Loaded with fiber and disease-fighting nutrients, vegetables should be a central part of your Keto (low-carb) dietary lifestyle. With a few exceptions, most vegetables are quite low in carbohydrates and calories. Be sure to eat a wide variety of different colors of vegetables because different pigments — green, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, and white – indicate the presence of different types of phytochemicals that fight cancer, heart disease, and numerous other health problems.
Seven to ten servings of vegetables every day will provide a generous amount of health-promoting nutrients. If you are following the a low-carb/Keto lifestyle, you will rely mainly on low-carb vegetables for these nutrients. The following breaks down the various levels of low to high carb vegetables.
Non-Starchy Low Carb Vegetables (approx 5-10 grams of carbohydrates per serving):
Spinach, lettuce, arugula, and other salad greens; broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, scallions, sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, broccoli rabe (rapini), green beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, green beans, collard and mustard greens, hearts of palm, jicama, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, snow peas, bell peppers, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, turnips, turnip greens, and zucchini
We’ve provided macronutrients for a few of the low carb vegetables listed above.
Spinach, 1 cup, uncooked = 1.1g carbs, 0.7g fiber, 0.1g sugar, 0.1g fat, 0.9g protein
Green Leaf Lettuce, 1 cup shredded = 1g carb, 0.5g fiber, 0.3g sugar, <0.1g fat, 0.5g protein
Arugula, 1 cup, uncooked = 0.73g carbs, 0.3g fiber, 0.41g sugar, 0.13g fat, 0.52g protein
Broccoli, 1 cup chopped, uncooked = 6.04g carbs, 2.4g fiber, 1.55g sugars, 0.34g fat, 2.57g protein
Cauliflower, 1 cup uncooked = 5.3g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 2.4g sugars, 0.1g fat, 1.98g protein
Celery, 1 medium stalk (7.5-8″ long) = 1.19g carbs, 0.6g fiber, 0.73g sugar, 0.07g fat, 0.28g protein
Cucumbers, 1/2 cup slices with peel = 1.89g carbs, 0.3g fiber, 0.87g sugar, 0.06g fat, 0.34g protein
Mushrooms, 1 cup pieces/slices, uncooked = 2.3g carbs, 0.7g fiber, 1.16g sugars, 0.24g fat, 2.16g protein
Peppers, red, 1 cup chopped, uncooked = 8.98g carbs, 3g fiber, 6.26g sugars, 0.45g fat, 1.48g protein
Radishes, 1 cup slices, uncooked = 3.94g carbs, 1.9g fiber, 2.46g sugars, 0.12g fat, 0.79g protein
Scallions, 1 cup chopped, uncooked = 7.34g carbs, 2.6g fiber, 2.33g sugars, 0.19g fat, 1.83g protein
Medium-Carb Vegetables (approx 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving):
Beets, onions, rutabaga, sugar snap peas, and water chestnuts
High-Carb Vegetables (approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving):
Corn, baked beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, legumes, green peas, small new potatoes, sweet potatoes, baking potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, and yams.
What’s a Serving?
Seven to ten servings of vegetables a day is best to optimize your health. This is not as hard as you may think since each of the following constitutes a serving:
- 1 cup leafy salad greens
- 1/2 cup cooked or raw vegetables
- 1/2 cup cooked dried beans or peas (not Keto compliant)
- 3/4 cup vegetable juice (pure, no sugar added)
Using the above guidelines, a large chef salad made with 3 cups of lettuce plus a cup of other chopped vegetables like mushrooms, onions, carrots, and tomatoes equals five servings. If you include at least one cup of vegetables at each meal, and replace snacks with vegetables, you will easily meet or exceed the minimum daily recommendation of five servings of vegetables a day. However, remember for optional health you will want to aim for seven to ten servings per day.