The 6 Best Vegetables for Keto (and 3 to avoid)

Pamela Zink
The 6 Best Vegetables for Keto (and 3 to avoid)

It’s no secret that you should be eating vegetables. All vegetables, in moderation, come jam-packed with loads of vitamins and minerals.

But if you are on the keto diet, you need to be extra careful. Not all vegetables are good for keto. But some of them are very good!

These vegetables are some of the best for a keto diet:
  • kale
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli

And these ones are healthy, but not good for keto:
  • potatoes
  • beets
  • corn


Kale

It contains a whopping three grams per cup. That’s a lot for a leafy vegetable! Because protein is crucial for keto, kale is an ideal vegetable. It is an especially good choice for keto vegetarians.

Kale also contains vitamin A, C, and K.


Pumpkin

Pumpkins are not just for pie. You can bake them, roast them, boil them, or even fry them. Pumpkin contains a little bit of natural sweetness, without enough sugar to break ketosis. This makes them an ideal dessert substitute.


Spinach

There’s a reason why Popeye loves spinach. It contains vitamins A and C and is especially high in iron. It is also very low carb- a single cup contains only 2.5 grams of carbohydrates. That means you could eat a dozen cups of spinach without breaking ketosis!


Zucchini

Is zucchini keto? Of course! A single zucchini only contains about three grams of carbohydrates.

Zucchini is an especially popular choice for keto dieters because you can turn it into zucchini”spaghetti”. Simply cut it into thin strips or spiralize it, then boil.


Cauliflower

If you prefer rice to pasta, then cauliflower may be for you. You can make cauliflower “rice” by dicing it very finely or running it through a food processor. Some people also turn cauliflower into pizza crust.

Cauliflower is especially low in carbs, at a tiny 1.5 grams of carbs per cup.


Broccoli

Broccoli is a close cousin of cauliflower. So you might be wondering: is broccoli keto?

It is, and only contains slightly more carbs than cauliflower, at about 2 grams per cup.

Broccoli is something of a nutritional miracle, as it contains many of the vitamins and minerals you need:
  • vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K
  • calcium
  • iron
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • zinc
  • thiamin
  • riboflavin
  • niacin

Like cauliflower, you can turn broccoli into pizza crust.

Vegetables to avoid

While most vegetables are high in nutrition and low in carbs, some are high in both carbs and nutrition. Some of the most carb-heavy vegetables include potatoes, beets, and corn.


Potatoes

Potatoes contain many minerals. They soak them up from the ground. Unfortunately, potatoes also contain loads of carbs. A single medium sized potato can contain 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates! If you ate even just one, that might break ketosis.


Beets

Another root vegetable, beets contain about 13 grams of carbs per cup. Beets are sometimes used to make sugar, and in many countries beet sugar is the most common type of sugar. Be careful about beets when on keto!


Corn

Corn is sweet. We make high-fructose corn syrup out of it. That’s the same stuff that’s in Coca-Cola and snack cakes.

No surprise, then, that corn is loaded with carbs. A single cup contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates.


Conclusion

No matter who you are, vegetables are a core component of a healthy diet. But if you are on keto, best to avoid a few carb-heavy vegetables, like beets, potatoes, and corn.

Carb-heavy vegetables tend to be starchy. A good rule of thumb is this: if it grows below the ground, it’s probably high in carbohydrates.