If you want to get a flatter belly, you probably know that cutting down on bread, pasta, and other carb-dense foods is a must. You also probably know that eating more veggies is a great way to achieve your weight loss goals. However, before you just start piling your plate high with vegetables, you should know that not all veggies are created equal.
Vegetables are divided into two different nutritional categories: starchy and non-starchy. Those that fit into the former category have a high carbohydrate content (potatoes, beets, and green peas), while those that fit into the latter have few – if any – carbs. If you’re eating too many starchy veggies, you can actually end up gaining weight instead of losing it.
If you’re looking to get a flatter belly, here are 10 low carb veggies options you should consider eating more of, as they are famed for their low carb content.
If you are looking to shed weight and get a flatter belly, you’re definitely going to want to eat more asparagus. This low carb veggie contains just 8 grams of carbs per cup (when cooked), and four of those grams are fiber – the carbs that are good for your body.
In addition to being low in carbs, asparagus is also packed with several vital nutrients that the body needs for optimum health, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, as well as copper, iron, folate, calcium, and protein.
Not only can asparagus help you lose weight, but it may also reduce anxiety, boost cognitive health, and prevent the development of certain types of cancer. Plus, asparagus has a unique and very tasty flavor. It pairs very well with tons of low carb dishes, such as chicken, salmon, tuna, turkey, and even beef.
2. Red bell peppers
Bell peppers are another great low carb veggie that you should eat more of if you are trying to lose weight. A one-cup serving of red bell peppers has about 9 grams of carbs; and three of those carbs are fiber (the type of carbs that are an aid in digestion, thus providing even greater weight loss results).
Red bell peppers are also loaded with tons of nutrients that are essential for your health. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, vitamin E, niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, folate, vitamin K, and thiamine.
Red bell peppers also contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that is believed to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, as well as inflammation, and they can also lower cholesterol levels. Red bell peppers have a sweet taste, making them a tasty, healthy snack for weight loss.
Though they have a starchy-like texture, mushrooms are actually very low in carbs. In fact, a one-cup serving size of white mushrooms (raw) only has about 2 grams of carbs, and 1 of those grams is fiber, the type of carbs that are good for your body. White mushrooms are also packed with important nutrients, such as zinc, manganese, vitamin C, protein, folate, vitamin D, niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and selenium.
Several studies have also revealed that white mushrooms offer anti-inflammatory properties, which can boost your health in a number of ways. In other words, even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, you should try to eat more of these fungi. Munch on white mushrooms for a snack, add them to a salad or serve them alongside your favorite meat. If you want some added flavor, cook them in unsalted butter.
Broccoli is hailed as a superfood, and for good reason: it’s a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes the likes of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. This veggie is also loaded with tons of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, protein, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B1, magnesium, selenium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids – no wonder these green tree-like veggies are hailed a superfood!
Plus, their low in carbs; a one-cup serving of raw broccoli has about 6 grams of carbs, and 2 of those carbs are fiber! Studies have found that broccoli can reduce insulin resistance, thus preventing diabetes, can improve digestion, boost cognitive function, and can also help to prevent certain types of cancer. Broccoli makes a great healthy, low carb snack; or serve it with your favorite low carb main dish.
Another veggie that you should be eating more of – even if you aren’t trying to lose weight or get a flatter belly – is spinach. This leafy green vegetable is hailed for the numerous health benefits it offers. Research has shown that it can actually help to prevent damage to DNA, which means that it can significantly improve your overall health and well being.
Spinach also has the ability to protect the health of your heart, reduce the chance of developing certain types of cancer, and it may even be able to lower the risk of common afflictions of the eyes, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
The health benefits of spinach are all thanks to the tons of nutrients and vitamins it contains, including vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. A cup of uncooked spinach contains just 1 gram of carbs.
Zucchini is actually a type of summer squash, the variety of squash that has soft skin that you can eat; and unlike winter varieties, summer squashes have lower calories. One-cup serving size of raw zucchini only has about 4 grams of carbs, and 1 of those grams is fiber.
In addition to being a low carb veggie that’s great for weight loss, zucchini is also a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, copper, riboflavin, folate, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
On top of all of that, zucchini is very low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat. With all that said, if you are trying to lose weight, get a flatter belly, improve your health, you are definitely going to want to eat more zucchini. Plus, it’s a versatile veggie, so it can be prepared in many ways.
A lot of people assume that cauliflower is a high carb veggie; perhaps that’s because it has a texture that resembles potatoes, which are notorious for their high carb content. However, cauliflower is actually very low in carbs; a one-cup serving size of raw cauliflower only has around 5 grams of carbs, and 3 of them are fiber.
On top of that, cauliflower is a great course of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, protein, thiamin, pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. Thanks to its mild taste and texture, cauliflower is extremely versatile and a great substitute for high carb foods, such as potatoes and rice.
For example, instead of making fried rice, try making a healthier fried cauliflower, or instead of mashed potatoes, try some mashed cauliflower. You can also simply enjoy it raw dipped in a low carb, low-fat dressing for a snack.
Though avocados are technically a fruit, they tend to be eaten more like a vegetable. There is a common misconception that avocados are high in carbs, and that’s probably because of their meaty, creamy texture; however, avocados are pretty low in carbs. Single one-cup serving size of diced avocado has around 13 grams of carbs, which might seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that 10 of those carbs are fiber, they really are low in unhealthy carbohydrates.
Avocados also have a high oleic acid content, a form of monounsaturated fat that has been found to provide a number of health benefits. Studies have also revealed that avocados can help to lower high cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels. Furthermore, avocados are a great source of protein, potassium, folate, and vitamin C. Lastly, they are filling, so they’ll help you stay satiated.
As one of the lowest carb veggies, it’s no wonder why lettuce is the go-to food by millions of people who are trying to shed pounds and lose belly fat. A single cup serving of lettuce only has around 2 grams of carbs, and one of those grams is dietary fiber, so it aids in digestion. Depending on the type of lettuce you choose, you can also get a good deal of essential vitamins and minerals, too.
For example, dark green varieties of lettuce, such as romaine, are excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium. The nutrients in dark green lettuce have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as some types of cancer. Lettuce is extremely versatile, too; a salad is an obvious choice, but you can also use it as a substitute for a grain-based wrap.
Once viewed as a garnish for dishes that people pushed to the side, kale has become a very popular veggie, and for good reason; it’s packed with antioxidants, such as kaempferol and quercetin, which have been found to reduce blood pressure levels and shield against heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin K, and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin B6, manganese, copper, calcium, and potassium. This leafy green veggie is also low in carbs; a one-cup serving size of raw kale has around 7 grams of carbs, and 1 of those grams is fiber. Eating more kale can help you shed pounds, get a flatter belly, and can also help to improve the functioning of your immune system and slow down the aging process; plus, it can help to enhance your health overall.