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.
When hearing this, some people say: but don’t you need carbohydrates to function? I thought carbohydrates were an important part of the diet?
did you know?
So many other foods also include carbohydrates:
Dairy foods (cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.)
Beans and legumes (including lentils, hummus, and falafel)
Non-starchy vegetables like greens and tomatoes
Therefore! I would strongly argue that even by limiting the amount of starchy carbohydrates in the diet, you are still getting plenty plenty of total carbohydrates :)
Ok! On to what is classified as what!
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