Non-starchy Vegetables

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Eat more! You don't often hear that when you have diabetes, but non-starchy vegetables are one food group where you can satisfy your appetite.

Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals—and with so few calories and carbohydrate, everyone can enjoy more!

There are two main types of vegetables—starchy and non-starchy. For this section, we are going to focus only on the non-starchy vegetables.

Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas are included in the "Grains and Starchy Vegetables" section because they contain more carbohydrate.

What are the Best Choices?

The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added sodium, fat or sugar.

  • If using canned or frozen vegetables, look for ones that say low sodium or no salt added on the label.
  • As a general rule, frozen or canned vegetables in sauces are higher in both fat and sodium.
  • If using canned vegetables with sodium, drain the vegetables and rinse with water. Then cook the rinsed vegetables in fresh water. This will cut back on how much sodium is left on the vegetables.

For good health, try to eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. This is a minimum and more is better! A serving of vegetables is:

  • ½ cup of cooked vegetables or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of raw vegetables

Tips for Carb Counters
Generally, non-starchy vegetables have about 5 grams of carbohydrate in ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Most of the carbohydrate is fiber so unless you eat more than 1 cup of cooked or 2 cups of raw at a time, you may not need to count the carbohydrates from the non-starchy vegetables.

Tips for the Plate Method
Enjoy the colorful variety of vegetables to brighten your plate. With half of your plate filled with vegetables, your options are endless for delicious combinations. If you are still hungry after the food on your plate is gone, try having a salad with a low-calorie dressing to satisfy your appetite and get an extra serving or two of vegetables in at the same time.

Tips for using the Glycemic Index
You can enjoy the wide variety of vegetables using the glycemic index. Almost all vegetables contain very little carbohydrate and have very low GI value. Enjoy!

Common Non-starchy Vegetables

The following is a list of common non-starchy vegetables:

  • Amaranth or Chinese spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Water chestnuts
  • Yard-long beans

 

  • Last Reviewed: August 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: May 14, 2014

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