I’ve always liked veggies. You know those kids that sit and stare at the veggies on their plate refusing to eat them? Absolutely never me. If you put it in front of me, I ate it, with the exception of Lima beans.
Since I’ve started eating keto I’ve experimented with a lot of different veggie recipes and really had to look into the carb content of my veggies. It didn’t make a huge difference in the beginning but as I lost more and more weight, I really had to keep a tight rein on what I was eating to keep my carb content as low as possible.
So lets look at the different types of vegetables, their carb content and which ones we should focus on.
Leafy Greens are the best choice on keto. This includes Spinach, Kale, Lettuces, Greens and Sprouts. Basically if it looks like a leaf, you can eat it without worrying about the carb content.
These are veggies from the cabbage family and include Arugula, Bok choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Collard greens, Daikon radish, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Land cress, Mustard greens, Radish, Rutabaga, Shepherd’s purse, Turnip, and Watercress. These veggies have a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients and are also very low in carbohydrates.
Other Low Carb Vegetables
There are a few other veggies that don’t fit into those 2 camps that are still very low carb. These include Bamboo shoots, Asparagus, Cucumber, Pickles, Taro Shoots, Celery, Summer Squash, Endive, Nopales, Peppers, Green Beans, and tomatoes.
If you would like to see where your favorite veggie falls on the list or see how all vegetables stack up on carb count, just go to the USDA Nutrient Database and search.
Vegetables to Limit on Keto
Roots and Tubers
You have to very careful with vegetables that grow underground like roots and tubers, they are higher in carb content than the ones that grow above ground. Some like carrots and onions are ok if you just have a serving or 2 a day.
If you have listened to one of the videos I do on this subject, you have heard me say that no one got fat from eating too many carrots. Having said that though, please know that if you have a badly damages metabolism, you may need to totally eliminate all roots vegetables until you have at least somewhat healed your Insulin Resistance. (Although it is hard to imagine someone in worse health than I was and I never limited roots veggies. I only cut out tubers and lost 200 lbs.)
As for tubers, these are things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Yams. These are just too high in carbohydrate for them to be a part of your diet and consistently stay in a ketogenic state.
In case anyone is wondering, the difference between tubers and roots are in the root structure. Root vegetables like carrots will only have one vegetable per plant but tubers like potatoes will have multiple vegetables per plant.
Grains and Legumes
Grains include things like Wheat, Corn, Rye, Barley, Rice, and Oats. These are way too high in carbs to be enjoyed, especially when they are heavily processed.
Legumes are beans and include any bean you can think of. Green beans are low in carbs but the rest of them are very “carby”. Peanuts are also technically legumes and not nuts.
There is of course an alternative to all of this, the carnivore diet. You don’t eat any vegetables whatsoever when you are doing this and many people report fantastic health benefits when doing this. If you would like to do some research on this, I would start with the 2 podcasts I did with Amber O’Hearn here and here and check out the zerocarb subreddit. The admin of that subreddit will be a future guest on the podcast.
Here are a few of my favorite vegetable recipes!