Nutrient-dense and delicious, low carb vegetables are the superheroes of a healthy low carb eating plan!
What I love about vegetables is that they’re incredible high fiber low carb foods! But not all veggies are made equal—while they all provide nutrients, some have significantly higher carb contents than others.
At first, the distinction between high carb and low carb vegetables might not be intuitive — so I threw together this list of the best vegetables, so you can effortlessly eat low carb foods in NO time!
Let’s breakdown the list of low-carb veggies!
We’re told all the time about the importance of eating vegetables. They provide crucial vitamins and minerals, and they can decrease the likelihood of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
But how do you know which ones are suitable for a low carb diet, without having to individually search the carb content of every vegetable every time you hit the grocery store?
Well, I have a convenient cheat sheet for you! Here are the 43 best low-carb vegetables:
|Low Carb Vegetables (1 Cup)||Carbs||Sugar||Fiber||Net Carbs|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.6||0.1||0.3||0.3|
|Lettuce (green leaf)||1||0.2||0.5||0.5|
|Bell Peppers (green)||4.2||2.2||1.6||2.6|
|Spaghetti Squash, cubed||7||1.5||2.8||4.2|
|Artichokes (1, medium)||13.4||1.2||6.9||6.5|
Lowest Carb Vegetables
Like I said, not all veggies are made equal. For example, the amount of carbs in lettuce (1 gram per cup) is different from the number of carbs in asparagus (5.2 grams per cup).
You’ll also need to decide what type of carbs you’re counting: NET carbs, or total carbs. Net carbs can be calculated by subtracting the fiber from the total carbs of any given good. If you go this route, you’ll find a lot more veggies on our list fit the bill. Total carbs are the total number of carbs in any given food.
The three lowest carb vegetables as far as TOTAL carbs go are:
- Watercress – 0.4 g
- Lettuce (red leaf) – 0.6 g
- Arugula – 0.7 g
The lowest carb vegetables based on their NET carb counts are:
- Kale – 0 g
- Broccoli Rabe – 0 g
- Watercress – 0.4 g
(Psst – The carb content listed is based on a 1 cup serving!)
Highest Carb Vegetables
Although they have beneficial nutrients, you should be aware of high carb vegetables to avoid foiling your low carb meals!
There are a few obvious high carb culprits, like squash, potatoes, and pumpkins. These earthy vegetables are tasty and filling, but aren’t ideal for a low carb lifestyle. (Did you know that a cup of sweet potatoes contains 20 net grams of carbs?!)
Some vegetables lie in the middle ground. Compared to .07 grams in a cup of arugula, there are 7 grams of carbs in tomatoes and 7.8 grams of carbs in brussel sprouts. So although tomatoes are abundant in antioxidants and brussel sprouts help your body detox, I make sure to eat these veggies in smaller portions!
There are a few general tricks you can keep in mind when it comes to finding low carb veggies!
- Vegetables grown in the ground tend to have more carbs. Think potatoes, onions, carrots…
- Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, pumpkins, and corn, are also higher carb.
- Vegetables with higher water content will usually have fewer carbs and calories, like cucumbers and celery!
The type of carbs in vegetables will vary with each variety…
For example. some vegetables such as pumpkin are high in sugar (10 grams per cup) — while others, such as artichokes are loaded with fiber (6.9 grams per cup). Check out the chart above for each specific breakdown.
Just because it’s not a low carb vegetable doesn’t mean that you can’t eat it at all! Of course, this will depend on your individual meal plan, but moderation is key for a healthy, sustainable diet!
And when in doubt, measure your serving portions!
Personally, my meal plan is highly focused on veggies. I try to sneak them into every meal to add nutrients and bulk to my eating plan. Here are a few ideas:
- Low carb salads — Dice up your faves and top them with a protein and some cheese.
- Smoothies — add a handful of frozen spinach or kale!
- Stir fries — add bulk to your meal with veggies sauted in your a stir fry sauce.
- Omelettes and scrambles — saute and toss them on in!
How Do I Balance The Carbs In Vegetables?
Vegetables tend to be mostly carbs. So if you want to balance your macros, add some more fat and protein!
For example, when you make a low carb side dishes like salad, drizzle a little olive oil, slice some avocados, or toss in low carb nuts! Not only will these add delightful texture to your salad, they’ll also boost your meal with heart-healthy fats!
What Are Some Food To Avoid When Trying To Balance The Carbs?
In terms of foods to avoid, because vegetables are mainly carbs, you don’t want to consume more carb-heavy foods.
Low carb beans and low carb grains can make a tasty addition to a veggie-based dish, but I would opt to eat my low carb vegetables with high fat or high protein foods instead.
What Are Other Low Carb + Nutrient Dense Foods?
For other low carb, nutrient-dense foods, have some low carb fruits! Ranging from sweet to sour, fruits will tickle your taste buds while nourishing your body with important vitamins and minerals.
Like vegetables, the carb content in each fruit will vary wildly, so check out my guide for the best low carb fruits!
Non Starchy Vegetables As Snacks?
If you want to sneak in more low carb vegetables into your diet, here are some fun snack ideas:
- Celery sticks – I love celery with low carb peanut butter.
- Cucumber slices – Dip them in my low carb veggie dip!
- Kale chips – Crispy and warm, you can say goodbye to potato chips forever!
It can be a hassle to try to squeeze the daily recommended amount of veggies into your meal plan. So here are some recipes packed with low carb vegetables:
- Low Carb Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Low Carb Coleslaw
- Low Carb Green Smoothie
- Low Carb Vegetable Soup
- Low Carb Squash Casserole
Downloadable List Of Low Carb Vegetables
Here is a downloadable list of low carb vegetables (right click the image and select Save Image As):
Eating veggies every day is super important for your well-being. With my guide, you’ll be munching on low carb vegetables like a pro!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! What’re your favorite low carb veggies? How do you like to cook them?