Vegetables in general are good for your overall health. However, some of them (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots) are high in weight-increasing carbohydrates and these can knock you out of ketosis, which is essential if you are on a diet as restrictive as a ketogenic diet.
Whether you are following a high-fat, low-carb eating plan or just conscious of your carb intake, there is no need to despair because there are many other vegetables that are both low in carbs and rich in nutrients. Not only are they loaded with tummy-filling fiber, but also packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. In addition, many of these veggies contain high amounts of water that can help in your feelings of fullness. All of them are flavorful enough on their own and can be added to any healthy meal.
Fill your plate every day with these low-carb, keto-friendly and dietitian-approved vegetables from Men’s Health:
When consumed in moderate amounts, this popular orange-hued fall vegetable helps in ketosis. According to registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, pumpkin puree is low in carbs, a good source of fiber and is a great ingredient for keto-friendly desserts when you want something sweet and satisfying. A half-cup serving contains 7 grams of net carbs.
Michalczyk said that this versatile “super green” is one of the few vegetables that are good sources of protein (3 grams per cup). She added that it is also low in carbs and high in vitamins A, C and K and other nutrients. One cup of kale contains just 3.4 grams of net carbs.
“Another super green, spinach is packed with vitamin A, C, calcium and iron. It’s very low in carbs and makes for an amazing addition to any meal,” Michalczyk said. A single cup has 2.5 grams of net carbs.
These multicolored peppers can be used in various ways, such as in stir-fry, eggs and fajitas, or as a dipper for keto spreads. Michalczyk noted that they are rich in vitamin C and potassium, both “great for active bodies.” Half a cup of chopped bell peppers contains 5.9 grams of net carbs.
Packing 0.4 grams of net carbs in a single cup, arugula should not just be used for garnish. Michalczyk noted that though this power green is a little different from kale and spinach, it is, like the latter two, low in carbs and high in nutrition. She added that it is also a good source of folate, calcium, potassium and magnesium — all of which are great for managing blood pressure.
Because it is loaded with vitamin C, A and calcium, in addition to being low in carbs, zucchini is a perfect substitute for those wanting pasta but following the keto diet, according to Michalczyk. One medium-sized zucchini has only 3 grams of net carbs.
Registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon said that broccoli is a major superfood that should be part of the keto diet, having just 2 grams of net carbs per half a cup. This cruciferous vegetable is also high in filling fiber and protein and can be used in nearly anything such as in stews and soups.
Having 1.5 grams of net carbs per half a cup seving, cauliflower is just like broccoli in terms of nutritional makeup and is a great cruciferous veggie to choose when on keto, per Dixon.
One side effect associated with keto is dehydration, and this is addressed by the high water content of celery. Dixon said that just one gram of net carbs in a large celery stalk is a great addition to soups or as an appetizer for a dip.
According to Dixon, cabbage contains only 2 grams of net carbs per cup shredded, so you can eat a lot in one meal without falling out of ketosis. It is more delicious when stuffed into keto fajitas, used in soups or made into coleslaw with a keto-friendly high-fat dressing.
When chopped, this “super versatile” fiber- and folate-rich green veggie has just 2 grams of net carbs per one-cup serving, according to Dixon.