The Starch and Starchy Vegetables Group
Foods in this group include cereals, grains, pasta, breads, and crackers. All of these foods are grouped together, because the majority of the calories they contain come from carbohydrates, these foods also contain some protein and sometimes fat. Cooked beans, peas, and lentils also belong in this group, but because they contain more protein they are also part of the meat and meat substitutes group. For this reason, eating one serving of beans, peas or lentils will count as one serving from the starch group and one serving from the meat group. This concept is explained in further detail in the section titled The Meat and Meat Substitutes Group.
People with diabetes do not need to avoid foods found in the starch and starchy vegetables group. In fact, people with diabetes need to eat foods from this group to help meet their daily requirement for calories, macronutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and for overall good health. Foods in this group, however, do contain carbohydrates that can raise blood glucose. It is important to space servings from this group (and the milk and fruit groups) evenly throughout the day, and only eat the number of serving that your doctor or dietitian has recommended. This will help to keep blood glucose levels within your target range.
One Serving from the Starch and Starchy Vegetable Group
One serving from the starch and starchy vegetables group contains about 80 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of protein, and 0-1 grams of fat.
Examples of one serving from this group would include:
- One slice of bread
- Half of a bun or small bagel
- 1/4 of a baked potato
- 1/3 cup pasta (cooked)
- 1/3 cup rice (cooked)
Starchy vegetables are healthy, but they are higher in carbohydrate than other vegetables and they have more calories. Therefore, these vegetables are grouped with other starchy foods instead of vegetables. One serving of any starchy vegetable is about 1/2 cup cooked vegetable. Starchy vegetables include:
- Dried beans
- Lima beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
Remember, one serving from this group contains 15 grams of carbohydrate. If you are unsure of how many starch servings a food contains, check the Nutrition Facts label. Look at the total carbohydrates and divide by 15 to find out how many starch servings the product contains. For instance, if the Nutrition Facts label for a package of English muffins says that one English muffin contains 30 grams of carbohydrate, then this would count as two servings from the Starch Group.
Tips for Choosing Foods from the Starch and Starchy Vegetable Group
- Choose starches made with little fat as often as you can. For example, choose a slice of toast instead of a doughnut.
- Choose foods made from whole grains to get more fiber. Whole grain foods include whole wheat bread, whole grain pastas, and whole bran cereal. (Three grams of fiber per serving would be a good fiber choice.)
- Starchy vegetables made with fat count as one serving from the starch group and one serving from the fat group. These foods would include French fries and yams with butter.
- Always check the Nutrition Facts labels of foods the first time you buy them so you will know how many servings from the Starch Group the products contain.
This site was last updated June, 2014.
This is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.