Chapter 9: Vegetables

Diet quality has dropped significantly in the last two decades or so, and we are consuming fewer and fewer vegetables. 

Not surprisingly, we are also fatter than we’ve ever been. Of course, this can’t be fully attributed to our nutritional habits, but they do play a huge role. The common expression, “You can’t out train a bad diet” is true.

The good news is, with the rise in popularity of the keto diet, we are slowly but surely starting to consume more vegetables again, because they are a staple food in the diet.

Vegetables (the non-starchy ones) are highly nutritious, low in calories and carbs, and are quite filling. They provide us with essential vitamins and minerals we need and are an excellent food to load up on if our goal is weight loss. 

Most of the carbs in non-starchy veggies come in the form of fiber which is non-digestible and doesn’t count to your total because your body doesn’t absorb it. But, fiber is very important for gut health, absorption of nutrients, and digestion.

Many vegetables are also filled with antioxidants that help protect us against cell damage and chronic disease.
No matter how you look at it, vegetables are amazing and should be part of any diet. But, for a ketogenic diet, you need to be mindful of your choices.

What Kind of Veggies to Choose (with Examples)
Veggies come in two main categories: starchy and non-starchy.
Starchy veggies are those you should avoid on a keto diet because they contain a hefty amount of carbs which can kick you out of ketosis.
Non-starchy veggies are those you want. They contain very little carbs, and you should consume more of them. Here are some examples:

Kale is considered to be one of the healthiest veggies out there, and it goes great with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt. A whole cup of kale contains 5 grams of digestible carbs.

Spinach is packed with nutrients, and a whole cup contains just 1 gram of digestible carbs.

Another delicious option that has just 22 calories per cup with 3 grams of digestible carbs.

Rich in vitamins C and K, broccoli also has just 31 calories per cup and a measly 3.5 grams of digestible carbs.

With just 20 calories and 2 grams of digestible carbs per cup, cauliflower is the perfect veggie to put some variety to your nutrition.

Asparagus is one of the most filling veggies out there and thanks to the fact that it barely has 27 calories per cup and 2.5 grams of digestible carbs, it’s a great food choice for a keto diet.

Which Veggies to Avoid
Though each of the options is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, they are also filled with carbs which can kick you out of ketosis, and you should stay away from them.

A cup of boiled sweet white corn has a whopping 41 grams of carbs.

Though not as dramatic, a cup of carrots has nearly 13 grams of carbs and should be consumed sparingly.

One small potato has roughly 30 grams of digestible carbs which are more than the daily maximum for most people.

A cup of boiled white beans contains more than 46 grams of digestible carbs, which is quite rich.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the best low-carb and keto vegetables out there.

  • Green Leafs
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Aspargus
  • Swiss Chard
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Arugula
  • Mushrooms