Pamela Ofstein is the Director of Nutrition Services at eDiets.com, a leading provider of weight loss services, information and products.
I think for many of us, when it comes to carbs, we can be our own downfall. It’s tough to limit and eat the right serving size . That could be because we don’t even know what a portion size is for most of our carb servings. Even we dietitians have to think twice on a few since, depending on the type of food (i.e. hot versus cold cereal), the portion sizes vary.
Eating less carbohydrates is fine, but the choices you make are more important when you pick out the carbs to eat and how much of the food you are eating (quantity/portion control). Basically, a slice of whole-grain bread with 3-5 grams of fiber could be a good choice, but if you are eating 3-4 slices at a sitting for example, your carb intake is a bit higher than it should be for most of us. The goal would be to have a slice or two and keep it to 1-2 servings of carbs at the meal.
To keep your carbohydrates on track think about balance, too. This plays right in with quantity and portion control. Balance the amount of carbohydrates you eat with your protein and fat intake. In general if you are watching your carbohydrate intake with a balance of 40% carbohydrate, 30% lean protein and 30% fat (healthy fats), it is a good starting point. Always review your meal plan with your doctor or dietitian if you are monitoring blood sugars.
Here are some carbohydrate options that help provide additional nutrients (fiber, etc.) and serving sizes to help guide you further:
- Whole grain pasta – ½ cup cooked
- Brown rice – ½ cup cooked
- Whole grain breads – 1 slice
- High fiber cereals (cold) – 1 cup
- Oats (oatmeal) – ½ cup cooked
- Fresh fruit – small piece
- Raw or steamed vegetables (non-starchy; greens) – 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked
- Legumes, beans – ½ cup cooked
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