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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Eat Healthy > Nutrition Basics > What is the Right Amount of Carbohydrates to Eat?

What is the Right Amount of Carbohydrates to Eat?

Almost half of your daily energy or calorie intake needs to include carbohydrates. Take action to get enough carbohydrate at each meal.

  • Use the Plate Model as a guide.
  • Reduce of the amount of sweets, regular pop, vitamin water, sports drinks, bubble tea and flavoured coffees you have.
  • Eat at least three meals a day.
  • Eat your meals at the same time every day.
  • Have a healthy snack before you exercise.
  • Talk to a registered dietitian.

To get enough carbohydrates, almost half of your daily energy or calorie intake needs to include carbohydrates.

You can eat more carbohydrates (up to 60 percent % of your daily calories) if most of your food choices are high in fibre and low glycemic index. Foods that are high in fibre and low glycemic index will not raise your blood sugar as much.

Find out more about fibre and the glycemic index »

The Plate Model

The Plate Model is a guide to help you know how much carbohydrate you can eat at each meal. Use the steps of the Plate Model as a guide only.

Step 1: Fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables

Aim to fill 1/2 your plate with a mix of different coloured vegetables. Eating vegetables of different colours will give you different nutrients.

Vegetables can be:

  • raw
  • cooked
  • frozen
  • canned

Step 2: Fill 1/4 of your plate with high fibre foods

Fill 1/4 of your plate with high fibre foods like grains or starches (such as sweet potato, corn, brown rice and other whole grains). Start with this amount because these are the foods that will raise your blood sugar. Learn more about high fibre foods »

You may wish to include a glass of milk and a piece of fruit. These foods also contain carbohydrate and can raise your blood sugar.

Step 3: Fill the rest of your plate with protein

Complete your meal by filling 1/4 of your plate with protein (such as lean meat, fish, poultry, tofu, egg whites and legumes).

Tips

  • Try to keep the amount of carbohydrate the same every time you eat your main meal. This will help you to keep your blood sugar within a healthy range.
  • Eat different kinds of foods to make sure you get the proper nutrients.
  • Reduce of the amount of sweets, regular pop, vitamin water, sports drinks, bubble tea and flavoured coffees you have. These foods and drinks contain a lot of sugar and do not provide a good balance of nutrients.

Meal Timing

  • Eat at least three meals a day and no more than six hours apart. Eating three meals a day can help prevent low blood sugar and prevent you from getting too hungry. You may find that you crave food that is less healthy when you are too hungry.
  • Eat your meals at the same time every day.
  • Before you exercise, check the time. If it has been 4-6 hours since you ate, have a healthy snack such as fruit or lower fat, unsweetened yogurt. Healthy snacks can prevent low blood sugar during exercise. See the Healthy Snacks List for more ideas »
  • A Registered Dietitian can answer your questions and help you to set goals to meet your needs.
Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016