Whether you’re following a specific low carb diet such as Atkins, or simply trying to keep your carbs to a minimum, things can get downright confusing when it comes to veggies. Because while we all know that vegetables are good for us, it’s also obvious that that some veggies are much higher in carbs while others are more low carb friendly.
Around here we don’t put any vegetables on a strict no-no list (although if you’re doing paleo potatoes and legumes are out). And we encourage you to mix it up, and eat a wide variety of produce. But there are some veggies that are a natural fit for lower-carb eating, which means you can feel free to indulge in them without worry.
Low carb veggies to put on your menu
Following are nine delicious and filling vegetables that are perfect for your low carb diet.
Asparagus is a terrific low-carb choice. One cup of this filling veggie only has eight grams of carbs, and half of those are fiber!
This folate rich veggie has been shown to slow cancer growth, and research has found it may offer protection against pancreatic, esophageal and colorectal cancers. Brimming with B vitamins asparagus may help protect brain function, and support better blood flow, too!
2. Bell peppers:
Red, yellow, orange or green, no matter the color bell peppers are all delicious and good for you. Despite their mildly sweet flavor they clock in at just nine grams of carbs, three of which are healthy fiber.
Bell peppers are natural inflammation reducers. They’re rich in vitamins A and C. And packed with free-radical fighting antioxidants they could help protect you against cancer.
At just six grams of carbs per cup broccoli truly deserves its “superfood” status. Packed with the cancer-combatting phytochemical sulforaphane, experts say broccoli could help us reduce our risk for certain types of cancers including breast and prostate cancers. Studies show this low-carb veggie could also help with insulin resistance, making it a great choice for type 2 diabetics, or anyone concerned about blood sugar.
Cauliflower is arguably the best known low-carb vegetable. And while it’s true cauliflower clocks in at only five grams of carbs there’s another good reason this cruciferous favorite is so popular with carb watchers. Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile high-carb substitute that can take the place of rice, and can even be used to replace pizza dough and bread. And, of course, being a member of the Brassica vegetable family, cauliflower can also help provide protection against heart disease and cancer.
5. Green beans:
Whether you call them green beans, snap peas, or string beans, they’re an excellent low-carb choice by any name. Green beans have all the nutritional value you’d expect from a green veggie, and only 10 grams of carbs—four of which are fiber—in a one cup serving.
Rich in carotenoids, green beans may help you fight brain aging. And the chlorophyll that’s responsible for their beautiful green color may also offer some protection against cancer.
Filling and satisfying mushroom are a great option when you’re watching your carbohydrates. With only two grams of carbs, one of which is fiber, they add some extra oomph to almost any dish. And if you’re looking to make a meatless meal one night, mushrooms are a terrific stand in for meat.
Packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, and the powerful, sulfur-containing antioxidant ergothioneine, experts say mushrooms may help protect our cells against oxidative damage, fighting the effects of aging.
Spinach is easily one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs. And study after study has linked it to better health across the board, protecting you at the cellular level, and preventing damage to DNA.
And yes, on top of all that, spinach is also super low in carbs. One cup of raw spinach contains only one gram of carbohydrates, and that’s almost entirely fiber. If you’re cooking your spinach a cup is still a good low carb choice at seven grams of total carbohydrates, with four of them being fiber.
Technically tomatoes are fruit, but since most folks tend to think of them as a veggie we’re including them on our list. At four grams of net carbs per cup (6 total), these sweet treats are a great choice for the low-carb dieter if you don’t have any issues with nightshade veggies.
High in potassium experts say tomatoes could help you manage your blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke. And their lycopene content makes them a natural for protecting men against prostate cancer. (Just be sure to cook your tomatoes and add a good fat such as olive oil if it’s the lycopene you’re after.)
If you still haven’t given zucchini “pasta” a whirl yet you’re really missing out. Using a spiralizer tool you can transform this low carb veggie—just four grams in a cup—into the perfect base for your favorite pasta sauce.
Packed with antioxidant vitamin C, a cup of zucchini provides 35 percent of your daily C needs.