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Carbohydrate Quick Reference Guide

Use this chart as a tool to stay on track with your carbohydrate goals each day. You’ll find quick portion size guides and food categories for easy comparison to make carb counting a skill you will master in no time!

Carbohydrate Quick Reference Guide

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Each Option = 15 grams of Carbohydrates or 1 Carbohydrate Choice

Breads1 slice white or whole grain2 slices reduced-calorie/light1/2 English muffin1/4 large bagel1 small (6") flour/corn tortilla1 waffle (4" across)Quick Tip: Remember to choose whole grains as much as possible for added fiber and nutrients!
Cereal & Grains1/3 cup barley, quinoa, couscous, rice (all types), pasta1/2 cup hot cereal (oats, grits cooked in water)1/2 cup bran cereal, shredded wheat1/2 cup beans, lentils, peas (cooked or canned, drained & rinsed)3/4 cup unsweetened ready-to-eat cerealQuick tip: Beans, lentils and peas are great protein sources and high in fiber!
Starchy Veggies1/4 large baked potato with skin1/2 cup corn, peas, mixed veggies, parsnips1/2 cup yam or sweet potato1/2 cup mashed potato with milk and fat1 cup winter squash (butternut, acorn)
Non-Starchy Veggies*Each serving = 5 grams carbohydrates1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw1/2 cup vegetable juiceNon-starchy veggies include asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, greens, mushrooms, onions, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini.Quick tip: Salad Greens are "Free"
Fruit & Fruit Juices17 small grapes1 extra-small banana (4")1 small apple1 100% fruit juice bar1 medium orange, pear, nectarine, tangerine2 tbsp. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, mixed)1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or canned fruit1/2 cup unsweetened fruit juice1 cup diced melonQuick tip: Choose whole fruit for added fiber!
Dairy & Dairy Substitutes3/4 cup yogurt (regular or Greek yogurt, plain or sweetened with an artificial sweetener)1 cup milk (1%, 2%, whole)1 cup rice drink (plain, fat-free)1 cup soy milk (regular or low-fat, plain)
Crackers & Snacks3 graham cracker (2.5 inch squares)6 saltine crackers8 animal crackers8 baked snack chips (potato, pita)13 regular snack chips (potato, tortilla)1 granola or snack bar2 rice cakes (4" across)3 cups popcornQuick Tip: Remember to choose whole grains!
Sweets & Desserts1 oz. chocolate (dark, milk)1 tbsp. honey, jam or jelly, sugar3 pieces hard candy2-inch square unfrosted cake2 small sandwich cookies with creme filling1/2 cup regular ice cream1/2 cup sugar-free puddingQuick Tip: Reserve these for special occasional indulgences! Choose dark chocolate for added health benefits!
Portioning1 hand palm = 1 slice of bread1 tennis ball = 1 medium fruit1 handful or 1/2 baseball = 1/2 cup serving1 fist or 1 baseball = 1 cup serving

References: American Diabetes Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2014). Count your Carbs. Getting Started.; American Diabetes Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2014). Choose Your Foods. Food List for Diabetes.; American Diabetes Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2014). Choose Your Foods. Food List for Weight Management.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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