- Keto vegetables – the best and the worst
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- BIO: Ancestral health pioneer and former endurance athlete Mark Sisson is a New York Times bestselling author of the The Keto Reset Diet and bestselling author of Primal Blueprint and Primal Endurance. He also runs the Primal Nutrition supplement company; Primal Kitchen, which offers dairy/gluten/grain/soy free foods; and the Primal Kitchen Restaurants franchise.
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Keto vegetables – the best and the worst
Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.
The numbers are for uncooked vegetables. The carb content per 100 grams is generally modestly lower in cooked form.
For example, while raw broccoli has about 4 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, cooked broccoli has about 3 grams. The main reason for this difference is an increase in water content in cooked vegetables.
The numbers are taken from online databases, like the USDA database. Note that there are minor differences between these databases. The reason could be that different breeds of vegetables can differ in carb content, and there can be seasonal variation etc. In cases where there are significant differences between databases we have attempted to choose a median value. ↩
Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.
The numbers are for uncooked vegetables. The carb content is often slightly lower in cooked vegetables, but the difference is not too large. ↩
The fear of saturated fats, like butter and lard, appears to be misguided. Below is one helpful reference, and you can learn more in our complete guide on saturated fat.
Vegetables are generally considered very healthy, possibly because of the vitamins and minerals they contain. However, the belief in the potential healthiness of eating vegetables is mainly based on weak observational data, so it’s hard to know for sure.
British Medical Journal 2014: Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
The ranking is somewhat subjective, and open for debate. ↩
Avocado: nutrition facts
Furthermore, grains are usually not considered vegetables at all, as they are the seeds of grasses:
Wikipedia: Vegetable ↩
The recommendation to stay below 20 grams of carbs a day on keto is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced practitioners, and stories from people trying different levels of carb restriction .
One small study showed that in healthy volunteers, diets of 20 and 50 grams of carbs promoted ketosis with equal success. However, it is not known that this would be the case in obese individuals or those with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, there is not yet any RCT testing health outcomes of two low-carb diets of varying strictness head-to-head. But RCTs of strict low-carb diets appear to often show better results, compared to RCTs of more moderate or liberal low-carb diets.
RCTs of low-carb interventions for weight loss ↩
Wikipedia: Vegetable ↩
Even foods made from wholemeal flour is relatively rapidly digested and raises blood glucose quickly, though slightly less fast than foods made from white flour:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Journal of the American Medical Association 2002: The glycemic index. Physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
British Medical Journal 1980: Rate of digestion of foods and postprandial glycaemia in normal and diabetic subjects
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials ↩
High-fructose corn syrup is slightly higher in fructose compared to regular sugar. Fructose – in excessive quantities – may have worse long-term metabolic effects than other carbohydrates:
The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009: Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans
Nutrients 2017: Fructose consumption, lipogenesis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
JAMA 2013: Effects of fructose vs glucose on regional cerebral blood flow in brain regions involved with appetite and reward pathways ↩
Vegetables are low in calories but rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. In addition, many are low in carbs and high in fiber, making them ideal for low-carb diets.
The definition of a low-carb diet varies widely, but most are under 150 grams of carbs per day and some go as low as 20 grams per day. Whether or not you’re on a low-carb diet, eating more vegetables is always a great idea.
Whether or not you’re on a low-carb diet, eating more vegetables is always a great idea.
Here is a list of the 21 best low-carb vegetables to include in your diet.
1. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers or capsicums, are incredibly nutritious.
They contain antioxidants called carotenoids that may reduce inflammation, decrease cancer risk and protect cholesterol and fats from oxidative damage (1, 2, 3).
One cup (149 grams) of chopped red pepper contains nine grams of carbs, three of which are fiber (4).
It provides 93 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin A and a whopping 317 percent of the RDI for vitamin C, which is often lacking on very low-carb diets.
Green, orange and yellow bell peppers have similar nutrient profiles, although red pepper is highest in certain antioxidants.
Bottom Line: Bell peppers are anti-inflammatory and high in vitamins A and C. They contain 6 grams of digestible (“net”) carbs per serving.
Broccoli is a true superfood.
It’s a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes and cabbage.
Studies show broccoli may decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. It’s also thought to protect against several types of cancer, including prostate cancer (5, 6, 7).
One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli contains 6 grams of carbs, two of them fiber (8).
It also provides more than 100 percent of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
Bottom Line: Broccoli contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in vitamins C and K, may reduce insulin resistance and help prevent cancer.
Asparagus is a delicious spring vegetable.
One cup (180 grams) of cooked asparagus contains 8 grams of carbs, four of which are fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, C and K (9).
Test-tube studies have found that asparagus may help stop the growth of several types of cancer and studies in mice suggest it may help protect brain health and reduce anxiety (10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
Bottom Line: Asparagus contains 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s a good source of several vitamins and may help protect against certain types of cancer.
Mushrooms are extremely low in carbs.
A one-cup (70-gram) serving of raw white mushrooms contains just 2 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber (15).
What’s more, they’ve been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties (16).
In a study of men with metabolic syndrome, eating 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of white mushrooms for 16 weeks led to significant improvements in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory markers (17).
Bottom Line: Mushrooms contain 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. They can reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.
Zucchini is a popular vegetable and the most common type of summer squash. Summer squash has a long shape and soft skin that can be eaten.
In contrast, winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, has an inedible rind and is higher in carbs than summer varieties.
One cup (124 grams) of raw zucchini contains 4 grams of carbs, one of them fiber. It’s a good source of vitamin C, providing 35 percent of the RDI per serving (18).
Yellow Italian squash and other types of summer squash have carb counts and nutrient profiles similar to zucchini.
Bottom Line: Zucchini and other types of summer squash contain 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are high in vitamin C.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that provides major health benefits.
Researchers report that it can help prevent damage to DNA. It also protects heart health and may decrease the risk of common eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration (19, 20, 21).
What’s more, it’s an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. One cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach provides more than 10 times the RDI for vitamin K (22).
Spinach is also low in carbs, but the carbs become more concentrated as the leaves are cooked down and lose their volume.
For example, one cup of cooked spinach contains 7 grams of carbs with 4 grams of fiber, whereas one cup of raw spinach contains 1 gram of carbs with almost 1 gram of fiber (22, 23).
Bottom Line: Cooked spinach contains 3 grams of digestible carbs per serving, is very high in vitamin K and helps protect heart and eye health.
Avocados are a unique and delicious food.
Although technically a fruit, avocados are typically consumed as vegetables. They’re also high in fat and contain very few digestible carbs.
A one-cup (150-gram) serving of chopped avocados has 13 grams of carbs, 10 of which are fiber (24).
Avocados are also rich in oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat that has beneficial effects on health. Small studies have found that avocados can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels (25, 26).
They’re also a good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Although avocados are a fairly high-calorie food, they may be beneficial for weight management. In one study, overweight people who included half an avocado at lunch reported feeling fuller and had less desire to eat over the next five hours (27).
Bottom Line: Avocados provide 3 grams of net carbs per serving. They promote feelings of fullness and are high in heart-healthy fat and fiber.
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Cauliflower is one of the most versatile and popular low-carb vegetables.
It has a very mild taste and can be used as a substitute for potatoes, rice and other higher-carb foods.
One cup (100 grams) of raw cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbs, three of which are fiber. It’s also high in vitamin K and provides 77 percent of the RDI for vitamin C (28).
Like other cruciferous vegetables, it’s also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer (29, 30).
Bottom Line: Cauliflower contains 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It is also high in vitamins K and C and may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
9. Green Beans
Green beans are sometimes referred to as snap beans or string beans.
They are a member of the legume family, along with beans and lentils. However, they have significantly fewer carbs than most legumes do.
A one-cup (125-gram) serving of cooked green beans contains 10 grams of carbs, four of which are from fiber (31).
They’re high in the green pigment known as chlorophyll, which animal studies suggest may help protect against cancer (32).
In addition, they contain carotenoids, which are associated with improved brain function during aging (33).
Bottom Line: Green beans contain 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving, as well as antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and protect the brain.
Lettuce is one of the lowest-carb vegetables around.
One cup (47 grams) of lettuce contains 2 grams of carbs, one of which is fiber (34).
Depending on the type, it may also be a good source of certain vitamins.
For instance, romaine and other dark-green varieties are rich in vitamins A, C and K. They’re also high in folate.
Folate helps decrease levels of homocysteine, a compound known to increase heart disease risk. In one study of 37 women, consuming foods high in folate for five weeks reduced homocysteine levels by 13 percent, compared to a low-folate diet (35).
Bottom Line: Lettuce contains 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in several vitamins, including folate, which may lower heart disease risk.
Garlic is known for its beneficial effects on immune function.
Studies have found that it may boost resistance to the common cold virus and decrease blood pressure (36, 37, 38).
Although it’s a high-carb vegetable by weight, the amount typically consumed at a sitting is very low due to its strong taste and aroma.
One clove (3 grams) of garlic contains 1 gram of carbs, part of which is fiber (39).
Bottom Line: Garlic contains 1 gram of digestible carbs per clove. It may reduce blood pressure and improve immune function.
Kale is a trendy vegetable that’s also extremely nutritious.
It’s loaded with antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.
These have been shown to lower blood pressure and may also help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases (40, 41, 42).
One cup (67 grams) of raw kale contains 7 grams of carbs, one of which comes from fiber. It also provides an impressive 206 percent of the RDI for vitamin A and 134 percent of the RDI for vitamin C (43).
A high intake of vitamin C has been shown to improve immune function and increase the skin’s ability to fight damaging free radicals, which can speed up the aging process (44, 45).
Bottom Line: Kale contains 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in antioxidants and has more than 100 percent of the RDI for vitamins A and C.
Cucumbers are low in carbs and very refreshing.
One cup (104 grams) of chopped cucumber contains 4 grams of carbs with less than 1 gram from fiber (46).
Although cucumbers aren’t very high in vitamins or minerals, they contain a compound called cucurbitacin E, which may have beneficial effects on health.
Results from test-tube and animal studies suggest it has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and may protect brain health (47, 48, 49).
Bottom Line: Cucumbers contain just under 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. They may help protect against cancer and support brain health.
14. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another delicious cruciferous vegetable.
A half-cup (78-gram) serving of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 6 grams of carbs, two of which are fiber (50).
It also provides 80 percent of the RDI for vitamin C and 137 percent of the RDI for vitamin K.
What’s more, controlled human studies suggest that eating Brussels sprouts may reduce risk factors for cancer, including colon cancer (51, 52).
Bottom Line: Brussels sprouts contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving. They’re high in vitamins C and K and may help reduce cancer risk.
Celery is extremely low in digestible carbs.
A one-cup (101-gram) serving of chopped celery contains 3 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber. It’s a good source of vitamin K, providing 37 percent of the RDI (53).
In addition, it contains luteolin, an antioxidant that shows potential for both preventing and helping to treat cancer (54).
Bottom Line: Celery provides 1 gram of digestible carbs per serving. It also contains luteolin, which may have anti-cancer properties.
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Tomatoes have a number of impressive health benefits.
Like avocados, they are technically fruits but usually consumed as vegetables.
They’re also low in digestible carbs. One cup (149 grams) of cherry tomatoes contains 6 grams of carbs, two of which are fiber (55).
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and K. In addition, they’re high in potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure and decrease stroke risk (56).
They’ve also been shown to strengthen the endothelial cells that line your arteries and their high lycopene content may help prevent prostate cancer (57, 58).
Cooking tomatoes increases lycopene content and adding fats such as olive oil during cooking has been shown to boost its absorption (59).
Bottom Line: Tomatoes contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are high in vitamins and potassium. They may help protect heart health and reduce cancer risk.
Radishes are low-carb vegetables with a sharp, peppery taste.
One cup (116 grams) of raw sliced radishes contains 4 grams of carbs, two of which are fiber (60).
They’re fairly high in vitamin C, providing 29 percent of the RDI per serving.
Radishes are one of the Brassica vegetables, which have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by modifying the way the body metabolizes estrogen (61).
Bottom Line: Radishes contain 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help reduce the risk of breast cancer in older women.
Onions are a tasty and nutritious vegetable.
Although they are fairly high in carbs by weight, they’re usually consumed in small amounts because of their robust flavor.
A half cup (58 grams) of sliced raw onions contains 6 grams of carbs, one of which is fiber (62).
Onions are high in the antioxidant quercetin, which may lower blood pressure (63).
One study of overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) found that red onion consumption reduced LDL cholesterol levels (64).
Bottom Line: Onions contain 5 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Eggplant is a common vegetable in many Italian and Asian dishes.
A one-cup (99-gram) serving of chopped, cooked eggplant contains 8 grams of carbs, two of which are fiber (65).
It’s not very high in most vitamins or minerals, but animal research suggests eggplant may help lower cholesterol and improve other markers of heart health (66).
It also contains an antioxidant known as nasunin in the purple pigment of its skin. Researchers have reported that nasunin helps reduce free radicals and may protect brain health (67).
Bottom Line: Eggplant contains 6 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may help protect heart and brain health.
Cabbage has some impressive health benefits.
As a cruciferous vegetable, it may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including esophageal and stomach cancer (68, 69).
One cup (89 grams) of chopped raw cabbage contains 5 grams of carbs, three of which are fiber (70).
It also provides 54 percent of the RDI for vitamin C and 85 percent of the RDI for vitamin K.
Bottom Line: Cabbage contains 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving. It’s high in vitamins C and K and may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Artichokes are delicious and nutritious.
One medium-sized globe artichoke (120 grams) contains 14 grams of carbs.
However, 10 grams come from fiber, making it very low in digestible (net) carbs (71).
A portion of the fiber is inulin, which acts as a prebiotic that feeds the healthy gut bacteria (72).
What’s more, artichokes may protect heart health. In one study, when people with high cholesterol drank artichoke juice, they experienced a reduction in inflammatory markers and improvement in blood vessel function (73).
Bottom Line: Artichokes contain 4 grams of digestible carbs per serving and may improve gut and heart health.
Take Home Message
There are many tasty vegetables that can be included on a low-carb diet.
In addition to being low in carbs and calories, they may also reduce disease risk and improve your overall health and well-being.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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10 Keto-Friendly Vegetables You Should Eat More Of
Veggies should be the foundation of any healthy eating plan, including keto! But some vegetables are keto-friendlier than others of course.
To refresh your memory on the basics of the mega-popular diet, the keto diet replaces carbs with fat. Restricting carbs to a minimal amount sends your body into ketosis—a state in which your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs. In order to maintain ketosis, you can only get about 5% to 10% of your calories from carbohydrates. That comes to 25 to 50 grams of net carbs per day. (To calculate net carbs per serving of a particular food, subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of total carbohydrates.)
While most vegetables are calorie-poor and nutrient-rich (packed with fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients), carby choices—like potatoes, corn, carrots, beets and squash—should be limited on the keto diet. Non-starchy veggies, however, can be enjoyed in large quantities.
Here are 10 vegetables you should definitely add to your keto grocery shopping list.
RELATED: Your Ultimate Keto Diet Grocery List
Net carbs: 2 grams
Also known as rocket, this leafy green has a peppery flavor. A serving (four cups of fresh arugula) has just 20 calories and 2 grams of net carbs. Nutritionally, arugula is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid and calcium.
Net carbs: 2 grams
A serving of asparagus (5 spears) has a paltry 20 calories and 4 grams of total carbs, or 2 grams of net carbs. The veggie is loaded with folic acid, and supplies good doses of fiber and vitamins A and C.
Net carbs: 4 grams
There’s a reason why those living a low-carb lifestyle consider bell peppers a staple. A medium bell pepper has 25 calories, 4 grams of net carbs, and 190% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
RELATED: The Keto Diet Is Super Hard—These 3 Variations Are Much Easier to Follow
Net carbs: 3 grams
A serving of broccoli (3 ounces raw) has 30 calories and 3 grams net carbs. Like all cruciferous veggies, broccoli is considered a nutritional powerhouse, packing in vitamins A and C, B-vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. Broccoli also provides antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your eyes from harmful UV damage.
Net carbs: 3 grams
A cousin to broccoli, Brussels sprouts boast impressive nutritionals: A serving (4 sprouts) has 40 calories, 3 grams net carbs, 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber and more than all the vitamin C you need n a day. As a bonus, they have anti-cancer, heart health, and anti-inflammatory benefits too.
Net carbs: 3 grams
Another member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower is a versatile low-carb vegetable that can be used as a stand-in for rice, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crust and baked goods. Cauliflower has 25 calories per 3-ounce serving, 3 grams net carbs, 100% of the vitamin C you need in a day, and a good amount of folic acid.
Net carbs: 1 gram
A serving of the Queen of greens (3 cups fresh kale) provides 20 calories and 1 gram net carbs. Like most leafy greens, kale is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, vitamin K, calcium and magnesium. The leafy green is also packed with beneficial antioxidants that may help protect against chronic diseases associated with aging.
RELATED: 9 Fruits You Can Actually Eat on the Keto Diet
Net carbs: 2 grams
Think white veggies aren’t nutritious? Think again! One serving (5 medium mushrooms) has 20 calories, 2 grams net carbs, and 3 grams protein. Plus, the fungi pack in B-vitamins, copper, vitamin D, and selenium. Studies show that mushrooms can bolster immunity and may have anti-cancer benefits.
Net carbs: 4 grams
Spinach really is a nutritional all-star. A serving of spinach (1½ cups fresh leaves) has 40 calories, 4 grams of net carbs, and 2 grams of protein. With 6 grams of fiber per serving, spinach helps you feel fuller longer, and is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, iron, folic acid, and magnesium.
Net carbs: 4 grams
Tomatoes are a healthy addition to any eating plan because they’re a rich source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that has potent heart health and anti-cancer properties. A medium tomato has just 20 calories, 4 grams net carbs, plenty of vitamins A and C. It’s also a solid source of potassium.
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Keto Vegetables to Add to Your Diet When You’re Sick of Cauliflower Rice
One of the biggest downsides of the keto diet is its severe limit on fruits and vegetables. Any time you restrict produce, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on micronutrients in the process. All the more reason to really get to know your keto vegetables and keto fruits if you’re set on following the diet. (Related: This Keto Candy Proves You Can Have Sweets While Living the Low-Carb Life)
Here, let’s focus on vegetables. Veggies contain varying amounts of sugar, fiber, and starch—three types of carbs. Eating high-fiber vegetables can actually work to your advantage, though. These options tend to be lower in net carbs, which are calculated by taking the amount of naturally occurring carbohydrates minus the amount of fiber. The rationale behind focusing on net carbs rather than total carbs is that carbs from fiber aren’t digestible, so they don’t upset your blood sugar balance cause the sudden insulin release that can sabotage your chance at ketosis.
On the other hand, vegetables that are higher in the other two types of carbs and lower in fiber are off-limits. Root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, and yams are high in starch. Legumes (not technically a vegetable, but sometimes get looped together) like peas and lentils are also a no go. Even squash isn’t sacred–while the majority are low enough in net carbs, butternut squash isn’t keto-friendly thanks to its sugar content.
Even low-net carb vegetables have to be eaten in moderation. How many net carbs you allow yourself per day will depend on your macronutrient goal, but most keto dieters aim to stick within the 15–40-gram range. (Here’s more guidance on how to define your macro goals as a beginner.)
If that all seems exclusionary it is, but rest assured that leafy greens aren’t the only keto vegetables. Familiarizing yourself with all your options can make avoiding a dirty keto lifestyle easier. We’ll get you started.
Here are the best vegetables to eat on the keto diet along with the grams of net carbs per cup of each, raw. (Related: Vegan Recipes That Prove There’s More to the Keto Diet Than Bacon)
Keto Diet Vegetables
25 Keto Vegetables That Keep You In Ketosis When You’re Eating Low-Carb
Watching out for carbohydrates is something people following the keto diet do frequently. Sometimes with whole foods and produce, it’s hard to know exactly what nutrients are in a serving. Just like other foods, some vegetables have a higher net carb count than others. We’ve gathered 25 vegetables that have lower carb counts and won’t affect ketosis, ranked from the least amount of net carbs to the most.
Per 1 cup: 6.9 calories, 0.1 g fat, 23.7 mg sodium, 1.1 g carbs (0.7 g fiber, 0.1 g sugar), 0.9 g protein
0.4 g of net carbs
One cup of raw spinach only contains 0.4 grams of net carbs. It is also a great source for omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin K. the leafy green is also super versatile, as it can be used as the base for salads, in sandwiches, sautéed, and, of course, frozen for smoothies (like in this green keto shake).
Per ¼ cup (one large artichoke): 22 calories, 0 g fat, 62.5 mg sodium, 5.4 g carbs (4.5 g fiber, 0.89 g sugar), 1.79 g protein
0.9 g of net carbs
Artichokes are not only loaded with antioxidants, but they also contain vitamin C and no cholesterol. They are also versatile and can be used in many keto recipes, like this spinach artichoke dip.
Per 1 clove (3 g): 4.5 calories, 0.0 g fat, 0.5 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0.1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0.2 g protein
0.9 g of net carbs
Chances are you don’t use more than about five cloves of garlic in one meal, but multiply the nutritional info by the number you use to see just how many net carbs are added to the meal. It won’t be too much so you won’t risk getting out of ketosis, but you’ll still get all the flavor you need.
RELATED: These are the easy, at-home recipes that help you lose weight.
Charles Deluvio/Unsplash Per 1/4 cup (1/3 of a medium avocado): 80 calories, 8 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2.95 g protein
1 g of net carbs
With their high healthy fat count, avocados are great whole foods to eat to keep you in ketosis. They also are great alternatives for high-carb butter, mayonnaise, and other spreads. Plus, avocados are full of great health benefits!
Per 1 cup: 10 calories, 0.1 g fat, 7.2 mg sodium, 2.3 g carbs (0.9 g fiber, 1. 4g sugar), 0.6 g protein
1.4 g of net carbs
Raw iceberg lettuce is extremely low in carbohydrates, making it a safe bet for those following the keto diet. Many restaurant menu items use it in dishes that are safe for staying in ketosis.
Per 1 cup: 15.4 calories, 0.2 g fat, 3.5 mg sodium, 2.3 g carbs (0.7 g fiber, 1.2 g sugar), 2.2 g protein
1.6 g of net carbs
Mushrooms not only have an extremely low sodium amount, but they’re also low-carb. They’re easy to saute and are great for any meal, including this keto-friendly breakfast!
Per 1 cup: 16.2 calories, 0.2 g fat, 80.8 mg sodium, 3.5 g carbs (1.6 g fiber, 1.8 g sugar), 0.7 g protein
1.9 g of net carbs
These crunchy stalks are 96 percent water and low-carb. In addition to being super hydrating, one cup also contains a good amount of vitamin K. They are great for a snack when paired with peanut butter.
Per 1 cup: 21 calories, 0.1 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 4.8 g carbs (2.9 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar), 0.8 g protein
1.9 g of net carbs
Eggplant is extremely versatile in cooking as it doesn’t have a strong taste and bakes well. It contains antioxidants and has a low net carb count.
Per 1 cup: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 30 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein
2 g of net carbs
The trend of cauliflower everything has not gone away, and for good reason. The vegetable is versatile (hello, cauliflower rice) and low-carb.
Per 1 cup: 18.6 calories, 0.1 g fat, 45.2 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1.9 g fiber, 2.2 g sugar), 0.8 g protein
2.1 g of net carbs
Raw radishes are great for throwing on top of salads, and they’re also low in net carbs! They are also a great source for vitamin B6, which helps support immune function.
Per 1 cup: 27 calories, 0.16 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 5.2 g carbs (2.8 g fiber, 1.88 g sugar), 2.95 g protein
2.4 g of net carbs
Asparagus is high in iron, vitamins A, C, and K, and also has a low net carb count. Wrap the asparagus in prosciutto for a quick keto-friendly appetizer.
Per 1 cup: 19.8 calories, 0.2 g fat, 12.4 mg sodium, 4.2 g carbs (1.4 g fiber, 2.1 g sugar), 1.5 g protein
2.8 g of net carbs
While other varieties of squash (like butternut) contain quite a few carbohydrates, one cup of raw zucchini only has 2.8 net carbs. They are easy to cook, by sautéing them, roasting them, steaming them, or grilling them.
Per 1 cup: 22 calories, 0.1 g fat, 16 mg sodium, 5.2 g carbs (2.2 g fiber, 2.8 g sugar), 1.1 g protein
3 g of net carbs
Cabbage may not have the reputation of other leafy greens, but it certainly is low in carbohydrates and is great for your heart health.
Per 1 cup: 15.6 calories, 0.2 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 3.8 g carbs (0.6 g fiber, 1.8 g sugar), 0.6 g protein
3.2 g of net carbs
Add cucumbers to a salad or sandwich, or use them as the base for a keto-friendly snack like everything cream cheese cucumbers. They are super hydrating and also contain 2.6 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Per 1 cup: 31 calories, 0.4 g fat, 30 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (2.4 g fiber, 1.5 g sugar), 2.5 g protein
3.6 g of net carbs
Broccoli has a high water content (which accounts for 89 percent of the vegetable), resulting in a low carb count. Plenty of keto recipes use broccoli, like this one for sheet-pan Italian pork chops.
Per 1 cup: 27 calories, 0.2 g fat, 45.2 mg sodium, 6.3 g carbs (2.7 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1.1 g protein
3.6 g of net carbs
You may not hear much about fennel, but it is a low-carb. The seeds are easy to cook with and help to debloat.
Per 1 cup: 26.8 calories, 0.3 g fat, 7.5 mg sodium, 5.8 g carbs (1.8 g fiber, 3.9 g sugar), 1.3 g protein
4 g of net carbs
This fruit, which we cook like a vegetable, is not only high in vitamin C, but it also contains antioxidants and reduce cholesterol.
Per 1 cup: 37.8 calories, 0.3 g fat, 22 mg sodium, 7.9 g carbs (3.3 g fiber, 1.9 g sugar), 3.0 g protein
4.6 g of net carbs
You may not know it, but one cup of Brussels sprouts accounts for 125 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and 195 percent of your daily value of vitamin K. Their low net carb count will also keep you in ketosis, so enjoy this fall vegetable whenever you can!
Per 1 cup (uncooked): 36.4 calories, 0.5 g fat, 29.9 mg sodium, 7.3 g carbs (2.6 g fiber, 1.6 g sugar), 2.5 g protein
4.7 g of net carbs
You won’t have to worry about leaving ketosis when having kale. With a low net carb count and high level of protein per cup, you are also getting 354 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and 1,328 percent of your daily value of vitamin K, which is extremely healthy for helping to clot blood and avoid excessive bleeding.
Bell Peppers (Red)
Per 1 cup: 39 calories, 0.5 g fat, 6 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3.1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 1.5 g protein
5.9 g of net carbs
Bell peppers come in many color options—red, yellow, orange and green—but the red ones are the sweetest. They are great for filling you up and limiting carbs without a whole lot of calories.
Per 1 cup: 44 calories, 0.3 g fat, 1.3 mg sodium, 9.9 g carbs (4 g fiber, 34.5 g sugar), 2.4 g protein
5.9 g of net carbs
One cup of raw green beans has 2.7 grams of fiber, but boil them and that increases to 4 grams, thus also decreasing the net carbs.
Per 1 cup: 64 calories, 0 g fat, 6.4 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 1.6 g protein
8 g of net carbs
Onions are in many savory dishes, and using them in your dishes won’t hurt a ketosis state. They are also naturally sodium- and cholesterol-free.
Per 1 cup: 52.5 calories, 0.3 g fat, 88.3 mg sodium, 12.3 g carbs (3.6 g fiber, 6.1 g sugar), 1.2 g protein
8.7 g of net carbs
Carrots are a little higher in net carbs than other vegetables, but don’t let that deter you from eating them. One cup won’t set you back, as it would take a larger cheat meal to get you out of ketosis.
Per 1 cup (boiled): 134 calories, 0.4 g fat, 4.8 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (8.8 g fiber, 9.5 g sugar), 8.6 g protein
16.2 g of net carbs
Another vegetable that is a little higher in carbohydrates is peas. When boiled, one cup has 16.2 grams of net carbs but also 8.6 grams of protein. Using them sparingly in recipes and as main components will help you stay in ketosis.
Per 1 cup (raw): 99.7 calories, 0.4 g fat, 13.3 mg sodium, 23.9 g carbs (6.5 g fiber, 6.4 g sugar), 1.6 g protein
17.4 g of net carbs
Yes, raw parsnips are a little high in net carbs than other vegetables, but once boiled, the net carbs are reduced to 11. Use them as one of the main components in a meal (like a variation of pasta) and they are safe for the keto diet.
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By Mark Sisson
There’s no question that the ketogenic diet is generating lots of buzz (just search for #keto on Instagram; you’ll see nearly 4 million entries). Put simply, a well-designed keto diet is a sustainable eating plan that helps people free themselves from carbohydrate dependency. If you’re left wondering, “What about vegetables and fruit—aren’t they carbs?,” you’re not alone. I’m going to share with you how you can get the advantages of keto, plus have your vegetables and eat them, too.
Let’s back up for a second, for a quick explanation of what the keto diet is. It involves a significant reduction in the wildly excessive carbohydrate intake of the standard Western, grain-based diet and emphasizes healthy, nutritious fats as your predominant source of dietary calories. When you go keto, some two-thirds of your dietary calories come from healthy fats (65 to 75%). Protein intake is moderate—just enough to sustain lean muscle mass (generally 20 to 25% of calories)—and carb intake is comparatively minimal (5 to 10%).
One thing I see often is keto enthusiasts making the mistake of obsessing over macronutrient numbers and sacrificing nutrient density in their pursuit of keto. The fundamental goal of my new book, The Keto Reset Diet, is to help you become expert at burning stored energy in the form of fat and ketones, while enjoying your meals without having to precisely measure macros.
Vegetables—especially leafy greens, cruciferous and other high-fiber, above-ground veggies (e.g., onions, leeks, chard, celery, etc.)—are a healthy centerpiece for a keto diet. They provide important micronutrients and antioxidants, play a key role in supporting a thriving intestinal microbiome, and stimulate minimal insulin production.
A large salad with abundant and varied produce and satisfying natural fats from clean animal sources or high-fat plants (like avocado, olive, coconut, and their oils) is a healthy ketogenic meal. Vegetables have ample fiber and water content and minimal net carbohydrate count—so even hard-core keto enthusiasts can eat heaping quantities of vegetables (and a bit of fresh fruit, and incidental carbs from nuts, seeds, very dark chocolate, and other nutrient-dense foods).
If you are new to keto and carefully tracking your carbohydrate intake to adhere to the often-recommended 50 grams per day or below, it’s helpful to have a general idea of the carbohydrate contribution of vegetables.
Note: You may have heard the term “net carbs” bandied about among your nutrition-obsessed friends. This entails subtracting the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams of any food. Food manufacturers have taken liberties with this concept to tout heavily processed bars and snack foods with low net-carb values. This calculation can be misleading, so much so that I recommend using the net-carb calculation for high fiber vegetables only, and counting gross values when it comes to other foods, especially stuff in a wrapper, box or bag.
So back to those vegetables. Here are some more of my favorite options and their gross carb content per 1 cup. You can see that even with abundant daily vegetable consumption, you will be safely under the 50 gram per day keto threshold, particularly when you take net carb adjustments into account.
Notice that I haven’t listed any root veggies or tubers, like sweet potatoes, squash, rutabaga, carrots, and beets. That’s because root vegetables and tubers are more starchy. They contain fewer net carbs and higher gross carbs, and they stimulate a higher glycemic response and insulin production. I recommend temporary elimination or sincere moderation of these varieties during your keto efforts.
I also occasionally eat a small amount of berries, the most appropriate fruit choice for minimizing your carb intake but maintaining optimum nutrition. Berries are high in antioxidants and lower in glycemic value than other fruits. For reference, one-half cup of berries contributes 6 to 8 grams of carbs for a high dose of phytonutrients.
Though it cuts out certain foods, the keto diet is anything but limiting. Check out some recipes below from The Keto Reset Diet; I think you’ll find that these and the others in the book are tasty and satisfying. And as you get into it, you’ll see that a nutrient-dense ketogenic diet is a safe, sustainable approach that will offer you the best results for metabolic flexibility and overall health.
Baked Avocados, Two Ways
- Basic Baked Avocados
- Next Level Baked Avocados
Last Updated on January 1, 2020 by Radica Vuckova
Following the keto diet can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re just starting out on your new lifestyle change. A lot of people who are joining the ketogenic lifestyle may go ahead and assume that all fruits and vegetables are safe to consume on keto, not fully aware that there are actually some fruits and veggies that should be avoided and not consumed because of their high carb content.
Can I eat fruit?
When switching over to the ketogenic diet, fruit is definitely the most confusing part of what to eat and what not to eat. For many years, fruit has always been marketed as something to healthy to consume in our diets.
While there are some fruits that can be healthy when consumed in moderation, on a ketogenic diet, the biggest aim is to consume a lower amount of carbohydrates (under 30 grams a day). In most fruits, one piece of fruit would be the majority of your carbohydrate intake for the entire day.
Fruits have natural sugars (called fructose) running in them, ketogenic users have to carefully monitor the amount of low carb fruits that they intake each and every day. This means that berries (raspberries and blackberries) are the fruit of choice for the majority of people on the ketogenic diet.
Just as a general rule, avoid any medium or large sized fruits, as they will have too many sugars in them and will take you out of ketosis.
However, if you are cutting fruits out of your diet, make sure that you’re replacing the fruits with vegetables. You can easily get the nutrients that you receive from fruits from your daily vegetable intake, except with a lower amount of sugar (and carbs)!
Below, we have created a list of fruits that are appropriate to eat on the ketogenic diet, the number of carbs per a serving, and the serving size of the fruit. All other fruits that are not on this list have not been included because their sugar content is too high.
|Fruit||Net carbs (per 100g)||Serving size|
|Avocado||1.84||½ medium avocado|
|Tomato||2.69||One small tomato|
|Rhubarb||2.74||Two full stalks|
|Coconut meat||6.23||One cup w/ shredded|
|Honeydew melon||5.68||One cup|
Can I eat vegetables on keto?
Vegetables are a great thing to eat on keto and can actually replace a lot of the vitamins and minerals that you’re missing out on by not consuming fruit. However, just like fruits, there are some vegetables that should be avoided because the starch content is too high! As just a general rule on keto, if it’s leafy or if it’s green, you can have it! However, if it’s a starch, it should be avoided on keto, especially if you’re just starting out.
Keep in mind that keto is a low carb diet, but that does not mean that it’s a no carb diet. While vegetables do have carbs in them, veggies have a lot of fiber in them too! Fiber is discounted when you calculate your net carbs, which means that you’re going to subtract the total carb value from the total fiber value.
For example, if a food has 12 grams of carbs, but it has 8 grams of fiber, your total net carb intake is 4. This means that you may have more wiggle room to add to your veggies than you think you do!
Below, we have a list of the veggies with the lowest carb intake.
|Vegetable||Carbs (per 100g)||Serving size|
|Cucumber||1.9||1/3 of a cucumber|
|Swiss chard||4||One cup|
|Iceberg lettuce||1||½ head|
|Zucchini||3||1/3 of a zucchini|
While the veggies that we have above have the lowest carbs out of a lot of veggies, there are still a lot of other veggies that you can eat! You can either eat these veggies in smaller amounts or whatever you so choose, but here’s the list:
- Alfalfa sprout
- Banana pepper
- Beet greens
- Bok choy
- Broccoli rabe
- Brussels sprout
- Butterhead lettuce
- Collard greens
- Iceberg lettuce
- Jalapeno pepper
- Mustard greens
- Red tomato
- Romaine lettuce
- Spaghetti squash
- Summer squash
- Yellow tomatoes
Make sure that you stay away from:
- Beans (including green beans)
What can I eat on keto?
In simple terms, you should be eating real food, meaning that you should be limiting your consumption of foods that are processed. Meats, eggs, fish, nuts, yogurts, vegetables, and some fruits are safe to eat on the ketogenic diet.
Not to mention, that while you’re on the keto diet, you should also avoid any food that has preservatives, colorings, and any GMO ingredients. Keto isn’t just about losing weight, but it’s also about adopting a healthier lifestyle for yourself. On keto, you can eat:
- Grass-fed and wild animals:
Grass-fed meats such as beef, lamb, venison, and goat, wild-caught fish and seafood, pastured poultry and pork, pastured gelatin, ghee, butter, and eggs.
- Grass-fed liver, heart, kidneys, tongue, and other organ meats.
- Healthy fats (list of fats you are allowed to eat while on keto diet)
- Monounsaturated fats (avocado, olive oil)
- Polyunsaturated omega 3s (seafood, fish)
- Saturated (butter, coconut oil, ghee, duck fat, chicken fat, goose fat)
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, chard, radicchio, chives, endive, bok choy, Swiss chard)
- Celery, asparagus, zucchini, bamboo shoots, cucumbers
- Coffee (black, with cream, or with coconut milk)
- Tea (herbal or black)
- Lemon juice, lime juice, or zest
- Whey protein, egg white protein, and gelatin
- Mayonnaise, pesto, bone broth, mustard, pickles, fermented foods
On the ketogenic diet, there are some foods that are okay to eat, but you should only eat them once in a great while. This list includes:
- Vegetables, fruits, mushrooms
- Root vegetables (spring onion, leek, onion, garlic, winter squash, mushrooms)
- Coconut, rhubarb, olives
- Berries (blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- Cruciferous vegetables (red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, turnips, white cabbage, green cabbage)
- Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)
- Grain-fed animal sources- Beef, eggs, ghee, poultry, bacon that’s grain fed
- Nuts and seeds- Macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds.
- Fermented soy products- Black soybeans, edamame
- Condiments- Stevia, Swerve, Trivia, ketchup, sugar-free gums and mints
On the ketogenic diet, there is a decent list of foods that you should avoid, which include:
- Avoid foods contains carrageenan (almond milk products), MSG, sulfites, BPAs, wheat gluten
- Artificial sweeteners
- Pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, dried fruits, fruit juices
In summary, here’s a quick little chart for you to look at to understand what’s okay and what’s not okay to eat on the keto diet.
|Okay to eat on keto||Not okay to eat on keto|
|Vegetables that grow above ground||Vegetables that grow below ground|
|Avocado, berries, melon||Any other vegetables|
At the end of the article, you should always be cautious when looking to eat fruit or vegetables on the ketogenic diet. When you’re looking to limit your daily intake of carbohydrates, it’s best to stick to berries and dark greens.
If you’re looking to replace your daily dessert with fruits, try to keep your fruit consumption to a moderate amount, only occasionally eating and not over-indulging in your fruit intake. At the end of the day, fruit is the candy that nature produces, so it does contain a rather high amount of fructose, which can have negative consequences on your ketone production when over consumed.
- The Best Keto Snacks to Include in Your Keto Diet
- The Best Keto Friendly Restaurant Chains
- Mediterranean vs Keto Diet
- Common Mistakes to Avoid on the Keto Diet That Will Keep the Weight Loss Coming
- Keto Diet vs Vegan Diet
- The Best Vitamins to Take on the Ketogenic Diet
- Whole30 vs Keto Compared
- 5 Best Ketogenic Books in 2018
- 8 Best Fruits for Weight Loss (That You Can Have Anytime!)
- How to Find the Best Diet Plan (That Actually Works in 2019)
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.
Classic Wedge Salad
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This Easy Iceberg Wedge Salad with Keto Blue Cheese Dressing is an fantastic appetizer for company and perfect for making ahead!
The first time I ever had a classic wedge salad was in a restaurant and I don’t even remember which one, but I remember that delicious salad! It was cold and crisp and had all the classic toppings of bacon and blue cheese dressing. It’s a very pretty way to present a salad to guests for a party and super simple to make ahead as well. Having all your toppings ready to go in a salad bar style will make it even easier for your guests to serve themselves with as much or as little toppings as they like.
Creamy Keto Blue Cheese Dressing
Even if you’re not a fan of blue cheese dressing, you can still enjoy this classic wedge salad, just choose another keto option for dressing.You can offer your guests multiple options at your salad bar, like my Ranch Dressing as well as my Thousand Island dressing. Whatever dressing you prefer, as long as you stick to crisp, cold iceberg salad to start, you’ve got a great appetizer for company. But if you are a blue cheese dressing lover, you are going to love this recipe below. It’s also simple to adapt if you want a creamier or chunkier style dressing. Simply add more mayo and sour cream for creamier or add more crumbled blue cheese for chunkier.
Being the summer months, I’m always creating easier recipes that don’t require a whole lot of time in the kitchen. I’d rather be kayaking on a lake, or swimming in a pool with my family than slaving away in the kitchen. Making a simple recipe like this and adding some other protein source like Grilled Chicken with fresh herb marinade . Using the slow cooker in the summer is also a helpful strategy to save time in the kitchen. My favorite slow cooker summer meal is this Slow Cooker Garlic Lemon Chicken Drumsticks, great amount to feed a crowd or have left overs!
If you love recipes like this for yourself and family, you might be interested in my meal planning membership. Weekly low carb and/or keto meal plan sent to your inbox every Friday with shopping list. The best part about my meal planning feature is that if you aren’t interested in one of the dinner meals you can swap it out for something else! You can even change serving sizes and the shopping list will adjust! It pretty amazing software and I hope you’ll take advantage of it. You can have a sustainable low carb/keto lifestyle when you’re well prepared and planning meals is the key! LEARN MORE TODAY!
Keto Iceberg Wedge Salad with Keto Blue Cheese Dressing
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Keto Iceberg Wedge Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 538 kcal Author Brenda Bennett/ Sugar Free Mom
- 1 head iceberg lettuce cut into 4 wedges
- 1/2 cup tomato diced
- 1/4 cup red onion diced or 25 grams
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped, cooked crisp
- Keto blue cheese dressing- see below
Keto Blue Cheese Dressing
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
Place each iceberg wedge on a serving plate. Set aside.
Make the dressing by whisking the first 6 ingredients together then stir in blue cheese and chives. Taste and adjust if you need to add salt and pepper. Top each wedge with 1/4 cup dressing.
Evenly distribute the tomato, onion and pancetta over each wedge. Serve immediately.
Net Carbs: 6g
Nutrition Facts Keto Iceberg Wedge Salad Amount Per Serving (1 wedge) Calories 538 Calories from Fat 495 % Daily Value* Fat 55g85% Saturated Fat 13g81% Cholesterol 84mg28% Sodium 840mg37% Potassium 390mg11% Carbohydrates 8g3% Fiber 2g8% Sugar 4g4% Protein 9g18% Vitamin A 1115IU22% Vitamin C 11mg13% Calcium 129mg13% Iron 1mg6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Blessings, Brenda
Low Carb and Keto Friendly Veggies and Fruits
Plus 18 low carb and keto friendly veggie and fruit recipes
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, which is perfect timing if you’re following a low carb diet like Atkins, since non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits are high in fiber. Fiber plays an important role because it helps you sustain steady energy levels, regulate your blood sugar and control your hunger, all of which help you lose weight. You can learn more about how to get more fiber on a low carb or keto diet here.
The good news is that if you’re doing Atkins, you’re eating more veggies every day than the average American, and there are plenty of low carb vegetables and fruits that are ripe for the picking in June (buying veggies and fruits in season is one of my top budget-friendly tips, and here are 8 other tips for doing a low carb or keto diet on a budget.)
If you’re ready hit the farmer’s market or the produce section of your grocery store, here is a list of vegetables and fruits (plus low carb recipes) that will add color and variety to your meals. Fresh herbs are also flourishing this month and add a pop of flavor to many of these dishes:
Vegetables in season in June:
Asparagus—Wild Salmon Vera Cruz with Grilled Asparagus and Watercress
Avocado—Cucumber Avocado Salad with Toasted Cumin Dressing
Beets—Baby Spinach, Pickled Beets and Tomato Salad
Chard—Swiss Chard Gratin
Green beans—Lemon-Basil Green Beans
Kale—Sausages with Baby Kale and Mustard Sauce
Leeks—Asparagus and Leek Soup
Radishes—Radish Bites with Butter and Sea Salt: Trim root ends off radishes and dip in whipped unsalted butter and sea salt for a delicious low carb snack or appetizer.
Spinach—Grilled Lime Chicken over Spinach Salad with Feta-Ranch Dressing
Sugar snap peas—Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas with Mint
Zucchini—Flank Steaks with Smoky Cilantro Sauce and Zucchini
Fruits in season in June:
Blueberries—Low Carb Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake Tartlets
Cantaloupe—Toasted Pecan Cantaloupe Kebabs
Cherries—Sweet Cherry Pie
Mango—Curried Shrimp with Green Mango Salad
Rhubarb—Vanilla Mousse with Rhubarb Sauce
Strawberries—Extra Creamy Strawberry Shake
List of the Best Low-Carb Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables get less of a bad rap than fruits do when it comes to carbs. They generally contain less sugar, and thus fewer carbs than fruits.
Even when you’re limiting carbs, vegetables should be an important source of nutrition in your diet. They’re high in fiber and lower in overall calories per serving than any other food group. Also, they contain an array of healthy compounds, including phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
In general, the higher the water content in a vegetable, the lower the carb content per standard serving.
These are the best low-carb choices.
Cucumbers are a refreshing and nutritious addition to any salad — Greek or otherwise! Peeled, they contain just 2.16 g of carbs for every 100 g. If you prefer them with peel, that’s 3.63 g, which is still pretty low.
2. Iceberg lettuce
Perhaps one of the most popular — though least nutritious — vegetables, iceberg lettuce has only 2.97 g of carbohydrate per 100 g. Pair it with several other veggies on this list to get a low-carb salad with plenty of nutrients.
Celery has the same number of carbs as iceberg lettuce (2.97 g per 100 g). Enjoy this versatile veggie with salads or in casseroles, or filled with an unsweetened nut butter.
4. White mushrooms
Mushrooms contain only 3.26 g of carbs per 100 g. Add them to an egg white omelet for a healthy, low-carb breakfast.
For every 100 g of spinach, you’ll get 3.63 g of carbohydrate. To put that in perspective, that’s only about 1 g per cup. So you can load up on spinach salads and top with lean chicken breasts and fresh strawberries.
6. Swiss chard
Another nutrient-dense leafy vegetable, Swiss chard packs only 3.74 g of carbs per 100 g. Swiss chard is great in soups and sautéed with garlic.
A nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable, raw broccoli contains 6.64 g of carbs and 2.6 g of fiber, netting only 4.04 g of carbs per 100 g. Try it raw in a salad, lightly steamed, or in a stir-fry tossed with garlic, ginger, and a touch of olive oil.
8. Bell peppers
A light, crunchy snack when raw, or excellent sautéed with your other favorite vegetables, bell peppers have just 5.88 g of carbs per 100 g.
Zucchini can be “zoodled,” or turned into noodles with the help of a spiralizer or serrated peeler. This makes for a delicious and lower-carb alternative to pasta, at just 3.11 g of carbs per 100 g.
Or, try zucchini thinly sliced and grilled or roasted, and then layered with other vegetables and sauce for a low-carb “lasagna.”
Cauliflower has just 4.97 g of carbs and 2.0 g of fiber, netting only 2.97 g of carbs per 100 g serving! In addition to enjoying its florets, you can turn it into a tasty and low-carb alternative to rice or other grains.
Just grate it using a food processor and then serve it, cooked or raw, either as a side dish or mixed in with other vegetables and protein, and topped with a dressing of your choice.
Asparagus has 3.88 g of carbs per 100 g. Try it steamed or brushed with a little olive oil and roasted in the oven or grill. Top it off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
12. Alfalfa sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts, which are the sprouted seeds of alfalfa, have 2.1 g of carbs per 100 g. This nutritious veggie is a perfect salad topper.
Radishes have just 3.4 g of carbs per 100 g, and are an often overlooked, but tasty and nutritious vegetable.
Sliced radishes make a great addition to salads, or enjoy whole radishes with a pinch of sea salt or dipped into your favorite spread or dressing.
Arugula is a versatile leafy green that has just 3.65 g of carbs per 100 g. It’s flavorful, with a bit of a peppery-spicy quality, and is a particularly good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and calcium.
Try it in salads mixed in with other greens, or cooked into sauces, soups, or stews.
Radicchio has just 4.48 g of carbs per 100 g, and its sturdy leaves can be used as lettuce wraps to fill with your choice of ingredients.
Radicchio can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a number of ways. It even holds up to grilling.
Tomatoes have just 3.89 g of carbs and 1.2 g of fiber, netting only 2.69 g of carbs per 100 g serving!
Enjoy them raw as an easy, healthy snack with salt and pepper, as toppings on salads or sandwiches, or cooked into soups or used to make sauces.
Pickled or fermented vegetables, from cucumber pickles to cabbage sauerkraut or kimchi, can be another low-carb option to vary your vegetable intake. Opt for fermented, not just pickled, vegetables, which contain gut healthy probiotics. Check the list of ingredients to make sure no sugar was added.
Vegetable nutrition chart
Below is a quick-and-easy guide of the nutritional value of low-carb vegetables — feel free to bring it with you on your next food shopping trip! Remember, these values are for raw vegetables (carbohydrate content can shift slightly during cooking).
For those interested in net carbs, those in this chart.
* Nutritional values as determined by the USDA for raw, uncooked vegetables.
Subtract Dietary Fiber
From the time we are young, our parents, teachers, pediatricians and other influential adults instruct us to eat fruits and vegetables as a way to stay healthy. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” or so we are told. While a diet high in fruits and vegetables is certainly better than eating potato chips and fast food hamburgers, the ketogenic diet asks us to stay away from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including staples like apples, bananas, oranges, and potatoes.
Why Does the Keto Diet Prohibit Certain Fruits and Vegetables?
The most important aim of the keto diet is to limit the consumption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which then becomes the main source of energy the body uses throughout the day. Insulin is thus also produced to help the body process the excess glucose.
By starving the body of carbohydrates, the body will naturally enter into a state known as ketosis, wherein ketones (instead of glucose), become the main energy source the body uses. Optimum ketone levels in the body offer several health benefits, including weight loss, controlled insulin levels (and thus prevention of diabetes), increased mental focus, among others.
While limiting carbohydrate intake is your main task with the keto diet, the limited amount of carbohydrates you are allowed to have should come from fruits and vegetables.
What is Not Allowed?
Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, and asparagus are prohibited in the keto diet because they are extremely high in carbs while offering little else nutritionally. Furthermore, sweet fruits, such as apples, oranges, bananas and others are also on the do-not-eat list because of the high sugar and carb content.
Most people on a keto diet aim to keep their carbohydrate intake under 30 grams per day and the USDA estimates1 that one large apple alone has over 30 grams of carbs. It is preferable to get the limited number of carbs from other fruit and vegetable sources that are lower in carbs per weight while also offering other nutritional benefits for the overall diet.
What Fruits and Vegetables You Can Eat
Instead of the more traditional tree fruits, berries are a much better fruit option for the keto diet. One cup of strawberries only contains 8 grams of carbs while a cup of blueberries, which are also high in antioxidants, contains only 17 grams of carbs.
In addition, avocados are generally accepted as a positive fruit to include in your keto diet. One half of an avocado contains less than 2 grams of carbs while also being high in beneficial fats like Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and oleic acid.
Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale, are usually considered good vegetables for the keto diet when consumed in moderation. Both of these vegetables are extremely low in carbohydrates while constituting an excellent source of fiber, folate, carotenoids, and other essential vitamins and minerals2 that your body needs.
Please keep in mind that although on nutrition labels in the US, fiber is counted toward the total carbohydrates in foods, it is indigestible by the human body and therefore should not be counted toward your daily carb limit. (Source)
Here’s how you count how many carbs you are eating that contribute toward your daily intake:
Carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs
Net carbs (on the far right of the table below) contribute toward your maximum daily carb intake.
Look up your favorite veggies below to see if they’re low carb friendly!
Please note, this data is per 100 grams of each veggie.
Search for a specific vegetable:
13 low-carb fruits and vegetables
In any diet, vegetables are an important source of nutrition. They are particularly useful as part of a carb controlled diet for providing nutrients while restricting carbohydrate intake.
They are high in fiber and lower in overall calories per serving than any other food group. They also contain a wide range of healthful compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
In general, the higher the water content, the lower the carb content is per 100 g serving. The following are the vegetable choices with the fewest carbs.
Cucumber is a refreshing and nutritious addition to any salad. When a person peels the skin, a cucumber contains just 2.16 g of carbohydrates per 100 g serving.
Cucumbers with the skin attached provide 3.63 g of carbohydrates, making it a high-ranking low carb vegetable whether a person likes eating the skin or not.
However, most of a cucumber’s nutrients are in the skin. For this reason, people should try to eat the skin along with the rest of the cucumber. Those following a carb controlled diet should consider a type of cucumber with thin skin, such as a Persian cucumber. English cucumbers tend to have thicker skin, which would increase the carb count.
Read more about the health benefits of cucumbers here.
8. Iceberg lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is perhaps one of the most popular vegetables, despite being low in overall nutritional content.
However, iceberg lettuce has only 2.97 g of carbohydrates per 100 g.
Pair it with other vegetables on this list to create a low carb salad with a varied spread of nutrients.
Celery is a versatile vegetable that goes well with salads and casseroles.
This vegetable provides the same amount of carbohydrates as iceberg lettuce (2.97 g per 100 g).
It can add a satisfying crunch to many meals as part of any low carb diet.
Here, learn about what makes celery nutritious.
10. White mushrooms
Mushrooms provide only 3.26 g of carbohydrates per 100 g. People can add them to an egg white omelet for a healthful, low carb breakfast.
Some research suggests that mushrooms can preserve heart health and reduce the risk of some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about the health benefits of mushrooms here.
Every 100 g of spinach provides 3.63 g of carbohydrates. That only comes to around 1 g per cup.
Spinach is a vital source of iron, calcium, and magnesium, and it can be especially useful for supplementing these essential minerals in a vegetarian or vegan diet. People can use spinach to fortify salads, pasta dishes, and wraps.
Learn more about the many health benefits of spinach here.
12. Swiss chard
Swiss chard is another nutrient-dense leafy vegetable.
It provides only 3.74 g of carbohydrates in every 100 g serving. People can enjoy Swiss chard in soups or sautéed with garlic.
Read more about the powerful nutritional content of Swiss chard here.
Tomatoes are a type of legume. They only contain 3.89 g of carbohydrates for every 100 g.
Tomatoes are extremely versatile. People can consume them raw, roast them, or throw them into a salad.
Not only are they delicious, but they can also reduce a person’s risk of stroke.
Find out more about tomatoes here.