Valentine’s Day candy & chocolate carb counting guide

Valentine’s day brings elementary school class parties, and junior high school Candygrams. Unsure of how to carb count for sweet treats at school? Wondering how to account for extras at home? When you don’t have a nutritional label to rely on, here are some handy rules of thumb for counting the carbs in Valentine’s Day treats.

(from the Registered Dieticians at the Diabetes and Endocrine Clinic, Alberta Children’s Hospital)

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Cupcakes have 15g of carbs for a plain, medium cupcake (1/24th of a Betty Crocker cake mix), plus 10g of carbs for every tablespoon of icing. For a typical cupcake with about 1 tbsp of icing, that totals 25g of carbohydrates. For one piled high with icing (think: boutique bakery cupcakes) this may mean 35g of carbs or more.

Straight Sugar Candies (hard candy, gummies, suckers and jawbreakers) have a carb factor of 0.9 to 1.0. That is, when you weigh the item on a scale, for every gram of weight the candy will have close to one gram of carbs. For example, a heart sucker that weighs 5g will have about 4.5 to 5g of carbs; a gummy rose weighing 22g will have 20 to 22g of carbs.

For plain chocolate, 0.55 is a rough estimate of its carb factor. That is, if you weigh the item on a scale, there will be just over 1/2g of carbs for every gram of weight. For example, a chocolate teddy bear weighing 50g will have about 28g of carbs; a handful of (plain) Hershey’s kisses weighing 30g will have about 16g of carbs.

Remember to subtract the weight of the stick and any uneaten candy after your child has finished.

Even better than Rules of Thumb...  If you can, check out for accurate carb content on the food label, the company website, or a nutritional app.

More Special Occasion Carb Counting Guides:

The above information was adapted with permission from The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic information handouts.

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.