Keto and Vegetables: Friends
As I have mentioned previously, it’s useful to view your 20 grams of carbs per day as an extremely valuable, albeit limited resource that needs a careful investment strategy. If we can all agree that we’re giving this whole Keto thing a go in order to improve our health and well-being, it’s only logical for the majority of our carb intake to be dedicated to veggies.
When talking about vegetables and Keto, the general rule of thumb is that if it grows above the ground, it’s probably okay. But I am not a big fan of oversimplifications, so, without further ado, here’s the detailed list of top Keto-friendly vegetables, ranked based on the total amount of carbs they have per cup (raw).
Spinach, Arugula, Kale (1 gram total, 1 from fiber)
At 1 gram of carbohydrates per cup, these three are topping the list of Keto superstars, all while being super rich in vitamins (K&C) and minerals. Sautee them or use as a base for salads - the possibilities are endless.
Mushrooms (2 grams total, 1 from fiber)
Mushrooms contain only 2 grams of carbs and can add a fantastic aroma and a distinguished taste to meals, especially when paired with a nice piece of chicken. Also rich in Vitamin B and antioxidants, these little rascals do everything in their power to support your immune system. Not all mushrooms were created equal, though, so remember to double-check the label before making a purchase.
Lettuce (3 grams total, 1 from fiber)
Lettuce doesn’t move too far from her more “hip” counterparts, as it only has 3 grams of carbs per cup and is a great choice for Keto burgers, salads and wraps. Go, lettuce!
Celery (3 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Paired with some ranch, blue cheese or nut butter, at 3 grams of carbs, raw celery is the perfect snack. It also has you covered when it comes to vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants, so crunch away.
Cucumber (3 grams total, 1 from fiber)
Peeled cucumbers are full of water, vitamins and good happiness stuff. They also taste delicious in wraps and rolls, while only containing 3 grams of carbs. Even pickled cucumbers are great for Keto - make your own or just buy a brand that doesn’t use any added sugar.
Zucchini (4 grams total, 1 from fiber)
Just when you thought you had to say your last goodbye to pasta, zucchini is here to save you! Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are one of the most popular Keto dishes on the planet. And for good reason: zucchini is healthy, tastes delicious when prepared correctly and offers only 4 grams of carbohydrates per cup. This is a legend, if I’ve ever seen one.
Radish (4 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Like zucchini, radishes have 4 grams of carbs, making it a great option for freshening up your salads and broadening the overall palette of your dishes. Or you can get creative and try turning them into faux-tatoes!
Asparagus (5 grams total, 3 from fiber)
This perfect addition to your steak, fried eggs or chicken fillet not only has 5 grams of total carbs per cup, but also aids your insulin in transporting glucose from the bloodstream into individual cells. Who knew?
Cauliflower (5 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Keto rice? Keto pizza? Keto hashbrowns? Yes, yes and yes! Cauliflower makes all this (and more) not only possible, but super easy. Consumed in moderation, it won’t kick you out of your precious ketosis, as one cup only has 5 grams of carbohydrates. As an option, you can try making cauliflower mash as a side dish to go along with your meat.
Cabbage (5 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Packed with nutrients, this cruciferous vegetable not only helps you keep inflammation in check, but also provides you with lots of vitamin C at a modest “price” of just 5 grams of carbs.
Eggplant (5 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Now, this veggie often receives unfair treatment when it comes to Keto: people seem to forget, or simply not realize, that poor eggplant contains as many carbs per cup as their beloved cauliflower, cabbage and even asparagus. Don’t be that guy, don’t discriminate.
Broccoli (6 grams total, 2 from fiber)
Just 6 grams of carbohydrates and a wide variety of ways to cook and add broccoli to dishes, make it a great choice for anyone looking to stay in ketosis, while supplying their bodies with a wealth of nutrients.
Tomatoes, green bell peppers, green beans (7 grams total, 3 from fiber)
While not ideal due to their rather high carb content (7 grams per cup), these three make a great addition to any salad, as long as you don’t go crazy with them.
Brussels sprouts (8 grams total, 3 from fiber)
At 8 grams of total carbs, brussels sprouts are fantastic to enjoy oven-roasted with a sweet, caramelized layer of balsamic vinegar. But don’t stop there! Pair them with some bacon and cheese for a truly royal Keto meal.
Pumpkin (8 grams total, 1 from fiber)
Do me a favor: don’t limit your pumpkin experience just to Thanksgiving. As long as you’re mindful of portion sizes, pumpkin can not only be a delicious, 8-grams-of-carbs-per-cup addition to your meals, but serve as a base for many Keto-friendly desserts.
Avocado (12 grams total, 10 from fiber)
When it comes to the Ketogenic diet, avocado is king. I know, I know, technically, it is a fruit, but at 12 grams of total carbs (10 of which come from fiber), does anyone even care about classification? Enjoy it raw, baked, pureed, or fried, pair it with lime and cilantro or bacon - your only limit is your imagination!
To sum up: no, going Keto doesn’t mean that you will be swearing off vegetables. It only means that you need to be informed on which veggies are most favorable and how many carbs they contain. And you know, you can always count on Keep to Keto to supply you with that invaluable data.