If bread is the staff of life, carbohydrates are the stuff of a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, beans, grains, potatoes and many fruits and vegetables—are key to good nutrition. These good carbs can help make a balanced meal and a balanced lifestyle. Below we’ll answer common questions about carbohydrates and how to make good decisions during mealtime.
|Types of Carbohydrates||Where Are They |
|Whole Grains||Brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads and crackers, whole grain ready-to-eat cereals like shredded wheat|
|Starches (complex carbohydrates)||Cereal, potatoes, pasta, macaroni, rice, bread|
|Dietary Fiber||Whole grain cereals and breads, ready-to-eat bran cereals, dried beans and peas, fruits and vegetables|
|Sugars (simple carbohydrates)||Fruit juices, fruits, milk, yogurt, sweetened cereals and baked goods, jam and syrup|
Choose foods every day from the Grains, Fruits and Vegetables and Dairy groups. For a 2,000-calorie diet, the suggested amounts are:
Make half your grains whole grain foods.
Enjoy sweet treats in moderation as part of an overall healthful diet without overdoing it on calories.
It's easy to build a carbohydrate-rich diet when you select a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
|Grains Group||oz Equivalents|
|1 small bagel||Is equal to 2 oz|
|5 whole wheat crackers||Are equal to 1 oz|
|1 cup whole wheat pasta||Is equal to 2 oz|
|1 oz ready-to-eat cereal||Is equal to 1 oz|
|Vegetable and Fruit Groups||Cup Size Equivalents|
|1/2 cup orange juice||Is equal to 1/2 cup|
|1 cup mixed greens salad||Is equal to 1/2 cup|
|1 cup cooked vegetables||Is equal to 1 cup|
|1 apple||Is equal to 1 cup|
|1/2 cup strawberries||is equal to 1/2 cup|
|1/4 cup raisins||is equal to 1/2 cup|
|Dairy Group||Cup Size Equivalents|
|1 cup milk or yogurt||Is equal to 1 cup|
|1/3 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)||Is equal to 1 cup|
|1-1/2 oz Swiss cheese||Is equal to 1 cup|
|1/2 cup pudding (made with milk)||Is equal to 1/2 cup|
Most of us have no problem getting enough carbohydrates in our diets. The real trick, though, is to swap in more whole grains in place of other choices. Some popular ways include:
Here's what food product labels tell you about sugar and fiber:
Good Source/Provides/Contains Fiber
At least 10% of the daily value for fiber per serving (at least 2.8 grams).
High/Rich/Excellent Source of Fiber
20% or more of the daily value for fiber per serving (5.6 grams or more of fiber).
Less than 0.5 grams sugar per serving.
No Added Sugar
No sugars (or any other sugar-containing ingredients) are added during processing or packaging. The product might not be reduced calorie, low calorie or sugar free; check the label.