Foods high in starch are often called complex carbohydrates, and they traditionally fall into three categories: breads and grains, vegetables, and beans and legumes. Starchy foods in the bread and grains category include rice, oatmeal, pasta, cereal and crackers. Vegetables high in starch include potatoes, corn, plantains, green bananas and peas. Beans and legumes high in starch include lima beans, lentils, chickpeas and black beans.
Many low-carbohydrate dieters are wary of eating foods that are high in starch content, but these foods also supply many important nutritional benefits. Whole-grain breads supply consumers with magnesium, Vitamin B and iron, and they may decrease risk of heart disease or stroke. Starchy vegetables include Vitamin A, fiber and potassium, while legumes are also high in protein, zinc and fiber.
People who are aiming to stick to a low-carbohydrate diet often substitute vegetable side dishes for common starch-filled side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries or couscous. These substitutes often include non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower, bell peppers, asparagus or mushrooms; healthy fats, such as avocados or nut butter items; or leafy green salads composed of lettuce, spinach, kale or mizuna. Mashed cauliflower or zucchini pasta can serve as near-exact substitutes for mashed potatoes and traditional pasta as well.