List of Starchy Vegetables You May Want to Limit on a Diabetes Diet

Learn How to Identify and Portion Control Starchy Vegetables

starchy vegetables
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Vegetables are good for you — they provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, volume, lots of color and crunch. There are two different categories of vegetables — starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas, and non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, and kale. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may have been told to limit starchy vegetables. This is because starchy vegetables contain more carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables and can therefore increase your blood sugars at a quicker rate.

This doesn't make them bad foods, rather you should learn how to identify them and portion control them. You can also weed out which ones you may want to limit by keeping track of how they impact your blood sugars (by testing your blood sugar two hours after a meal) and modify your diet as a result. 

Why You Need to Watch Your Portion of Starchy Vegetables

Starchy vegetables have higher amounts of carbohydrates, which people with diabetes have difficulty metabolizing. They also have a higher glycemic index, meaning that they raise blood sugars at a faster rate than other food types, such as protein and non-starchy vegetables.

Comparatively, per portion, they are also higher in calories than non-starchy vegetables.This is important to consider if you are trying to lose weight.  For example, 1/2 cup of boiled potatoes contains about: 70 calories and 15 g of carbohydrates. 

Whereas, 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli contains:  25 calories and 5 g of carbohydrates.


Therefore, if you are following a consistent carbohydrate diet or a carbohydrate controlled diet, you'll want to watch your portions of starchy vegetables and count them towards your carbohydrate meal allotment. 

Keep an Eye on Carbohydrate Counts and Portion Size

A typical serving of a starchy vegetable (which is about 15 of carbohydrate) is about 1/2 cup cooked, the size of a computer mouse or about 1/4 of your plate.

Depending on how many carbohydrates you are prescribed per meal, you can manage your portions accordingly. For example, if you are eating roasted corn kernels for dinner and you are supposed to eat 30 g of carbohydrates per meal, you can have one cup of cooked corn for dinner. 

Choose Healthier Versions of Starchy Vegetables

One of the most common starchy vegetables in diets today is the potato, and it is usually consumed in the form of French fries and potato chips which are not the healthiest food choices as they are rich in calories, saturated fat and sodium. 

To avoid the extra calories and fat, choose starchy vegetables that are prepared healthfully, such as baked, roasted, or steamed. For example, roasted butternut squash can be a very healthy food choice if portioned appropriately — it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and filling fiber. 

List of Starchy Vegetables

The list below is for cooked starchy vegetables. The serving sizes have about 15 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein and about 80 calories.

If you are eyeballing servings, 1/2 cup is about equal to your cupped palm. One cup is about equal to your fist.

  • Beets (1 cup)
  • Carrots (1 cup)
  • Corn (1/2 cup or 1 medium cob)
  • Green Peas (1/2 cup)
  • Parsnips (1/2 cup)
  • Plantain (1/2 cup)
  • Pumpkin (1 cup)
  • Sweet Potatoes (1/2 cup)
  • Taro (1/2 cup)
  • White Potatoes (1 small or 1/2 cup mashed, 1/2 roasted or 10 to 15 French fries)
  • Winter Squash, such as acorn or butternut squash (~3/4 cup)
  • Yams (1/2 cup)

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