Load up on Non-Starchy Vegetables

Food that will Keep You Full and Not Fill You Out

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There is no denying that vegetables are healthy for us. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet can help reduce cardiovascular disease risk, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. A vegetable rich diet can also help to lower blood pressure. Vegetables are nutrient dense - loaded with vitamins, minerals, disease fighting antioxidants and fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient when it comes to managing weight and diabetes.

Fiber helps to keep you full, pulls cholesterol away from your heart and can help to regulate blood sugars by slowing down digestion. One of the best ways to increase your fiber content is to increase your vegetable intake, preferably non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables contain about 25 calories, 0 g fat, 5-6 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, and 0.5-2 g protein per 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. In addition to being a low calorie, and low carbohydrate food, non-starchy vegetables add texture, flavor, bulk, and rich color to any meal.  

Here is a list of non starchy vegetables: 

  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian - do not confuse this with legumes - white beans, navy beans, black beans, etc)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese, red)
  • Carrots (note: 1 baby carrot is about 1 g of carbohydrate) 
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chayote
  • Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce: endive, escarole, leaf, ice berg, Romaine
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers (all types) 
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Snow peas or pea pods
  • Scallion
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • String beans
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Zucchini

What to think about when purchasing: 

  • If possible purchase produce that is in season. You'll not only save money but reduce your carbon foot print by purchasing local produce. The less time spent traveling, the better the taste too. 
  • Think about purchasing organic versions of certain vegetables that contain more pesticides. Pesticide exposure may increase your risk of cancer, skin problems, asthma, infertility, etc. If you've never heard of "the dirty dozen list," you may want to read up on it. These are food items that contain higher levels of pesticide residue. Some vegetables on the list include: celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumber, etc. 

How to incorporate non-starchy vegetables to your diet: 

  • Aim to eat a variety of colored vegetables. Eating about three-to-five, 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw servings daily will boost your vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. 
  • Include vegetables in sandwiches, salads, side dishes, omelets, soups, stews and top protein with vegetables. 
  • Make vegetables the base of your meal. Eat lunch or dinner sized salads, substitute pasta for spaghetti squash​ or make zucchini pasta
  • Incorporate vegetables into your snacks. Pre-cut carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli or whatever you like and pair them with hummus or guacamole for a protein and fiber rich snack that is low in carbohydrate. 
  • Make 1/2 your plate vegetables. This will help you to reduce your carbohydrate and calorie intake. 


American Diabetes Association. Non-starchy vegetables. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/non-starchy-vegetables.html

United States Department of Agriculture. Why is it important to eat vegetables. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-why.html

Univeristy of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center. Why is it important to eat vegetables. http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/MEND/Diabetes-NonCarbFoods.pdf

Enivornment Working Group. All 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

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