Do keto vegetables and fruits exist? Surely not, vegetables = carbs and carbs on keto are a big no-no, right? Wrong! You can and should include some fresh fruit and veggies in your keto diet – your body needs the nutrients from plants to stay nice and healthy.
Although keto diets are based around lots of healthy fats and protein with very little carbs, you still need the vitamins and minerals from good old fruits and veggies. It’s just a matter of choosing keto-friendly vegetables and fruits that won’t kick your body out of the ketosis you worked so hard to get into. Let’s tuck in!
What vegetables can I eat on keto?
While a fluffy baked potato may be off the menu (sorry!) there are plenty of low carb vegetables you can have your fill of – and for good reason.
The keto veggies listed below can taste amazing if you know how to prepare or cook them right and are super good for you and, with the following health benefits in common:
- Full of fibre: to help keep you full and fuel a healthy microbiota
- High in antioxidants: to help combat oxidative damage caused by free radicals
- Packed with vitamins and minerals: to help everything from your brain, metabolism, cardiovascular system and heart function and thrive
- A source of hydration: to help you stay hydrated and satiated
If in doubt, choose vegetables that grow above the ground rather than those that grow below the ground, e.g. potatoes.
17 of the best keto diet vegetables
Carbs in fresh courgette per 100g: 1
As you can see, courgette is very low in carbs, packed full of fibre, vitamin C, and potassium, and perfect for keto.
- Cut into sticks and baked with eggs, almond flour and parmesan cheese into courgette fries
- Courgette fritters made with grated courgette, eggs, onion, almon flour and parmesan cheese
- Courgette spaghetti with nut-free spinach pesto
Like most leafy greens, kale is a great source of fibre and vitamins K, C, E and B vitamins.
- Oven baked kale chips made with olive / avocado / coconut oil, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt
- Cheesy creamed kale made with butter, mustard and cheese of your choice
- Vegan Kale Caeser Salad with Avocado minus the bread!
Carbs in spinach per 100g: 3.6g 3
Another great leafy green perfect for keto and full of iron and B vitamins is spinach.
- Creamed spinach sautéed with butter, cream, cheese
- Saag paneer / saag mushroom cooked with butter/ghee, garlic, turmeric, chilli, ginger and cinnamon
Carbs in cucumber per 100g: 2.2g 4
Super low carb and a refreshing snack all in one, you can always trust in cucumber on keto.
- Slice into batons and dip in peanut butter, hummus or another keto-friendly dip for a great snack.
5. Peppers (green and red)
Carbs in sweet red bell pepper per 100g: 6g 5
Deliciously sweet and low-carb, you can’t go wrong with a little bell pepper while you’re following a keto diet. Stick to green and red peppers though, as they contain less sugar than yellow ones.
- Stuff peppers with your favourite protein, cauliflower rice, a sprinkling of cheese and drizzle of olive oil then roast until nicely charred
Carbs in broccoli per 100g: 6.6g 6
Broccoli is super good for you, with tons of vitamin C, K and folic acid – and very keto friendly.
- You’ve heard about cauliflower cheese, so how about broccoli and cheese? Simply roast with a creamy sauce and cheese
7. Butternut squash
Carbs in butternut squash per 100g: 10.5g 7
While butternut squash is higher in carbohydrates than most vegetables, you can still include it in your keto diet – you just have to be smart about it!
- Baked in olive oil / coconut oil and served with salmon, tofu or another protein
- Blended into a soup with coconut milk, stock and avocado oil
- Spiralised into noodles, aka boodles to replace spaghetti in your favourite dishes
Carbs in celery per 100g: 3.0g 8
Celery is very underrated, is mostly water (no carbs in water!) and can be absolutely delicious.
- Blend with cream, mushrooms, butter, stock and garlic for creamed celery soup
- Slice and stuff it with cream cheese, nut butters, tuna, or anything else keto friendly
Carbs in cauliflower per 100g: 5.0g 9
The humble cauliflower is a stand-out star in the keto world due to its amazing ability to replicate the carbs we know and love.
- Grate it up and pan fry with salt, pepper and other seasonings of your choice for cauliflower rice
- Mix with egg and seasonings and then bake on a baking tray to make a cauliflower pizza base
- Turmeric and coconut crusted baked cauliflower
A truly tasty spring veggie, asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin B9 and copper.
- Roast it with olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and parmesan then serve with protein
Carbs in cabbage per 100g: 5.8g 11
Like most leafy greens, cabbage is a great choice to serve among proteins and fats on a keto diet.
- Cabbage stir fry: fry with white wine vinegar, garlic, spring onions, other greens and a protein of your choice, then top with sesame oil
- Make kimchi or sauerkraut for extra fermented goodness
Carbs in mushrooms per 100g: 3.3g 12
You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em, but vitamin D- and selenium-rich mushrooms are very welcome in the keto world.
- Saag mushroom cooked with butter/ghee, garlic, turmeric, chilli, ginger and cinnamon
- Buttery, cheesy, garlic mushrooms… mmm, need we say any more?
Carbs in olives per 100g: 6.1g 13
Olives are a great keto snack packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, making them perfect for keto.
- Olive oil on everything!
- Pop them in any Mediterranean inspired salad, like a traditional Greek salad with feta
Are carrots keto?
Carrots are pretty high in carbs and sugars, so it’s best to eat very little or avoid them completely on a keto diet.
9 of the best keto diet fruits
Now we can get onto the fruits. As most fruits are very high in sugar (we’re looking at you, bananas!) it can seem tricky to get some fruit into your keto diet, but it is possible. See the list below for fruits that are fine to eat on keto in moderation.
Are avocadoes and tomatoes keto vegetables or fruit?
Technically, they are fruits, but they sometimes get lumped into the veggie category. Either way, they’re great for keto.
Carbs in avocado per 100g: 8.5g
The hero of all keto diets! Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help keep your heart healthy and put you into that all-important ketosis.
Other keto friendly fruits:
- Cantaloupe melon
How many carbs can I eat on keto?
Most typical keto diets recommend that only 5-10% of your daily food intake should come from carbohydrates, or less than 50g a day.
To put this into perspective, a person eating following a 2000 kcal diet would be aiming for around 40g of carbohydrates with 165g of fat and 75g of protein. 14
Last updated: 7th January 2021
Author: Donia Hilal, Nutritionist
Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018. Donia has 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.
Donia has a special interest in; weight management, plant-based nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, special diets and disease risk reduction. Donia’s LinkedIn profile