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Non-starchy Vegetables Group

What foods are included?

You can use any non-starchy vegetable that is fresh, frozen, or canned. You can also use 100% vegetable juice.

In a Healthy Diabetes Plate, only non-starchy vegetables are in the Vegetable Group. Starchy vegetables are in the Starch Group. What is the difference? The American Diabetes Association defines non-starchy vegetables as those containing about 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving, while a serving of starchy vegetables contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate.

How much should i eat?

vegetables cover half of the plateAt lunch and dinner -- and , if you'd like, even at breakfast -- fill half of your 9-inch plate with non-starchy vegetables. Stack the vegetable half of your plate no more than 1/2 inch high with:

  • 2 cups of raw vegetables or
  • 1 cup of cooked vegetables or
  • 1 cup of raw vegetables and ½ cup of cooked vegetables

To visualize non-starchy vegetable servings on the plate, 2 cups =

1 cup equals a woman's closed fist
two closed woman's fists

To visualize non-starchy vegetable servings on the plate, 1 cup =

1 cup equals a woman's closed fist
one closed woman's fist

To visualize non-starchy vegetable servings on the plate, ½ cup =

half a closed woman's fist

Which foods should I choose?

According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, all fruits and vegetables fit into one of five color groups: blue/purple, green, white/tan/brown, yellow/orange, and red. To get the most nutrients and phytochemicals and enjoy the greatest benefits to your health, plan to eat at least one serving daily from each color group.


Click to see non-starchy vegetables listed by color group.

Get Creative!


You can even include all five color groups in one dish, like this spinach salad with shredded purple cabbage, carrots, sliced mushrooms, and tomatoes.


What's in it for my health?

Vegetables are important for what they do and do not contain. Among the beneficial compounds found generously in vegetables are:

  • fiber
  • vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate)
  • minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron)
  • phytochemicals (healthful compounds that are found naturally in plants)

What vegetables don't contain are high amounts of calories or any amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol. All vegetables are low in calories and most contain no fat at all.

The nutrients and phytochemicals in vegetables can help protect against heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Being low in calories and high in fiber, vegetables can also help with weight management.

Cooking tip!
To preserve their water-soluble nutrients, steam or cook vegetables in a small amount of water for a short time.

Shopping tips!
Watch this video for some tips when shopping for vegetables.




  • "Now I eat a lot more vegetables and I feel much better"
    - A Healthy Diabetes Plate class participant