Carbs have received a bad rap over the years, and while diets that completely eliminate them have remained popular for decades, cutting carbs entirely can actually do more harm to your body than good. However, if you’re looking to still eat carbs but just cut back a little, whether it’s for weight loss or blood sugar reasons, we’ve got a list of the 10 healthiest low-carb foods to stock in your kitchen. Load up on these foods so you can watch your waistline while also making sure your body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive.
1. Portobello Mushrooms
Fungi are considered health food all-stars because they are a great source of potassium, which is vital for muscle health and recovery, and can also lower blood pressure and decrease the effects of a high-sodium meal. In addition to being low-cal and fat-free, studies have shown eating fungi can lead to increased immunity and protect against breast cancer. In particular, meaty portobello mushrooms contain the highest vegetable source of inflammation-fighting vitamin D and are frequently used as a meat substitute thanks to their hearty texture.
Though white foods should generally be avoided, cauliflower is one of a handful of exceptions thanks to its nutrient-rich profile. The cruciferous veggie (which can also be made into a delicious “rice”) contains high amounts of vitamins C and B and about three grams of fiber in one cup.
3. Kidney Beans
Not only are kidney beans an excellent source of fiber, but they’re low in carbs as well, making them an ideal pantry staple for those looking to shed a few pounds. Beans can help boost feelings of fullness and manage blood sugar levels. Try swapping meat for beans every now and then or even adding beans to a soup or casserole for an added dose of the nutritious legumes.
The next time you feel guilty about tossing caloric walnuts on a salad, remember that one serving, about¼ cup chopped, only contains 4 grams of carbs. Other low-carb nuts include almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts, which are all also excellent sources of fiber.
Celery is famous for being virtually calorie-free, and it also happens to have very few carbs for a one cup serving. Though the stalks can get a bit boring when eaten on their own, consider pairing celery with tasty hummus or almond or peanut butter for added flavor and a boost of fat-blasting fiber and healthy fats.
6. Parmesan Cheese
Believe it or not, hard cheeses such as Parmesan are low in carbs. What’s more? One ounce of Parmesan contains about 31 percent of your daily recommended intake of bone-building calcium! Other low-carb cheesy options include blue cheese, cheddar cheese, goat, feta, Swiss, and asiago, but make sure you consume them in moderation since they are also quite caloric.
7. Hard-Boiled Egg
One large hard-boiled egg (about 50 grams) contains less than one gram of carbs and remains an excellent source of protein. Eggs are also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats. What’s more? Research has shown eating eggs for breakfast can make you feel more full and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day, meaning that they’re quite the secret weapon for weight loss.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
With no carbs, sugar, or fiber you may not think much of extra virgin olive oil, but the cooking companion and pantry staple shouldn’t be ignored. Not only has EVOO been shown to boost levels of adiponectin, a hormone that breaks down fat, but it also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Other low-carb oils with similar health benefits include coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil.
9. Ground Chicken
Not only is ground chicken a lean source of protein, but it’s also tasty, versatile, and carb-free. Throw some ground chicken into tacos or make a comforting bowl of delicious chili, and rest assured you aren’t consuming any empty carbs. You can also opt for ground turkey, which has 0 grams of carbs and is low in calories.
10. Wild Salmon
If you’re a fan of fish, wild salmon is another low-carb food that’s protein-rich like ground chicken. Unlike chicken, wild salmon is an excellent source of omega-3s, a healthy fat that fights off metabolism-slowing inflammation.