Starchy Vegetables: Are They Good for You?

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What are Starchy Vegetables?

Starchy vegetables get a bad rap for being “unhealthy.” I mean, potatoes and corn aren’t even really in the vegetable food group, right? Many blame starch for preventing weight loss and wreaking havoc on blood sugar levels. Discover the reasons why starchy vegetables are must-have foods. 

So, which vegetables are starchy?

Starchy Vegetable List

  • Corn 
  • Green Peas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Green split peas 
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Parsnips 
  • Yams
  • Taro
  • Cassava 

Beans and Lentils

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Great Northern beans
  • Navy beans
  • Soybeans/edamame
  • Mung bean
  • Adzuki beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Black  Lentils 
  • Brown Lentils
  • French Green Lentils
  • Green Lentils
  • Split Red Lentils
  • Red Lentils

Winter Squash

  • Butternut Squash
  • Acorn Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Buttercup Squash
  • Blue Hubbard Squash 
  • Carnival Squash
  • Kabocha Squash 
  • Red Kuri Squash
Starchy vegetable list infographic

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are macronutrients that make up the foods you eat.

Simple and complex are the two categories of carbohydrates.

  • Complex Carbohydrates include starches and fiber. 
  • Simple Carbohydrates are sugars. 

Simple carbs include foods like milk, fruit, honey, desserts, and sugary beverages. Since starchy vegetables contain starches and fiber, they are considered complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are better for managing blood sugar levels.

simple carbs foods displayed on a table: sugar, candy, bread, pasta, rice

Starchy Vs. Non-Starchy Vegetables

Starchy vegetables have more carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables. Here is a comparison of the carbohydrates in a starchy veggie like potatoes compared to a non-starchy veggie like broccoli.

1 cup of potatoes = 33 grams of carbohydrate (source)

1 cup of broccoli = 6 grams of carbohydrate (source)

broccoil florets on a black stone graphic about starchy vs non-starchy vegetables

Counting Carbohydrates

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, you might count your carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar levels healthy. Some people count carbohydrates to lose weight. 

If you’re not sure how counting carbohydrates works, here’s how:

1 serving of carbohydrates = 15 grams of carbs

Each serving of these starchy vegetables is 15 grams of carbohydrate.

½ cup Garbanzo beans

½ cup mashed potatoes 

½ cup corn

1 cup butternut squash

To reach 30 grams of carbohydrates, you’d have to eat 1 cup of Garbanzo beans.  This would make two servings of carbohydrates because one serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Is Corn a Starchy Vegetable?

grilled corn on the cob is a starchy vegetable.

Of all vegetables, corn has one of the highest levels of starch (source). Corn is a starchy vegetable. A medium ear of corn has 19 grams of carbohydrates (source).

(Check out our blog post about Corn Allergy if you can’t eat corn.)

Are Peas a Starchy Vegetable?

fresh green peas in a wooden bowl with peapods displayed on a wooden board. Peas are a starchy vegetable.

Peas are a starchy vegetable. A cup of peas contains 21 grams of carbohydrates (source).

Are Beets a Starchy Vegetable?

beets chopped on a cutting board. Peppers, carrots, peapods and radishes are displayed on a black background

Beets are not a starchy vegetable because there are only 8 grams of carbohydrates in a ½ cup of beets (source).

Is Cauliflower a Starchy Vegetable?

roasted cauliflower with red pepper sauce presented in a black plate. cauliflower is not a starchy vegetables

Cauliflower is not a starchy vegetable because it only has 5 grams of carbohydrate in 1 cup (source).

Is Zucchini a Starchy Vegetable?


  • Dr. Lisa Hugh DHA MSHS RD LDN CLT

    Dr. Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She is a Doctor of Healthcare Administration and has a Master's of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

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  • Gabrielle McPherson MS RDN LDN

    Gabrielle McPherson is a Registered Dietitian and Freelance Writer. Gabrielle has a masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and a bachelors degree in Dietetics. She has worked extensively with pediatrics and works as a freelance health and nutrition writer.

    View all posts

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