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Moms have been telling kids to eat their veggies for centuries. You might recall turning your nose up at the slightest whiff of a nutritious meal, especially if it involved vegetable. If you do the keto diet, you’ve likely found a new respect and love of all things vegetable.
What is the Keto Diet?
Keto is short for ketogenic. It’s a diet that promotes a high-fat, low-carb diet. It’s done by reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed and replacing carb-rich food with foods rich in fat.
A body low on carbs goes into a state known as “ketosis”. The body escalates burning fat for energy, supplying the brain with more energy and resulting in weight loss.
While there are different variations to the keto diet, the standard version divides food intake into 75% fat, 20% protein and a low 5% for carbs.
Sugary foods, grains, alcohol and even some vegetables are eliminated from the diet. Meat, fish, eggs and low-carb vegetables are features of meals while on the keto diet.
Above Ground Vs. Below Ground Vegetables
Not all vegetables should be treated equally. Vegetables that are grown below ground (root vegetables and tubers) have higher carbs than vegetables that grow above ground.
For that reason, potatoes and sweet potatoes are two foods to avoid when on the keto diet. Above ground veggies are better to keep you on track with your keto diet.
Some people on keto diets keep strict track of the carbs they’ve consumed in one day. If you enjoy vegetables that contain less than 5 total carbs, they can be eaten almost limitlessly.
10 Ketogenic Diet Vegetables
In general, you’ll be eating a lot of green, leafy vegetables on the keto diet. Green veggies often have less carbs than their more colorful counterparts. Here are 10 of the best vegetables for the keto diet.
1. Kale – 3 grams
Kale is thought of as one of the “super green” vegetables because of how many nutrients it contains. The popular smoothie component has protein, vitamins A, C, and K. Salads are another option for incorporating kale in your keto diet.
2. Cauliflower – 3 grams
When you’re sick of too much green, go for the lighter shade of cauliflower. Roasted in oil in an oven can give cauliflower a satisfying crunch. Cauliflower pizza is gaining popularity. It can also be used to make cauliflower rice or used as a substitute for mashed potatoes with cauliflower mash.
3. Cabbage – 3 grams
Cabbage isn’t just for Saint Paddy’s Day. The versatile vegetable can be used in soups, coleslaw or simply sauteed in butter. It’s full of the vitamins and nutrients that the body needs for energy and fat burning.
4. Broccoli – 2 grams
Broccoli is another one of the “super green” vegetables that is a staple in a keto diet plan. It has healthy amounts of protein and fiber that keeps you full. This tasty food can prepared numerous ways. It can be used in soups, casseroles or even dipped in cheese.
5. Zucchini – 3 grams
Although it’s often referred to as summer squash, zucchini can be eaten year-round in various dishes. Spaghetti squash is a perfect replacement for pasta. Zucchini is full of vitamins C, A, as well as calcium.
6. Spinach – 1 gram
Do you want to be strong? Then eat your spinach. It’s rich in vitamins A and C. Iron and calcium are two additional nutrients in the favorite food of a cartoon hero. Spinach can even be used as the leafy greens in salads or creamed for a side dish.
7. Asparagus – 2 grams
Asparagus is high in fiber and folate or Vitamin B. Grilled asparagus is a popular, nutritious dish that doesn’t push you over your carb percentage.
8. Green Beans – 4 grams
If you add green beans to your keto diet, use fresh green beans and skip the canned with full of additives. Green beans can be cooked with butter or simply steamed. They make a great addition to stews and casseroles. There is an entire Christmas dish comprised of green beans.
9. Brussel Sprouts – 5 grams
Here it is – the vegetable every kid tried their best not to eat. Now you’re finally grown up, can eat anything you want and choose your childhood nemesis. That’s how healthy and nutrient-rich brussel sprouts are. What brussel sprouts aren’t are baby cabbages, though they are from the same vegetable family.
10. Pumpkin – 7 grams
Pumpkin is on the upper scale of net carbs at 7 grams, but it might be nice to get a break from leafy green veggies. The pureed pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can be beneficial to the keto diet when consumed in moderation. Another thing about pumpkin is that it can be used in the main meal or as a sweet dessert.
Bonus Keto Veggie: Peppers
Peppers are high in carbs (4-7 grams, depending on size) but they can spice up eggs or used in fajitas. Brighter color foods are higher in carbs, meaning green peppers are better for keto dieters than the red or yellow peppers. In general, green veggies have lower carb content than colorful veggies. Peppers are full of vitamin C and potassium.
Diets can be hard to sustain, but the keto diet can result in weight loss, lower cholesterol and potentially a longer lifespan. Even the kid inside would encourage you to eat your vegetables, even if they’re mostly green and leafy.