If you've been following the keto diet for a while, you might be missing fruit. Most people assume that since the ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet, all fruit is out of the question, due to its natural sugars. This assumption is actually not the case.
While it's true that some fruits (like bananas, for example) are high in sugar and aren't ideal for the standard keto diet, it's actually important to keep some fruit on your plate. Especially the ones higher in fiber.
With a diet so heavily focused on healthy fats, it can sometimes be tempting to skip nutrient-dense, plant-based foods. Doing that can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. So making sure you have lots of colorful plants on your keto plate is actually critical to your health.
Admittedly, most of those colors should come from veggies, but there's really no need to skip the fruit altogether. Choosing the right fruits, how much, and when to eat them is the key to getting your keto-friendly fruits in without kicking yourself out of ketosis.
Net Carbs and Fruit
The detailing of net carbs vs total carbs might help you feel better about eating some fruit on the keto diet. Keto-friendly fruits are high in fiber and lower in sugar than less keto-friendly varieties, giving them a lower net carb count.
Controlling your carbs on the keto diet is really all about controlling your blood sugar to prevent insulin spikes and avoid storing glycogen. Fiber prevents the spikes and essentially cancels out some of the carbs, creating some great options for you in the fruit aisle.
To calculate grams of net carbs, subtract fiber from total grams of carbs. So if you have 10 grams of total carbs and 7 grams of fiber, your net carbs are only 3 grams for that pieces of fruit. Great news if you're craving some berries or want to add a little bit of sweet to your next keto smoothie recipe. Let's dig into the details.
The Most Obvious Keto Fruits
There is such a thing as low-carb fruits! That's right, you might not realize it, but avocado is actually a fruit. Granted, if you've been doing the keto diet for a while now, you have surely already been eating avocados, so we're not going to focus a ton on those, but we thought it was worth mentioning that you're likely already eating some fruit without realizing it. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats (5 grams) and a net carb count of 1 gram (4 total, 3 fiber).
Another fruit that's perfect for the keto diet, but sometimes harder to find, is fresh mature coconut. Again, veteran keto dieters are likely already getting their fill of coconut oil and coconut milk, but the actual coconut fruit is full of fiber (7 grams, 3 net carbs) and just sweet enough to help you kick a craving. One cup of fresh coconut also happens to give you 60% of your daily manganese requirement.
If you can't find the fresh stuff, consider grabbing a jar of coconut mana (also called coconut butter) to help you stave off sweet cravings from time to time. Coconut mana is basically just the meat and oil of the coconut blended down into a butter-like consistency. It's delicious. If you can't find it in stores, you can make it yourself by buying unsweetened shredded coconut and processing it a food processor. The oils will release from the shreds and eventually turn your shreds into mana. Yum!
Keto-Friendly Fruits You Might Be Missing
The health benefits of eating the rainbow are established. Eating the rainbow means filling your plate with colorful foods that represent a wide variety of plants. Variety not only helps ensure that you're getting a wide array of micronutrients, it also feeds the flora in your intestines that help boost your immune system and keep your blood sugar regulated.
Nature has a way of providing everything we need to stay healthy, and various nutrients manifest themselves as various colors of the rainbow. Vitamin C, for example, shows up in lots of red, orange, and yellow plants. A type of antioxidant called anthocyanin shows up in lots of blue, purple, and violet plants. Of course, there's overlap in the plant kingdom as well. Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A shows up in both dark, leafy green veggies and orange carrots. These are just a few of many, many examples of the colorful nutrients in the plants we eat.
All this is to say that skipping out on certain low-carb fruits might end up depriving you of some essential nutrients. Here are the best fruits to eat on a keto meal plan:
Berries are like nature's candy – bite-sized little morsels of sweet. All varieties of berries are great on the keto plan because they're full of dietary fiber. This doesn't include cherries or grapes if you were considering lumping them into this category. Those two are actually quite high in sugar. But true berries: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries (not dried), and raspberries are the best keto fruits.
Berries are among the most nutrient-dense fruits available in today's marketplace, and they also happen to have a lower net carb count than any other type of fruit (besides the two in the "obvious" category).
Here's a simple breakdown per 1/2 cup of each berry with links to more details:
- Blackberries: 31 calories, 3.5 net carbs
- Strawberries: 24 calories, 4 net carbs
- Blueberries: 42 calories, 9 net carbs
- Cranberries: 25 calories, 4 net carbs
- Raspberries: 32 calories, 3 net carbs
While a 1/2 cup of fruit may seem like a small amount, it's the perfect amount to add to a salad filled with low-carb veggies, a healthy protein, and a delicious high-fat dressing. It's also the perfect amount to add to a smoothie for just enough sweet. Cranberries might not be the most delicious fruit to eat plain, but chop up some fresh cranberry and create a relish to top a pork chop or piece of fresh fish for a sweet, tart, nutritious dish.
Melons are an awesome addition to your keto meal plan. They have a high water content, so you're hydrating as you eat – a great bonus, since it's easy to get dehydrated on the keto diet. Melons make for a great addition to a mid-day snack; who doesn't love prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe? They also offer a variety of vitamins and minerals that help keep your electrolytes balanced. If berries are nature's candy, melons are nature's Gatorade.
Here's the info you need to know about a 1/2 cup serving size of your favorite melons:
- Watermelon: 23 calories, 5.5 net carbs
- Honeydew Melon: 36 calories, 7.5 net carbs
- Cantaloupe: 3 calories, 7 net carbs
Make a keto-friendly agua fresca by blending water and melon with a splash of stevia on a hot day or toss some watermelon with fresh mint and feta cheese for a light salad. It's certainly possible to enjoy at least one, if not two servings of keto-friendly fruit every day without going over your carb limit.
Grapefruit, Lemons, and Limes
Not all citrus fruits are particularly keto-friendly, but these three certainly do the job. A number of studies show that grapefruit also offers some additional weight loss benefits due to its fiber and water content.
You might not be dying to sink your teeth into a lemon or lime, but knowing that these fruits – and their juices – approved for your keto food list will help you spice up your proteins or add an extra kick to your smoothie or keto-friendly beverage.
Here are the nutrition facts you need to know:
- 1/2 Grapefruit: 51 calories, 11 net carbs
- 1 oz Lemon juice: 6 calories, 2 net carbs
- 1 oz Lime juice: 7 calories, 1 net carb
If you're at a stage in your keto journey where you enjoy a homemade cocktail from time to time, consider making a greyhound with keto-friendly ginger, grapefruit, soda water, and stevia. Or try a whiskey sour with a mix of lemon and lime juice, soda, and stevia. A little extra treat goes a long way to keep you on-plan for the long haul.
Eat Your Fruit
Contrary to what might have been your initial instinct, there is a way to include certain fruits strategically into your keto diet plan. Fruit is an important addition to just about any healthy diet plan because it's rich in fiber and important micronutrients. Fiber consumption is linked to healthier gut flora, a stronger immune system, lower risk of type-two diabetes, heart disease, and even some digestive cancers.Don't miss out on this important category of food just because you're afraid of the carb count. Net carbs are low in the fruits we've outlined for you here, so add some fruit to your plate of healthy fats, proteins, and low carb vegetables to balance out your diet. It'll help you satisfy your sweet tooth while staying on plan.
Author: Toni Sicola
|Toni is a wellness professional with a Master's in Integrative Health, is passionate about spreading health, happiness, and personal fulfillment to as many people as possible. She has a professional background in health and wellness, dietary supplements, and nutrition, and embarks every day to live a well, balanced, happy life.|
Hungry for more?
Read Our Beginner's Guide to Keto, or try our delicious keto-friendly nut butters.