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Getting to know your carbs

Carbohydrates are the major and primary fuel source for muscles and the brain. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is the form that is used for energy by the body.

Carbohydrate foods include starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta, noodles, potato, corn, legumes, biscuits and cereals and all sugars including natural sugars found in fruit, milk and yoghurt.

Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles and liver and must be constantly replaced. Spreading small amounts of carbohydrates are a helpful way to provide the body with adequate stores without consuming excessive amounts. This can be achieved by consuming three small meals.

Healthy snacks may be beneficial to prevent excessive hunger between meals. By eating this way you will get smaller rises in your blood sugar levels over a longer period of time so that you are using the maximum amount though out the day, limiting excess building up and becoming stored in the body.

Do not skip meals is not ideal as it often results in food cravings and binge eating.


Different carbohydrate foods are broken down by the body and release glucose at different rates. This concept is called the glycemic index (G.I). Low glycemic index carbohydrate foods release the glucose more slowly, providing energy to the body at a steady rate. The low glycemic index carbohydrate foods are underlined on the carbohydrate foods page of this handout.

The G.I logo is a way to identify foods which have been tested and found to have a low glycemic index.

More information can be found in books such as ‘The New Glucose Revolution’


Breads Vegetables
Bread (all types); Bread (grain)) 1slice Potato (steamed, baked) 1 medium (140g)
Raisin/Fruit loaf, Mountain Bread™ 1 slice Carisma Potato (Coles TM) 1 meduim
Dinner roll (small) 1 Potato, mashed 1/2 cup
Bread roll, Hamburger Bun, Bagel ½ (30g) Sweet potato 1/2 cup (110g)
Pita bread 1 small (30g) Corn: on cob ½  cob (85g)
Lebanese flatbread (23cm) 1/3 (30g) Corn kernels, creamed 1/cup
Lavash bread ½ Baked beans 1/3 cup
Crumpet, round 1 KidneyLima beans 2/3 cup
English muffin   (grainy) 1/2 LentilsChick peas 1/2 cup
Pikelet 2
Fruit [choose 2-3 serves per day] 
Biscuits [limit to 1 serve per day or less] Apple (medium) 1 (145g)
Spicy Fruit Rolls™/Snackright pillows™ 1 Apricots 4 (190g)
Full of Fruit/Snackright fruit slice™ 2 Banana (small, peeled) 1 (75g)
Ryvita™ 2 Blackberry 1 cup (200g)
Oatmeal, Rich Tea™ 2 Blueberry, Cherry (pitted) 1 cup (130g)
Rice cakes (grain) /Corn Thins™ (grain)  2 or 4 Fig (fresh) 5 (190g)
Wheatmeal™ 3 Grape 3/4 cup (100g)
Crackerbread, Cruskits™, Vita-weat™ 4 Grapefruit 1 large (300g)
Premium™ 97% fat free 4 Honeydew melon 1 ¼ cup (240g)
Salada™ (bitesize), Water Cracker™ 6 Kiwi Fruit 2 (150g)
Mandarin (medium) 2 (180g)
Breakfast Cereals  Mango (small) 1 (120g)
Muesli (av. all brands) 25g (1/4cup) Nectarine (small) 2 (190g)
Just Right™, Sustain™, Sultana Bran™ 1/3 cup Orange 1 (200g)
All Bran Fruit ’n’ Oats™ 1/3 cup Paw Paw 1/(215g)
All Bran™, Guardian™, Special Koriginal ½  cup Peach 1 (240g)
Fibre Plus™, Sport’s Plus™ ½ cup Pear 1 (105g)
Bran Flakes™, Weeties™ 2/3 cup Pineapple (peeled) 2 slices (185g)
Light ‘n’ Tasty™ 2/3 cup Plum 3 (220g)
Shredded Wheat™, Oat Brit™ 1 bisc Rockmelon 1/whole (300g)
Weet-bix™, Vita Brit™ 1 ½ bisc Watermelon 1 ½ cups (300g)
Mini Wheats™ 10 bisc Fresh fruit salad 3/4 cup (150g)
Rolled Oats                                         Dry ¼ cup Stewed/Canned Fruit (natural juice) ¾ cup
Cooked ¾ cup Pure Fruit Juice (unsweetened) ½ cup
Dried Fruit: Apple, Date, Prune 3 – 4
Rice/Pasta                    Apricots 10 halves (32g)
Rice(Basmati/Doongara Clever™) cooked 1/3 cup                    Raisins, Sultanas 1 ½ tbsp (20g)
(19g dry weight)    
Spaghetti, fettuccine cooked 1/3 cup Milk Products [choose 3 serves per day]
(22g dry weight) Milk , Lactose free, Oat Milk                          250mls
Spiral pastapearl barley cooked ½ cup Soymilk (check label)                                300 – 500mls
Lasagne 1 sheet Rice Milk                                                     125ml
Spaghetti – tinned ½ cup (130g) Buttermilk                                                    300mls
Couscous, cooked 1/3 cup Evaporated milk (low fat)                              130mls
Powdered milk (low fat)                               4 tbsp
Miscellaneous   Plain Yoghurt (low fat)                                200g carton
Filo pastry 2 sheets Flavour Yoghurt (low fat)                        ½ carton (100g)
Breadcrumbs (dry) ¼ cup Diet Yoghurt                                              200g carton
Flour, Semolina, Polenta (dry) 2 Tbsp (Yoplait Forme, Nestle Diet, Dairy farmers 60% less sugar, Tamar Valley No Added Sugar)
Popcorn 3 ½ cup Custard (low fat)                                           ½ cup
Honey 1 dessertspoon Icecream (low fat)                                    2 level scoops
100% fruit jam/ sugar 1  level tablespoon Milk with Milo™                                       200ml + 2 tsp

Low Glycemic Index (GI) choices are underlined


When carbohydrate foods are eaten the body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of sugar.  This glucose is taken up in our blood and is used by our muscles for energy.  Research has shown that different carbohydrates are broken down by the body at different rates. This concept is called GLYCEMIC INDEX or GI.

Some carbohydrates are broken down quickly causing a quick rise in blood glucose.  These foods are said to have a high glycemic index (GI).  Other carbohydrates are broken down more slowly by the body and cause a more gradual rise in blood glucose.  These foods are said to have a low glycemic index (GI).

Try to mostly choose carbohydrates that are low GI (slowly digested). This can help to improve your blood glucose and cholesterol levels, decrease feelings of hunger, improve energy levels and assist with weight control.

Aim to eat at least one low G.I carbohydrate food at each meal.




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