Carbohydrates or farinaceous carbohydrates comprise a food group consisting mainly of energy foods, given that they provide the body with the calories required to carry out its functions (1 gram provides 4 kilocalories). Carbohydrates predominate in this group, as they are essential for good nutrition. 6 to 11 servings a day are recommended.


Bread is a very popular and widely used food. The composition of the crust and interior is identical, except for water content. From a nutritional perspective, wholemeal bread, made from wholegrain wheat flour, is more complete than white bread, made with refined white flour. Sliced bread has a very similar calorific value to normal bread, the only difference being that the former contains added fats and sugars in varying degrees according to the manufacturer.


Gofio is the generic name for all vegetable material which is toasted and ground to a flour, which is intended for human consumption.

The Guanches made gofio from cereals, legumes, a variety of seeds, some fruit and even from roots, such as the camellera, a kind of wild grass, similar to birdseed, barilla or cosco, a fleshy plant from which caustic soda can be extracted, whose dried and toasted seeds were used to make gofio.

Nowadays, gofio is a food prepared from toasted and milled grain, and is mainly an energy food. Generally, the whole grain is used, and in the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife it is usually wheat, and corn in the province of Las Palmas, although other varieties and mixes are common.

The manner of eating it is also quite varied: added to milk, mixed with different fruit, in the form of a pellet or ball, which is a mix of gofio (cereal flour, wheat or corn, toasted and milled), mixed with water or broth. The terms “pellet” and “ball” refer to gofio recently prepared to accompany a meal. Later, bacon fat, bacon or shredded beef may be added, with aromatic herbs (mint or coriander).

Gofio is also used in desserts, with honey, eggs and nuts, giving rise to a great variety of sweets.


Legumes are low fat food (except for soya beans), and are also an important source or iron (lentils and peas) as well as vitamins. Food guide recommendations advise including legumes in the diet two or three times a week. A dish containing legumes and accompanied with cereal grain or bread is a food rich in high biological value protein (content of essential amino acids) with a nutritional value similar to meat.

It is important to know that there are combinations of foods rich in carbohydrates that are also high in quality protein. For example:

  • 30 g of rice + 40 g of lentils.
  • 120 g of peas + 100 g of potatoes.
  • 40 g of chickpeas + 40 g of bread.
  • 40 g of chickpeas + 100 g of potatoes + 100 g of carrots.
  • 40 g pinto beans + 30 g or rice or 100 g of potatoes.
  • 40 g of chickpeas + 30 g of wheat.

It is possible to swap some of these foods, always respecting the quantities, to obtain the same proportion of nutrients from different foods combinations.

The foods listed below each provide 10 g of carbohydrates, 2-4 g of protein and 50-60 kilocalories.

  • 100 g sweet corn.
  • 60 g peas or French beans.
  • 50 g potato.
  • 20 g dried legumes, bread, sweet chestnuts, or churros.
  • 15 g rice (uncooked), breakfast cereal, biscuits, uncooked pasta, corn flower, popcorn.

It is also important to take into account that certain foods are significantly modified by cooking, owing to the increased content of water.

  • Lentils and pasta increase two to three times in weight with boiling, compared to their dry weight.
  • Beans, chickpeas, and rice increase two and a half times in weight compared to their dry weight.

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