University of Illinois Extension

The Vegetable Group

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Foods in this group include vegetables that contain few calories, carbohydrates, and protein. These non-starchy vegetables may be fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables. Vegetable juices are also found in this group.

Non-starchy vegetables are a real nutrition bargain. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are also low in calories and fat, and they are a good source of fiber. Since vegetables are lower in carbohydrates than fruit, they can often be eaten in much larger servings and more often than fruit.


One Serving from the Vegetable Group

One serving from the vegetable group contains about 25 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of protein.

Examples of one serving from this group would include:

  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables (cooked spinach or cooked broccoli)
  • 1 cup raw vegetables (lettuce or mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable juice

Tips for Choosing Foods from the Vegetable Group

  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables more often than canned vegetables or vegetable juices.
  • Choose plain tomato sauce since this is in the vegetable group instead of ready-made tomato-based pasta sauces (like Ragu®, Prego® or Classico® pasta sauces) that have more carbohydrates. However, always check the Nutrition Facts label, because some pasta sauces may have the same number of calories and carbohydrates as tomato sauce.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label if you are unsure of how many vegetable servings a food contains. For fresh vegetables that do not have a Nutrition Facts label follow the above guidelines under the section titled “one serving from the vegetable group.”

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This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.