What Are Some Starchy Foods?

Starchy foods include grains (wheat, barley, rice and oats), corn, bread, peas, beans and potatoes. Grains are used to make cereal, pasta and bread, as well as cakes, cookies, biscuits and pie crusts, to name a few.

Starch is the main source of carbohydrate in many diets. It contains more carbohydrates as well as calories than nonstarchy vegetables, fruits and dairy. It's recommended that diets should consist of about a third starchy foods as part of a balanced, healthy diet.

Starchy foods are the major source of a variety of nutrients in a diet. Apart from starch, they contain calcium, iron, fiber, B vitamins and phytonutrients.

Wholegrain starches are usually seen as the most beneficial, whereas refined starches should be limited. Refined starches aren’t as healthy because they’ve been processed and the fiber and nutrient-rich parts have been discarded, leaving just the starchy interior. However, refined starches may be suitable for those who cannot digest food well as the starch is quickly turned into glucose.

The best starches to eat are lentils or whole beans as the starch is either resistant starch or slowly digested starch. When choosing grains, people should eat those that are whole when cooked, like barley, brown rice, quinoa or amaranth.