Beware of bananas, smoothies and dried offerings.
If you’re on a low-carbohydrate eating regimen, you typically aim to get less than 45% of your daily calories from carbs.
Fruits are generally healthy, containing lots of nutrients and antioxidants — substances that protect your body from free radicals, which are associated with chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. But you have to be mindful about which fruits you consume if you’re watching your intake of carbs, says Patricia P. Araujo, a clinical dietitian with Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center in Chicago. Fruit juices, smoothies and most dried fruits that have a high amount of sugar wouldn’t fit your dietary regimen. Fruits in syrup with high levels of sugar are also out. Bananas and mangoes are relatively high in carbohydrates, so you should watch your portions of those fruits closely.
Here are nine fruits that you should eat if you’re on a low-carb eating plan:
Small apples are a good fruit to pack in lunches or have as a crunchy snack, says Andrea Dunn, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
They’re also great if you’re on a low-carb diet. A small, 4-ounce apple has about 55 calories and contains only 15 grams of carbohydrates. Apples have fiber and contain nutrients such as vitamins C and potassium.
Because they’re low in carbohydrates and high in fat, avocados are commonly seen in low-carb dishes, Araujo says. Avocados primarily have unsaturated fats, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health. Like other fruits, avocados contain no cholesterol.
A typical cup of avocado has about 12 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fiber.
There are many ways to enjoy avocados: You can put slices in salads, or eat them as is. You can also put chunks of avocados in various soups.
A wide array of berries fit into a low-carb eating regimen, including:
These berries contain between 12 and 15 grams of fiber per cup. “Berries provide a tremendous amount of nutrition from fiber, potassium and vitamin C, but with low calories and fewer carbohydrates,” says Jenifer Bowman, a registered dietitian with UCHealth in northern Colorado.
Carambola (star fruit)
For people on low-carbohydrate diets, “this exotic fruit gets a five-star rating,” Araujo says. “One carambola usually has less than 10 grams of total carbohydrates,” she says.
Star fruit is a waxy, yellow-green fruit that’s shaped like a five-pointed star when it’s cut in half. The fruit’s skin is edible, and the flesh is typically mild and sweet and sour tasting. You can eat star fruit as is, use it as a garnish and add it to salads.
This tasty summer fruit has a high water content, is a great source of fiber and contains vitamins A and C, says Abby Sauer, a registered dietitian based in Columbus, Ohio. She’s with Abbott, a global health care company.
A cup of cantaloupe has just 13 grams of carbohydrates.
Like avocados, coconuts are high in fiber, which doesn’t get absorbed by the body, Araujo says.
Because coconuts are high in saturated fat, it’s best to consume this fruit in moderation. You can add shredded, fresh coconut to salads, desserts, soups and sauces.
Beware of dried coconut products — many are packed with added sugar. “It’s important to read the label for that,” Araujo says.
Fresh figs have a mild, sweet taste that makes them ideal for snacking, Dunn says. A 3.5-ounce fig has about 15 carbohydrates, and you can add figs to salads and oatmeal.
A medium fresh peach contains just 14 grams of carbohydrates. Peaches are also a good source of vitamins A and C, and contain antioxidants, Sauer says.
Sweet, ripe watermelon is tasty, good for you and low in carbohydrates, Sauer says. One cup of watermelon has about 11 grams of carbs.
Watermelon is also low in calories and high in water content. “It’s also rich in antioxidants and potassium, making it a perfect treat after a workout,” Sauer says.
To recap, here are nine fruits you should eat if you’re on a low-carb diet:
— Small apples.
— Carambola (star fruit).