If you’re on a low carb or ketogenic diet, its important to keep carbohydrate levels extremely low. Knowing which vegetables are low (or high) in carbohydrates is important to your low carb diet success.
Some people might be surprised at some of the “worst” vegetables that fall onto the high carbohydrate list. The good news is that there are plenty of other healthy low carb vegetables to replace the high carbohydrate vegetables.
Low Carb Vegetables
- Brussel Sprouts
- Green Beans
- Kale and other dark green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard
There are a lot of low carb vegetables that make the list even if you are on a low carb ketogenic diet. Many of these vegetables are also higher in fiber as well. These high-fiber vegetables may decrease the absorption of carbohydrates in the gut, helping to keep you on your low-carb goal.
Asparagus comes in a variety of colors, including white, purple, as well as the most common green asparagus. Asparagus also is low in carbohydrates and calories. A cup of asparagus only has 40 calories, with 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein to balance out its carbohydrates.
Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C and vitamin K and is packed with antioxidants. Asparagus is also high in folate and potassium. Asparagus may help lower blood pressure as part of the DASH diet
Looking for keto-appropriate asparagus recipes? Try wrapping the asparagus spears in bacon and baking for 20 minutes to add more fat, or just sauté the asparagus in butter or ghee and drizzle olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper for a quick side dish.
While technically avocado is a fruit, we’re adding it to our low-carb vegetable list because avocados are a healthy part of most low-carb ketogenic diets. Avocados only have 4 grams of carbohydrates per 50 gram serving (and fiber makes up 3 grams of that carbohydrate total). Avocados also add 8 grams of health fats, mostly mono-unsaturated fats.
Broccoli is another low carb vegetable that is also high in healthy fiber. A cup of raw broccoli has only 31 calories with just 6 grams of carbohydrates. Broccoli also has about 2.5 grams of fiber, so the net carbohydrate load of a cup of broccoli is only 3.5 grams. Broccoli is also a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Brussel sprouts also make the low carb vegetables list (sorry kids!). A cup of Brussel sprouts has 38 calories, with 8 grams (24 calories) of carbohydrates, with 3 grams of dietary fiber.
I usually roast my Brussel sprouts in a little bit of left-over bacon fat and add some diced pancetta to give it a more savory flavor.
Cabbage is another low calorie, low carb vegetable packed with phytonutrients and vitamins. Part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, cabbage has 2 grams of fiber per serving. Red cabbage has a higher amount of Vitamin C than green cabbage.
Cauliflower is also another low-carb cruciferous vegetable (with broccoli and cabbage) that is perfect for a ketogenic diet. Cauliflower can be added to salads, roasted and served as a side dish, or even used as a rice substitute or as a keto-friendly pizza crust.
Anyone who has been on a diet knows that celery is a low-calorie and low carb vegetable. But celery is also great to use to load up on healthy fats, with adding almond butter or other healthy keto dips to a stalk of celery.
A single celery stalk (about 40 grams) only has about 6 calories and half of that is in dietary fiber, so celery adds almost no calories or carbohydrates to your diet.
Cucumbers also weigh in as another low carb vegetable, with just 16 calories in one cup of cucumbers. While cucumbers have a high water content, its still packed with Vitamins A, C and K. I’ll often slice cucumbers and add to a pitcher of water for a cool refreshing drink on a hot summer day. Another low-carb/keto option for cucumbers is pickling the cucumbers and making dill or kosher pickles. Both of these types of pickles are keto or low-carb.
One cup of green beans only has 30 calories, and 7 grams of carbohydrates and almost half of the carbohydrates in green beans are due to its high fiber content. Green beans are a great source of potassium.
Kale and other dark green leafy vegetables
Kale and other dark green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard are high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C. One cup of kale only has 33 calories with 2.5 grams of fiber. If you don’t like the sharp taste of kale, try blanching it and then place the kale in the freezer for several hours before using it.
Olives are high in mono-unsaturated fats as well as low in carbohydrates. This high-fat, low-carb combination makes olives a great vegetable to be adding to your ketogenic diet.
Bell peppers come in a variety of colors and are packed with vitamins. A cup of raw bell peppers only has 30 calories with 6 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fiber. Bell peppers are also high in lutein, which may help with eye health.
Spinach is another staple to any low carb vegetables list. Spinach packs a high amount of vitamin C and K in its dark green leafs. It’s also high in phytonutrients and potassium.
Tomatoes are another favorite on the low carb vegetable list (although technically a fruit). Tomatoes have only 32 calories per cup with only 6 grams of carbohydrates.
Zucchini is another low-carb vegetable that can eaten either raw or sautéed. Zucchini can also be made into zucchini noodles as a pasta substitute on the ketogenic diet.
High carb Vegetables
Avoid the following vegetables that are higher in carbohydrates and starches. These vegetables will make it difficult to stay in ketosis and will usually exceed your daily carb limit on a low carb diet.
- Beans (legumes) such as kidney, garbanzo or black beans
- Beets and Beetroot
- Potatoes (includes sweet potatoes)