Let’s set one thing straight: vegetables, despite being rich in carbohydrates, are always good for you. Vegetables should always be part of your diet. But if you’re on a restrictive keto diet — a diet that demands following a low-carb, high-fat eating plant — you may have to avoid certain higher-carbohydrate vegetables that could compromise your diet.
As mentioned, vegetables are the most nutritious things you can eat but some can be carbohydrate-dense. So if you’re serious with your keto diet, it’s natural to doubt some of the vegetables you love to eat.
Are mushrooms keto? Should you remove the corn from your mixed vegetable dishes? Can you still eat fried onions on keto?
With all of these questions in mind, it’s time to set another record straight: which vegetables are keto-friendly and which are not?
Mushrooms are flexible and delicious vegetables that are perfect additions to any dish like pasta or hot pot. They can also easily fit any diet. But the question is: Are mushrooms keto-friendly?
Worry no more; the good news is mushrooms are keto.
A cup of raw white mushrooms (96 grams) has the following nutritional facts:
- 21 calories
- 1 gram of fiber
- 3 grams of protein
- 3 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of fat
The carbohydrate count of mushrooms varies slightly depending on the type of mushrooms, how you cook them and more. For instance, Portobello mushrooms have the lowest carb count. A whole piece of this mushroom contains 2.2 net carbohydrates and 3.25 carbohydrates.
With such a low carbohydrate count, mushrooms suit your keto diet. While raw mushrooms are excellent additions to any keto diet, people don’t eat them as they are. You usually serve mushrooms in dishes, so if you want to add mushrooms to your keto diet, you have to be careful with how you cook them.
Here are some of the best ways to include mushrooms in your ketogenic diet:
- Added to your favorite salad. Make sure it’s raw.
- Added to your favorite stir fry dish.
- Sautéed in olive oil with pepper, rosemary, salt and garlic.
- Cooked along with an omelet or some scrambled eggs.
- Sautéed with other vegetables and boiled in water to make mushroom broth.
- Roasted with sprigs of thyme and rosemary for a snack. You can also add other spices.
Apart from being a lovely addition to your ketogenic diet, mushrooms are also packed with health benefits. Consider the following:
- Protects you against diseases. Mushrooms contain disease-fighting antioxidants that protect you from different diseases like Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Keeps your heart in good condition. Apart from antioxidant protection, mushrooms promote a healthy heart. Potassium and dietary fiber have cardio-protective benefits.
- Boosts your immune system. The combination of antioxidants, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C all work together to give your immune system a natural boost.
As mentioned, mushrooms are keto-friendly but if you’re eager to find an alternative to mushrooms, go with eggplant, tofu, zucchini and chickpeas.
Are onions keto? With their pungent yet delicious aroma and variety of uses, onions are a staple food in most diets. But can you have them in your ketogenic diet?
Onions are keto.
The net carbs in onion is low enough that you can cook with them regularly, as long as you’re mindful with your serving sizes. On average, 100 grams of raw onions have 9.3 grams of carbohydrates, as well as 40 calories and 1.7 grams of fiber. In terms of net carbs, the average whole onion has 11 grams.
There are different types of onions but the varieties of onions, which include yellow onions, sweet onions and spring onions. These types of onions share nearly the same carbohydrate content: three to four total carbs per ½ cup.
So, in general, onions are keto-friendly because don’t eat a whole head of onion. Not everyone eats onions as a whole; they prefer to use them for their flavor, sautéing the onions to add taste to most dishes.
Onions are packed with vitamins and minerals while being low calories. If you’re on a keto diet, no need to worry since the nutrients of onions outweigh their carbohydrate content.
In terms of health benefits, onions help you with the following:
- Fights heart disease. Onions contain vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that is good for your heart. It also contains powerful compounds called allyl sulfides, which prevent heart disease. It also has a high content of a flavonoid called quercetin, which reduces inflammation and blood pressure.
- Reduces your risk for obesity. Onions can also inhibit excess fat storage. The flavonoid quercetin can transform white fat cells into brown fat cells, which promotes better metabolism.
- May prevent cancer. The allyl sulfides in onions can also protect you against cancer. Onion also has diallyl trisulfide, which regulates several pathways linked with cancer development.
If you’re a big fan of fries and mashed potatoes, this could be heartbreaking news. Despite being gluten-free, potatoes are not keto-friendly. They contain a high amount of carbohydrates and starch per serving. One hundred grams of potatoes already contain 20.4 grams of carbs — a big no-no for strict keto diets.
If you’re craving potatoes, there are great alternatives available. Depending on the recipe, you can make the following swaps.
- If you miss sautéed potatoes, make the switch to radishes. Radishes have a mellower flavor when cooked plus they have a similar texture to potatoes.
- You need not bid French fries goodbye. Instead of frying potatoes, fry rutabaga and dip them in sugar-free ketchup.
- What if you miss potato chips? Get all the crunch of traditional potato chips without the extra carbs and inflammatory oils with zucchini.
Corn is a hard-to-replace grain variety that falls under different healthy categories: low-calories, vegetarian, vegan and good flavor. But is corn keto-friendly?
Some people may consider corn a low-carb snack veggie that suits any diet but sadly, it’s not keto-friendly. While a few kernels will not sabotage your macros, a full serving of corn compromises your ketosis.
Also, if you want to practice a clean keto diet, corn is enemy number one because:
- Majority of corn is genetically modified. It also contains glyphosate, which the FDA considers as a possible carcinogen.
- Despite being gluten-free, corn mimics the effect of gluten in your body. If you’re following a strict keto diet, it’s best to avoid corn.
Broccoli is a solid vegetable choice for people who want to add more greens in their diet. It is loaded with micronutrients and fiber and the best part is it’s also keto-friendly. A single serving of raw broccoli (one cup, 91 grams) contains 3.7 grams of net carbs. When cooked, the carb content increases to 6.1 grams of net carbs.
The increase in carb content is due to the broccoli shrinking as it cooks. A cup of cooked broccoli is more than a cup of raw broccoli. Simply put, if you cook your broccoli, you’ll end up with less after cooking.
Some keto-friendly recipes you can try with broccoli include the following:
- Sautéed broccoli
- Broccoli cheese soup
- Broccoli cauliflower salad (add some bacon for more flavor)
- Broccoli cheese casserole
Peas are usually part of healthy meal plans. Plus, they’re yummy legumes that people add to their meals. But generally speaking, any type of legumes, including peas, is not keto-friendly. Still, there are different types of peas and some are more nutritional than others.
Most legumes aren’t keto-friendly because they don’t have enough protein and have too many carbs. Some peas are OK to add to your keto diet. For instance, green peas may have a higher number of carbs but sugar snap peas have fewer grams of net carbs.
It all depends on the number of peas you’re consuming. If you add a few peas to your dish, it shouldn’t drastically compromise your meal but if you want to consume a bowl of green peas, you’re setting yourself back in terms of protein vs. carbs.
Vegetables are essential in any healthy keto diet. But not all of the veggies are good for you. So before you pick up a veggie for your meal, do some research to determine if they’re keto or not.