Welcome friends, to another keto diet article! This time, we will focus on vegetables in our quest to understand keto-friendly foods.
These keto-friendly vegetables are nature’s little gifts to us. They can be mixed into keto stir-fries, added to your smoothies, or just eaten dipped in keto-friendly dressing as a healthy snack.
It’s easy to stay on track once you learn about these veggies and figure out the many ways to prepare them.
Let’s get right into it!
Understanding What You Can Have
There’s an easy rule to know what veggies are safe on the keto diet and which ones are to be avoided.
- Veggies that grow above the ground are lower in carbs and are great for keto dieters.
- Veggies that grow below ground, or root veggies, are carb-heavy and should not be eaten on a keto diet.
Above Ground Veggies
Here are our favorite above-ground veggies and their net carb counts per 3.5 oz serving:
- Spinach- 1 net carb
- Olives- 3 net carb
- Tomato- 3 net carb
- Avocado – 2 net carbs (Avocados are fantastic, and we wrote about it here!)
- Eggplant 3 Net carb
- cucumber – 3 net carb
- Lettuce- 2 net carb
- Green pepper- 3 net carbs
- Red pepper- 4 net carbs
- Yellow pepper- 5 net carbs
- Brussel Sprouts – 5 net carbs
- Broccoli – 4 net carbs
- Zucchini – 3 net carbs
- Cauliflower – 3 net carbs
- Cabbage- 3 Net Carbs
Now Let’s Look at Below Ground Veggies with the Same Parameters:
- Sweet potato – 17 net carb
- Potato 15 net carb
- Parsnip 13 net carb
- Carrot- 7 net carb
- Onion – 8 net carb
- Rutabaga- 6 net carb
Wow, what a difference. We can expect anywhere from 7 to 17 net carbs in a 100g serving for the below-ground veggies. Meanwhile, the above ground veggies are 5 grams or under for 100g serving.
Onions are somewhat of an exception to the rule. They are higher in carbs and grow above the ground. But you can still add them to foods for seasoning because we do not generally eat onions as a whole, as we might do with sweet potatoes, for example.
However, be mindful of the preparation of the onion. Caramelized onions, for example, are easy to eat in large quantities because they taste great. You might consider scallions for salad toppings or other foods for a dash of flavor.
Why Eating Veggies on Keto Matters
Every food we eat has macronutrients within. These are things like protein, fat, and carbs. Meat and dairy are where we get proteins and fats. Veggies, on the other hand, are where we can get healthy carbs.
When following a strict keto lifestyle, where we are getting 5% or less of our calories from carbs, we have to know which veggies are the lowest when it comes to carbs, especially if you are aiming to eat 20g of carb or less a day.
Veggies containing less than 5g of carbs are great because you can essentially eat these without thinking too much about your serving size. It’s very hard to overdo it.
These are the keto vegetables, and they are awesome.
You still have to be mindful; however- eating too many could make you feel bloated. It’s also important to carefully watch your intake of those higher carb veggies like bell peppers (yellow and red especially) and Brussel sprouts so you can stay under that 20g limit each day.
These foods are healthy, but those carbs can add up fast- if you cut up and ate one yellow bell pepper for a snack, that could be 5 carbs!
Tomatoes are a fruit, but we can still enjoy them on keto. However, you can’t help but notice their carbs are a tad higher. When we eat tomatoes with other foods, it is not hard to go over that 20g limit of net carbs a day. (Believe me, a juicy tomato out of the fridge on a hot day is hard to resist!)
But it all depends on the keto style you prefer. If you’re doing a moderately low-carb diet, which allows for greater than 20g net carbs a day, then feel free to eat all the above-ground veg you like.
Helpful Guidelines for Keto Dieters
I’ve got two other guidelines you can use to stay on track and stick with lower carb, keto-friendly veggies.
- Go Green. Green veggies are lower in carbs than colorful veggies. For instance, green cabbage is lower in carbs as compared to purple cabbage, and green bell peppers are lower in carbs than their red or yellow counterparts.
- Look for the leaves. Keto-friendly veg are those that have leaves. Think about spinach, lettuce, and kale, along with other delicious greens. They’re great for keto eaters.
Fats and Veggies: Yes, There Is A Connection
Keto veggies are great ways to get your fat in. But how?
Season them using butter.
It’s easy to sauté or roast the veggies using ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil. If you consume dairy, prepare yourself a cream sauce with cheese, cream cheese, or heavy cream.
You can also add fat to veggies by using salad dressings that are keto-friendly as a dip. Or, you can add a bit of olive oil to salads.
But remember, those of you trying to drop weight with keto must be mindful of your calories, and that means not overdoing it with fat. For optimal results, allow your body to burn up that excess fat instead of added dietary fats. Just consume enough of your fats to keep hunger at bay.
The BIG List!
Okay, you came, you saw, you learned. Now, this is it- the master list of our top ten keto veggies. These veggies are the champions because they are tasty, nutritious, and are versatile in terms of cooking. And you will find that they are all low in carbs, too.
- Brussel Sprouts: with just 5g net carbs per 100g serving, they taste great served in cream sauce or simply roasted with some salt and pepper. You can even purchase brussels sprouts ready to steam in the frozen food aisle, which makes them convenient and easy to enjoy.
- Green Beans- With just 4g net carbs per 100g serving, these taste wonderful and are plentiful in grocery stores. You can stew or steam them, but roasting is best, in my opinion. They are great when prepared in butter or bacon fat.
- Kale- Has just 3g net carbs per serving and is so flavorful- love that nutty taste. You can mix it into keto smoothies, sauté it in ghee, or bake it into crispy keto-friendly chips that taste better than any potato chip!
- Asparagus- it has just 2g net carbs a serving. It is filling and good for you, and when you roast it with some seasoning, you have a recipe for success and a full belly, AND ketosis!
Halfway There! Hungry Yet?
- Spinach- It has a single carb per 100g serving. You can make spinach chips, make salads, even cream it, or sauté it. Spinach mixed into keto omelets is always a filling breakfast treat.
- Zucchini- It has just 3g of carbs per 100g serving. You can make keto-friendly pasta by taking a spiralizer to a zucchini and twirling away. You can make zucchini French fries, too. The sky’s the limit with this veggie.
- Broccoli- 4g of net carbs per serving is all this has. It’s great in place of rice or pasta. Fry it up in some butter, steam it, or roast it with your bacon. Broccoli is a filling and plentiful veggie you can buy anywhere.
- Avocado- Okay, it’s a fruit, but whatever! It has 2g net carbs per 100g and is packed with healthy fat and lots of nutrients. You can make killer guac with it, bake it up, or slice it into your salad.
- Cauliflower- 3g of net carbs per 100g serving is what you get with cauliflower. It’s great for making mashed cauliflower and cauliflower rice. And, you can make pizza crusts with cauliflower, too. YUM!
- Cabbage- just 3g of net carbs a 100g serving. It is excellent for cabbage soup, great for stir fry, and tastes great.
The Great and Tasty Radish
I’d also like to talk about radishes. In my research, I found that radishes just weren’t talked about as much as I expected them to be. They are great for keto dieters, and some even use them in place of potatoes when they want that texture.
You might say, “I do not like radishes.” I say, “give them a chance.” Yes, the veggie is known for having a spicy flavor and being crisp. But guess what happens when you heat it up.
The flavor actually changes in the radish. It’s hardly spicy once it is cooked.
What you do end up with is a neutral-tasting veggie that has a crunch. You feel like you’re eating potatoes. It doesn’t taste like one but fills you up and makes an excellent alternative for keto eaters.
You can fry, boil, roast, or puree these guys. You can grill them, too. I mix up herbs and coat my radishes with them and also some butter, then roast it. It tastes great, and I highly recommend trying it out.
Thank you for taking the time to read about keto-friendly veggies. These veggies taste so great, and you can prepare them in a number of different ways.
Whether you would like to make a delicious side dish or a tasty main meal, you can always count on keto-friendly veggies to be there to fill you up, keep you satisfied, and provide your body the nutrients it needs.
So, which of these will you eat first? Will you try out radishes and roast them up? It definitely sounds weird at first, but you will love the taste once they’re on your plate and seasoned. Enjoy your veggies and keep it keto!