High-Protein Foods | Low-Calorie Foods | Low-Carb Foods | Healthy Snacks | Protein Shake Recipes | Protein Pancake Recipes

If you're serious about dialing in your nutrition for your goals, you need a full arsenal of foods to choose from! Especially if you are practicing carb-cycling or tracking your macros, having lots of low-carb choices is extra important. And if you're doing the keto diet, they're essential!

These foods pair well with low-calorie options and high-protein foods to make a filling meal that's up to the task of powering your toughest workouts.  

Low-Carb Vegetables

1. Mushrooms - 2 g carbs per cup

Mushrooms have a craveable umami flavor and add a dose of antioxidants to any dish. They also pair well with numerous meals—not just dinner! If you haven't had mushrooms for breakfast, this leek and mushroom frittata needs to be in your future.

2. Zucchini - 7 g per 1 medium squash


3. Cauliflower - 5 g carbs per cup

4. Swiss chard - 1 g carbs per cup

5. Celery - 1 g per stalk

6. Cherry tomatoes - 6 g carbs per cup

7. Spaghetti squash - 7 g carbs per cup

Low-Carb Fruits

8. Avocado - 9 g per 1/2 avocado

Full of fiber and healthy fats, the avocado is nature's ultimate fatty low-carb food. With only 9 grams of carbs per half avocado, you can feel confident eating this fruit (yes, it's a fruit) with any meal! Turn it into pudding, load it onto a salad, or dive into this shrimp, avocado, mango salad.


9. Apricots - 8 g carbs per 2 fruits

10. Strawberries - 11 g carbs per cup

11. Red grapefruit - 9 g carbs per 1/2 fruit

It's not easy getting enough fruits and veggies when going low-carb. That's where supercharging your smoothies with greens and superfood powders can help.


Low-Carb Meats and Fish

12. Bison - 0 g carbs per serving

Pretty much all meats are low in, or completely devoid of, carbs, but they vary in terms of their micronutrient content. Bison is high in B vitamins, as well as zinc, selenium, and iron. It's not as well-known as some other proteins, but this barbecue bison pineapple pizza will convince you it's worth adding to your shopping cart.

13. Catfish - 0 g carbs

14. Canned pink salmon - 0 g carbs per serving

15. Chicken drumsticks - 0 g carbs per serving

16. Ground turkey - 0 g carbs per serving

17. Pork tenderloin - 0 g carbs per serving

18. Top sirloin steak - 0 g carbs per serving

Top sirloin

19. Roast beef - 0 g carbs per serving

Low-Carb Dairy and Eggs

20. Plain Greek yogurt - 9 g carbs per cup

Not all yogurts are low carb! Many have added sugar, so check the label. But high-protein Greek yogurt can help you bring your A-game to the gym. It's also a common "secret ingredient" in the best protein shakes, and even in baking, like these unbelievably moist Greek yogurt brownies.

21. Gruyere cheese - 0 g carbs per serving

22. Butter - 0 g carbs per serving

23. Eggs - 1 gram per 2 large eggs


24. Cottage cheese - 6 g carbs per cup

25. Goat milk - 11 g carbs per cup

Whey and casein powders pack serious protein into a low-carb package. They're an essential accessory for low-carb diets.

Low-Carb Plant Proteins

26. Tofu - 3 g carbs per 3 oz.

Tofu is a plant protein that doubles as a low-carb food. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a full and complete protein. You can season and fry it, blend it into smoothies, make healthy desserts with it, or use it as a meat substitute in this savory tofu ranchero recipe.

27. Tempeh - 9 g carbs per 3 oz.

28. Canned pinto beans - 18 g carbs per 1/2-cup

29. Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) - 5 g carbs per 1 oz.

No carbs. All gains.
No carbs. All gains.
Finally, a program for the ketogenic dieter chasing gains! IFBB pro bodybuilder Lawrence Ballenger lives the keto life and created the Keto Muscle program to help deplete stored glycogen and work with a carb-free diet.

Low-Carb Snacks

30. Kale chips - 8-12 g per 1 oz.

Kale chips are popular for a reason: They're crunchy and will absorb the flavor of whatever they're seasoned with. Kale is also packed with vitamins and minerals, so don't be afraid to dig in. You can even make your own with this sesame soy kale chip recipe.

Kale chips

31. String cheese - 0 g carbs per 3 oz.

32. Jerky - 3 g carbs per 1 oz.

33. Walnuts - 4 g carbs per 1 oz.

Low-Carb Grains and Flours

34. Almond flour - 6 g carbs per 1/4 cup

Dense in protein and low in carbs, almond flour delivers the goods—and it's one of the best-tasting alternative flours to boot. Try these double chocolate chip zucchini muffins, and you'll put baked goods are back on the table again!

35. Shirataki noodles - 0 g carbs per 3 oz.

36. Coconut flour - 9 g carbs per 1/2 cup

Low-Carb Drinks

37. Water with BCAAs 2-4 g per cup

You probably know that plain water, soda water, and herbal teas all have zero carbs, but what about when you want something sweet and nutritious? Most BCAA powder blends have almost no carbs and contain other workout-boosting ingredients like electrolytes—and the amino acids themselves. Plus, they're great in mocktails!

38. Unsweetened iced tea - 0 g carbs per cup

Iced tea

39. Tomato juice - 10 g carbs per cup

40. Club soda / soda water - 0 ser Serving

There's a world of BCAA flavors to suit every taste and craving. Our reviewers can tell you which ones are perfect for you!

About the Author

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MSc., is a registered dietitian based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He works full-time as a freelance nutrition writer...

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