The Best Low-Carb Vegetables
Learn about the best low-carb veggies and how to leverage their nutrients to make healthier meals that can help you manage your weight.
I’m sure you have heard of the cauliflower pizza craze. This is one of the biggest movements in nutrition and healthy eating right now – swapping out higher-carb and less nutritious foods for certain veggies without feeling like you’re missing out.
Plus, the idea of carb-swapping – and cutting calories in the process – is a sound one for people looking to lose weight.
Benefits of Low-Carb Vegetables
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient – like protein and fat – that your body needs to function. Carbs are a form of sugar the body breaks down to provide the energy that cells and muscles use to fuel their functions. Starchy and sugary foods contain lots of carbohydrates, but so do fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber is also a form of carbohydrate.
However, many people consume too many simple carbs, like sugar and ultra-processed foods – think potato chips and other snack foods like candy bars – that can raise blood sugar levels, potentially increasing the risk of diabetes and weight gain.
Because your body still needs some carbs, swapping in faux-carb veggies for higher-carb foods can be a helpful tool for managing or losing weight.
Here are 19 suggestions for high-fiber, low-carb vegetables you can use as replacements or additions to your meals for a nutritional and flavorful boost:
(parsnips and turnips).
Greens (cabbage and lettuce).
The great thing about these low-carb veggies is that many are probably growing in your garden right now. Lately, I have been adding kale to my pasta and brown rice meals to add color and nutrition. Here are some other ways to sneak in some veggies:
1 cup of cooked cauliflower contains about 5 grams of carbohydrates.
For rice or mashed potatoes: Cauliflower can be turned into rice by pulsing it in a food processor until it forms small bits that mimic the texture and characteristics of rice. Then if you want mashed potatoes take it a step further by using a masher and then whip it with a blender to get a fluffy result.
You can also add a little oil, garlic or other flavors to make a rich-tasting, but lower-calorie, alternative to traditional mashed potatoes.
1 cup of cooked butternut squash contains about 16 grams of carbohydrates.
You can use these golden gourds to replace mashed potatoes and pasta in casseroles, pizza dough, noodle dishes and stews.
1 cup of sliced zucchini contains about 3.5 grams of carbohydrates.
For pasta, swap in zucchini. If you have an overabundance of summer squash or zucchini, they make great swapping options for higher-carb foods like noodles. Use a spiral cutter or spiralizer to turn squash into noodles, then boil or stir-fry and top with your favorite sauce.
1 cup of sliced bell peppers contains about 5 grams of carbohydrates.
Bright, beautiful bell peppers make an excellent side or snack any time of day. They’re bursting with flavor and often don’t need any accompaniment, but if you want a dip, try a few tablespoons of hummus or a plain, nonfat Greek yogurt-based dill dip.
The Best Low-Carb Vegetables