Wondering what vegetables are low carb? You’re not alone! Vegetables help deliver vital nutrients to our body to support daily function, the way we look, and the way that we perform. In general, most low carb vegetables should be eaten on a daily basis, as they contain high levels of fiber and nutrients. High carb vegetables should also be included in your diet, but in moderation, as they’re going to be more starch-based and have a higher carbohydrate content. So which what are the best low carb vegetables to include in your diet? Let’s find out!
**Note: While yes, fruits and vegetables do contain carbohydrates, there’s no reason to leave them off of your plate. A well-rounded diet includes both variety and color from whole, raw, and natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
Low Carb Vegetables vs High Carb Vegetables
Telling the difference between the two comes down to a pretty simple rule… are you ready!?
- Vegetables that are grown above ground (in general) are low carb vegetables and can be eaten freely
- Vegetables that are grown below the ground (in general) are high carb vegetables and should be eaten in moderation
Note that no rule is perfect nor is it as plain as black and white, so let’s dive a little deeper into understanding the differences between the two.
Low Carb Vegetables - Above Ground
Nutrient-dense low carb vegetables are the superheroes of a healthy diet, regardless of whether or not you are low carb or carb-restricted. Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals, but they’re also high fiber low carb foods.
Low carb vegetables can be eaten ‘freely’. If you’re counting your macros or not following a strict dietary guideline or diet, then the more vegetables the better. Since they have high levels of fiber and low lever of carbs, typically these vegetables do not count towards your daily macronutrient totals, which is where the ‘eat them freely’ thought comes from.
RELATED ARTICLE Counting Macros: Do I Track My Vegetables?
Net Carb Count (per 100g)
Green Bell Pepper
Red Bell Pepper
Yellow Bell Pepper
High Carb Vegetables - Below Ground
If the vegetable is grown below ground or has a high level of starch, it naturally is going to have a higher carbohydrate content.
It’s important to note that high carb vegetables do have their place in an individual's diet and shouldn’t be ruled out completely. If you are following a low carb diet or looking to reduce weight or body fat, then high carb vegetables may not be a very staple part of your dietary lifestyle.
It’s important to keep in mind that various vegetables provide different levels of nutrients — take Brussels Sprouts (considered low carb even with 5g carbs per 100g) compared to a sweet potato which has 26.8 net carbs per 1 cup. Both have a variety of nutrients that are important for a healthy functioning body, but you can eat them in different or smaller portions to balance the carbs while still receiving the benefit of their nutrient profiles.
Net Carb Count (per 100g)
**NOTE: If you’re taking the medication warfarin then your vegetable intake may not follow these guidelines and we recommend consulting your primary care physician for dietary recommendations for vegetables.
10 Low Carb Vegetables & Low Carb Vegetable Recipes
1. Asparagus (2g carbs)
Even though asparagus makes your pee smell, it’s a low carb vegetable that can be cooked in a multitude of ways and still maintain texture and nutrient density.
Baked Asparagus Recipe:
- Step 1: Turn on the oven and set to Broil
- Step 2: Line a baking sheet with foil
- Step 3: Snap the ends of the asparagus off and wash thoroughly
- Step 4: Spread asparagus on the baking sheet evenly so that they’re not touching (as best you can) and all facing the same direction
- Step 5: Spray asparagus or lightly drizzle olive oil on top and roll around so the asparagus is coated
- Step 6: Sprinkle the asparagus with garlic salt and ground pepper
- Step 7: Broil in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until desired texture is reached
2. Avocado (2g carbs)
While avocado is technically a fruit, for our purposes, we’re going to leave it on this list as a vegetable. It can be used in all sorts of ways, from eaten on its own, to chopped in a salad, on toast or even blended up in your protein smoothie for a creamy texture. It’s rich in healthy fats and omega 3s and should be a staple of a healthy diet.
Avocado Egg Salad Recipe:
- Step 1: Hard boil 8 eggs
- Step 2: Peel 2 avocados and place into a bowl
- Step 3: Slice and chop your hard-boiled eggs in the same bowl as the avocado
- Step 4: Add seasonings such as cilantro, onion powder, garlic salt, ground pepper, basil, etc.
- Step 5: Put on a piece of toast and enjoy!
3. Broccoli (4g carbs)
Broccoli is great raw or cooked and can be chopped, shredded, boiled, steamed, sautéed, frozen… you name it and broccoli can do it! It’s a fiber-packed vegetable that is low in carbohydrates and makes a great substitution in the place of high carbohydrate food, like potatoes, rice, or even pasta.
Steamed Lemon Garlic Broccoli Recipe:
- Step 1: In a medium-sized pan empty a frozen bag of broccoli into 1 inch of water
- Step 2: Cover the pan and bring water to a medium boil
- Step 3: Steam broccoli until desired texture is reached
- Step 4: Add 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Step 5: Drain excess water
- Step 6: Drizzle 1/2 lemon juice over the top
- Step 7: Crack some fresh pepper and enjoy it!
4. Brussels Sprouts (5g carbs)
These little morsels of fiber and goodness come to your kitchen requiring a little love and nourishment before eating. In order to make them have a little less ‘punch’ or bitterness, we recommend cooking them down enough until they’re soft. We recommend buying a fresh or frozen bag of shredded ones instead of shredding them yourself… for time's sake, of course.
Bacon and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Recipe:
- Step 1: Cut 5 slices of bacon (we prefer jalapeño bacon) into a medium size pan
- Step 2: Cook bacon until 3/4 done
- Step 3: Add 1 pound of shredded Brussels Sprouts & 1/8 cup of water to the saucepan with the bacon and grease still in it
- Step 4: Cover and cook until Brussels begin to get moist
- Step 5: Uncover and finish cooking until desired consistency is reached
5. Cabbage (3g carbs)
Low carb and crunchy, this vegetable rank pretty high on our list of low carb vegetables because you can top it with basically any sauce or dressing and eat it like coleslaw any day. If you’re a salty and crunchy person, this may be a great vegetable for you to replace that chip or cracker desire.
5 Ingredient Coleslaw Recipe:
- Step 1: Chop 1 lbs of cabbage (green, purple, or mixture)
- Step 2: Mix together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 2 tsp vinegar, 2 tsp lime juice, 1 tbsp honey, 3/4 tsp salt, and 3/4 tsp ground pepper
- Step 3: Mix in nuts or seeds of choice
- Step 4: Add dressing mixture to cabbage
- Step 5: Serve and enjoy!
6. Cauliflower (3g carbs):
If you love mashed potatoes then cauliflower might just be your new best friend. It’s the superhero of the low carb diet world and surely you’ve seen it in stores or online as diced, mashed, and even made into crusts and pizza dough. Our favorite way to eat it though is alongside some turkey meatballs and green beans as mashed garlic and butter cauliflower. Did we mention that it’s paleo, keto, and WHOLE30? YUM!
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe:
- Step 1: Rinse 1 head of cauliflower wet and trip the florets
- Step 2: Heat 1 inch of water in a pot on the stove - bring to a boil
- Step 3: Steam cauliflower 6-8 minutes
- Step 4: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp minced garlic, and 2 tbsp herbs (we like to use sage, parsley, or chives) in a small saucepan.
- Step 5: Mash cauliflower and add oil mixture
7. Green Beans (4g carbs)
Green beans are an excellent low carb vegetable that you should include on a regular basis in your diet. They’re malleable and easy to put in so many different meals and food pairings that you really cannot go wrong… that is unless you burn them on accident.
Sautéed Garlic Green Bean Recipe:
- Step 1: Buy a frozen bag of green beans
- Step 2: Bring 1 inch of water to a boil w/ green beans in the pan over the stove
- Step 3: Add 2 tbsp minced garlic and some cracked pepper on top
- Step 4: Boil 6-8 minutes or until soft (you can pull them off the stove sooner if you like them a little crunchier)
8. Kale (3g carbs)
Oh kale, how we love thee. Kale comes in lots of different forms and is on of the most nutrient-rich leafy greens you can eat. It holds up a lot better than spinach does and can be tossed into so many different dishes. Pro tip: try baby kale if you don’t like the bigger kale leaves, like dino kale.
Kale Sunrise Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 Frozen Banana
- 2 Handfuls of Raw Kale
- 1/4 Ripe Avocado
- 1 Scoop Swolverine Vanilla Whey Isolate
- 1/2 Peeled Orange
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4 Ice Cubes
- 1 1/2 Cup Cold Water
9. Spinach (1g carbs)
Similar to the other low carb vegetables on this list, spinach is one of the lowest and it contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals that are used by the body in various ways. Spinach is soft, a bit watery, and goes great with virtually every meal and snack.
Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe
- Step 1: Place 2 cups raw spinach in a bowl
- Step 2: Add 1/2 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds, 1 cup halved strawberries and 1 tbsp walnuts
- Step 3: Top with crumbled feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette
10. Zucchini (3g carbs)
Zucchini is absolutely one of our favorites to pair with just about anything. Whether it’s chopped up and paired with steak and eggs, made into noodles with turkey meatballs, shredded and placed in marinara sauce, or grilled on the BBQ and paired with chicken breast.
Pesto Zoodles Recipe
- Step 1: Spiralize or buy zucchini noodles
- Step 2: Over a medium pan on medium heat, add zoodles and 1-2 tbsp pesto
- Step 3: Cook until soft
- Step 4: Top with bacon and ground pepper
Other Plant-Based Carbohydrate Sources
If you don’t follow a plant-based diet (vegetarian or vegan) then other plant-based sources of carbohydrates include corn, beans, peas, lentils, and quinoa, to name a few. If you’re following a low-carb diet, keto diet, or trying to cut weight or lose body fat, then you may want to be aware of consuming these, as they do contain higher carbohydrate contents.
Net Carb Count (per 100g)
How To Eat More Vegetables
In general, the more vegetables you can fit into your diet, the better. There are so many out there that it’s quite easy to chop, shred, saute, bbq, bake, or slice up into your day to day foods. We recommend eating the low carb vegetables as snacks and adding 2 cups of cruciferous or leafy vegetables to every meal you eat. All in all, eating vegetables on a daily basis is very important for your overall well-being and health.
What if you can’t get enough vegetables in your diet?
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