Table of Contents
- Low Carb Vegetables: Backbone of Keto Foods
- Selecting Low Carb Veggies on Keto: Some Basic Rules to Keep In Mind
- Keto-Friendly Vegetables List: The Best 10
- Vegetables on Keto: Putting Limit and Avoid
- Avoid Completely on Keto: Legumes and Tubes
- Concluding Thoughts
Low Carb Vegetables: Backbone of Keto Foods
Vegetables should construct the core of any healthy diet design. It’s an established fact that vegetables are good for our health irrespective of which diet plan we choose.
Having said that a regimented diet like keto doesn’t allow to eat every type of veggies as some of them are higher in carbs and pose the threat of kicking us out of ketosis.
Vegetables definitely fall into the league of the most nutritious foods we can take. However, we have to keep a few starchy and carbs-filled veggies out of our keto foods list.
The general rule of thumb goes like:
- Vegetables that grow above ground are contains comparatively lower carbs, hence considered as keto-friendly.
- Vegetables that breed below grounds or as people say ‘root vegetables’ possess relatively more carbs. Therefore, we have to keep a vigil eye when consume them.
Selecting Low Carb Veggies on Keto: Some Basic Rules to Keep In Mind
When we choose an extremely low carb diet like keto, we should select our carbs macros in a way that it equals or below 5% of whole calories. This 5% turns out to be 20 grams of net carbs per day basis for the average person.
Above Ground Vegetables: Suit Best on keto Foods
While on keto, we have to be prudent while selecting vegetables. Our preference should be on those veggies that are high in nutrients while at the same time contain low carbs. It’s well established theory that vegetables that grow above grounds usually low in carbs and happen to be keto-generic. From above ground vegetable image, we can see all falls under 5 grams of carbs per 100 gram serving.
Below Ground Vegetables: Consume With Care
Below ground vegetables are not recommended in keto diet because of their high carbs and starch content while low in both fat and protein. They also lack some important vitamins and iron which are essential nutrients for our body. When we intent to eat below ground veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes or turnips, we have to carefully check the carb counts.
Organic Vegetables: Provide Better Alternative
Off late, we see a craze on organic vegetables. Nutrient-wise, they don’t hold any significant difference than non-organic vegetables. However, for the following reasons we should turn to them:
- With less amount of pesticide content, organic vegetables are verified to be harmless for the body.
- Organic vegetables are GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) free.
- They taste better than their non-organic counterparts.
Frozen Vegetables: As Good As Fresh Counterparts
Freezing is an accepted conservation method as it doesn’t need any use of added preservers. In frozen vegetables, vitamins and minerals remain sealed while other nutrients like fats, protein and carbs are not got affected. In contrast, fresh veggies tend to lose vitamins and nutrients during storing process.
Besides, frozen veggies are cheaper than fresh counterparts and provide us with the option of bulk buying as we don’t have to bother about getting rotten.
Serving Sizes: Important to Have a Clear Idea
A serving size is the volume of a food or drink that one can consume at one go and the size is normally determined by either food manufacturers or by oneself. The serving sizes that we see on food labels are fixed by makers, so don’t forget to examine this serving sizes with your dietary plans.
We use some utensils to measure the serving size like 1 teaspoon, 1 slice, 1 cup etc or some metrics like per 100 grams, 1 oz. etc.
When it comes to measuring serving size of vegetables, people normally use per 100 grams metric to measure the net carb count. As an instance, for following vegetables, 100 grams approx. equivalents to:
- Fresh and green veggies like kale, lettuce: One cup
- Orange vegetables like carrots or pumpkin: one-half cup
- Starchy Veggies like cassava or sweet potato: half of a piece
If we are fond of cassava and like to have it with grass-fed butter on special occasions, we can eat only half of it because 100 grams of cassava possesses 18 grams of net carbs. Consuming the entire cassava would put our daily carbs limit in peril as in that case net carb count would reach 36 grams.
Keto-Friendly Vegetables List: The Best 10
Among various low-carb vegetables, we will discuss about 10 keto-generic vegetables that are not only low in carbs but also full of nutrients and tasty to eat.
Spinach is considered to be the most consumed leafy green veggies on a keto diet because of their exceptionally low carb nature with high nutrient level.
This low carb vegetable also offers us with key health benefits. Experiments found that it plays a vital role in decreasing harm to our DNA.
Besides, through research it has been learned that this veggie helps shield and boost our heart health. It also plays a part in preventing common eye ailments i.e. cataracts.
Furthermore, spinach is a great source of numerous minerals and vitamins, especially famous for its vitamin K content.
“This super green vegetable is packed with vitamin A, C, K, calcium and iron. It’s very low in carbs and makes for an amazing addition to any meal.”
says Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD.
However, experts always recommend to take raw spinach as its carb content becomes extra concentrated when it cooks.
For instance, one cup of raw spinach possesses 1 grams of carbs and most of which are fiber. Whereas when cooked that one cup spinach offers 7 grams of carbs out of which 4 grams are fiber.
Raw spinach are used to increase volume of lunch with salads. It can also be used in many different forms like baked chips or creamed etc.
Broccoli belongs to the league of cruciferous veggies. We should make this superfood an essential on the keto diet as its versatility allows it to use in a variety of dishes and also provides numerous health aids.
Broccoli is deemed as a nutritional bootstrapper, full of vitamins like A,B and C also rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium. It also contains antioxidants like lutein which saves our skin and eyes from UV harm.
Some researchers have been shown as to how broccoli intake helps decrease insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Those studies also found that this veggie can build a shield against various types of cancer, especially they got great results on prostate cancer.
We get 6 grams of carbs from a cup of raw broccoli out of which 2 grams are fiber.
“With just 2 grams of net carbs per ½ cup, broccoli is a major superfood that should be a staple on the keto diet.”
says Suzanne Dixon, RD.
Since staple foods like rice, pasta or potatoes are not allowed in keto diet, we can replace them with broccoli. We can have them in a variety of ways like steamed, dripped in cheese sauce, stir fry in butter, baked with bacon etc.
Addition of this versatile veggie would embolden keto vegetable list as it is full of nutrition and provide numerous health benefits.
Zucchini is a most commonly consumed summer squash on keto diet. Summer squash are those veggies that are long with soft skin and obviously edible.
However, we have to be careful in selecting squashes as most of them are high in carbs especially winter squashes.
Serving size one cup (122 grams) of zucchini possesses following nutrients:
- Total carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Net carbs: 3 grams
Zucchini is a great source of vitamins K, B6 and C. It also provides us with great amount of riboflavin and folate as they play a role in breaking down nutrients to generate energy.
“This summer squash is a perfect substitute if you are wanting pasta but adhering to the keto diet. It’s filled with vitamin C, A, and calcium, plus it’s low in carbs.”
Besides, antioxidant elements and low calories of zucchini is perfect for assisting weight loss. Moreover, it contains a lot of water which help us stay hydrated and its fiber content helps us feel satiated.
Zucchini uses widely in making “zoodles” which is known as keto noodles.
Asparagus is loaded with nutrient as it is a great source of vitamin A, C, and k. It also provides good amounts of fiber and full of folic acid. Besides, its chromium content help increase glucose carriage from the bloodstream into cells which is great news for type 2 diabetic patients.
A serving of 1 cup (170 grams) of cooked asparagus possesses 8 grams of carbs out of which 4 grams of fiber.
“Asparagus has just 2 grams of net carbs per 1 cup chopped, and it is super versatile. This green veggie is high in fiber and folate.”
Experiment conducted on test-tube yield the result that asparagus may help prevent development of numerous types of cancer. Another studies conducted on mice indicate that it might aid defend brain health.
We can have it by adding it to stir-fry, grilling is another option or can have it as hearty stews.
Kale has been gained popularity in recent times as its use in salad has become very common. It’s not only low in carbs but also rich in nutrients.
Like other leafy greens, kale provides us with vitamins A, C and K. Also possesses great amount of minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Another vital aspect of this leafy green is that it is loaded with helpful antioxidants which form protection against enduring diseases linked with aging.
“This super green is one of the few vegetables that is a good source of protein (3 grams per cup), and it’s also low in carbs and high in other nutrients like vitamin A, C and K,”
Research has shown that this veggie is very helpful in keeping our blood pressure down. It might also play a role in safeguarding heart disease and diabetes.
Serving size one cup (66 grams) of raw kale possesses following carbs:
- Total carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Net carbs: 6 grams
We can use kale in various ways – in omelets, kale chips, soups, salads etc.
People have a wrong notion that white vegetables are not as nutritious as their counterparts. Mushroom is the perfect answer to that erroneous conception. Have a look at the nutrition facts of mushroom given below (serving size one cup, 70 grams):
- Calories: 20
- Total Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1 grams
- Protein: 3 grams
From the facts above, we can draw the conclusion that this white vegetable is an ideal fit for keto foods.
“All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.”
Says nutritionist Kerry Torrens. Kerry is a member of the The Royal Society of Medicine, Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
Through research it has been confirmed that they possess solid anti-inflammatory elements. In fact, in one study conducted on 37 men with metabolic syndrome. For 16 weeks they were fed with 3.5 ounces of white mushrooms. At the end of the experiment result shown that inflammatory pointer of those subjects improves considerably.
Besides, this extremely low carb vegetables can provide some flavour into somewhat boring keto dishes.
Cauliflower is called ‘the darling’ of keto recipes for its versatility and low carbs content. That’s why we see the use of it in most keto dishes. We see the use of cauliflower for wraps and is a great substitute for higher carb foods like rice, potatoes.
Besides, its multipurpose cooking uses, it is high in nutrients. 100 grams serving of raw cauliflower provides 5 grams of carbs, out of which 3 grams are fiber,
“Cauliflower has a similar nutrition profile to broccoli. It’s also a great cruciferous veggie to choose when you’re on keto, as it has 1.5 grams of net carbs per half a cup.”
This cruciferous vegetables is linked with decreasing danger of heart ailments and cancer.
Interesting fact is that we consider cucumber as a vegetable, though in reality it is a fruit. Cucumbers contain very low carb while it provides us with a vibe of freshness during hot and humid conditions.
Another fascinating element of cucumbers is that it is rich in water content. The fact is that they are almost full of water, 96% to be precise. This water helps big time in our temperature regulation. We all know dehydration can affect our total bodily performance.
Besides, high water content of cucumber may play a role in our consistent bowel movements.
Studies experimented on animal indicate that cucumber contains elements that can prevent cancer and inflammation. This veggie also shows sign in defending brain health.
Serving size one cup (105 grams) of sliced cucumber possesses 4 grams of carbs, out of which fiber content is 1 grams.
Like cucumber, in principle they are fruits but we normally take them as vegetables.
Tomatoes can fit into any diet scheme as they are a great source of lycopene, a nutrient which can the ability to improve our heart health and especially effective in preventing prostate cancer. Consuming cooked over raw tomatoes are better as cooked version gives a raise to lycopene properties.
Moreover, studies revealed that cooking it with fats like olive oil can make it easily absorbed in our gut system.
Besides, tomatoes are full of vitamins and minerals like A, C, K and potassium respectively.
They contain very little digestible carbs. Serving size one cup (150 grams) of tomato possesses 6 grams of carbs, out of which 2 grams are fiber.
Though green beans belongs to legume league, they contain considerably lower carbs than other legumes.
One cup (120 grams) serving of baked green beans possesses 10 grams of total carbs. Don’t be surprised, net curbs comes down to 6 grams is 4 grams are fiber.
Animal experiments found that their high chlorophyll content may play an important role in preventing cancer.
Moreover, they are rich in carotenoids, this property can help improved our brain activities during older age.
Vegetables on Keto: Putting Limit and Avoid
Two groups of vegetables have been identified that we should avoid on keto diet as they can delay our getting into ketosis state:
- Starchy vegetables
Allowed in Control: Sweet Vegetables
Some veggies are higher in carbs compared to above-mentioned vegetables. However, we can still consume them in moderation on keto. One serving of these vegetables is enough for a day. Experts recommend eating this below mentioned vegetables along with leafy greens as it would help keeping carb counts low. Sweet vegetables of this group are:
- Pumpkin (5.15 grams per 100 grams servings)
- Carrots (6.75 grams per 100 grams servings)
- Winter Squash (7.10 grams per 100 grams servings)
- Onions (8.70 grams per 100 grams servings)
From the above list we will discuss a bit about carrots and Onions as keto dieters have been asking questions about these two vegetables more often.
Because of its starchy nature, experts often recommend having them in moderation while on keto. Like other root vegetables, they are a bit high on carbs. For example, a medium size carrots if weigh 60g, then it will give us approx. 4 grams of net carbs. Thinking not that much comparing to vegetables like potato. Actually it carbs content offers sugars like glucose, which can put our ketosis state in peril.
Carrots are primarily made up of water, 87%. However, dry weight is majorly carbs, 12%, out of which most portions are starch.
Cooked carrots can be more perilous as it can surge the falling through of mandatory cellulose. Consequently, it can create a greater glycaemic issues.
Almost every aspect of onions go against them to be considered as keto-friendly like they grow below ground and also high in carbs. One important aspect that allows onion intake in keto in moderation is that we can’t eat them raw or solo.
Besides, there are many varieties of onions in the market and not all of them are low in carbs. Yellow onions and scallions are considered to be most keto-friendly as they contain less carbs among many types.
People consume onions as a seasoning to foods because at one go we can’t take bulk amount of onions. Another most widespread use of onions is as a salad topping.
All in all, we can have onions on keto diet considering two aspects: right types and moderate amount.
Avoid Completely on Keto: Legumes and Tubes
Legumes remain a controversial topic on diet domain. In many diets, it is strictly prohibited. However, legumes are still used as main food in several cultures. How about keto diet? Do they allow in keto diet?
The legumes are a kind of vegetable that yield a pod with seeds inside them.
Because of their high carb content legumes are strictly discouraged to consume on keto diet. Legumes and beans typically contain 10-20 grams of net carbs per 100g serving.
List of low carb vegetables is endless that can be incorporated on keto diet. They are not only provide us with different taste but can also be used in different keto dishes.
They are not only low in carbs but also rich in vitamins and minerals. Besides, they may play a big part in decreasing a lot of diseases and can boost our general health.