Vitality

These Goal-Helping, Keto-Friendly Veggies Are Perfect for Low-Carb Diet

The truth must come out: Not all vegetables, diet-speaking-wise, have been created equal. Case in point: some  (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots) are high in weight-increasing carbohydrates and can knock a person on a restrictive ketogenic diet out of ketosis. Ketosis is the metabolic process that uses fat instead of glucose to burn for energy. As delightful as that might sound, this diet relies on fat as its primary food source, and that includes saturated fat, which brings risks like heart disease, according to the Harvard Health Letter.

There are many other vegetables that are both low in carbs and rich in nutrients. Fiber helps you feeling full; antioxidants can  help fight disease. In addition, many veggies contain high amounts of water that also can help you feel full.

These low-carb, keto-friendly and dietitian-approved vegetables come courtesy from Men's Health: 

Pumpkin 

When consumed in moderate amounts, this orange-hued fall vegetable helps in ketosis. According to registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, pumpkin puree is low in carbs, a good source of fiber and is a great ingredient for keto-friendly desserts when you want something sweet and satisfying. A half-cup serving contains 7 grams of net carbs.

Kale 

Michalczyk said that this versatile "super green" is one of the few vegetables that are good sources of protein (3 grams per cup). She added that it is also low in carbs and high in vitamins A, C and K and other nutrients. One cup of kale contains just 3.4 grams of net carbs.

Spinach 

"Another super green, spinach is packed with vitamin A, C, calcium and iron. It's very low in carbs and makes for an amazing addition to any meal," Michalczyk said. A single cup has 2.5 grams of net carbs.

Bell Peppers 

These multicolored peppers can be used in various ways, such as in stir-fry, eggs and fajitas, or as a dipper for keto spreads. Michalczyk noted that they are rich in vitamin C and potassium, both "great for active bodies." Half a cup of chopped bell peppers contains 5.9 grams of net carbs.

Arugula 

Packing 0.4 grams of net carbs in a single cup, arugula should not just be used for garnish. Michalczyk noted that though this power green is a little different from kale and spinach, it is, like the latter two, low in carbs and high in nutrition. She added that it is also a good source of folate, calcium, potassium and magnesium -- all of which are great for managing blood pressure.

Zucchini 

Because it is loaded with vitamin C, A and calcium, in addition to being low in carbs, zucchini is a perfect substitute for those wanting pasta but following the keto diet, according to Michalczyk. One medium-sized zucchini has only 3 grams of net carbs.

Broccoli 

Registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon said that broccoli is a major superfood that should be part of the keto diet, having just 2 grams of net carbs per half a cup. This cruciferous vegetable is also high in filling fiber and protein and can be used in nearly anything such as in stews and soups.

Cauliflower 

Having 1.5 grams of net carbs per half a cup seving, cauliflower is just like broccoli in terms of nutritional makeup and is a great cruciferous veggie to choose when on keto, per Dixon.

Celery 

One side effect associated with keto is dehydration, and this is addressed by the high water content of celery. Dixon said that just one gram of net carbs in a large celery stalk is a great addition to soups or as an appetizer for a dip.

Cabbage 

According to Dixon, shredded cabbage contains 2 grams of net carbs per cup, so you can eat a lot in one meal without falling out of ketosis. It is more delicious when stuffed into keto fajitas, used in soups or made into coleslaw with a keto-friendly high-fat dressing.

Asparagus 

When chopped, this "super versatile" fiber- and folate-rich green veggie has 2 grams of net carbs per one-cup serving, according to Dixon.

Keto The keto diet involves increasing intake of healthy fats and severely restricting carbohydrates. Katie Smith/Unsplash

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