How Many Carbs Are in Vegetables?
It's no secret that vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber and vitamin C, that promote good health and may reduce the risk of some chronic conditions like heart disease. Aim to eat at least 2.5 cups (or equivalent) every day, per the USDA's dietary guidelines. What equals 1 cup? In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or 2 cups of raw leafy greens.
If you have diabetes, keeping track of your carbohydrates-no matter the source-is key. This chart of vegetables ranked can help you stay on target while loading your plate full of fresh vegetables. Here are several low-carb vegetables, ranked from lowest to highest.
Low-Carb Vegetables, Ranked from Lowest to Highest Carbs:
1 cup: 1 g carbohydrates
Spinach has the most nutrients per calorie than any vegetable on this list. Turns out, Popeye was on to something. Not only is spinach full of vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin C, but also it is super versatile. Enjoy this leafy green raw, cooked, stewed or straight from the garden with these Healthy Spinach Recipes.
1 clove: 1 g carbohydrates
Most of the time, you can smell this fragrant allium before you can see it. Many people think of garlic as more of a spice, but it is indeed a vegetable with healthful properties. There are several health benefits of garlic, namely, its cancer-fighting potential. It is pretty versatile as well, check out these 4 tips for how to cook with garlic.
Related: Healthy Garlic Recipes
1 cup: 1.4 g carbohydrates
Kale is the poster-child of nutritious veggies. However, it deserves its superfood reputation. Kale is jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamins that help protect you from chronic illnesses (learn more about the amazing health benefits of dark leafy greens). Check out these Healthy Kale Recipes or Kale Salad Recipes for more.
Romaine Lettuce (raw)
1 cup shredded: 1.6 g carbohydrates
It may surprise you that one cup of romaine lettuce has 175% of your vitamin A daily needs and over 50% of your vitamin K daily needs. This subtle, unsuspecting green packs a punch for healthy vision, blood flow and hydration. Get your salad on (and more) with these Healthy Lettuce Recipes.
1 large stalk (11"): 1.9 g carbohydrates
Celery is full of water, fiber and minerals. It can help keep you hydrated, regular and lower your blood pressure. Celery is one of those vegetables that can shine in any season. Try it for yourself with these Healthy Celery Recipes and find out more about the hype around celery juice.
Cucumber (raw with peel)
1/2 cup: 1.9 g carbohydrates
Along with being hydrating (for your skin and your body), cucumbers have a whole host of health benefits. They are great for weight management and cardiovascular health. The antioxidants and fiber help protect from other chronic illnesses, like cancer. Enjoy them dipped in hummus or ranch dressing.
Related: Healthy Cucumber Recipes
Mushrooms (button, cooked)
1/2 cup sliced: 2.2 g carbohydrates
This fungi has a rich, meaty flavor unique from many vegetables. Additionally, mushrooms are one of the few plant-based sources of vitamin D. They are also full of B vitamins, potassium and fiber to promote gut health (read more about the health benefits of mushrooms).
Related: Healthy Mushroom Recipes
1/2 cup (1" pieces): 2.6 g carbohydrates
Recently, cauliflower has become the go-to bread or rice replacement. Whether it's pizza or risotto, switching grain products for a cauliflower base can be an easy way to reduce your carb consumption. As an added bonus, one half cup of cooked cauliflower has 37% of your daily vitamin C needs, so you can boost your immunity while slashing calories. For example, see these low-calorie cauliflower side dishes.
Related: Healthy Cauliflower Recipes
Onion (yellow, sauteed)
1/2 cup chopped: 3.4 g carbohydrates
Onions are one of those vegetables we can't live without. Whether it's for the base of a soup or a quick weeknight stir fry, onions are cheap, versatile and delicious. They're packed with antioxidants to help lower blood pressure, boost immunity and protect your heart.
1/2 cup sliced: 3.5 g carbohydrates
Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants and potassium. This combination is especially helpful for protecting your heart health and controlling blood pressure. Additionally, the compound lycopene in tomatoes can help protect your skin from the sun.
Bell Pepper (red, raw)
1/2 cup chopped: 3.5 g carbohydrates
Peppers are sweet but they're still very low in carbohydrates. They're also packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Enjoy them raw, cooked or in place of tomatoes in this Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Mozzarella & Basil.
Related: Healthy Bell Pepper Recipes
1/2 cup (6 spears): 3.7 g carbohydrates
Asparagus makes a delicious low-carb side dish. One serving (one half cup) of asparagus delivers 34 percent of your folate and 39 percent of your vitamin A daily needs. Folate is important for cell growth, and especially important for pregnant women. Vitamin A is good for your eyes and recent research also suggests that it may be helpful for you skin.
Green Beans (boiled)
1/2 cup: 4.9 g carbohydrates
Nutritionally, green beans have a lot going for them. One half cup of cooked green beans has 33 percent of your vitamin K needs, which is important for blood clotting, and 17 percent of your vitamin A needs, for healthy vision and skin. Check out our Healthy Green Bean Recipes for culinary inspiration.
1/2 cup chopped: 5.6 g carbohydrates
Many people wonder what is the healthiest way to cook broccoli, or if it matters whether it is cooked or raw. Technically, you get more nutrients in raw or lightly steamed broccoli. However, it is still a nutrient powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants in any type of preparation. Here are Our Best-Ever Broccoli Recipes.
Cabbage (red, raw)
1 cup chopped: 6.6 g carbohydrates
Cabbage may not be as high profile as kale, but it is still a very healthy veggie. And, it's affordable. At just around $0.58 per pound of green cabbage, it gives you a great nutrient bang for your buck. Other health benefits of cabbage include that it is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. Additionally, if you choose red cabbage, it contains anthocyanins, antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
1 large (8"): 6.9 g carbohydrates
From raw to roasted, carrots are another well-loved veg on this list. Because carrots are sweet, they're also slightly higher in carbohydrates than some other veggies. They're still very low in carbs and can easily fit in your diet. Check out these Healthy Carrot Recipes.
1/2 cup: 12.5 g carbohydrates
We're starting to enter starchy veggie territory, which doesn't mean you should cut these out of your diet. Adding peas to your favorite pasta, stir-fry or stew is a great way to get a nutrition boost. Just one half cup of peas gives you 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Related: Healthy Pea Recipes
1/2 cup kernels: 15.6 g carbohydrates
People often wonder if corn is healthy (short answer: yes). It's a relatively low-carb, high-fiber vegetable. Corn also boasts phytochemicals and gut-healthy fiber. Not to mention, it's delicious.
Related: Healthy Corn Recipes
Sweet Potato (baked in skin)
1/2 cup: 20.7 g carbohydrates
Sweet potatoes have long been a nutrition superstar, for good reason. They are packed with vitamin A that help with things from vision to protecting your skin. Sweet potatoes are also packed with minerals like manganese and copper, which helps with digestion and proper liver function. 1 medium baked sweet potato has about 100 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.
Red Potato (baked)
1 medium (2.5"): 33.9 g carbohydrates
Potatoes get a bad reputation, especially when talking about carbs. But while potatoes are higher in carbs than other veggies, that doesn't mean they aren't good for you. One medium red potato boasts over 20% of your daily potassium needs, 25% of vitamin C daily needs and a variety of different B vitamins that play a crucial role in body functions, like energy metabolism.
Some original reporting by Micaela Young, M.S.