Most diets say you can eat all the veggies you want, with abandon, in part to fill you up with nutrients so there isn’t much room for anything else. Not a sustainable diet in reality, and while veggies are great -on the keto diet, you need to stir clear of certain veggies and fruits that contain too much sugar and too many carbs. The best keto friendly vegetables you can eat are high in fiber and offer good carbs as opposed to processed foods or grain carbs.
Many people are not aware that certain veggies can actually be sabotaging their diets. Trading in sweet potato fries for regular fries might seem like a solid plan, but sadly it is not.
Root veggies, starchy veggies, and sugar sugar beets, for example – are too high in the sweet stuff to be part of this low-carb, fat-burning plan.
The best rule to follow is that veggies that grow above the ground are usually great keto options, while veggies that grow below the ground (root vegetables such as carrots) are higher in carbs so they are best avoided.
As with most rules, though, there are exceptions.
Vegetables and the carb count
A strict keto diet plan is made up of no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, which means that keeping close tabs on the carbohydrates in the vegetables you eat will prevent you from going over for the day.
Some are great bets, and you can probably eat as much as you want along with fat and protein, but others have to be closely watched or you will go over your daily limit.
The following list is based on a ¼-cup serving size. You can eat a full cup of veggies or more during the day of the top veggies, while others you need to limit yourself to small helping.
Keto Friendly Vegetables
These keto-friendly veggies will add nutrients and fiber to your low-carb diet:
- Spinach – 0.2 grams. Make spinach the centerpiece of a salad and you’ll have a hard time going over your carb limit.
- Radishes – 0.5 grams. Radishes can be served with a hint of salt. (We love this Himalayan Pink Salt)
- Lettuce – 0 .5 grams. Surround a burger or taco fillings with lettuce to replace the bun or shell.
- Bok Choy – 0.7 grams. This crunchy Asia veggie is a flavorful replacement for carrots. Great in our Kimchi Scramble recipe.
- Celery – 0.8 grams. Serve celery with sugar-free peanut butter to recreate a favorite childhood treat.
- Garlic (1 clove) – 1 gram. Garlic adds nutrients to everything, so use it to season meats or stir-fry.
- Mushrooms – 1 gram. Mushrooms can be added to an omelet or served on top of a burger, held in place with a slice of Swiss.
- Cabbage – 1.1 grams. Cabbage is the star of cole slaw, which you can make safely from scratch if you omit the sugar. Check your mayo for hidden sugar as well.
- Cauliflower – 1.5 grams. Cauliflower is the new darling of the vegetable world, and can be paired with cheese to make a keto-friendly pizza crust or pulsed in a food processor to make cauliflower rice, which is delicious with coconut oil and garlic.
- Broccoli – 1.7 grams. Broccoli and cheese are a classic favorite.
- Cucumbers – 1.8 grams. If you used to bring a baggie of carrots everywhere to eat when you needed a snack, trade them for cucumbers. European cucumbers with the peel offer the most nutrients.
- Avocado – 2 g. While technically a fruit this healthy fat is a must have while on the keto diet. Its such a versitle food from smoothies, to avocado bars, to caprese salads and more!
- Pickle (1 medium) – 2 grams. Pickles can be a stand-alone snack or served alongside a burger fresh off the grill.
- Eggplant – 2 grams. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and bake in a 375-degree oven until crisp. Top the crispy slices with a homemade, sugar-free tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and slices of mozzarella cheese with a sprinkle of freshly-grated parmesan and pop it back in the oven until cheese is melty and browned for a keto version of classic eggplant parmesan.
- Asparagus (6 stalks) – 2.4 grams. Toss asparagus spears in olive oil and bake on high (about 450 degrees) until slightly browned but still crisp. Makes a great appetizer or side.
- Green beans – 2.9 grams. Green beans will always be a classic pairing with virtually any meat.
- Collard greens – 3 grams. Traditionally, collards are cooked with bits of fatty, salty pork for a long period of time, until they are tender, then topped with a splashy vinegar.
Keto Vegetables to Eat on occasion
- Tomatoes – 3.2 grams. Tomatoes can be served in an omelet or as part of a BLT made with keto-friendly bread.
- Zucchini – 3.3 grams. Use zoodles to replace pasta in many of your favorite dishes.
- Bell peppers – 3.3 grams. Slices of bell pepper are another great carrot alternative.
- Onion – 4 grams. While onion is a classic flavor booster for most foods, be careful how much you add to dishes to keep carbs low.
- Carrots – 5.1 grams. Carrots provide a lot of nutrients, so you don’t have to ignore them completely, but watch serving sizes closely.
- Beets – 6.5 grams. A single pickled beet on a salad should be a safe bet, but otherwise, avoid this root veggie.
Keto Vegetables to Avoid
There are several high-carb veggies that should be avoided, including:
- Sweet potatoes (and their cousins, the yam)
The smartest options:
The best options are green, leafy vegetables, so salads are your best friends on the keto diet, as long as you steer clear of dried fruit, which is a sugar bomb that often hides in seemingly keto-friendly nut mixes or prepared salads. Its easy to eat clean on the keto diet using veggies as your primary source of good carbs and if you are a vegetarian or even vegan you can find some great keto options available.