Starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables–Does it really matter for overall weight loss and blood sugar?

  • 2 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

You know vegetables are healthy, but how do starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables compare when watching your weight and managing diabetes? Read on to learn which vegetables to eat more often and some of our favorite non-starchy vegetable recipes.

Starchy vs non-starchy vegetables

Starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables–Don’t pass up these health benefits

Vegetables fall into two main categories–starchy and non-starchy. For example, experts consider potatoes and corn starchy vegetables, while tomatoes and broccoli are non-starchy.

The key difference is the amount of starch–a type of carbohydrate the veggie has. All vegetables are nutritious, yet the greater the starch content, the higher the calories and carbohydrates.

If you are like most Americans, you could stand to eat more veggies, especially non-starchy ones. Doing so would help you get more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. More vegetables in the diet have been shown to:

Plus, non-starchy vegetables contain more water and fiber per calorie than starchy vegetables.

Looking at starchy vs. non-starchy vegetables, what matters regarding weight and blood sugar?

Yes, there's a bit of vegetable competition between starchy vs. non-starchy. Many dietitians and diabetes educators refer to potatoes and corn as carbohydrates even though they are technically vegetables. That's because eating too many carb-rich starchy vegetables can raise blood sugar levels. In addition, the more carbohydrates you eat daily, the more calories you take in. By eating more non-starchy vegetables, you’ll fill up on fewer calories and minimize impacts on blood sugar.

Examples of starchy vegetables

Examples of non-starchy vegetables

How many veggie servings should I eat daily?

Adults should generally eat at least 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit daily.

The serving size for non-starchy vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or one cup raw. One serving typically contains 20-30 calories and about 5 grams of carbohydrates.

Click here to learn how to build a complete veggie-rich eating plan to feel your best and reach your health goals.

Some of our favorite non-starchy vegetable recipes

Chicken Vegetable Soup

This recipe swaps non-starchy veggies for noodles, lowering the carbs while retaining flavor. Garlic and onion help you reach your daily vitamin A and C needs.

Japanese-Style Cucumber Salad

Rice wine vinegar provides a tang, while toasted sesame seeds add a nuttiness.

Simple Egg White Omelet with Veggies and Cheese

This non-starchy vegetable recipe provides lean proteins from egg whites and green pepper, onion, and mushroom for a filling breakfast.

Easy Italian Roasted Veggies

The technique of roasting intensifies the flavor and brings out the natural sweetness. Double the recipe for breakfast or lunch leftovers.

Seared Tofu with Mustard and Kale

Rich in antioxidants and plant-based protein, this vegan entree uses herbs and other seasonings for a sweet and tangy flavor. Serve over quinoa for a complete meal.

Break out of your starchy veggie rut by experimenting with these non-starchy vegetable recipes. By eating more veggies and a better variety of them each day, you’ll help prevent chronic health issues from emerging, manage weight, and feel your best. It's time to get out that cutting board and start chopping!

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Healthy vegetable recipes for weight loss

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Foods & Recipes->Fruit & Vegetables Meal Planning & Diets->Healthy Eating
Sep 4, 2023
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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