Corn Carbohydrate Content and Nutritional Value

How to Incorporate Corn into Your Meal Plan

Corn on the cob on the barbecue
Deasy Buwana/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Sweet corn is indicative of summer - most often it's a staple food at barbecues and outdoor cookouts. And rightfully so - not only is it delicious, it's good for you too. In fact, fresh sweet corn is rich in vitamin C, magnesium, B vitamins and carotenoids, such as leutin, and zeaxanthin. Corn contains very little fat, less than 1g per serving (without toppings), and is a good source of fiber, clocking in around 3g per half cup.

Diets high in fiber can help to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar and weight control. Grilled corn is a perfectly sweet, crunchy and satisfying side dish. If you have diabetes, don't let the food police get you down. You can eat corn, but because it does contain carbohydrate, portions do matter. It's important that when you do eat it, you know how much you are eating and how to incorporate it into your meal plan.

Serving size per 1/2 cup of fresh sweet corn or 1 small ear of fresh sweet corn (5 1/2 - 6 inches or 3 oz)

  • Calories: ~60 calories
  • Fat: ~.8g
  • Cholesterol: ~0mg
  • Sodium: ~11mg
  • Carbohydrate: ~15g
  • Fiber: ~3g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

Tips for Eating:

Keep it Simple: Keep your ear of corn simple. Corn is naturally sweet and doesn't need much flavoring to taste good. Avoid topping your corn with creamy sauces, butter, and salt. 1 teaspoon of salt contains about 2400mg or about the amount of salt you need for an entire day.

1 tablespoon of butter will cost you an extra one hundred calories and 11.5 g of fat and about 7 g of saturated fat. If you are looking for a different flavor, simply baste corn with a smear of olive oil or smother it in herbs and spices - jalapeno, cilantro, basil, garlic, thyme, paprika. Herbs and spices, dried or fresh, add tons of flavor without sodium, fat or carbohydrates.

You can get creative too, which is fun.

Use Corn as an Addition: Adding corn to meals can add flavor, color and crunch and a little corn goes a long way. Sprinkle corn into a meal sized salad to add a sweet flavor. You can also incorporate corn into vegetable based soups, dips, or grain side dishes. Always remember to count corn into your meal plan as a carbohydrate source.

Portion Control: Fit corn into your meal plan by watching your portion. For example, if you following a consistent carbohydrate diet, and are set to eat about 45g of carbohydrate - your total carbohydrates for your meal should equal 45g. Carbohydrate counting can get detailed and confusing, but here is an example of a 45g carbohydrate barbecue meal which incorporates corn:

1 5oz turkey burger (white meat) topped with lettuce and tomato on a small whole wheat bun

  • This contains ~15g of carbohydrate for bun, the turkey is 0g carbohydrate, and the lettuce and tomato is 0g

1 large ear of corn (~7 3/4 inches - 9 inch, 6oz) grilled with chili powder

  • This contains ~30g carbohydrate for the corn, the spices do not contain any carbohydrate

Grilled vegetables skewer (zucchini, pepper, mushroom - non-starchy)

  • This contains about ~5 g carbohydrate for 1/2 cup cooked non-starchy vegetables

How Can You Modify This Meal: If you decide that you'd rather save some carbohydrates for fruit or a small dessert, you could instead keep your corn serving to a small ear or 1/2 cup or decide to omit the bun for your turkey burger.

How Can I Eat Corn if I Do Not Count Carbohydrates: If you are not counting carbohydrates for whatever reason, you can eyeball your portion. Keep corn to no more than 1/4 of your plate and limit your serving to one large ear.

Looking for Some Tips on How to Get Started with Carbohydrate Counting?

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Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon. Carotenoids. Accessed on-line. May 18, 2014:

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