Food Pyramid: Carbohydrates

Eat 6 to 14 portions a day



At least 50% of the calories in a healthy diet should come from carbohydrates, and most of that from starchy foods—bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, pasta, rice and cereals.

For most people this means doubling current intake. Starchy carbohydrates are the best foods for energy. They also provide protein and essential vitamins and minerals, particularly those from the B group.

Eat a variety of starchy foods, choosing wholemeal or wholegrain types whenever possible, because the fiber they contain helps to prevent constipation, bowel disease, heart disease and other health problems.

What is a "portion" of starchy food?

Some examples are:

  • 3 tbsp breakfast cereal
  • 2 tbsp muesli
  • 1 slice of bread or toast
  • 1 bread roll or bun
  • 1 small pita bread
  • 3 crackers
  • 1 medium-sized potato
  • 1 medium-sized plantain
    or small sweet potato
  • 2 heaped tbsp boiled rice
  • 2 heaped tbsp boiled pasta