Know Your Carbs: 6 Starchy Vegetables to Swap with Grains

Nutrition

Carbohydrates often get a bad rap resulting in people avoiding them all together. However, carbohydrates are an important part of your diet, and selecting the right type and amount of carbs can help you be successful in managing your weight as well as creating healthy well-balanced meals.

Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient to help fuel your body so it can perform the most basic functions to more advanced, such as exercising.  We simply cannot and should not completely avoid carbohydrates in our diets.

The most common carbohydrate-filled foods people think of are grains such as breads, pastas, and rice.  There are also certain vegetables that have a higher carbohydrate content than others.  These are known as starchy vegetables.  

Starchy vegetables are a great source of nutrients that you may not be getting from your regular grains.  The problem occurs when you opt for a starchy vegetable AND a grain at your meal.  You are likely consuming double the carbs than you need at one sitting.

Try these 3 tips to manage the amount of carbs at your next meal:

  • The total amount of carbohydrates (grains or starchy vegetables) should be the size of your fist or a quarter of your plate.

  • When you are having a starchy vegetable, pass on the bread, rice, and pasta.

  • Fill the rest of your plate with a source of protein and a half a plate of non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, or asparagus.

Most importantly, don’t forget to include some form of carbs at every meal!

Try these 6 starchy vegetables to swap with your grains:

Corn

Everyone loves some corn on the cob!  Experiment with different corn recipes year round using corn on the cob or frozen corn.

Nutrient power: folate & vitamin C

Simply prep by: baking in oven for 15-20 minutes at 350oC and rub with salt, black pepper, red chilli powder, and lemon for an Indian twist.

Grean Peas

Green peas add great visual appeal to your plate with that beautiful vibrant green colour.

Nutrient power: folate, vitamin K, vitamin B6

Simply prep by: adding a dash of garlic, salt, and black pepper, and lemon to boiled peas.

Potatoes

This is probably the most popular starchy vegetable. Try a variety of potatoes including red, yellow, or russet.  Leave the skin on for extra fibre.

Nutrient power: potassium, vitamin C, folate

Simply prep by: Drizzle olive oil and salt over chopped potatoes and bake in oven at 350oC for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to your regular potato and make your meal a bit fancier. Leave the skin on for extra fibre.

Nutrient power: potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C

Simply prep by: replacing your regular potatoes for mashed sweet potatoes.

Parsnip

Parsnips look a lot like white carrots and have a sweet flavour.

Nutrient power: magnesium & vitamin C

Simply prep by: dizzling chopped parsnip with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and roasting in the oven at 350oC for 35-40 minutes or until browned.

Acorn Squash

Roasted squash is a winter favourite in our household.  To decrease food waste, save the seeds and roast them to have as a snack!

Nutrient power: antioxidants & potassium

Simply prep by: cutting squash in half and sprinkle with cumin, corriander powder, salt, and red chilli powder and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350oC or until easily pierced with fork.

What is your favourite starchy vegetable?

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