We all know by now that adding vegetables to our daily diet is one of the best ways to reach optimal health. They are rich in vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. However, if you are looking to go low-carb (less than 150 grams per day) or full Keto (20 grams per day), all vegetables are not created equal.
According to The Diet Doctor, the rule of thumb is that veggies that grow above ground are low-carb, while those below ground have a much higher carb content. This means you need to be careful —especially when it comes to potatoes (15-17 percent net carbs).
Even if you are not on a low-carb diet, eating veggies is a fantastic idea. You will feel more satiated, and your body will thank you.
So, if you are wanting to eat healthy and/or go low-carb, you should start eating these 15 vegetables. And don’t worry, there are plenty of tasty ways to prepare them. And, if you are on Keto, you can always add butter.
Note — All of the carbohydrate totals come from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) database. And, you calculate net carbs by subtracting fiber grams from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
- 1 cup raw, shredded = 4g carbs, 1.8g fiber
This cruciferous vegetable has impressive health benefits, including helping to reduce the risk for certain types of cancers. To keep the carb count low, cook it in olive oil, butter, and chicken broth. Then, add a few seasonings, like in this recipe from Divas Can Cook for a flavorful, healthy dish.
- 1 cup sliced = 3.8g carbs, 1.2g fiber
Zucchini has a ton of health benefits. In addition to it being low in calories, it is also good for your heart and blood pressure because of the potassium. Another way to keep your diet low-carb is to substitute zucchini for pasta. With the help of a mandolin, you can easily create your own “zoodles.”
And, there are not many flavor combinations better than zucchini and parmesan cheese. Add just a few more seasonings, and you have got an amazing side dish from Damn Delicious.
- 1 cup sliced = 2.5g carbs, .8g fiber
Cucumbers are low in calories, contain antioxidants, and are high in nutrients, like Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Adding them to your diet can also help with weight loss and lowering blood pressure.
Living a low-carb life can be easy because of the plethora of recipes available for all of the vegetables on this list. For cucumbers, you can make an amazing salad with sour cream and a few seasonings that will result in a refreshing, summer treat.
4. Iceberg Lettuce
- 1 cup shredded = 2 carbs, .7g fiber
Iceberg lettuce has a reputation for having zero nutritional value. But, according to Healthline, the reality is that it is a significant source of vitamins and minerals. Compared to other lettuce, it has a higher water content, but it is still low in calories, sugar, and fat. It is not as nutrient dense as other lettuce varieties, but it is still a good leafy green that should have a place in any salad.
- 1 clove = 1g carbs, .1g fiber
Garlic is beneficial for the immune system, but some studies suggest it can also guard against the common cold and lower blood pressure.
When it comes to cooking, the possibilities for garlic are endless. You can add it to everything from chicken to potatoes. When you are trying to keep your carb count low, fresh garlic cloves are an excellent addition to your kitchen. And, if you want this savory flavor in your life as much as possible, try these recipes that no garlic lover should live without.
- 1 cup raw = 1g carbs, .7g fiber
This leafy green veggie also has its share of major health benefits, and some reports say that it can reduce DNA damage. Spinach is also good for your heart and can help with eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
So, don’t be afraid to add raw spinach to a salad or sandwich.
7. Brussel Sprouts
- 1 cup raw = 7.8 carbs, 3.3g fiber
Some studies suggest that eating Brussel sprouts can reduce the risk of cancer, plus they are high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C.
However, many of us have had bad experiences with Brussel Sprouts because they weren’t cooked properly. You can fix that problem with this recipe which gives them a cheesy-garlic flavor.
- 1 cup = 4.8g carbs, 2.5g fiber
A common veggie in Italian and Asian cuisine, eggplant is low in carbs and contains the antioxidant nasunin, which is in the skin’s purple pigment. Some research has shown that nasunin possibly protects brain health while reducing free radicals.
One of the most delicious eggplant dishes is eggplant parmesan, and this recipe from _Bon Appetit _is essential for your personal cookbook.
9. Green Beans
- 1 cup = 7g carbs, 2.7g fiber
Fresh, snapped green beans (avoid the canned version which is high in salt), are a staple on many American dinner tables each night. It is also one of the most popular side dishes for holiday meals and potlucks.
Eating green beans will help you maintain a healthy weight because they are low in calories, have no fat, no cholesterol, and are low in sugar. Most importantly, they are high in protein and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals.
- 1 cup chopped = 6g carbs, 2.4g fiber
One of the superfoods on this list, broccoli is a cruciferous veggie like cabbage, kale, and Brussel sprouts. Studies show that they are good for type 2 diabetics because they decrease insulin resistance, and it can also protect against several types of cancer.
- 1 cup chopped = 7g carbs, 2.2g fiber
Technically a fruit, but eaten mostly as a vegetable, tomatoes have a number of health benefits like reducing blood pressure and the risk of stroke. They are also a good source of Vitamins A, C, and K, and are an excellent source of potassium.
12. Red Bell Pepper
- 1 cup sliced = 5.5g carbs, 1.9g fiber
This incredibly nutritious vegetable is lower in carbs than its green and yellow counterparts. They are high in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, lower cancer risk, and are high in Vitamins A and C.
Try this healthy recipe from the Food Network, that features bell pepper stuffed with beef, rice, and other veggies.
- 1 cup = 3.2g carbs, .5g fiber
It might be trendy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t nutritious. Kale is full of antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, and protects against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
All you have to do is add a bit to a salad, and you will get plenty of Vitamin A and C to help your immune system and fight free radicals to slow down aging. It’s just an added bonus that the carb count is low.
- 1 cup chopped = 5.3g carbs, 2.1g fiber
Another popular and versatile low-carb veggie, cauliflower has an amazing taste, and you can use it as a substitution for high-carb foods like rice and potatoes. But, one of my favorite ways to use cauliflower is as a pizza crust. This recipe fromiFoodReal gives you a step by step guide on the process, and the result is a delicious low-carb alternative to flour-based pizza crusts. Anything that makes pizza healthy is a must!
- 1 cup raw, white = 3.1g carbs, 1g fiber
This veggie is extremely low in carbs, and research shows it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Mushrooms are versatile, so you can add them to everything from your favorite Italian dish to a creamy soup.
They are a staple for a vegetarian diet but don’t be afraid to add them to a meat-based dish. Delish has a number of easy recipes that use mushrooms for a wonderful, savory flavor.
With all of these tasty options, eating low-carb is easier than ever before. If you are looking to improve your health, prevent disease, and lose weight, studies have shown that reducing your carb intake is a great option. So, start eating these 15 low-carb veggies right away, and you will immediately start to reap the health benefits.