Mayo Clinic Health Library

Exchange list: Nonstarchy vegetables

Updated: 09-28-2012

Vegetables come in many shapes and sizes. Nonstarchy vegetables contain only small amounts of carbohydrate and calories, but they pack an important nutritional punch.

One serving (exchange) of a nonstarchy vegetable usually contains 5 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, no fat and only 25 calories. For the vegetables listed below, one exchange equals 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 1 cup raw vegetables.

If you eat 1 1/2 cups or more of cooked vegetables or 3 cups or more of raw vegetables in a meal, count them as one carbohydrate exchange.

  • Amaranth
  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus

  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans: green, Italian, wax
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cabbage: bok choy, Chinese, green
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chayote
  • Cucumber

  • Eggplant

  • Green onions or scallions
  • Greens: collard, kale, mustard, turnip

  • Jicama

  • Kohlrabi

  • Leeks

  • Mixed vegetables without corn, peas or pasta
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Mushrooms

  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Oriental radish or daikon

  • Pea pods
  • Peppers, all varieties

  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga

  • Sauerkraut
  • Soybean sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard

  • Tomato: raw, canned, sauce, juice
  • Turnips

  • Vegetable juice cocktail

  • Water chestnuts

  • Zucchini

Modified with permission from "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes." American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association; 2008. While designed primarily for people who have diabetes and others who must follow special diets, the exchange lists are based on principles of good nutrition that apply to everyone.

Wondering about salad greens? They're actually considered a free food. You can enjoy salad greens in any moderate amount as often as you'd like.