Vegetables are the foundation of the diet. If this is not currently true for you, we’ve got some work to do. I agree with the American Diabetes Association in recommending 3 or more servings of vegetables a day. While we consider all vegetables to be healthy, some vegetables tend to be better than other for people with diabetes. Vegetables that tend to be better for people with diabetes are those that have more fiber and less starch and sucrose, since veggies with more fiber have less digestible calories and spike the blood sugar less. 
Most people categorize vegetables into “starchy” and “nonstarchy” vegetables, with “starchy” vegetables having more starch and sucrose. While vegetables fit across a spectrum of “starchiness”, there are some general patterns you should be aware of. If you want to understand the differences between starch and fiber, review the “understanding carbohydrates” page. 

Nonstarchy vegetables

 ServingCalNet carbs
Artichoke hearts 1 cup9015
Asparagus 6 medium203
Bamboo shoots 1 cup142
Bean sprouts 1 cup255
Beets 1 cup6011
Broccoli 1 cup559
Brussels sprouts 8 small609
Cabbage (chopped)1 cup182
Carrots (chopped)1 cup5010
Cauliflower (chopped)1 cup303
Celery (chopped)1 cup305
Chayote squash 1 cup406
Cucumber sliced 1 cup152
Eggplant (chopped)1 cup203
Fennel (sliced)1 cup255
Green beans 1 cup408
Green onions (chopped)1 cup404
Green peas1/2 cup609
Jicama (sliced) 1 cup458
Kohlrabi sliced 1 cup356
Leeks sliced 1 cup5512
Mung bean sprouts sliced 1 cup305
Mushrooms 4 ounces253
Okra 1 cup306
Onions (chopped)1 cup7015
daikon radish sliced 1 cup302
Peppers, all varieties chopped 1 cup408
Radishes sliced 1 cup203
Rutabaga (cubed)1 cup5010
Spinach 3 cups202
Spinach 9 oz606
Sugar snap peas 1 cup609
Snow peas 1 cup ~5.5oz508
Summer squash chopped 1 cup204
Swiss chard chopped 1 cup61
Tomato chopped 1 cup306
Turnips chopped 1 cup356
Water chestnuts sliced 1 cup7015
Zucchini sliced 1 cup203
Dill pickles1 whole71

Starchy vegetables

Since starchy vegetables are high in carbohydrates, they have a much larger impact on insulin production and blood glucose. Therefore, they must be limited. 
When you eat startchy vegetables, I recommend limiting the portion to 30 grams of net carbohydrate

Potatoes Calories Net Carb
Baked potato (medium, 173 grams) 161   37
Mashed potato (1 cup) 214   35
Potato chips (1 ounce, ~12 chips) 150   15
Sweet potato (130g, ~ 1cup) 112   26
Roasted fingerling potatoes (3 potatoes) 110   25
French fries (mcdonalds, small) 224   28
Corn Calories Net Carb
Corn (1 medium ear) 90   17
Corn (cooked, 1 cup) 180   36
Legumes  Calories Net Carb
Black beans (cooked, 1/2 cup) 100   20
Black soy beans (cooked, 1/2 cup)  120   5
Cannellini beans (cooked, 1 cup) 200   34
Red kidney beans (cooked, 1 cup) 154   27
Chickpeas (cooked, 1 cup) 240   32
Pinto beans (cooked, 1 cup) 200   40
Lentils (cooked, 1 cup) 230   32

Eating fresh versus processed vegetables

I recommend eating either fresh or frozen vegetables. Freezing vegetables does an excellent job preserving the nutrient content, though it can cause some vegetables to have a less than desirable texture. The least preferred source of vegetables (though still healthy), are canned vegetables. This is for two reasons. First, the canning process neutralizes some of the nutrients, and second, it often causes the vegetables to have an inferior flavor and texture.

You should avoid routinely drinking processed vegetable juices. These may be laced with added sugar, and are stripped of the critically important insoluble fiber. I am OK with you drinking vegetable juices you make yourself, but I strongly recommend having a vegetable smoothie instead (which leaves in the insoluble fiber). Below is an example of a basic veggie smoothie. 

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Smoothie

Course Breakfast
Servings 1
Calories 144 kcal


  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1/2 medium carrot
  • 1 cups Frozen Whole Strawberries
  • 1/2 medium Banana (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cups water


  • Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more water to adjust the thickness.