To be successful on a ketogenic diet requires an understanding of which food you can and cannot eat.
Losing weight is great on the keto diet but, for many people around the world it has become more than a way of losing weight and has become a lifestyle.
Many keto recipes require you to consume lots of vegetables, but where many people go wrong is that do not understand that all vegetables are not always good.
…because all vegetables have carbs!
On keto you need to watch your carbohydrate intake as vegetables also fall under this category.
Many people who start keto assume vegetables are safe as they are known to be healthy and good for you.
Suddenly being told to cut back on certain vegetables may come as a shock.
Carbs can be found in all type of foods from the obvious bread, rice to the not so obvious vegetables and fruit. They all need to be considered when you are on a keto diet.
This post is to educate those new to keto to the best 16 Low Carb Vegetables That You Can Eat on a Keto Diet.
Related: What can I Eat on the Keto Diet?
General Rules to Follow:
As a newbie to the keto diet there are some general rules you can follow when it comes to which vegetables you can eat on the ketogenic diet.
vegetables grown above the ground are generally lower carb and therefore the best keto options.
vegetables grown below the ground such as root vegetables, contain more carbs and should be consumed with care, especially potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Also keto friendly veggies are those with leaves — all types of lettuces, spinach, etc. are good ketogenic options.
Green vegetables tend to be lower in carbs than veggies with a lot of color. For example, green cabbage is lower in carbs than purple cabbage. Green bell peppers are also somewhat lower in carbs than red or yellow peppers.
Related: Keto with Intermittent Fasting
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Counting Net Carbohydrates
It is important to understand that not every carb is equal, which is why we need to count net carbs.
When it comes to counting carbs on the ketogenic diet, most people track net carbs.
In order to calculate the net carbs you are eating, you take the total carbs and subtract any dietary fiber. Both of these numbers can be found on ingredient labels.
Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber = Net Carbs
So if 1 Tbsp. of your chosen food contains 8 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of dietary fiber, there are 3 grams of net carbs per serving.
In the case of fruit and vegetables, you may have to get a little more creative in finding these numbers … like searching on the USDA Food Composition Database or even online.
Related: 5 DAY KETO EGG FAST
Why are Net Carbs Used?
Dietary fiber does not have any significant metabolic effect. And since we are tracking carbs, we want to make sure our numbers are accurate.
Net carbs gets us closest to this number.
What Vegetables can you Eat on Keto?
1. Broccoli: 4 grams of net carbs
I have a love/hate relationship with broccoli, hate it boiled but love it with cheese sauce! That’s the beauty of a keto diet!
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked in many ways, steamed, roasted, sautéed or my favourite with cheese.
Broccoli is amazing on the keto diet because it can be transformed into so many dishes whether it’s just grilled, thrown into a stir-fry, turned into a pizza.
It also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins C and K.
2. Zucchini : 2 grams of net carbs
Another great tasting low carb vegetable is zucchini which has a net carbs of 2 grams.
My personal favorite way to eat zucchini is by grilling them.
Another new popular way of eating zucchini is to make zoodles a keto friendly spaghetti.
Courgette is the perfect veggie for a filling meal since it’s low in calories and high in volume.
3. Avocado: 2 grams of net carbs
This keto friendly vegetable is technically a fruit, but as most people consider it a vegetable I’ll add it to my list.
Other than cabs, fat intake on a keto diet is very important.
Avocados are a great way to meet your macros on keto and providing great fuel for your body.
I love that avocados are so versatile and can be included in breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Related: How to do Keto on a Budget
4. Spinach: 1 gram of net carbs
Spinach is a great vegetable both raw and cooked.
I really love mixing spinach with other veggies in and will eat it for breakfast. It also makes a great lunch or dinner too.
I also love the taste of it in salads. Next time instead of lettuce, grab some spinach or other dark leafy greens like kale.
They are super rich in iron and potassium and keto approved.
5. Kale: 4 grams of net carbs
You either love it or hate it.
Though it is still a keto friendly food, kale is actually on the higher end in terms of carbohydrates 4 net carbs per cup when compared to other leafy green vegetables.
However, kale outranks the rest as an especially dense source of essential vitamins A and C!
6. Asparagus: 2 grams of net carbs
High in fibre and an array of vitamins and folate, asparagus is the perfect keto vegetable for managing blood glucose levels.
7. Brussels Sprouts: 5 grams of net carbs
Although an acquired taste, these bitter veggies are full of health benefits and taste so good when roasted with some turkey bacon.
8. Cabbage: 3 grams of net carbs
The low carb count of the veggie isn’t the only reason to include cabbage in your ketogenic diet, it is also incredibly high in nutrients as well.
You get 20 percent more than the daily-recommended allowance of vitamin K and vitamin C when you consume it.
9. Cauliflower: 4 grams of net carbs
Cauliflower is having a moment of fame thanks to the keto diet, since you can use it for both savory and sweet low-carb dishes.
10. Cucumber: 3 grams of net carbs
This vegetable is great at making sure you stay hydrated, and it adds tons of volume to foods without many calories. Next time you want to elevate your meal, try a salad with cucumbers.
11. Mushrooms: 2 grams of net carbs
Although technically not a vegetable, mushrooms are a lot higher in protein content than other vegetables. If you find keto food bland, add some mushrooms to the mix.
12. Tomatoes: 2 grams of net carbs
Tomatoes not only reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer (because of their high levels of lycopene), but also taste amazing in keto recipes like Shakshuka.
13. Eggplant: 3 grams of net carbs
At only around thee grams of net carbs per serving, eggplant makes a delicious addition to your keto meal.
14. Bell Peppers: 3-5 grams of net carbs
Green: 3 grams of net carbs
Red: 4 grams of net carbs
Yellow: 5 grams of net carbs
Bell peppers are rich in color, which means they are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Toss them on a sheet pan with some chicken, and make fajitas.
15. Green Beans: 4 grams of net carbs
Another green vegetable high in fibre, green beans are a perfect addition to a stir-fry to keep you fuller for longer. Green beans can be roasted, steamed, or stewed, but always tastes better cooked in some type of fat such as bacon fat or butter.
16. Olives: 3 grams of net carbs
Olives provide the same health benefits as olive oil, only in solid form.
Oleuropein, the main antioxidant found in olives, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect your cells from damage.
In addition, studies suggest that consuming olives may help prevent bone loss and decrease blood pressure.
Olives vary in carb content due to their size. However, half of their carbs come from fiber, so their digestible carb content is very low.
Vegetables to Limit on a Low Carb Keto Diet
I have to admit although I have always loved veggies I hardly incorporated them into my food.
Being on a keto diet has forced me to try new vegetables and ultimately eat more of them.
The good news is that each of those low carb vegetables are perfect for anyone following the keto diet.
There are other vegetables that I used to love eating, but now limit or avoid completely as they have a high amount of carbs.
Sweet potatoes– 17 grams of net carbs per 100 grams
White potatoes– 13 grams of net carbs per 100 grams
Carrots– 6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams
Beets– 6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams
If you choose to eat vegetables with higher carb content on a low carb diet you would need to carefully plan out your allowed daily carbs and make sure to stay under that total.
For example, on small white potato has 30 grams of carbs!
If you are limiting yourself to daily net carbs of 50 grams, just one potato gives just over half your daily allowance.
You can still enjoy a potato from time to time, but have to be careful and limit my other daily carbs.
It is a Lifestyle Not a Diet
The keto diet, although called a diet is actually a lifestyle change.
I do not worry about food, I am not starved nor do I count calories.
If I am hungry, I eat. But it is what I eat that is important.
The low carb vegetables listed above make up a good portion of what I eat in a day.
And while eating a healthy diet is important for staying fit, you also need to balance it with exercise and other things like getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
Staying fit and healthy comes down to how much effort you want to put into it.
It all starts with the foods you eat, how active you are, and what type of recovery you give to your body.
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