Non-starchy vegetables contain lower levels of carbohydrates and fewer calories as compared to starchy vegetables. They generally come from the flowering part of the plant. Unlike starchy options, most non-starchy vegetables do not require cooking before consumption.
Numerous types of greens are classified as non-starchy vegetables, including collard greens, mustard greens, kale and turnip greens. A variety of salad greens also fit into the non-starchy category, such as spinach, endive, lettuce and romaine.
With tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower and cucumbers, individuals can make an entire salad from uncooked, non-starchy vegetables. Common side dishes, such as carrots, cabbage, asparagus and brussels sprouts, are also non-starchy vegetables.
Cooks often use these vegetables when adding flavor to other foods. Onions, peppers, leeks, and chives provide natural seasoning for a variety of recipes. Though potatoes and yams contain high amounts of starch, nutritionists designate some roots as non-starchy vegetables. These include rutabagas, turnips and beets.
Starch is a type of carbohydrate. Once ingested, the body breaks it down into glucose, which provides energy for cells in the body. Non-starchy vegetables add less sugar into the body. For this reason, medical professionals encourage people who want to limit their caloric intake, as well as diabetics, to choose non-starchy vegetables over their starchy counterparts.