbohydrates in dips, sauces, and dressings.

  • 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (15 g)
  • 1 cup canned gravy (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (10 g)
  • 1 tablespoon pancake syrup (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing (4 g)

Sweets (grams of carbohydrate varies)

Sweets can fit into a healthy meal plan, but should be eaten in small portions. Limit sweets to special occasions or 2 to 3 times per week. It is best if the sweets can fit into a mealtime when insulin is given. Try not to eat sweets as one of your 10 gram or 15 gram carbohydrate snacks.

  • 1 1/4-inch brownie, unfrosted (15 g)
  • 2 ounce angel food cake, unfrosted (30 g)
  • 2 ounce yellow cake, frosted (30 g)
  • 1 3/4 ounce frosted cupcake (30 g)
  • 4 ounce muffin (60 g)
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounce) fruit cobbler (45 g)
  • 1/6 of 8-inch fruit pie with two crusts (45 g)
  • 1/8 of 8-inch pumpkin or custard pie (22 g)
  • 1 1/2 ounce plain cake doughnut (22 g)
  • 2 (1 ounce) doughnut holes (15 g)
  • 3 3/4-inch (2 ounce) plain yeast doughnut (30 g)
  • Two 2 1/4-inch chocolate chip cookies (15 g)
  • One 6-inch (3 ounce) chocolate chip cookie (60 g)
  • 2 sandwich cookies with crème filling (15 g)
  • 5 vanilla wafers (15 g)
  • 1/2 cup pudding, made with low fat milk (30 g)
  • 1 ounce milk or dark chocolate candy (15 g)
  • 5 chocolate Hershey Kisses (15 g)
  • 3 pieces of hard candy (15 g)
  • Popsicle (8 g)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (15 g)
  • 1/3 cup frozen yogurt (15 g)