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Nonstarchy vegetables are often not considered “carbohydrate foods” because they are very low in carbohydrates. I’ve decided to include them because to whatever extent other groups of carbohydrate foods limit our choices in portion size, nonstarchy vegetables provide the healthy option. See what you think.
This is the second in my series on Diabetes and Carbohydrates, and first, I have to explain why I’m even talking about this group- nonstarchy vegetables. See, we diabetes nutrition professionals often don’t consider this group of foods to be “carbohydrates,” in fact, we used to call them “free foods,” but if you watched my video in this series … “Diabetes and Carbohydrates – What You Need to Know”….you learned that plants manufacture carbohydrates. And most of you already know that carrots, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, and eggplant come from plants.
Be Sure To Check Out – Diabetes and Carbohydrates- What You Need To Know!
Table of contents
So, Non-starchy Vegetables Really are Carbohydrates, Right?
Yes…….. but……… the reason we don’t lump them into “carbohydrate foods” comes down to portion size. Because this group of vegetables doesn’t tend to store glucose as starch… nonstarchy… The carbohydrate content per volume is relatively low. As I mentioned in my “what you need to know” video, which I hope you watched, we’ll compare carbohydrate portion sizes by looking at volumes or weights of food containing 15 grams of carbohydrate.
For instance, for the most concentrated sweets like syrup, the portion size containing 15 grams of carbohydrate is 1 tablespoon. The equivalent portion size containing 15 grams carbohydrate for some nonstarchy vegetables is…..
- 4 cups sliced cucumber
- 2 ½ cups cooked spinach
- 2 ¼ cups cooked sliced carrots
- 3 cups cubed raw eggplant
- 24 medium asparagus spears
So, if we (A) want to manage carbs in our diet and (B) want to satisfy our appetite, we have the solution. You can have a larger portion of nonstarchy vegetables than other foods in comparison.
Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables
Hmm…If only nonstarchy vegetables were also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients…. and what if they were low calorie too. And, how about if they also came conveniently packaged in cans or maybe frozen? Of course, I’m throwing some dietitian satire at you now because all of these things are not only true, but you probably already know most or all of this, don’t you? You’ve heard it your whole life. I’m not even going to mention the protection from certain cancers thing….I mean, which “one more reason” will convince you that non-starchy vegetables should be a focal point of your diabetes eating plan? This is why we say to fill half your plate with vegetables.
Be Sure To Check Out – Beat Diabetes With More Fruits and Vegetables
Here are My Tips
As we move through the other groups of “carbohydrate foods,” I hope you’ll develop a greater appreciation for this group that both is and is not “carbohydrate foods.” An important health tip regarding canned and frozen vegetables is to check nutrition labels to minimize added salt or sugar. And if I could leave you with one more tip to inspire you to consume more non-starchy vegetables, it would be to focus some time and effort on preparation. Yes, you can always microwave vegetables as a quick addition to your meal in a matter of five minutes, but also remember that you can find some healthy recipes that will make this group of foods the stars of your meals. You’ll find lots of those kinds of recipes here on my YouTube channel, and they’ll make a world of difference in your long-term relationship with non-starchy vegetables.
Until next time, cheers to your health.
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