If you have been diagnosed with any kind of Diabetes, and your Doctor or Dietitian have asked you to watch out how many carbs you are eating, then you have probably heard of this thing called “Carb Counting”!
Carb counting is a tool or mechanism (like multiplication tables) developed to make our life easier! With Carb Counting technique you can figure out how many carbohydrates are there in your plate or in your slice of pizza or in your bowl of Ramen! It is a tool, a technique developed to empower you and to liberate you so that you can make your own choices. Unlike a diet plan which restricts you, Carb Counting will set you free 🙂
So shall we start then?
Firstly let’s meet Free Foods A.K.A foods that contain no Carbs or so little of it that you are better off without counting them!
List of Free Foods:
- Oils and Fats (All oils, Ghee, Butter, Vanaspati/Dalda, Margarine etc.)
- Meats (Mutton, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Fish, Eggs etc.)
- Most Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Macadamia, Hazelnut, Pecans, Brazil nuts, Coconut) and Nut Butters.
- Seeds (Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame, Poppy seeds, Makhane/fox nuts)
- Cheese (All kinds including Paneer and Tofu)
- Vegetables (All except Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Peas, and Winter Squash)
Cool right? So, if you are eating an Omelette or a Chicken Tandoori or Paneer Tikka or adding a teaspoon of Ghee onto your food, now you know that they are adding almost no carbohydrates to the plate 🙂
So everything else has carbohydrates right?
Foods that Contain Carbohydrates
- Roti, Chapati, Bhakri, Bread, Rice/Khichdi, Breakfast Cereal, Oats, Biscuits/Crackers, Khari, Toast, Butter, Idli, Uttapam, Dhokla, Thalipeeth, Thepla, Parantha, Sooji/Rawa/Semolina, Poha, Dalia, murmura/puffed rice, Amaranth/Rajgira, Nachni Satva, Noodles/Vermicelli/Sivaiya, Pasta, Pizza base, popcorn, etc. (All things that come from grains). And also Sabudana/sago.
- Potato, Sweet Potato, Green Peas/Matar, Corn (Now, Carrots and Radishes are also roots and are moderately high in starches, but don’t bother counting their unless you are eating an entire 7 inch long Carrot/Radish all by yourself!)
- Legumes/Pulses/Daals, Sprouts, Beans
- Milk, Soy milk, Rice Milk, Curd/yogurts (all kinds, including Ahem..Greek yogurt!)
- Fruits (all except Avocado), dry fruits, fruit juices
- Sweets and Desserts
Carb counting 101-
Our basic unit for carb counting is going to be 15 gram which equals the amount of carbohydrates present in a Tablespoon of sugar. Yes, 15 grams of carbohydrates is considered as 1 serving in the fascinating world of Food & Nutrition. So if I say 45g , you say 3 servings! 😉
1 Serving = about 15 grams Carbohydrates
Below is a list of common foods that we here in India tend to eat. Left column is indicative of food name, and right column will tell you exactly how much of that food will be equal to 15 grams or 1 serving of carbs. For example, for Milk, 1 cup is 1 Carb serving and for fruit juices it is half cup; and for Rice it is 1/3rd cup and for Popcorn it is 3 cups. Means, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of Fruit Juice, 1/3rd cup of Rice and 3 cups of Popcorn, they ALL will provide approximately same amount of carbohydrates, which is 15 gram! Here, let’s take a closer look-
ALL THESE ARE EXAMPLES OF WHAT 15GRAM OF CARBS LOOK LIKE-
Done skimming through the table? Now, Carb Counting does not mean you can only eat one 6″ phulka or half jawar roti! It simply means that if you are eating 2 phulkas or a whole jowar roti at dinner, you must count is as 2 Carbohydrate servings or 30 gram of Carbs. So if you are given a limit of 60 grams of carbs per meal, you will know exactly how to plan your meal accordingly!
Here, take a look at this example of 1 Day menu plan (Breakfast ~3 Carbs, Lunch 3–5 Carbs, Dinner 3–5 Carbs and snacks 1–2 Carbs)
So my dear friend, now do you feel comfortable choosing a snack or preparing a meal when on a Carbohydrate controlled diet?
I am leaving you with a small test question then. This morning I was in a rush so in a haste I just poured myself maybe 2–3 Tablespoons Kellogg Muesli in a Bowl, poured 1 glass of milk atop, sprinkled 1 Tablespoon of dried blueberries and 1 Tablespoon of coconut flakes over it. So how many carbohydrate servings did I eat? Answer in the comment section down below👇👇👇
Told you, Carb counting is a tool developed to make you smarter 😉
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She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition but she is not your “I know it all Nutrition Guru!”; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten 🙂