The information about carbohydrates or “carbs” as they’re commonly known can be confusing and misleading. Let’s clear some things up.

Carbs are the preferred fuel source for the body and are found naturally in many healthy foods such as beans, fruit, whole grains, and dairy products.  However, processed foods that contain carbs are not as healthy and include foods such as white bread, traditional pasta, pretzels, baked goods, chips, and candy.  One piece of advice? Make a game of eating only carbs that contain fiber.  This shifts your choices toward whole fruits, whole grains, beans, and legumes instead of low fiber food such as macaroni and cheese, pretzels, juice, soda, white bread, and pizza.

A meal that includes healthy carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat is a great way to feel energized and stay full longer.  Excessive intake of carbs, just like all calories, turn into stored fat on our body.  Another trick?  Limit carbs to fill no more than a quarter of your plate. The other quarter should contain a lean protein, and the other half non-starchy vegetables. Toss in some healthy fat (avocado, olive oil based vinaigrette) makes for a really well-balanced meal.

In general, a healthy limit for most women is 45g of carbs per meal, 60g for men.  Just for perspective, a typical pasta meal at a restaurant including a breadstick and soda can contain over 120g of carbs. Even if you swap out the soda for water, it would still be 90g.

Dietitian tip: Don’t like whole grain pasta? Try pasta made from garbanzo beans. Not only does it have a lovely nutty taste, but also includes protein and fiber.

Of course, meeting with a registered dietitian is an ideal way to meet your specific goals and needs - especially for managing diabetes.  I would love to help; let’s talk in-office or via Telemedicine:



Megan Turner, MS, RDN, LD