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Updated 13 December 2019

Carbohydrate portion sizes

Carbohydrates should form the basis of a balanced diet. You're allowed 6-11 portions per day, depending on your age and activity levels. But how big is a portion?

Carbohydrates should form the basis of a balanced diet. You're allowed 6-11 portions per day, depending on your age and activity levels.

But how big is a portion of carbohydrates? Use this guide:

Breakfast cereals, dry:
1 portion is 3/4 cup or 20g (use high-bran varieties to promote regularity and 'dilute' the energy content of the diet).

Breakfast cereals, cooked:
1 portion is ½ cup or 100g (unsifted maize meal and Maltabella are unprocessed varieties).

Bread and rolls:
1 portion is 1 slice of bread or 1 roll weighing about 25-30g (select wholewheat, rye, brown or seedbread to increase your dietary fibre intake).

Crackers, biscuits:
1 portion is 2-3 crackers or about 20g (select wholewheat or wholegrain products).

Cooked rice, pasta:
1 portion is ½ cup cooked or 100g (buy brown rice or Durum or wholewheat pasta which have a low glycaemic index).

Starchy vegetables:
1 portion is ½ cup or 100g (starchy vegetables include potatoes, sweetcorn or sweet potatoes).

Moderately starchy vegetables:
1 portion is ½ cup or 100g (the list includes vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, onion, green peas, pumpkin, winter squash, butternut and turnips).

Low-starch vegetables:
1 portion is 1 cup or 200g (the list includes asparagus, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, spinach, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, sweet peppers, radish, sauerkraut, gem squash, tomatoes and watercress).

Fruit:
1 portion is 1 small fruit or ½ a banana, or 1 cup of berries, or ½ cup of fruit juice. Very sweet fruit such as dried fruit, dates, and grapes should be eaten in small quantities, e.g. 2 dates and 12 grapes are regarded as a portion.


 
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