I’m sure you’ve grown up on the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Unfortunately, a medium sized apple can have around 20g of net carbs, making a dent in your total carbs for the day on a keto diet.
I’ve had many friends ask me if it’s even healthy to avoid eating fruits in my keto diet.
Fruits are typically pretty sweet which really limits your selection. Fruits are loaded in micro-nutrients though and provide a multitude of health benefits so it wouldn’t be fair to rule them out completely.
With a bit of research and planning, you can incorporate some low carb fruits into your regular diet to help curb your sweet cravings! I’ve compiled a list of some common keto fruits that you can keep as part of your diet.
Since fruits do have natural sugars in them (fructose), we have to be mindful of serving sizes. Individual servings probably wont push you out of ketosis, but it may be difficult to stop at just one serving.
I highly recommend using a food scale to weigh out your portion sizes so you can keep track of how many carbs you’re consuming.
Avocados are often considered a staple fruit while on a keto diet. Loaded in fiber and healthy fats. You can mix them in with your salads, or even blend them into an amazing low carb avocado smoothie to help quench your sweet cravings!.
For one average sized avocado (about 200g), it’ll have approximately 4g net carbs (13g of fiber) and 29g of fat, making it an amazing source of fats for your keto diet!.
Apricots are a relatively small fruit which contain a fairly large pit (seed) proportionate to the fruit itself. They are loaded in anti-inflammatory nutrients as well as nutrients that can help protect your vision (carotenoids and xanthophylls).
You can enjoy a whole apricot as a snack or as a dessert since they only contain about 3g of net carbs per apricot (depending on the overall size). You can also make it into a jam using your own low carb cooking skills or if you’re lazy like I am, Walden Farms has their own low carb apricot jam spread.
Peaches are very similar to apricots but are substantially bigger. Like practically any other fruit, peaches are great for antioxidants as well as other nutrients that may help prevent cancer, aid with skin and eye care.
A medium sized peach (about 150g) will be approximately 12g of net carbs meaning that you could realistically fit one of these into your diet, even if you’re restricting yourself to just 20 net carbs.
As a berry, strawberries are loaded in antioxidants and have a substantial amount of fiber. One cup of strawberries (144g) will have roughly 11g of carbs (3g of fiber) or 8 net carbs. Strawberries can also give you a decent serving of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B9 and potassium.
Having a handful of berries, mixing them into a salad or blending them into some sort of smoothie can help you curb those sweet cravings!
Do be mindful that the carbs can quickly add up if you aren’t careful! I’d recommend weighing out and measuring your strawberries before consuming them with a food scale to enforce discipline.
Compared to the other berries, blueberries are on the sweeter end of the options. You’ll need to be more mindful of how much you consume since it’s easy to toss a handful of blueberries right into your mouth and end up going over your carb limit.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants just like any other berry. Blueberries can also help with blood pressure, bone strength and heart disease. A single cup of blueberries can provide a person with 24 percent of their recommended daily allowance.
A cup of blueberries (148g) will put you close to the recommended 20g net carbs consumed within a day so they should be eaten with moderation (or mixed with lower carb berries). One cup has approximately 21g of carbs (3.6g of fiber) or 17.4g of net carbs. If you decide to plan ahead and allocate the majority of your carb intake for a serving of blueberries then there is no issue in choosing to do so!
Personally, my favorite berry. Blackberries can be a great low carb fruit option if you’re feeling a craving.
Blackberries are loaded in vitamin C, K and, like all other berries, are loaded in antioxidants and are great for the skin. A cup of blackberries is roughly 14g of carbs (8g of fiber) or 6g net carbs.
For me, nothing beats a handful of fresh blackberries. The firm ones are like an explosion of sweetness in your mouth and it’s reassuring that these can be enjoyed guilt free (in moderation of course!) while on a low carb diet. Blackberries usually ripen between spring and early fall so summer is a great time to enjoy them at their best!
Raspberries are one of the most recommended fruits I find for keto dieters. Of the other berries, they tend to be more on the tart side and aren’t overly sweet, which is great for a keto adjusted palate!
Raspberries are rich in antioxidants and are also known to be good for cardiovascular health. Raspberries contain potassium as well as high polyphenol content which can help with cardiovascular health.
A cup of raspberries contains about 15g of carbs (8g of fiber) or 7g net carbs, making them, along with blackberries one of the most keto-friendly fruit options.
Gooseberries (also known as amla) are less commonly found in grocery stores in my area but they’re another low carb fruit that I can squeeze into my diet.
They’re more on the sour or tart side so they can be difficult to over consume, especially if eating them raw. You can always cook down gooseberries and mix in some zero calorie sweetener to form a nice jam which you can spread on your low carb bread (PB&J anyone?).
A single cup of gooseberries can provide you with 55 percent of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin C and aids with collagen synthesis. They also provide manganese which helps the body with calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
A cup of gooseberries is approximately 15g of carbohydrates (6g of fiber) or 9g of net carbs. Realistically, I don’t know many people who can pucker up and eat large amounts of gooseberries, but it can be a great option if you want something fruity or to use in cooking.
Typically, I associate having cranberries around the holidays (Thanksgiving or Christmas along with some turkey and pumpkin pie). If you’re up for the challenge, you can still cook up a low carb cranberry sauce to not miss out on the festive foods!
Cranberries contain strong levels of acidity which some people commonly associate with a way to help prevent UTIs as well as stomach ulcers. Like the other berries, they’re also known to be rich in antioxidants and help with cardiovascular health.
A cup of cranberries has about 12g of carbs (4.6g of fiber) or 7.4g of net carbs. Cranberries are often harvested around early September (Labor Day) and are in season in your local grocery store around October through December, making it an excellent addition to your holiday meals.
Melons were a pleasant surprise to me when I found out that they could be considered a keto fruit! While they are fairly sweet, they also have high water content, making it feasible to fit into your macros.
One of my favorite melons! The cantaloupe is rich in vitamin C and A and can help up your potassium intake which is great for avoiding certain types of muscle cramps.
A cantaloupe wedge can be substituted as your dessert to satisfy your sweet cravings without loading up on sugar. A medium sized wedge (approximately 68g of cantaloupe) will have about 5-6g of net carbs.
Out of the melons I’m listing off today, honeydews are technically the sweetest one and highest in net carbs. Honeydews are high in potassium, vitamin C and copper which are known to help with having healthy skin.
One serving of honeydew (100g) has approximately 8g net carbs which puts it just ever so slightly above the other melons. I mean, 1g of carbs probably won’t make a huge impact on your diet but if you like to measure things to a T, then you may want to substitute it for another fruit.
I’ve only been introduced to canary melons recently and boy, have I been missing out! Popular across Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, I’d describe this melon as a mixture between the two previously mentioned ones, honeydew and cantaloupe, as well as a cross with a pear fruit.
The texture is a cross between a pear and a honeydew but it tastes more inline with a cantaloupe. Sometimes you can find these in supermarkets under the name Juan Canary melon.
One serving of canary melon (100g) has approximately 7g of net carbs, with 6g coming straight from sugar.
I wouldn’t be able to talk about melons without mentioning everyone’s summer time favorite, the watermelon. Watermelons are over 90% water so while you may be eating quite a large volume, the vast majority of it is simply just water.
Watermelons are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re looking at eating a serving of watermelon, you can expect to consume approximately 7.5g net carbs (which will obviously vary slightly based on how ripe your watermelon is).
Since most fruits are naturally sweet, you should be mindful of how much you consume.
Technically, no fruits are completely off limits as long as you can fit them into your macros (under 20-50g of carbs depending on your body). Here are some fruits that can quickly add up and push you over your carb count.
While loaded in potassium, a single banana can net you anywhere from 20g to 30g net carbs (rough estimate). If you’re not fully keto adapted yet you may want to steer clear of bananas in general to help stay below your carb limit.
If you’re regularly working out while on your keto diet, you may be able to slip bananas into your diet in moderation to help provide a few carbs as a pre-workout snack.
While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, it can also keep ketosis away as well. Obviously I’m exaggerating a bit, but when you’re trying to stick to a strict carb limit in the early phases of a low carb diet, you’ll want to minimize your apple or pear intake.
A small sized apple or pear nets almost 20g of carbs which is close to the recommended starting daily limit for carb intake.
I am generalizing a bit though as you may be able to squeeze in a granny smith apple with their overall lower sugar content. I would be mindful of apples and the amount consumed (and to be honest, I was never a big fan of them to begin with).
While it wouldn’t hurt to snack on a few individual grapes, generally you’d want to steer away from them while on a keto diet. There are plenty of other keto fruits that you can enjoy in higher quantities without consuming as many carbs.
A serving (100g) of grapes can contain about 16g of sugar alone (16g net carbs) which makes it one of the sweeter fruits that I’d recommend avoiding all together.
Plus… who the heck eats just 1 grape?!
You’ll find that most tropical fruits have much higher sugar contents and are naturally sweeter. Mangoes are no exception. While there may be less sweet varieties, I’d steer away from them as it can be a slippery slope (if anyone else is weak to mangoes like I am…).
One whole mango can net you around 45g of carbs which is double the recommended daily intake while on keto.
Pineapples aren’t the worst fruit while on a keto diet, but they are fairly sweet which isn’t ideal.
With a higher water content, one serving of pineapples (100g) will net you approximately 12g of carbs which is about half of the recommended daily intake for ketosis. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you can always sneak a small amount in, especially if it helps curbs your cravings.
There are way more fruits (including tomatoes and zucchinis which I find to be more savory than sweet and I could go on for days listing them all out along with their nutrition profiles. These are some of the most common fruit in which you may find in your local supermarket, or that you may have been consuming on a regular basis before.
While sweet cravings are definitely one of the most challenging aspects of keto (especially if you want to avoid artificial sweeteners), one of the key things that I noticed is that small amounts of sugar go a long way.
After becoming keto adapted, I find myself craving sweets less and less, but when I do consume some natural sugars (such as fruits) I find them to be much sweeter than I recall.
While I listed some fruits to avoid while following a keto diet, it’s not the end of the world if you indulge or snack on some other fruits. Just consume in moderation, or allocate enough carbs for the day for your healthy treat! Like I mentioned before, a food scale is definitely invaluable when trying to balance your macros since you can’t fool yourself when the numbers are right in front of your eyes!