Are Beans Keto? What You Need To Know About Legumes And Vegetables

We know that it can be challenging to know what kinds of food are okay to eat when following a keto diet; don’t worry, we’re here to help. Keto is all about entering ketosis, a unique fat-burning state that can help you lose weight, have fewer cravings, increase mental acuity, and feel more energetic. You can achieve this by following keto’s simple rule: eat low-carb and high-fat foods, but what sort of vegetables fall into this category? Can you still eat beans? Let’s find out.

Want some new delicious keto-friendly recipes to try? Check these out!

Related: Delicious Keto Cake Batter Cookies

Above the Ground Vs. Below the Ground Vegetables: What’s the Difference?

There is a simple guideline that you can follow when deciding what vegetables are keto-friendly, but there are exceptions to the rule; we’ll get to those in a minute. Vegetables that grow above the ground are typically lower in carbs and the better keto option. Root vegetables, ones that grow below the ground, usually contain more carbs and aren’t as good a choice for someone following the keto diet.

On to the exceptions: corn, quinoa, and legumes all grow above the ground, but are high in carbs. Wheat grows above the ground, although it is grain rather than a vegetable, and contains many carbs that get rapidly digested into glucose that will raise your blood sugar. It is best to avoid both whole and refined grains for this reason.

Are All Vegetables Keto-Friendly?

Most vegetables can be enjoyed, in moderation, while following a keto diet, while some should be avoided as much as possible. Sweet vegetables, like carrots, rutabaga, and onions, are higher in carbs than the most friendly ones, but you can still have a serving here and there.

Root vegetables and legumes like peas, beans, and carrots are generally the highest in carbs and, in most cases, should be avoided. It is not only because they contain many carbs, but also have a higher glycemic load than most other vegetables.

List of Keto-Friendly Vegetables

We know this is what you’ve been waiting for; what are the best vegetables to eat on the keto diet? The net carb counts are all based on a 100 gram serving:

  • Spinach can be baked into chips, eaten raw in a salad, sauteed or creamed.
  • Carb count: ~1.6 grams net carbs

  • Asparagus is filling, nutritious, and goes great with high-fat sauces like bearnaise and hollandaise. 
  • Carb count: ~1.7 grams net carbs

  • Avocado may technically be a fruit, but we thought it was appropriate to include on this list. High in healthy fats and nutrients, it’s excellent sliced, baked, or when made into guacamole.
  • Carb count: ~1.8 grams net carbs

  • Zucchini can be eaten by itself, made into fries or chips, or can even be used to create a keto-friendly pasta.
  • Carb count: ~1.7 grams net carbs

  • Cauliflower has a mild flavor and can be used in almost any recipe. You can even make rice and mashed “potatoes” with it.
  • Carb count: ~3.0 grams net carbs

  • Kale has a unique flavor and goes great in salads, baked, or sauteed. It can also be used as a base for pasta.
  • Carb count: ~6.0 grams net carbs

  • Cabbage goes great in a stir fry or by itself sauteed in butter.
  • Carb count: ~3.3 grams net carbs


    Related: Keto-Friendly Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Squares

    Can You Eat Beans on a Keto Diet?

     A large variety of beans

    Unfortunately, most beans have a high carb content, especially kidney, black, and pinto beans. But don’t fret, there are a couple of great low-carb alternatives and some keto-friendly substitutes.

    You should only consume high carb beans on a keto diet if you are following either a targeted (TKD) or cyclical (CKD) diet where you eat more carbs during specified periods.

    The carb counts here are also based on a 100 gram serving.

    Which Beans Are the Most Keto-Friendly?

    • Black soybeans are a keto dieter’s best friend when it comes to satisfying a craving for beans.

    Carb count: less than 1 gram

    • Green beans can be eaten with salt and pepper alongside your favorite meal.

    Carb count: ~2.5 grams

    Which Beans Are the Least Keto-Friendly?

    • Baked beans might be a barbecue favorite, but should be avoided by keto dieters.

    Carb count: ~20.8 grams net carbs

    • Chickpeas are another no-go for keto-friendly foods.

    Carb count: ~15.2 grams net carbs

  • Pinto beans go great in a bowl of chili but have a few too many carbs to be a viable keto option.
  • Carb count: ~13.1 grams net carbs

  • Red kidney beans contain a lot of good protein but are packed full of carbs.
  • Carb count: ~20.1 grams net carbs

  • Cannellini beans are a staple for many bean-based soups but don’t work with the keto diet.
  • Carb count: ~12.5 grams net carbs

    Keto-Friendly Bean Substitutes

    Beans have a unique texture and are a great complement to many different dishes, and we’ve found two great alternatives that can be used as a substitution.

  • Enoki mushrooms can be bought canned or fresh and make an excellent side when you would usually use beans. Packed with iron, potassium, vitamin B, magnesium, and phosphorus, these mushrooms make a great addition to a soup or salad.
  • Carb count: ~3.1 gram net carbs

    Mushrooms, tomatoes, sauce, and seasoning

    Many of us love beans, but most of them aren’t very keto-friendly. Luckily, there are a few alternatives, along with so many delicious foods that are great for someone participating in the keto lifestyle. If your favorite vegetables didn’t make the list it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t be enjoyed; we listed some of the lowest carb options available, but there are a ton of veggies in the middle area that can be had in moderation. Just be sure to do your best in avoiding extremely high carb foods like most legumes and root vegetables. Ready to find your next keto favorite? Take a look at Keto and Co’s fantastic selection of high-quality keto-friendly food, drinks, and snacks!

    Related: Simple Keto White Chocolate Caramel Blondies

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