Produce for a Low-Carb Diet

Karen Frazier
butter lettuce

Many Healthy Options

You have many healthy options available for foods to eat on a low-carbohydrate diet. One of the staples of low-carbohydrate diets are salads. To make them deliciously low-carb, skip the croutons and opt for oil-based dressings without sugar.

The carb content of salads vary depending on the type of lettuce you use, as well as the other vegetables that accompany them. For example, romaine lettuce has one gram of carbs per ounce, while iceberg lettuce has 1.1 grams of carbs per cup.

spaghetti

Pasta Substitute

Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta for a low carb option. One cup of spaghetti squash has 10 grams of carbohydrates versus 41 grams of carbohydrates in whole wheat pasta.

tomatoes

Red Means Good for Your Heart

Tomatoes are low in fat and cholesterol. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C as well as the powerful antioxidant, lycopene. In fact, tomatoes contain the highest concentration of lycopene found in foods.

Including tomatoes in your diet can reduce your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. One small tomato has about four grams of carbohydrates, while a single cherry tomato has about a half of a carb.

eggplant

Go Purple for Vitamin K

Eggplants provide a good source of vitamins K and B6 as well as being a good source of dietary fiber. It also has antioxidant properties.

Use eggplants in your favorite Italian ratatouille or Greek moussaka recipe for a healthy, low carb dinner. Salt and rinse sliced eggplant before cooking to remove any bitterness. One cup of raw, cubed eggplant has about three grams of carbohydrates.

peppers

Add Color to Your Meal

A serving of sweet bell peppers contains only one gram of carbohydrates and 83 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. It is low in cholesterol and sodium, making a nutritious snack.

Sauté peppers with some yellow onion to make for a tasty addition to your dinner. Try the sweeter red pepper for added variety and color to your meal.

Greens

Go Green

Greens of all kinds are very low in carbohydrates. Here are some great examples:

  • One cup of spinach has a little over one gram of carbohydrates.
  • One cup of chopped raw kale has around six grams of carbohydrates.
  • Turnip greens have four grams of carbs per one cup of raw chopped greens.
  • Swiss chard has one gram of carbs per cup of chopped raw leaves.

All greens are high in fiber, as well.

leeks

Use Leeks Instead of Onions

If you've never tried fried leeks before, then you are in for a treat. Leeks are related to onions and garlic, but have a milder, sweeter flavor. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, with a single serving providing up to five percent of your daily recommended amount of dietary fiber. Slice leek into thin slices from the bulb to the light green portion. Fry in your olive oil or canola oil as you would onions.

Raw leeks have four grams of carbohydrates per ounce.

hot peppers

Add Some Spice with Jalapenos

Going low carb doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Add some heat to your meals with jalapenos and any variety of chilies, fresh or canned. One medium pepper contains only a gram of carbohydrates. It is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Cauliflower

Versatile Cauliflower

If you miss mashed potatoes, why not try mashed cauliflower instead? With six grams of carbohydrate per four ounces (three grams of that is fiber), cauliflower makes a great substitute. To make it, steam the cauliflower until it is soft, and then mash it with a little butter and cream. It's a great comfort food.

You can also enjoy as a substitute for potatoes in potato leek soup, put steamed cauliflower through a potato ricer and use as a rice substitute, or eat it raw. It has a mild, nutty taste that's great by itself or in salads.

Winter Vegetable Option

Brussels sprouts are a cultivated variety of wild cabbage. This winter vegetable is a good source of several minerals including iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. With only six carbs per serving, it is a healthy option for any weight loss diet. Sauté sliced Brussels sprouts or steam them to keep the fat content down.

One cup of Brussels sprouts has about eight grams of carbs.

mushrooms

Don't Forget the 'Shrooms

Saute some sliced mushrooms for an earthy addition to dinner. Enjoy any variety of mushrooms, either fresh or dried. When hydrating dried mushrooms, save the soaking water for added flavor for soups or sauces.

Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of the trace minerals, copper and selenium. One cup of sliced mushrooms has about 2.5 grams of carbohydrates.

Jicama

Add Crunch with Jicama

Raw jicama has a mild flavor and crispy crunch. It also has only a single carb per ounce. Cut it into strips and enjoy it by itself or as a great dip holder. It also adds terrific crunch to salads.

cucumber

Low Carb Snack Options

For a quick snack that is high in vitamin C and K, try raw sliced cucumbers either salted or with your favorite low fat dipping sauce. Make sure and check the carbs on your dipping sauce.

Cucumbers are low in carbs and sodium, making them a healthy option for a low calorie meal. One half cup of sliced cucumber (with peel) contains about three grams of carbohydrates.

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Produce for a Low-Carb Diet