The Best Starchy Vegetables for Diabetes

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By : Suvarna Sheth

Starchy vegetables are an excellent source of carbohydrate, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.  While they are a good source of energy and can be part of a healthy diet, it’s important for someone with diabetes to eat them in moderation.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have been told by your doctor to limit the number of starchy vegetables you consume.  This is because starchy vegetables have higher amounts of carbohydrates, which causes blood glucose levels to rise.  They are also high in calories and can cause weight gain.

However, the Joslin Center for Diabetes reminds people with diabetes to keep in mind that avoiding starchy foods is a myth.  The truth is that everyone needs some carbohydrate in their diet.

Remember to use portion control when enjoying dishes with starchy vegetables.  The American Diabetes Association recommends letting starchy foods make up a quarter of your plate during main meals.  Also consider healthier food preparation techniques to avoid the extra calories such as roasting, grilling or baking options.  For example, if you have the urge for some comforting french fries, try a delicious recipe for baked potato and load it up with some toppings such as light-cheese, sour cream, greek yogurt, chives, or olives.

Keep in mind that bread, rice, pasta, and pastry are also starchy foods so you may want to pair these foods with a non-starchy vegetable instead of starchy ones.  See our favorite varieties of starchy vegetables to choose from for a diabetes-friendly diet.


The parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot and parsley.  Parsnips can be roasted into wedges, glazed, mashed and made into heart-warming soups.  A serving of one cup (133g) contains 24g of carbohydrates and 6g of sugar.