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Vegetables: Starchy vs. Non-Starchy

Posted on January 19, 2017 at 9:33 AM by Lia Bahls, RD


All vegetables are healthy, correct? Yes, to a point. However, there are two different categories, starchy and non-starchy, which is based off of the number of carbohydrates per serving. As you may have been hearing lately, too many carbohydrates can be bad for your overall health, so it is important to make sure that you are careful with your carbohydrate choices, vegetables included. 


Starchy vegetables are a healthy option, however, they are higher in carbohydrates with at least 15 g of carbohydrate per serving, which means that they are also higher in calories.


It is important to understand serving sizes of starchy vegetables. One serving is about ½ cup cooked. In other words, if you typically prefer a baked potato at your meal, you may be eating closer to 2-2.5 servings of starchy vegetables (most potatoes are closer to 1-1.5 cups). That means you’re consuming 30-40 g of carbohydrates from that food choice alone!     


The following are starchy veggies to be aware of:

  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Beans (green beans not included)


Non-starchy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses. They are low in calories and carbohydrates and high in vitamins and minerals. For one serving (1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked) there is about 25 calories and 5 g carbohydrate. It is recommended that you include at least two cups of non-starchy vegetables to your daily intake, though more is always healthier.


Add these non-starchy veggies to your meal plans:

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Greens
  • Leeks
  • Onion
  • Mushroom
  • Peppers
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Summer squash
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini
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