Keto Vegetables – The Visual Guide to the Best and Worst – Diet Doctor (2023)

By Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, medical review by Dr. Bret Scher, MD

Evidence based
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  1. Above ground
  2. Below ground
  3. Veggies on keto
  4. Top 10
  5. Crudités
  6. Recipes
  7. Similar guides

What vegetables can you have on a keto diet? There’s a simple rule:

  • Above-ground vegetables are generally lower in carbs and are usually the best keto options.
  • Below-ground vegetables — also known as root vegetables — contain more carbs and aren’t a great choice, especially potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Read on for more details, and when there are exceptions to this rule.

Above ground

Carb counts are provided as net carbs per 100-gram (3½-ounce) serving.12 The options to the left are solid keto vegetables.The options at the top are solid keto vegetables.

Carbs list

See the complete carbs list for above-ground vegetables

Spinach: 1 gram of net carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of total carbs
Lettuce: 2 grams of net carbs, 1.5 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of total carbs
Asparagus: 2 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of total carbs
Avocado: 2 grams of net carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of total carbs
Cucumber: 3 grams of net carbs, 0.5 gram of fiber, 3.5 grams of total carbs
Tomato: 3 grams of net carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of total carbs
Cauliflower: 3 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of total carbs
Zucchini: 3 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of total carbs
Green pepper: 3 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of total carbs
Kale: 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Olives: 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Cabbage: 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Eggplant: 3 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Red pepper: 4 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Broccoli: 4 grams of net carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, 6.5 grams of total carbs
Green beans: 4 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of total carbs
Yellow pepper: 5 grams of net carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of total carbs
Brussels sprouts: 5 grams of net carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 9 grams of total carbs

Carb counts represent net carbs for a standard serving size of 100 grams for each vegetable (3½ ounces, about the weight of an average tomato). For example, 100 grams of asparagus contain 2 grams of net carbs while 100 grams of broccoli contain 4 grams of net carbs.

Note that while the below-ground vegetables range from 6 to 19 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, the above-ground vegetables are all under 5 grams of net carbs per 100 gram serving. Quite a difference!

Carbs list

See the complete carbs list for below-ground vegetables

Rutabaga: 6 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of total carbs
Celeriac: 6 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of total carbs
Carrot: 7 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of total carbs
Onion: 8 grams of net carbs, 1.5 grams of fiber, 9.5 grams of total carbs
Beetroot: 8 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of total carbs
Parsnip: 13 grams of net carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 17 grams of total carbs
Sweet potato: 17 grams of net carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, 19.5 grams of total carbs
Potato: 19 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 21 grams of total carbs

A word about onions: while they grow below ground and are higher carb, they can be added to foods as a seasoning because you generally won’t eat too many at once.

Be careful of caramelized or sautéed onions, as these are easier to consume in larger amounts. Green onions, or scallions, can be used to top salads or other dishes in modest amounts.

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Vegetables on keto

All foods are made up of macronutrients – carbs, protein, and fat. While meat and most dairy mainly provide protein or fat, vegetables contain mostly carbs.

(Video) The best keto sweeteners?

On a strict ketogenic diet, with fewer than 5% of calories from carbs, it’s important to know which veggies are the lowest in carbs, particularly if your goal is to consume fewer than 20 grams of carbs per day.

Vegetables with less than 5 grams of net carbs may be eaten relatively freely. It’s hard to overeat spinach, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, asparagus and kale on a keto diet. These are considered keto vegetables.

Be more careful with slightly higher-carb vegetables like bell peppers (especially red and yellow ones), brussels sprouts and green beans to stay under 20 grams of carbs a day. The carbs can add up. For instance, a medium-size pepper has 4-7 grams of carbs.

While tomatoes are technically a fruit, they can work on a keto diet. But again, their carbs are a bit higher. When combined with other foods, you may exceed 20 grams of net carbs a day if you consume too many tomatoes.

If you are doing a more moderate or liberal low-carb diet that allows more than 20 grams of carbs a day, you can eat as many above-ground vegetables as you desire.

Other helpful guidelines

Here are two more general rules that can help you choose lower-carb and keto vegetables:

  • In general, keto-friendly veggies are those with leaves — all types of lettuce, spinach and other greens are good ketogenic options.
  • Green vegetables tend to be lower in carbs than veggies with a lot of color. For example, green cabbage is lower in carbs than purple cabbage. Green bell peppers are also somewhat lower in carbs than red or yellow peppers.

Medication with warfarin and vegetable intake: Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) is a medication that is sometimes used to treat or prevent blood clots, and it can be affected by changes in your intake of certain vegetables.

Read more

(Video) Top tips for choosing the best meat, seafood & eggs for weight loss

Specifically, the effect of this medication can be reduced if you significantly increase your intake of vitamin K; for example, if you start to eat large amounts of certain vegetables like kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, or asparagus. Learn more

Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor. Full disclaimer

Vegetables and fat

You can use keto vegetables as a vehicle for fat by seasoning cooked vegetables with butter. Better yet, sauté or roast them in lard, coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee.3 If you eat dairy, you can make a cream sauce with heavy cream, cheese, and/or cream cheese.

Another excellent way to add fat to vegetables is by dipping them in salad dressings or other dipping sauces, or simply adding olive oil to your salad.

If you want to lose weight, try not to go overboard with fat. For best results, you may want to let your body burn excess body fat instead of extra added dietary fat. In this case, just eat enough fat to prevent hunger.

Learn more in our guides on how much fat you should eat, and our take on the best and worst fats and sauces

Top 10 keto vegetables

(Video) Do we need fruits and vegetables?

Here are ten fantastic keto vegetables that are tasty and provide plenty of nutrients but only a few carbs.4 Here’s our ranking in order of popularity and usefulness in keto cooking.5 Carb counts are provided as net carbs per 100-gram (3½-ounce) serving.

  1. Cauliflower – 3 g. Mild flavor and so versatile. Use it as base of staples likecauliflower riceandcauliflower mash. Have a look at our top 18 cauliflower recipes
  2. Avocado – 2 g. Technically a fruit, but loaded with nutrients and healthy fat. 6 Great sliced, mashed as guacamole, or even baked. Here are some great avocado recipes
  3. Broccoli – 4 g. Swap it for pasta, rice or potatoes. It can be steamed, fried in butter, drizzled in cheese sauce, roasted with bacon, baked au gratin and more. Check out these recipes
  4. Cabbage – 3 g. Delicious when sautéed in butter or used in our popular Asian cabbage stir fry. See more of our top cabbage recipes
  5. Zucchini – 3 g. Miss potatoes? Try ourzucchini fries or zucchini chips. Zucchini can also be spiralized to make keto pasta, like in this keto carbonara. More recipes
  6. Spinach – 1 g. Extremely low in carbs, it can be used raw in salads, baked into chips, sautéed, or creamed. Check out our popularketo frittata with fresh spinach or many other spinach recipes
  7. Asparagus – 2 g. Filling, highly nutritious, and very low carb, asparagus was made for a high-fat sauce such as hollandaise or béarnaise. Top recipes
  8. Kale – 3 g. Although slightly higher carb than spinach, kale is a flavorful veggie. Enjoy it raw in salads, bake into chips, sauté in lard, or use as a base instead of pasta. Recipes
  9. Green beans – 4 g. Green beans can be roasted, steamed, or stewed, but may taste even better cooked in bacon fat or butter. Recipes
  10. Brussels sprouts – 5 g. Baby cabbages are excellent roasted until crispy or served in a creamy sauce. Recipes

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Keto crudités

FAQs

What vegetables are unlimited on keto diet? ›

Vegetables form a large part of a ketogenic, or keto, diet. The best vegetables for keto diets include celery, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. A person may wish to avoid starchy vegetables, such as beets, potatoes, and sweetcorn. Keto diets restrict the amount of carbohydrates a person can eat.

What are the worst vegetables for carbs? ›

Starchy Vegetables

However, corn and root vegetables like potatoes, yams, and beets have a high starch content and are best avoided. Choose non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, squash, bell peppers, and asparagus to get your fill of fiber and other nutrients while still moderating your intake of carbs.

What should you absolutely avoid on keto? ›

Bread, pasta, rice, and other refined carbs

Eating refined high carb foods like white bread, pasta, rice, and pastries could prevent a ketogenic state if you end up getting more than your daily carb allowance.

What do cardiologists say about the keto diet? ›

Keto diet and heart health

Any diet that results in weight loss can help lower blood pressure. In total, ketogenic diets appear to be safe and can potentially help manage the risk factors that drive heart health.

What fruits should you avoid on keto? ›

Here's a list of fruits to avoid on a Keto diet:
  • Apples (don't be surprise)
  • Grapes.
  • Bananas.
  • Dates.
  • Mangoes.
  • Peaches.
  • Pineapples.
  • Raisins.
14 Jul 2020

What fruit can you have on keto? ›

9 Nutritious Keto-Friendly Fruits
  • Avocados. Though avocados are often referred to and used as a vegetable, they're biologically considered a fruit. ...
  • Watermelon. Watermelon is a flavorful and hydrating fruit that's easy to add to a ketogenic diet. ...
  • Strawberries. ...
  • Lemons. ...
  • Tomatoes. ...
  • Raspberries. ...
  • Peaches. ...
  • Cantaloupe.
18 Mar 2020

What vegetable has the least amount of carbs? ›

What is the lowest carb vegetable? Spinach without a doubt is the lowest carb at 1 net carb per 100 gram serving.

Are onions keto friendly? ›

Luckily, onions can fit into any diet because of their nutrients, low calories, fiber and flavor – even Keto.

What is the highest carb vegetable? ›

The most common high-carb vegetables are potatoes, peas, corn, and squash.

What time should I stop eating on keto? ›

Try to avoid eating for three or four hours before bedtime. This can be a helpful strategy for those who feel especially energetic on a keto diet. Another reason you may be feeling too alert at night is if you exercise in the evening.

Are apples keto? ›

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it really has no place on a keto diet. One medium apple has more than 20 g of net carbs — enough to blow someone's entire carb allotment for the day.

Are potatoes keto? ›

Starchy vegetables contain more digestible carbohydrates than fiber and should be limited on the ketogenic diet. These include corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets.

Does keto raise blood pressure? ›

For helping them shed weight, countless celebrities have praised the Keto diet. But the high-fat, low-carb eating plan favoured by celebrities may raise your blood pressure.

Does keto cause heart issues? ›

The keto diet is associated with higher levels of HDL, a lipoprotein known as good cholesterol that is associated with decreased risk of heart disease. 2 Despite these promising effects, the keto diet is also associated with higher levels of LDL or bad cholesterol that increases cardiovascular risk.

Is keto good for arteries? ›

A keto diet can also lower elevated blood sugar linked to artery-damaging inflammation. "Based on the literature, keto diets may be associated with some improvements in cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, and type 2 diabetes, but these effects are usually limited in time."

Can you have banana on keto? ›

Despite the many health benefits of fruit, there is an issue with some fruits on the keto diet. Grapes and bananas, for instance, contain high quantities of carbs. 1 cup of grapes has approximately 26 grams and a medium banana, 24 grams of carbohydrate. As a rule, these fruits should be avoided.

Is peanut butter keto? ›

Peanut butter can definitely be part of a keto diet, but it's best to stick to plain options that are free of extra flavors and sweeteners. Almond butter is a good choice, too, and it's slightly lower in carbs. Additionally, you should be mindful of your portion size if you're trying to lose weight.

Is pineapple a keto? ›

No, pineapple is not keto friendly on its own. However, there are ways to cut down on pineapple carb count and still enjoy its fruity flavor.

What fish is best for keto diet? ›

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, anchovies, and sardines are great additions to a healthy ketogenic diet. They're rich in high-quality protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Certain types like salmon also provide a substantial dose of vitamin D, a nutrient critical for immune function, bone health, and more ( 18 ).

Can I have popcorn on keto? ›

Once you figure out how many daily carbs your body can take in to remain in ketosis, you can divvy up your allotment however you like, but popcorn can easily fit in a ketogenic eating plan. “For all intents and purposes, it is a keto-friendly food,” says Rissetto.

Can you eat tomatoes on keto? ›

Can you eat tomatoes on the keto diet? "Tomatoes are keto," says Abby Langer, R.D., author of Good Food, Bad Diet. "They're low in carbs, so they fit perfectly into keto." One whole medium tomato contains roughly 5 grams of carbohydrates, of which 1.5 grams are fiber and 3 grams are sugar.

How many vegetables can I eat on a keto diet? ›

Best Vegetables on the Keto Diet

Try to include 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day of some of our favorite low-carb veggies: Spinach. Kale. Broccoli.

Will veggies kick you out of ketosis? ›

Vegetables have carbohydrates. And that means that you have to watch how much you eat — even lettuce. If you're not careful or are eating them as a free-for-all, you could overconsume carbs, and thus get kicked out of ketosis.

Can you eat unlimited cauliflower on keto? ›

The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet. The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta. It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.

How much vegetables can I have on keto? ›

On Keto, a good rule of thumb is to consume vegetables with fewer than 5 grams of net carbs per serving.

Can you eat unlimited leafy greens on keto? ›

Vegetables with less than 5 grams of net carbs may be eaten relatively freely. It's hard to overeat spinach, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, asparagus and kale on a keto diet. These are considered keto vegetables.

Can you eat onions on keto? ›

Luckily, onions can fit into any diet because of their nutrients, low calories, fiber and flavor – even Keto.

Can you eat all salad on keto? ›

Because the keto diet skimps on carbs, salads are the ideal dish for packing on the protein and staying on the ketogenic course. From egg to cobb, these keto-friendly salads are the perfect side, main, lunch or dinner for all your diet needs.

What knocks your body from ketosis? ›

Consuming too many carbs can kick your body out of ketosis — and it takes several days to 1 week to get back into it. In the meantime, your weight loss may be disrupted.

What kicks you out of fat burn? ›

While no specific foods can cause us to be kicked out of fat burn, consuming too many carbs will. Carbs in the form of sugar, preservatives, and fillers are hidden in many foods we wouldn't expect, making it all the more challenging to stay in fat burn for long if we aren't careful.

Can too much broccoli kick you out of ketosis? ›

Broccoli is a Keto-friendly vegetable because it's high in fiber making it's net carbs low. Broccoli has about 2 net carbs per 1 cup of broccoli.

Can I have popcorn on keto? ›

Once you figure out how many daily carbs your body can take in to remain in ketosis, you can divvy up your allotment however you like, but popcorn can easily fit in a ketogenic eating plan. “For all intents and purposes, it is a keto-friendly food,” says Rissetto.

What's the best meat to eat on a keto diet? ›

Steaks are also a great source of protein for keto, and the fattier the cut the better, so ribeye and sirloin steaks are ideal. Beef – ribs, ground beef, steaks and more! Pork – pork chops, ground pork, it's all good.

Can you eat grapes on keto? ›

Despite the many health benefits of fruit, there is an issue with some fruits on the keto diet. Grapes and bananas, for instance, contain high quantities of carbs. 1 cup of grapes has approximately 26 grams and a medium banana, 24 grams of carbohydrate. As a rule, these fruits should be avoided.

What beans can you eat on keto? ›

On a strict keto diet, your best bet for beans is to choose either green beans or black soybeans. While green beans are typically prepared more like a vegetable than a bean, black soybeans are a great alternative to other, starchier beans in soups, bean dips, refried beans, or other recipes.

Are tomatoes good for keto? ›

Botanically speaking, tomatoes are considered a fruit. However, unlike other fruit, they're considered keto-friendly. That's because tomatoes contain around 2–3 grams of net carbs per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) — or up to 10 times fewer net carbs than most fruit — regardless of their variety ( 5 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ).

Are carrots good for keto? ›

Carrots can be eaten on keto, but it may be difficult to include them regularly or in large quantities, as they contain a fair amount of carbs. Some less starchy alternatives to enjoy raw or cooked include celery, broccoli, and cauliflower.

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