You’ve heard it before – eat your vegetables they are good for you! But are all vegetables just as healthy?
We can all agree that water is good for you right? We are mostly water and we need to drink it every day.
How about soda or other sugary beverages? It’s mostly water too, but its the other things that it’s made of that makes it good or bad for your body. Same thing can be said for vegetables.
What are vegetables anyways? Edible plants used to make make dishes are typically considered vegetables but the name is more of a culinary tradition instead of a scientific fact.
“Vegetables” can be used to make a variety of dishes from a spinach and walnut salad to this healthy carrot cake so its easy to see how some vegetables naturally have more sugars and carbs than others.
So what vegetables should you lean more toward on a low carb keto diet? To break it down into four categories, the rule of thumb is:
Leafy greens, stemmed and flowering vegetables, seeded vegetables, and starchy vegetables (which you should eat sparingly). Also whether you cook your veggies or eat them raw will change the amount of carbs.
The best low carb vegetables for keto are leafy greens. These types of vegetables (spinach and kale) are the most nutrient dense and they provide your body with almost everything that it needs to function properly!
Dark greens like Kale are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. It is better to eat these raw as cooking them reduces the nutrient profile and increases the carbs! Kale, spinach and collard greens are relatively high in fiber and great additions to smoothies and wraps.
Stemmed and Flowering Veggies
These are vegetables that have edible stems, or flowers such as Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts and Celery.
Although these have slightly higher carbohydrate profile than leafy greens these are still great vegetables for a low carb diet. If you cook or steam a vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower it actually lowers their carbs, and are packed with vitamins.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky.. Technically if its and edible plant and it has seeds it’s a fruit – however most people think of fruits as being sweet and label a lot of fruits as vegetables.
We can all agree that an average yellow pepper is sweeter than your favorite kale (mine is curly kale!) but that same pepper is not as sweet as a berry which we all would classify as fruit.
There are vegetables that you want to eat sparingly for a low carb diet. Vegetables high in starch equal high in carbs, since starch is actually a carbohydrate.
Avoid the following: potatoes, peas, beans, yams, and legumes. These contain between 10 and 40 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup serving.
Sugar is the next thing you’d like to avoid. Yes, sugar! Surprisingly, vegetables contain natural sugars. Sugars are also carbohydrates! The sweeter the vegetable, the more carbs it has.
Carrots, certain squash, onions, and some peppers are high in sugar. Incorporate them in small quantities.
Vegetables high in carbs can be consumed on a low carb keto diet. However, they should only be eaten in moderation.
So you may be wondering what fits best for your diet? The list below provides the net carbs for a 1 cup amount of each vegetable. Serving sizes do vary. A typical serving of vegetables is about a half cup.
Recomended Read: Macros in Diet and Nutrition
Low Carb Vegetables List
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