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Vegetables are a healthy and essential part of almost every diet. They are rich in lots of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help to keep us healthy and strong.
Not all vegetables are created equal, especially in the case of the keto diet where you need to hit a certain number of carbs per day to be able to maintain the state of ketosis.
There are certain vegetables on keto that are great and can be eating more freely while there are others that should be best avoided or rather enjoyed in moderation and with care.
This guide examines the role of vegetables on keto, what keto vegetables to eat, which veggies to avoid and also shows you 10 of the best vegetables you can enjoy on the ketogenic diet.
The role of vegetables on keto
The keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet which puts your body in a state of ketosis. To enter and maintain ketosis, you need to limit your carb intake to a certain point while keeping your fat intake high and protein intake moderate.
For most people, this translates to about 25 – 30g of net carbs per day. The right vegetables can help you reach these goals while giving you lots of added benefits.
If you don’t really like eating veggies, then you’re missing out big time. Here are a couple of reasons you should be eating veggies on keto
- Vegetables are a good way to add fiber to your meals
- Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients your body needs to remain healthy
- Some low carb veggies help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels
- With the right ingredients and recipes, they make perfect, satisfying and keto friendly meals.
As you can see, vegetables are quite essential to getting proper nutrients and living a healthy lifestyle, therefore they are important on keto. But since you need to hit a certain daily carb limit, your veggies need to work within those targets as well.
Fortunately, there are lots of low carb veggies you can enjoy on keto without falling off ketosis due to their low carb count. However, there are also some vegetables that are higher in carbs and should be used more carefully or avoided completely.
So what veggies are ok on keto and what veggies should be avoided or possibly reduced?
Vegetables to eat and avoid on the keto diet
There are certain keto veggies you can enjoy in larger servings, others that are best enjoyed in smaller servings and some that are best avoided. But how do you know which is which?
One quick trick to easily determine is to use the question “above ground or below ground?”
Generally, vegetables that grow above ground are usually the lowest in carbs with quite a large number of them being less than 5g of net carbs per 100g, although there are few exceptions to this rule.
Similarly, vegetables that grow below the ground are usually higher in carbs with quite a large number of them being more than 5g of net carbs per 100g. Again, there are few exceptions to this rule.
With this list, you’ll find the best keto vegetables you can enjoy. The nutritional information is based on 100g servings.
Firstly, here are some vegetables on keto which are under 5g net carbs per 100g
Low carb veggies under 5g net carbs
These keto vegetables are under 5g of net carb count per every 100g, so they can be eaten a bit more freely on the ketogenic diet.
|Name or type of Vegetable||Amount per serving||Net carbs per serving|
|Bell Peppers (green)||100g||2.8g|
|Bell Peppers (red)||100g||3.9g|
Likewise, here are other low carb veggies as well. But these ones contain over 5g of net carbs per 100g serving as shown below.
Low carb veggies over 5g net carbs
|Name or type of Vegetable||Amount per serving||Net carbs per serving|
Nutritional information from Nutrition Value
Now, let’s take a look at the top 10 keto vegetables to enjoy on a low carb ketogenic diet
Top 10 keto vegetables
These are the top 10 low carb veggies to enjoy on keto for several reasons. Taste, nutritional value, creative possibilities and so on. Here they are
Cauliflower is one of the most favorite low carb veggies you’ll come across on the ketogenic diet. Firstly, it is quite low in calories but very rich in nutrients and minerals, making it very weight loss friendly.
Also, cauliflower is quite rich in antioxidants which help protect your body against inflammation and other free harmful radicals. But that’s not the only reason why it is so much loved on the keto diet.
As you may know, cauliflower makes a great substitute for many high carb foods. The most obvious and most frequently used being cauliflower rice or “caulirice”. Caulirice is the keto friendly version of your normal rice, which feels and tastes just as good.
Other high carb swaps that can be made with cauliflower include cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower tortillas and cauliflower mac and cheese.
Health benefits of cauliflower include
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disorder and brain damage
- Aids weight loss
- Helps to prevent cancer
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Supports healthy metabolism
Avocados are amazing fruits, although as you can see, they make the list for vegetables, because they are usually consumed as such. One good thing about the avocado is that, it’s a great source of fats.
On keto, your foods usually need to follow the high fat, low carb and moderate protein rule and that is no problem for these delicacies. A 100g serving of avocados contains 15g of fat, 7g of fiber, 2g net carbs and about 2g of protein, which makes it very keto friendly.
Also, it is high in many health supporting nutrients and electrolytes as well. When it comes to cooking, they are used to add taste and texture to a lot of keto meals. Here are some health benefits of avocados
- Avocados are rich in many health supporting nutrients such as vitamin B5, B6, C, K and folate
- They are loaded with monounsaturated fats which helps fight inflammation
- They are a great source of fiber
- Can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Loaded with antioxidants
These vegetables are famous for getting pushed off the plate by children all over the world but they actually offer a truckload of benefits. Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy and collard greens.
Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw, depending on the recipe and how you may like to enjoy them. They are perfect for, but not limited to keto salads and casseroles. A 100g serving of broccoli contains only 4g of net carbs.
Bundled with the numerous health benefits associated with it, it’s one of the top keto vegetables you can enjoy. Health benefits of broccoli include
- It is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin A, C, K, potassium, phosphorus and folate
- Rich in antioxidants that help protect and boost health
- Contains bioactive compounds which can reduce inflammation
- Promotes healthy digestion and helps reduce constipation
- Supports brain function and can help slow down aging
Zucchinis are another very popular vegetable that give birth to quite a lot of delicacies on keto. One of the most popular, being the zucchini noodles which are a wonderful substitute to your regular high pasta noodles. But that’s not all
Zucchinis are quite low in carbs, with a 100g of zucchini giving only about 2.1g of net carbs. Even though they are not particularly high in fat, they are extremely healthy as well and are a great way to stay low carb while getting important and healthy nutrients.
Here are some health benefits of zucchini
- They are rich in antioxidants which protect your body from dangerous free radicals
- Help to reduce blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity
- Contain fiber which aid digestion
- Promote heart health and help to strengthen your vision
Mushrooms are basically fungi, but still make it among the top keto vegetables. That’s because they are actually healthy and tasty as long as you pick the right ones.
Mushrooms come in different shapes and sizes. Some are actually poisonous while others are quite healthy and delicious. If you intend to get your mushrooms from the wild, it may sometimes be hard to differentiate the good from the bad.
You can always buy mushrooms from the store as a safe bet. They are used to add taste and texture to meals and make their way into a lot of delicious keto dinners and side dishes.
Here are a couple of health benefits associated with eating mushrooms
- They are rich in healthy nutrients
- May help prevent against cancer
- Can help to boost the immune system
- Improve digestion and support weight loss
This is another wonderful keto veggie you need to be getting in your diet. Asparagus has been used as a health sustaining plant for ages for very obvious reasons.
Firstly, asparagus is low carb and low calorie as well, making it keto friendly and also weight loss friendly. But those aren’t the only perks. When it comes to cooking, there are only so many ways to use asparagus because it fits well with quite a lot of foods.
One of the popular way of enjoying asparagus is by cooking it. You can also spice it up at times given the right ingredients.
Here are certain health benefits associated with eating asparagus.
- Helps to improve digestive health
- Rich in health boosting antioxidants
- Can help to support a healthy pregnancy
- Helps to lower blood pressure
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that you probably find a lot in salads and smoothies for their many health benefits. One of the ways to get the most out of them us by going for the fresh dark green ones as they are more nutrient packed.
Spinach is also high in fiber, making it a nice way to hit your daily fiber recommendations. They are also good for developing healthy eyes due to compounds like Zeaxanthin and Lutein.
Here are some health benefits associated with eating spinach
- They help to fight oxidative stress
- Improve eye health
- Can help prevent cancer
- Reduce risk of heart disease
Another healthy keto vegetable to add to your diet is cabbage. From green cabbage to red or white, all offers a couple of amazing health benefits with red cabbage packing more of a nutritional punch.
Due to their low carb content and health benefits, they are used in a lot of keto vegetable based recipes like coleslaw and salads. There are many ways to enjoy cabbage with cooking being one of the most popular.
A 100g serving of cabbage gives about 3.3g of net carbs for the green cabbage and about 5.3g net carbs for the red cabbage.
Here are some health benefits of cabbage
- It helps improve digestion
- Good source of vitamin c
- Helps keep inflammation in check
- Promotes heart health
- Can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels
9) Green beans
Green beans are basically legumes. And even though legumes are not allowed on the keto diet, these are an exception. Green beans are low in carbs, with a 100g serving containing only 3.6g of net carbs.
There are lots of ways to enjoy green beans on a keto diet. Here are some health benefits of green beans
- They are cholesterol free and promote heart health
- Good source of vitamins and minerals
- Boosts immunity
- May help improve bone and hair health due to protein
- Good source of vitamins and minerals
Celery is another low carb vegetable which offers a ton of health benefits. Apart from being keto friendly, it is a good source of fiber and also promote heart health among other things.
Both the celery stalks and seeds are beneficial, even though a lot of people prefer the stalks. There are many ways to enjoy celery in your meals on keto. It can be either be enjoyed with a side dish, as part of a main meal or even a snack,
Here are some health benefits of celery
- It helps to protect liver health
- Can help to prevent ulcers
- Boosts digestion and reduces bloating
- Can help fight against infections due to its antibacterial properties
Keto friendly vegetable recipes
There are lots of keto friendly vegetable based recipes you can try. For example, zucchinis are used to make zoodles (keto pasta). Also, kale can be used to make crispy and salty chips that taste as good as the original.
Enjoy these low carb recipes
- Crispy Kale chips
- Keto cauliflower fried rice
- Loaded avocado baked eggs
- 12 keto salad recipes to help you lose weight
For more, check out our recipe collections
On the ketogenic diet, there are lots of vegetables you can enjoy more freely, while there are others that should rather be limited and some that should be avoided due to their carb content.
When choosing vegetables on keto, remember that the ones that grow above ground are usually lower in carbs while the ones that grow below the ground are usually higher in carbs although there are a few exceptions.
You can enjoy the best keto vegetables which will help you stay in ketosis, lose weight and keep you healthy overall.
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