Does Pasta Have More Calories Than, Say, Beef?

To compare grams to grams, 100 grams of ‘Spaghetti, cooked, enriched, without added salt’ (no sauce) has 141 calories, and 100 grams of ‘Beef, composite of trimmed retail cuts, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, choice, cooked’ has 301 calories. (From the USDA Food Composition database, which has lots of other foods, too, of course.)

Another way to think about what to eat is the USDA Food Pyramid. A daily diet with an intermediate caloric intake would be something like this:

Fats, Oils, Sweets: Use Sparingly

Meat Group Servings: 2

Milk Group Servings: 2-3

Fruit Group Servings: 3

Vegetable Group Servings: 4

Grain Group Servings: 9

The “servings” in the Grain Group are small and often a subdivision of a practical serving. Here’s a note about it:

Q: Isn’t 6 to 11 servings of breads and cereals a lot?

A: It may sound like a lot, but it’s really not. For example, a slice of bread is one serving, so a sandwich for lunch would equal two servings. A small bowl of cereal and one slice of toast for breakfast are two more servings. And if you have a cup of rice or pasta at dinner, that’s two more servings. A snack of 3 or 4 small plain crackers adds yet another serving. So now you’ve had 7 servings. It adds up quicker than you think!