Vegetables are universally known to be healthy. But if you’re in a keto diet, you might have to think twice about the content of your salad. There are some really good vegetables that are perfect for your low-carb lifestyle while there are also some that can easily kick you out of Ketosis. In this blog post, I’ll provide you with a list of what vegetables to include in your meal plan and which ones you should avoid.
Let’s start with the best vegetables that are Keto-friendly:
Spinach (0g net carbs)
Spinach can be wilted and added into soups as a perfect source of vitamin A. It's always possible to keep it fresh for salads as well. It's very low in carbs and makes a wonderful complement to any meal. It's a great veggie to always have in the refrigerator for quick weeknight meals when you're busy.
Celery (1g net carb)
Make the most out of the high water content of celery to stay hydrated. With just 1 gram of net carbs in a large stalk, it's a great addition to soups, or as a crudité for a dip.
Mushrooms (1g net carb)
Bring an earthy flavor to your dishes by adding roasted or sautéed mushrooms to them. If you like munching your celery raw, then just prepare a yummy ranch dip and dig in. I personally like making a pizza crust out of them. Mushrooms have shown incredible anti-inflammatory properties and have shown to improve inflammation in those with metabolic syndrome making them an awesome veggie treat.
Lettuce (1g net carb)
Obviously, lettuce can be used at the base of the salad but its leaves are versatile enough to be used as meat and cheese wraps too. A fresh, crunchy salad is a popular go-to, so why not consider making your own DIY Sandwich with your leaves?
Bok Choy (1g net carb)
Bok Choy has only one net carb so you can safely get your fill of it with no guilt! Mix it with your favorite Asian keto dishes or just toast it for a quick side or appetizer.
Asparagus (2g net carbs)
Asparagus can either be baked, steamed, fried, or roasted. It tends to taste a bit bitter so you'll want to dust it with salt, pepper, or your favorite seasonings.
Cucumber (2g net carbs)
Cucumber is best consumed when it's chilled, crunchy, and ready for snacking. You can slice it up and add a bit of vinegar for a refreshing summer salad.
Green beans (2g net carbs)
Fresh, lightly seared, baked, roasted or sautéed are simple ways to cook this multi-purpose vegetable. I personally like eating this with bacon for a good balance.
Cabbage (3g net carbs)
It has three grams of net carbs per cup, so you can eat a lot in one sitting without dropping out of ketosis. Enjoy raw cabbage when it's cold, crispy and crunchy, or use its leaves to keep delicious enchilada fillings intact.
Kale (3g net carbs)
This healthy green is among the few vegetables that are a great source of protein and also low in carbs. It’s wonderfully rich in other nutrients too such as vitamins A, C, and K.
Cauliflower (3g carbs)
Cauliflower is by far the most popular ingredient in Keto! You can use cauliflower rice as a substitute for the typical carb-heavy rice, mashed cauliflower as an alternative to potatoes, and more! The possibilities are endless with cauliflowers.
Eggplant (3g net carbs)
Eggplant is a nutritious vegetable that you can use as a substitute for lasagna noodles or use as a crust for your favorite pizza toppings. You can even keep it short and simple by merely cubing and sautéing it with some extra virgin olive oil and seasoning.
Broccoli (4g net carbs)
Broccoli is such a dynamic veggie. Broccoli is a big superfood that should be a regular to your shopping list especially when you're on a keto diet. It's high in fiber and protein to keep you fit and healthy and you can use it in almost anything— casseroles, pasta dishes, and soup. Serve it raw with a yummy sauce, steamed, sautéed, toasted or turned into a silky cheddar broth.
Tomatoes (4g net carbs)
Tomatoes can be sliced (or kept as is if they are small cherry or grape tomatoes) to give your salads a fresh flavor. They can also be used as a hearty base for soups and chilis.
Zucchini (4g net carbs)
Zucchini is another keto staple vegetable. Slicing for roasting, dipping, or grilling are common ways to chew this veggie up. Many people also turn it into "zoodles" for their low-carb pasta. Zucchini is very low in carbs with only 4 g of net carbs per cup and also serves as an excellent source of vitamin C.
Squash (5g net carbs)
Pumpkin puree is low in carbs and a good source of fiber. You can try Sausage and Spaghetti Squash Casserole with it.
Bell Peppers (6g net carb)
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin A and have anti-inflammatory properties from carotenoids which they contain. If you want colors in your meal, don’t be afraid to add red or yellow peppers since they’re also very low in carbs.
While most vegetables are good for you, some vegetables can hinder you from achieving your weight loss goals. This is why you should watch what you eat when you're on Keto - even if it’s vegetables.
My rule of thumb when buying or consuming veggies is to avoid all crops that grow under the grass. I limit my consumption of vegetables with heavy starch because they have the most carbohydrates. It's ideal to eat around 12 - 15 g of net vegetable carbs a day to effectively lose weight and not get kicked out of Ketosis.
Root vegetables typically carry more carbs, which is why they are considered to be one of the least keto-friendly vegetables. Here's a list of more carb-heavy vegetables that you should stir away from:
The vegetables you consume play a crucial role in maintaining your healthy low-carb lifestyle, so try to stick to this keto vegetable list. For more keto guidance, check out my 7-day Low-carb meal plan that you can download for FREE when you join our private Facebook community: Keto Group: Thriving Keto Women.
Keto Group: Thriving Women is a community of like-minded individuals who aims to challenge you to do better and achieve your fitness and weight goals. Moreover, we regularly share valuable content in this group that will aid you through your Keto journey. You can learn more about it here.