First things first, all vegetables are healthy for you, and we would never want you to eliminate a certain vegetable (or any food for that matter) just because it might be ever so slightly higher in carbs than another. Vegetables are chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals, and pretty much every single nutritionist we've ever talked to has told us to eat as many as we can on any given day. (Pro tip: Each day, aim to eat every color of the rainbow and fill half your plate with your favorites.) That said, if you're familiar with or following a low-carb-centric food plan like the Atkins diet or the Keto Diet, you're likely already aware that while all vegetables contain carbs (surprise!), some contain more than others.
Comparably, all vegetables are lower in carbs than pretzels, bread, and pastries (obviously), but since some low-carb diets only advise a total of 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day (and, for instance, half of an avocado has roughly six to eight grams of carbohydrates), you can see why being strategic with your vegetables may be more important than you'd think—if your body can handle these types of diets, that is. (FYI: Low-carb diets might be better for men than women.)
According to Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE, creator of The Anti-Anxiety Diet, other vegetables that are higher in carbs are typically ones that have a low water count and are found underground (aka are rooted)—carrots, beets, parsnips, taro root, and sweet potatoes, for example. And as for the vegetables that are lowest in carbs, don't fret. We have those coming right up. Ahead, 10 of the lowest-carb vegetables your taste buds will also love. Keep scrolling!
While all leafy greens are significantly devoid of carbohydrates, lettuces (due to their super-high water content) are the lowest in carbs. According to Medical News Today, a serving of iceberg lettuce has about 2.97 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, if you're looking to keep your carb count low, making it your salad base of choice may be strategic. Although, compared to other leafy greens, iceberg lettuce is less concentrated in nutrients thanks to that aforementioned high water count.
There's a reason many low-carb recipes call for hearty and rich mushrooms (hello, portabello) as satisfying replacements for animal proteins or even buns and bread. Mushrooms can serve as a mouthwatering base for a fried egg or burger. That said, according to the same post from Medical News Today, white mushrooms might be your best bet, as they come in at a sly 3.26 grams of carbs per 100 grams of mushroom. We love tossing them in everything from salads to stir-fries to omelets.
Enter your childhood obsession reborn again. For a low-carb snack or side, try dipping water-heavy celery (which boasts a low 2.97 grams of carbs per serving) with a protein- and healthy fat–rich dip or sauce, be it pesto, peanut butter, or hummus. Celery is our vehicle of choice when it comes to our love of dunking. Or do like Kiernan Shipka and throw some stalks in the oven to roast for a more savory treat.
Another great option for dipping and dunking (as well as being ultra-high in glow-giving H2O), freshly sliced cucumbers can add crunch to your love of hummus and salads alike. According to MNT, a serving will come in at about 2 grams of carbs if peeled, and 3 if non-peeled.
Is it just us, or do radishes get the short end of the stick when it comes to beloved and well-known vegetables? Though they're not as infamous as carrots, cukes, and celery, they're insanely good for us. In fact, nutritionists say they're one of the healthiest veggies we can nosh on, and they're also conveniently low in calories if that's the diet MO that works well for you. According to this Atkins diet guide, six radishes will land you at only one gram of carbohydrates total, and one cup will land you somewhere around 4 grams.
By now you're likely familiar with the whole spiralized trend and have seen zoodles (aka zucchini noodles) serving as the low-carb base for marinara, pesto, the like. Considering zucchini's high nutrient and water content and very low carbohydrate content, it's not surprising. According to this article on Healthline, written by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, one cup, or about 124 grams, of raw zucchini contains 4 grams of carbs.
Cabbage gets a lot of glory in the wellness world due to the fact it's a cruciferous vegetable. It's also one of the lowest-carb options on the table if you're watching your daily intake. According to the Atkins guide, a half-cup of both green or red cabbage will only yield about 2 grams of carbs. That said, the number will go up a tick if you reach for fermented and/or savory varieties like sauerkraut.
We absolutely love roasting up a pan of cauliflower, and we're also seeing the vegetable pop up as a convenient low-carb sub for our go-to pizza crusts and rice. For six florets of the cruciferous veggie, you'll only consume about 4.4 carbohydrates total.
Like cauliflower, broccoli is one of our go-to vegetables to sautée or throw in the oven. Again, it's part of the cruciferous family, and in addition to boasting sulfur (which might prevent or lower the risk of cancer), it has an impressively low carb count to boot. One cup of the raw variety will yield about 6 grams of carbohydrates.
Caramelized, almost gooey brussels sprouts just might be one of our favorite sides or app choices. Therefore, we think it's stellar that the cruciferous vegetable (noticing a theme here?) is decidedly one of the lowest carb-containing vegetables in addition to being inarguably delicious. A half-cup of cooked sprouts comes in at a low count of 6 grams of carbs, according to Healthline.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Drew Elovitz.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.