Top 10 Healthy High Carb Foods

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. Carbohydrates that should be limited or 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 Potatoes1 Sweet Potatoes
Carbs
per Cup Mashed
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
59.1g
(20% DV)
23.2g
(8% DV)
45.9g
(15% DV)

More Vegetables High in Carbs

  • 33g (11% DV) per cup of pea sprouts
  • 30g (10% DV) per cup of acorn squash
  • 27g (9% DV) per cup of sweet corn
  • 24g (8% DV) per cup of green peas

See all vegetables high in carbs.

Brown Rice2 Brown Rice
Carbs
per Cup
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
51.7g
(17% DV)
25.6g
(9% DV)
41.6g
(14% DV)

More Alternative Grains high in Carbohydrates

  • 51g (17% DV) per cup of spelt
  • 48g (16% DV) per cup of kamut
  • 45g (15% DV) per cup of amaranth
  • 45g (15% DV) per cup pf pearled barley
  • 42g (14% DV) per cup of millet
  • 39g (13% DV) per cup of quinoa
  • 36g (12% DV) per cup of wild rice

See all grains high in carbohydrates.

Navy Beans3 Navy Beans
Carbs
per Cup
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
47.4g
(16% DV)
26.1g
(9% DV)
37.2g
(12% DV)
Lentils4 Lentils
Carbs
per Cup
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
39.9g
(13% DV)
20.1g
(7% DV)
34.7g
(12% DV)
Bananas5 Bananas
Carbs
per Cup Sliced
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
34.3g
(11% DV)
22.8g
(8% DV)
51.3g
(17% DV)
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries6 Oatmeal
Carbs
per Cup
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
28.1g
(9% DV)
12g
(4% DV)
33.8g
(11% DV)
Glass of milk7 Milk
Carbs
per 16oz Glass
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
24.4g
(8% DV)
5g
(2% DV)
23.8g
(8% DV)

Plain Yogurt provides 11g (6% DV) of carbs per cup.

See all dairy products high in carbs.

Raisins8 Raisins
Carbs
per Oz
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
20.6g
(7% DV)
79.3g
(26% DV)
53.1g
(18% DV)

More Dried Fruit High in Carbs

  • 21g (7% DV) per oz of dates
  • 21g (7% DV) per oz of currants
  • 21g (7% DV) per oz of dried pears
  • 18g (6% DV) per oz of dried apples
  • 18g (6% DV) per oz of prunes
  • 18g (6% DV) per oz of dried figs
  • 18g (6% DV) per oz of dried apricots
  • 17g (6% DV) per oz of dried peaches

*Dried Fruit is high in natural fruit sugars, so should be eaten in moderation. A small handful is a sensible portion size.

Chestnuts9 Chestnuts
Carbs
per oz(~3 Chestnuts)
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
15g
(5% DV)
53g
(18% DV)
43.2g
(14% DV)
Crackers10 Brown Rice Cakes
Carbs
per 2 Cakes
Carbs
per 100g
Carbs
per 200 Calories
14.7g
(5% DV)
81.5g
(27% DV)
41.6g
(14% DV)

A wafer of rye crispbread provides 9g (3% DV) carbs.

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A printable list of healthy high carb foods.

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.

Some of the most popular targets include:
  • Daily Value (%DV) - The %DV is a general guideline for everyone and accounts for absorption factors. It is the most common target in the U.S. and is the target on the nutrition labels of most products. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) - The Reference Dietary Intake (RDI) is a customized target accounting for age and gender. It is set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization. The daily value (%DV) builds on the reference dietary intake to create a number for everyone.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) - Sets a target for Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. The Adequate Intake is also set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. It represents a number to ensure adequacy but lacks the same level of evidence as the Reference Dietary Intake. In short, the number is less accurate than the RDI.
  • See the Guide to Recommended Daily Intakes for more information.

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View more food groups with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

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Data Sources and References

  1. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central