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Top 10 Healthy High Carb Foods

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Healthy High Carb Foods

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet, however, some popular diets have unfortunately given 'carbs' a bad reputation and even lead to a 'fear' of carbohydrate foods in recent years.

A balanced diet should always include the three major food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats).

Carbohydrate-rich foods are the body's main source of energy, giving you the fuel you need to carry out your daily activities. The brain also runs on carbohydrates, so this includes mental, as well as physical, energy. Healthy carbohydrate food sources like whole grains and vegetables are also a key dietary source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Choosing the right type of carbohydrate is important; the ones that should be avoided are the refined carbs, including white bread, white rice, white flour products and anything with added sugar.

Healthy high carb foods include sweet potatoes, brown rice, navy beans, chestnuts, lentils, bananas, oatmeal, milk, raisins, and healthy snacks like brown rice cakes. The current daily value (%DV) for carbs is 300 grams.

The following is a list of the top 10 healthy sources of carbohydrates to include in your diet, click here for a list of high carb foods to avoid.

List of Healthy High Carb Foods

Sweet Potatoes

#1: Sweet Potatoes

Carbs per Cup MashedCarbs per 100g
20% DV (59.1g)8% DV (23.2g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Mashed Sweet Potatoes

More Vegetables High in Carbs (%DV per cup)

Pea Sprouts (11% DV), Acorn Squash (10%), Sweet Corn (9%), and Green Peas (8%).
See all vegetables high in carbs.
Brown Rice

#2: Brown Rice

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
17% DV (51.7g)9% DV (25.6g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Brown Rice

More Alternative Grains high in Carbohydrates (%DV per cup)

Spelt (17% DV), Kamut (16%), Amaranth (15%), Pearled Barley (15%), Millet (14%), Quinoa (13%), and Wild Rice (12%).
See all grains high in carbohydrates.
Navy Beans

#3: Navy Beans

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
16% DV (47.4g)9% DV (26.1g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Navy Beans

#4: Chestnuts

Carbs per oz(~3 Chestnuts)Carbs per 100g
15% DV (44.5g)18% DV (53g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Roasted Chestnuts

#5: Lentils

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
13% DV (39.9g)7% DV (20.1g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Lentils (Cooked)

#6: Bananas

Carbs per Cup SlicedCarbs per 100g
11% DV (34.3g)8% DV (22.8g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Bananas
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

#7: Oatmeal

Carbs per CupCarbs per 100g
9% DV (28.1g)4% DV (12g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Cooked Oatmeal
Glass of milk

#8: Milk

Carbs per 16oz GlassCarbs per 100g
8% DV (24.4g)2% DV (5g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Low-fat Milk 1%
Plain Yogurt provides 6% DV (11g) of carbs per cup. Sweetened Fruit Yogurt provides 16% DV per cup, but careful of added sugars.
See all dairy products high in carbs.

#9: Raisins

Carbs per OzCarbs per 100g
7% DV (22.5g)26% DV (79.2g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Raisins

Other dried fruit high in Carbs (%DV per oz ~handful)

Dates (7% DV), Currants (7%), Dried Pears (7%), Dried Apples (6%), Prunes and Dried Figs (6%), Dried Apricots (6%), and Dried Peaches (6%).
*Dried Fruit is high in natural fruit sugars, so should be eaten in moderation. A small handful is a sensible portion size.

#10: Brown Rice Cakes

Carbs per 2 CakesCarbs per 100g
5% DV (14.7g)27% DV (81.5g)
Source: Nutrition Facts for Snacks Rice Cakes Brown Rice Sesame Seed
A wafer of rye crispbread provides 3%DV carbs.

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
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