In the world of gastronomy, not all vegetables are equal. Which vegetables have the lowest carbs? Which are the best and the worst veggies to eat on Keto? Aren’t all veggies good to eat – after all, vegetables are ‘healthy’? Truth be told, if you want to stay in Ketosis, not all vegetables are good for you. The Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat diet that limits carb intake to promote ketosis. Therefore high-carb veggies are a no-no.
No need to worry though. We have put together a great list of the best and worst veggies to eat on Keto, including those with the lowest carbs, to make your Vegan Keto journey that much easier. In fact, our list is so extensive that we have even included some foods that are scientifically classified as fruit even though we are all inclined to count them in with our veggies; for example tomatoes, avocados and olives.
What are the Worst Vegetables to Eat on Keto?
For step-one in our elimination process let’s consider where the veggies grow – above the ground or below the ground? Below-ground veggies are known as root vegetables. You can immediately cross them off the list. Root veggies have the highest carb-count of all! Above-ground vegetables are generally lower in carbs than there sub-surface cousins, but that doesn’t mean they are all acceptable if Ketosis is your end goal.
For step-two of our elimination process let’s consider the level of your Keto diet – are you being very strict, with no more than 5% of calories from carbs, or are you being moderate to liberal, with around 20 grams of carbs per day? If you are the former, then you have to know which of the above-ground veggies are the lowest in carbs, but if you are the latter then all of the above-ground veggies are yours to enjoy.
In summary, we have to agree that the worst veggies for the Keto diet are root vegetables.
This table shows a list of root vegetables with their associated carb count per standard serving size of 100 grams or 3 ½ ounces:
|Vegetable||Carbs per 100 grams or 3 ½ ounces|
Although onions are higher in carbs you may add them to your meals as a seasoning because they are then eaten in smaller quantities. It is best not to sauté or caramelize onions because that makes it too easy to gobble up more than you’re supposed to. Use green onions or scallions in salads instead of normal onions (in moderation).
An exception to the ‘above-ground-and-below-ground’ rule is the winter squash family. Even though they grow above the ground their carb count is too high for them to be considered keto-friendly. For example, Spaghetti Squash has a carb count of 7, and pumpkin weighs in at a hefty 12. Enjoy winter squashes on special occasions or for a cheat day, or if you are following a more relaxed Keto diet. Summer squash is fine though as it is only 3 grams per 100.
P.S. Did you know that squashes are actually classified as fruit?
What are the Best Veggies to Eat on Keto?
When you are considering your best veggie options in the above-ground category there are two things you can bear in mind to help you: leafy veggies are generally the most Keto-friendly and green vegetables tend to have the lowest carbs. A prime example of this is bell peppers – the green ones have fewer carbs than the red or yellow variety.
This table shows a list of Keto friendly vegetables with their associated carb count per standard serving size of 100 grams or 3 ½ ounces:
|Vegetable||Carbs per 100 grams or 3 ½ ounces|
|Bell Pepper: Green||3|
|Bell Pepper: Red||4|
|Bell Pepper: Yellow||5|
Our Recommended 11 Best Keto-Friendly Vegetables
Rather than worry too much about the veggies you can’t eat, let’s focus on what you can eat. Have a look at our list of the best Keto-friendly veggies (in alphabetical order) and what makes them so super-duper!
- Asparagus is high in fiber and folate and proof of the healthiness of green veggies.
- Avocado is a favorite because it is a veggie (fruit) that contains a healthy dose of the good fats that Keto folks are looking for.
- Broccoli, high in fiber and a great source of protein, adds wholesome bulk to stews and casseroles.
- Cabbage adds wonderful bulk to a lot of dishes but that is not all, it also contains lots of vitamin K and C and other vitamins and nutrients.
- Cauliflower makes a great sub for rice, meat, pizza-base, and so many other things!
- Eggplant is a great sub for pasta and meat plus it is a source of protein, manganese, folate, potassium, and vitamin K and C.
- Kale is a super green. A good source of protein and high in vitamins A, C, and K.
- Mushrooms are like little nutrient-rich bombs (a super-food) with over a dozen minerals and vitamins in each serving, plus, they make an awesome meat substitute.
- Other dark leafy greens like Arugula, Watercress, Bok choy, Collard greens, Romaine Lettuce, etc.
- Spinach is another super green packed with vitamin A, C, calcium, and iron.
- Zucchini makes such a great noodle sub, plus it’s filled with vitamin C, A, and calcium.
There is no doubt that all veggies are nutritious and must be eaten. Simply put, depending on your individual tastes and dietary needs, some veggies are going to rank higher on your recipe list than others. If you’re focusing on Vegan Keto right now, we know that our list of the best and the worst veggies for a Keto diet is going to come in real handy.