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University of Illinois Extension

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.bread

Examples of one serving from this group would include:

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:peas

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


This site was last updated June, 2014.
This is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.