Starchy vs. Non-Starchy Vegetables

While vegetables are known to have a variety of health benefits, it may still be difficult for you to differentiate and choose from the wide selection of vegetables available to us. We’re here to tell you that not all vegetables are the same!

Vegetables vary in their content of starch, which is a type of complex carbohydrates found in some foods- vegetables in this case. Not only do they vary in their content of starch, but they also contain different amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help prevent chronic diseases. 

The two main categories that vegetables are broken into are: Starchy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables. In this article, we’re going to highlight the main differences between the two as well as the benefits they each carry. 

So what’s the difference between starchy and non-starchy vegetables?

As their name implies, starchy vegetables are vegetables that contain higher amounts of starch, which means they have more carbohydrates. Some important starchy vegetables to know are:

  • Potatoes (both sweet and white) 
  • Winter squash (butternut, acorn)
  • Green peas
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Beets

On the other hand, non-starchy vegetables are vegetables that contain only a small amount of starch, meaning they’re lower in carbohydrates. These are some popular non-starchy vegetables to keep in mind:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber

Overall, both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are loaded with nutrients such as essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that our body needs to maintain itself. In this next section, we’re going to highlight some important health benefits each vegetable group carries. 

Benefits of Starchy Vegetables

People often find it alarming to hear that some vegetables are higher in their carbohydrate content than others, and so they try to avoid those extra calories at all costs. The reality is that starchy vegetables offer a wide range of benefits that are essential to our body. Their higher content of carbohydrates help to regulate our blood sugar, boost energy, and even increase satiety (this aids in weight loss too!)

Some starchy vegetables contain resistant starch, which kind of functions like soluble fiber in the body. It passes through our body undigested, which helps to regulate our bowel movements and may aid in weight loss as well. Some studies also found that resistant starch can improve insulin sensitivity in our body, which can decrease the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

Check out Pure Plate’s Cage Free Breakfast for a delicious, balanced, and filling breakfast. Those sweet potato bites are the perfect way to incorporate some starchy vegetables into your diet like we’ve discussed. Yay for extra health benefits! 

Benefits of non-starchy vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are lower in calories as they contain less carbohydrates in them, meaning they are less satiating and they have little impact on blood sugar regulation. This makes them an appropriate choice of food for people with diabetes or individuals who suffer from low insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, non-starchy vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

For example, did you know that red bell peppers contain almost 3 times the amount of vitamin C than oranges? So, the next time you have the sniffles and want to get rid of your cold, maybe try slicing up some red bell peppers and enjoying them either as a snack or adding them to your meal instead! Vitamin C is known to aid in shortening or minimizing the severity of a cold.

Lastly, non-starchy vegetables are comprised of 90-95% water, which is a great way to help you reach your daily fluid needs and prevent dehydration. 

The bottom line is… 

Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables contain an excellent wide range of health benefits to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost our energy. 

While they differ in their carbohydrate content, we recommend that you include both starchy and non-starchy vegetables into your diet to get the most benefits possible that each provides. You should aim for 2.5 cups of vegetables per day, and you can consume them using whichever cooking method you enjoy best! Pure Plates offers both options so that you can get all of the nutrients that you need.