What Are Starchy Vegetables And Are They Healthy?

by Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Last Updated: November 16, 2020

It’s clear that vegetables should be included in a healthy eating pattern as they are cited in nearly every health article, but are all vegetables nutritionally equal? This is a common question among our health-conscious readers. Vegetables, in our eyes, can do no wrong! We are always encouraging our clients to work to incorporate more vegetables into their diet using different cooking methods and flavor combinations. It is true that vegetables can be divided into two categories: non-starchy and starchy. So, what’s the difference?

Starchy vegetables, as their name implies, contain more starch content than non-starchy vegetables. Just because it contains more carbohydrates does not mean that it is unhealthy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Starchy vegetables are unprocessed foods containing only one ingredient, making them a healthy choice in any diet. In addition, they contain little to no fat and sodium, which is always a plus. The list of starchy vegetables below still includes various colors (white, green, yellow, purple, and orange), which is important for vitamin and mineral content.

Starchy Vegetable List:
  • All varieties of potatoes
  • Green sweet peas
  • Corn
  • Winter squash: butternut and acorn
  • Pumpkin

The main difference between starchy and non-starchy vegetables are the calorie and carbohydrate content. Starchy vegetables contain ~80 calories and ~15 grams of total carbohydrate per ½ cup serving. Non-starchy vegetables contain ~25 calories and ~5 grams of total carbohydrate per ½ cup (cooked) serving. Both types of vegetables contain fiber, which helps promote fullness and lowering cholesterol. If following a diabetic or weight loss eating plan, then the recommendation is to make starchy vegetables ~ 1/4 of your plate.

Now that you know the breakdown of starchy vegetables, we hope that you, too, can feel confident adding these delicious vegetables into your eating patterns. If you need any recipe inspiration feel free to check out the links to some of our favorites below. And remember, the more vegetables in your diet, the better!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna is a positive, motivating dietitian who is ready to help make healthy happen in your life. Whether you have a medical condition or hoping to get back to your goal weight, Anna is eager to connect you with tasty recipes, budget-friendly food products, and time-saving hacks to ensure that your goals will be achieved. Outside of work, Anna enjoys barre/pilates, sushi, and online shopping!