Carb Sources: Choosing Veggies & Fruits

Fruits and vegetables are your best, most nutritious sources of carbohydrates, but there are a few rules of thumb to think about when it comes to the ones you choose to eat!

Is your blood sugar well-managed?

If so, most fruits and veggies, including the starchier ones, will work for you. Remember to eat those low-sugar and leafy veggies, too!

Are your sugar cravings under control?

If so, most fruits and veggies, including the starchier ones, will work for you. Remember to eat those low-sugar and leafy veggies, too!

Are you an athlete, or someone with very high activity levels?

If so, most fruits and veggies, including the starchier ones, will work for you. Remember to eat those low-sugar and leafy veggies, too!

Are you trying to fix blood sugar issues?

If so, it may be best to eat the starchier fruits and veggies with caution, watching your blood sugar regulation symptoms to gauge how much is TOO much. Opt for plenty of low-sugar and leafy veggies!

Are your sugar cravings out of control?

Sometimes, starchier fruits and veggies end up filling the space of refined sugar, and that’s not going to help control sugar cravings – which are a symptom of blood sugar problems. Check out our blood sugar guide for tips! Opt for plenty of low-sugar and leafy veggies.

Are you trying a low-carb diet?

If a practitioner has approved a low-carb diet for you, avoiding starchier veggies and almost ALL fruits is your task. (Be sure to get plenty of healthy fat, adequate protein, and low-sugar and leafy vegetables.)

Are you trying to lose weight?

While some people lose weight on a higher-carb diet, others find cutting carbs to be the best approach. CAREFULLY experiment based on what feels right to determine what’s best for your goals. Opt for plenty of low-sugar and leafy veggies!

*Fruits

Thanks to their higher sugar content, fruits CAN make us a bit sugar-crazy! It’s important to monitor whether fruit is stimulating sugar cravings; I like to eat fruit as a yummy dessert. Avoid dried fruits, as their sugars are incredibly concentrated without the added water to help us feel full.

 

*Note

Specific intolerances to certain fruits and vegetables may require the attention of a qualified practitioner to craft a targeted nutrition plan; for example, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a low-salicylate diet, or a low-FODMAP diet. If you experience prolonged digestive issues that aren’t resolved on a Real Food diet, it may be time to research these or seek a practitioner.

Low-Sugar Vegetables

Low-sugar and leafy vegetables are a great, nutritious addition to EVERYONE’s diet, and everyone should eat them.
(A few might surprise you!)

Alfalfa sprouts
Greens and cruciferous veggies: lettuce, spinach, chard, collards, mustard greens, kale, endive, radicchio, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli
Asparagus
Artichokes

Celery
Bamboo shoots
Herbs
Celery
Radish
Mushrooms
Jicama
Okra
Cucumbers
Green Beans
Fennel
Peppers

Summer squash (patty pan, yellow squash, zucchini)
Celeriac
Onions, green onions, leeks and scallions
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Tomatillo
Turnips
Rutabaga
Spaghetti Squash
Water Chestnuts

Slightly higher in carbs, but NOT considered starchy:
Butternut squash
Acorn squash
Pumpkin
Carrots
Parsnips
Beets
Peas

Starchy Vegetables

A nutritious, fiber-rich addition to many people’s diets (they’re particularly great for athletes), provided blood sugar is well-managed.

Sweet potato (all kinds)
White potato (all kinds)
Yam
Taro root
Yuca
Malanga

Lower-Sugar Fruits

Note: thanks to their higher sugar content, fruits CAN make us a bit sugar-crazy! It’s important to monitor whether fruit is stimulating sugar cravings; I like to eat fruit as a yummy dessert. Avoid dried fruits, as their sugars are incredibly concentrated without the added water to help us feel full.

Lower-sugar fruits are delicious and perfect added as a garnish to salads, summer soups, and kebabs, and they’re perfect paired with a healthy fat like avocado or coconut. Frozen grapes make an incredible, slightly sweet dessert. I like them better than ice cream!

Lemon
Lime
Grapefruit
Raspberries
Blackberries

Cranberries
Strawberries
Papaya
Melon, most kinds (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, others)

Apples
Apricots
Nectarines
Peaches
Blueberries
Grapes

Starchy Fruits

Starchier and more carb-dense fruits are an amazing treat. Mango and pineapple are excellent additions to salsas! Higher carb fruits are great for athletes. Be sure blood sugar is well-managed and sugar cravings are in control before going crazy on them, though!

Oranges
Kiwi
Pears
Plums
Cherries

Figs
Pineapple
Mango
Bananas
Plantains