Going keto means saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods, including certain veggies that are just too high in carbs to fit into a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. But which vegetables should you avoid on keto? Here are the definitive keto vegetables to avoid list.
The ketogenic diet has soared in popularity in recent years as a way to lose weight, improve health, and simply feel better overall. By dramatically reducing carb intake and instead getting most daily calories from fat and protein, keto pushes your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
In this fat-burning state, your body switches from primarily using carbs for energy to utilizing stored body fat and dietary fat as fuel. This shift can promote weight loss, curb appetite, stabilize blood sugar levels, and provide a host of other benefits.
However, succeeding on keto requires limiting your net carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. And that means cutting way back on sugar, grains, legumes, starchy veggies, and fruits. Luckily, the keto diet still allows for plenty of delicious low-carb vegetables that provide valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
But there are some higher-carb veggies that you’ll need to avoid on keto. Keep reading for the complete keto vegetables to avoid list, as well as keto-friendly veggie swaps.
Keto Vegetables to Avoid List Here!
When determining the best keto vegetables to avoid, total net carbs are the key factor. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber since it is not digested and absorbed like other carbs.
Here are 10 vegetables that are too high in net carbs to include on a ketogenic diet:
- Net carbs in 1 small baked potato (3.5 oz or 100g): 19g
- Also avoid: mashed potatoes, hash browns, tater tots, fries
Potatoes are one of the main keto veggies to avoid due to their high starch content. Just one small potato contains nearly an entire day’s worth of net carbs on keto. Sweet potatoes are even higher in carbs and should also be avoided.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (90g) of corn kernels: 15g
- Also avoid: corn tortillas, corn chips, polenta
Corn is very high in net carbs, with one ear containing around 30 grams. It is a starchy vegetable that is more similar to grains than low-carb veggies in nutritional content.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (80g) of peas: 8g
- Also avoid: snap peas, snow peas, pea pods
Peas are higher in carbs than beans and lentils, so they don’t make the cut for keto. Just 1⁄2 cup of peas equates to nearly half your daily carb limit on the diet.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (85g) of beets: 9g
Beets have the highest carb content of all root vegetables. A serving of beets can quickly take up your remaining carb allowance for the day.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (75g) of parsnips: 10g
Like carrots, parsnips are a root veggie that is too high in net carbs for keto. They have around 10 grams of net carbs per half cup.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (80g) of chopped carrots: 8g
Carrots are relatively high in sugar and carbs compared to leafy greens and other low-carb vegetables. Just a half-cup serving could use up a third of your daily net carb limit.
7. Winter Squash
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (100g) butternut squash cubes: 12g
- Also avoid: acorn squash, pumpkin, spaghetti squash
Winter squashes like butternut and acorn are higher in net carbs than summer squashes such as zucchini. A half cup of butternut squash has around 12 grams of net carbs.
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (90g) of sliced plantains: 18g
Although they look like bananas, plantains are much higher in carbs. One-half cup of plantain contains 18 grams of net carbs, making them off-limits on keto.
9. Cassava Root
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (80g) of boiled cassava: 17g
Also known as yuca, cassava root is a starchy tuber native to South America and Africa. With 17 grams of net carbs per half cup, it is too high for the keto diet.
10. Parsley Root
- Net carbs in 1⁄2 cup (120g) of cooked parsley root: 17g
Parsley root resembles a parsnip but contains even more carbs with 17 grams of net carbs in just half a cup. It’s certainly one to avoid on keto.
9 Best Low-Carb Keto Vegetable Swaps
Luckily, you can still enjoy a wide variety of delicious and nutritious vegetables on keto. Here are the best low-carb vegetable swaps for the high-carb veggies to avoid:
- Instead of Potatoes: Cauliflower, radish, jicama, turnip
- Instead of Corn: Green beans, bell peppers
- Instead of Peas: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus
- Instead of Beets: Cucumber, cabbage, spinach
- Instead of Parsnips: Green beans, celery, fennel
- Instead of Carrots: Cucumber, zucchini, radishes
- Instead of Winter Squash: Zucchini, eggplant, okra
- Instead of Plantains: Jicama, chayote, hearts of palm
- Instead of Cassava: Jicama, daikon radish, turnip
- Instead of Parsley Root: Celery root, jicama, radishes
These low-carb alternatives provide the crunch and texture of higher-carb veggies without spiking your blood sugar. Fill your plate with these keto-friendly options.
Tips for Incorporating More Veggies on Keto
- Choose non-starchy veggies. Focus on leafy greens, brassicas, asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, green beans, and zucchini.
- Watch portions. Measure veggies instead of estimating, as even low-carb veggies can add up.
- Go easy on root vegetables. They tend to be higher in carbs than other veggies.
- Count net carbs. Look at net carbs (total carbs – fiber) rather than total carbs.
- Get creative. Make zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, and other veggie swaps for high-carb ingredients.
- Try new veggies. Expand your palate by trying bok choy, radishes, celery root, hearts of palm, and other low-carb options.
- Add healthy fats. Pair veggies with olive oil, avocado, nut butter, cheese, and fatty proteins to balance your macros.
- Spice it up. Use herbs, spices, lemon, vinegar, mustard, and other flavors to make veggies irresistible.
- Roast, sauté, or steam. Cook veggies in delicious keto-friendly fats for maximum flavor.
- Watch the sauces. Avoid sugary sauces and condiments; stick to olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and herbs.
Common Questions about Keto Vegetables
What vegetables should I avoid on keto?
The main keto vegetables to avoid are starchy, high-sugar veggies like potatoes, corn, peas, beets, parsnips, carrots, winter squash, plantains, cassava root, and parsley root.
What are the best low-carb vegetables for keto?
The best low-carb keto vegetables include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and avocado.
Can you eat carrots on the keto diet?
Carrots are relatively high in sugar and carbs compared to other veggies. It’s best to avoid or limit carrots to just 1-2 per day on keto and consume them along with fat and protein to help mitigate the blood sugar impact.
Are onions keto-friendly?
Yes, onions are low in net carbs. One-half cup of chopped raw onions has about 3g net carbs, making onions a great addition to keto recipes. Use yellow, white, or red onions.
What about tomatoes on keto—are they allowed?
Yes, tomatoes work well in a keto diet. Cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes are best, with only 2g net carbs per cup. Limit higher-carb tomatoes like grape and beefsteak.
Can you eat pepperoncini on keto?
Pepperoncinis are very low in carbs, with just 1g net carb and 3 calories per pepper. Feel free to enjoy pepperoncini on keto!
Is celery keto-approved?
Absolutely! Celery is one of the best keto vegetables. It’s very low in carbs at just 1-2g net carbs per stalk and provides vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and other key nutrients.
The Takeaway: Avoid Starchy, High-Sugar Veggies on Keto
When following a ketogenic diet, it’s important to avoid vegetables that are higher in carbohydrates like potatoes, corn, peas, parsnips, carrots, beets, and winter squash. Focus instead on nutrient-dense, low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, and more.
With the right choices, you can still enjoy a variety of delicious veggies that provide valuable nutrients while keeping carbs low so your body can stay in ketosis. Just be sure to watch your portions and balance them out with healthy fats and moderate protein. This will ensure you meet your daily macros for success on the keto diet!