Carb Counting Chart


Carbohydrates are one of a group of essential nutrients, needed in large quantities daily. Its primary role is to provide energy to your body. There are two categories of carbohydrate: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, such as fruit juice, provide quick energy while complex carbohydrates, offer more slowly released energy. All carbohydrate is broken down, absorbed and transported in the bloodstream (as glucose). Glucose may be used immediately or stored in the liver for future use. Your blood sugars, and, consequently, your insulin levels, increase after eating carbohydrates.

Particularly for individuals with type 2 diabetes, consuming too much carbohydrate at one time may cause drastic increases in blood sugar. This occurs when insulin production is insufficient, ineffective or cells have become insulin – resistant.

Monitoring carbohydrate intake is essential for controlling blood sugar. The usual recommended diet plan involves counting your carbohydrate intake (in grams) or ‘carb counting.’ Many foods contain carbohydrate, though main sources include starches, such as baked goods, breads, pasta and potatoes; fruits and fruit juices; vegetables and legumes; milk and sweets. With carb counting, you are usually given a carbohydrate limit (in grams) for the day based upon your calorie level.

For a 2,000-calorie diet, you might be allotted 250 grams. Divide them evenly among meals and snacks. A single ‘unit’ of carbohydrate-containing food provides 15 g carbohydrate. The chart below provides food examples and portions to equal 15 g. If you choose two foods, you are taking in 30 g carbohydrate, etc. Foods often provide an odd number of carbohydrates per serving. For those foods, you must ‘count’ the grams toward your meal/daily totals. Note: non-starchy vegetables typically provide less than 8 g carbohydrate per serving (exceptions with portions provided).

Basic Carb Counting Chart

Grains/Starches 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Bagel (plain); hamburger or hot dog bun 1/2 (small)
Bread (wheat or white) 1 oz. slice
English muffin 1/2 muffin
Crackers (small, butter-type) or plain melba  rounds 6 – 7 each
Unsweetened, dry cereal 3/4 cup
Hot cereal (farina, oatmeal) 1/2 cup, cooked
Graham crackers (honey/plain) 1.5 large rectangles
Pasta (noodles, macaroni, spaghetti) 1/3 cup, cooked
Pancake/Waffle (4” diameter) 1 each
Pizza crust, thin 1/8th of 12″
Rice (white or brown) 1/3 cup, cooked
Beans & Legumes (cooked) 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Baked beans 1/3 cup
Starchy beans (black, pinto, kidney, etc.) 1/2 cup
Lentils/split peas 1/2 cup
Edamame, from frozen 1 cup
Starchy Vegetables (cooked) 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Baked potato, medium-sized (regular/sweet) 1/2 (4” long)
Corn or green peas 1/2 cup
French fries, regular (medium-cut) 10-15
Rutabaga or winter squash 1 cup, cubed
Parsnip or yam 1/2 cup
Other vegetables 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Artichoke, whole 1 medium
Beets, sliced 1 cup, cooked
Kale, raw 2 cups, chopped
Carrots, raw 2 large
Pumpkin, canned 3/4 cup
Fruits and 100% Fruit Juice 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Apple, orange peach, pear or nectarine 1 small fruit
Banana 1/2 medium
Blackberries, Blueberries or pineapple chunks 3/4 cup
Canned fruit (light syrup or juice) 1/2 cup
Cantaloupe or honeydew melon 1 cup, cubed
Grapefruit 1/2 large
Grapes 17 small
Raspberries 1 cup
Strawberries, whole 1.5 cups
Watermelon 1.25 cups, cubed
Cranberry or grape juice 1/3 cup
Grapefruit, apple, pineapple or orange juice 1/2 cup
Dairy Products 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Milk (non-fat or 1% fat) 1 cup
Yogurt (plain or light) 1 cup
Sweets & Snacks 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Vanilla wafers, plain or ginger snaps 3-4 small
Chips/pretzels 0.75 oz
Light ice cream or sugar-free pudding 1/2 cup
Popcorn (plain/air-popped) 3 cups



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