How much starch should I eat per meal

How much starch should I eat per meal?

To lose weight sustainably with starchy foods, the National Nutrition and Health Programme (PNNS) advises eating starchy foods at every meal. And yet, according to a 2013 study (Nutrient-Santé), more than a third of men and two-thirds of women consume several starchy foods per meal that is less than the recommended amount.

Starchy foods: an efficient fuel

Also called slow sugars, starchy foods are part of the “complex” carbohydrate family. Starchy foods are :

  • bread;
  • potatoes ;
  • legumes (lentils, beans, peas, etc.);
  • cereals;
  • rice.

From a nutritional point of view, starchy food is an effective food because it is very rich in fiber, mineral salts, vitamins (of the B group), and complex carbohydrates. Thanks to all these contributions, starchy foods make it possible to release energy over a long period. Indeed, their assimilation takes several hours. They thus avoid the need to snack between meals.

Namely: the fuller the starchy food is, the more it retains its dietary fiber and therefore the more it satisfies. Be careful about the quality of the products you buy.

Amounts of starchy foods to be taken at different meals

The amount of starch per meal should represent about 50% of our daily calorie intake. One serving of starchy food should be consumed at each meal for about a quarter of the total. The amount of starchy foods per meal varies according to the type of starchy foods you eat (100g of pasta = 30g of wholemeal bread). So to lose weight sustainably and effectively there is no secret: adopt a balanced and healthy diet. Vary the vegetables and adapt them to your meals, but as a general rule, eat as many vegetables as you like, cooked, in soups or raw.

The role of starchy foods for each meal :

  • At breakfast starchy foods will have the main role of supplying your body with calories and provide you with the energy you need to last until noon.
    Example of a typical breakfast: 2 slices of wholemeal bread with butter (or a bowl of cereal with milk), green tea, fresh fruit and yogurt (if no milk).
  • At lunch you will also absorb a large number of starchy foods to replenish the slow sugars and fiber that will help you get through lunch.
    Example of breakfast for one day: 100g of pasta accompanied by 100g of fish cooked in olive oil, vegetables (preferably green) raw or stewed, and for dessert 40g of Fromage blanc and a piece of fruit.
  • At dinner is no longer necessary to absorb a large quantity of them as it is in the evening that the body will try to store the intake until the next day, they will mainly serve to facilitate your intestinal transit.
    Example of dinner with starchy foods: 80g of boiled potatoes accompanied by 80g of meat, vegetables (preferably green) raw or steamed and a piece of fruit for dessert.

The difference between cooked and raw starchy foods

However, be aware that the calorific value of a portion of starchy food changes completely if it is cooked or raw, as follows:

  • 100g of raw pasta = 350 Kcal ;
  • 100g of cooked pasta = 90 Kcal.


Indeed, when starchy foods are cooked in water, they will swell. Thus, they contain between 3 and 4 times fewer calories because they are filled with water.

Moreover, depending on your physical activity, your age, your sex, etc., you will not have the same nutritional needs. A person who practices a lot of sports will try to increase the amount of protein and the number of starchy foods per meal.

You will have understood that starchy foods not only do not make you gain weight but also avoid snacking between meals. They are part of any balanced diet and are very healthy for the body. You just have to pay attention to the added fats!

Also read: What is a balanced meal?