The #1 thing that has helped me the most in my personal weight management journey is limiting starchy foods.
I generally think a diet that is overall low in starchy foods is good for our health. Here is a great, well written, well-researched article: Important nutrition myths debunked!
Starchy foods are NOT BAD! No food is bad :) There are no “good foods” or “bad foods”.
Starchy foods are helpful for many reasons:
We need the nutrients they provide!
They’re emotionally satisfying
They provide immediate energy
BUT eating a diet higher in protein and fat (while still including some starchy foods), compared to a diet higher in starchy foods, may be more filling and help us more easily meet our health goals.
Starches include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and quinoa, and starchy vegetables include beans, peas, corn, potatoes, hummus, falafel, and French fries.
Here’s a (pretty) complete list! And what “1 serving” includes (about 120 calories per serving).
Bagel: 1/2 bagel
Barley: 1/2 cup cooked
Bread - white, whole wheat, rye, etc.: 1 medium slice
Bulgar: 1/2 cup cooked
Farro: 1/2 cup cooked
Flour - whole wheat, corn meal, rye etc.
Oatmeal: 1/2 cup uncooked
Pasta: 1/2 cup cooked
Quinoa: 1/2 cup cooked
Rice - white, brown, wild: 1/2 cup cooked
Acorn squash: 2 cups
Beans, lentils, split peas, and black-eyed peas: 1/2 cup cooked
Butternut squash: 2 cups
Corn: 1 cup kernels
Hummus: 1/3 cup
Falafel: depends on the type!
Parsnips: 1 cup cooked
Peas: 1 cup cooked
Plantains: 1/2 medium, raw
Popcorn: 4 cups popped
Potato - sweet, white, etc.: 1 medium potato
Pumpkin: 2 cups
Non-starchy veggies are also so important to eat for a number of reasons:
They have so many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
They add a lot of VOLUME to meals and snacks, without adding many calories
1 serving = 1 cup - except for leafy greens, where 2 cups of raw leafy greens = 1 cup of vegetables (because there’s so much air in there!)
Leafy greens e.g. collard, kale, mustard, turnip, bok choy, kohlrabi