Foods with a lot of starch, such as potatoes, are one of the main sources of carbohydrates on our diet (milk fruits, and sweets also have lots of carbs). Counting carbs can be useful in managing your blood glucose levels.
Tips for measuring Carbs
A good rule of thumb for measuring carbs is that for grains and starches, ½ cup or 1 oz contains 15 g of carbohydrate. A few exceptions are 1 cup of winter squash and pumpkin and ⅓ cup of rice has about 15 grams.
If you don’t fee like measuring stuff constantly (and who really does?), you can go by the plate method. As a rule, no more than a quarter of the food on your plate should be starchy. If you’re in doubt, it’s usually better to eat less starch.
Another general rule to keep in mind when looking for starchy foods that are lower on the glycemic index (GI) is the rule of nature. The closer the food is to its natural state, the lower it usually is on the GI. Another way to look at is is the more processed the food is, the higher it is likely to be on the GI.
How many carbs should you eat?
This is a very personal question, because it depends heavily on your target blood glucose level, your activity level, and what medications you take. Some people’s blood glucose level reacts more extremely to carbs, and those who are more active can typically eat more carbs than those who are sedentary.
These food contain about 15g of carbohydrate:
- 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
- 1/2 cup of canned or frozen fruit
- 1 slice of bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
- 4-6 crackers
- 1/2 English muffin or hamburger bun
- 1/2 cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
- 1/4 of a large baked potato (3 oz)
- 2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
- 2 small cookies
- 2 inch square brownie or cake without frosting
- 1/2 cup ice cream or sherbet
- 1 Tbsp syrup, jam, jelly, sugar or honey
- 2 Tbsp light syrup
- 6 chicken nuggets
- 1/2 cup of casserole
- 1 cup of soup
- 1/4 serving of a medium french fry