19 Fruits to Eat on a Low-Carb Diet

Not all fruits are created equal when it comes to carbs.

Fruits are nutrient-dense foods that serve as the foundation of any healthy diet. They’re packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers.

While fruits tend to contain more carbs than vegetables because of their natural sugars, it’s no reason to fear them.

“It’s more beneficial to include fruit in your diet instead of avoiding fruit due to concerns about the carbohydrate content,” says Jenifer Bowman, a registered dietitian with UCHealth in Fort Collins, Colorado.

However, those following a low-carb diet, like a keto diet, will need to be mindful of how many carbs they consume. For example, some people may need to limit their intake of bananas. Although they’re loaded with potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, this popular fruit likely won’t fit into a low-carb diet, as one medium banana contains approximately 27 grams of carbs.

Here are 19 best fruits to eat on a low-carb diet:

1. Apricots

Carbs: 3.9 grams

Serving size: 1 apricot (35 grams)

If you’re on a low-carb diet plan, it’s hard to go wrong with apricots.

This sweet stone fruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, including beta-carotene and lutein.

There are many ways to enjoy fresh apricots. You can slice them and add them to cereal, salads and waffles. For a nutritious treat, grill apricot slices with a small amount of olive oil. You can mix apricots with yogurt for a healthy breakfast parfait, or blend them with your choice of milk for a nutritious smoothie.

2. Tomatoes

Carbs: 4.8 grams

Serving size: 1 medium tomato (123 grams)

While some people consider them to be vegetables, tomatoes are technically a fruit — one that’s low in carbs and provides many important nutrients, says Amy Kimberlain, a Miami-based registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In addition to their low carb content, tomatoes contain vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene. Each of these nutrients are important for your health in different ways.

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, which is associated with depression, bloody gums and tooth loss.

— In a 2020 study published in the journal Antioxidants, research suggests that beta carotene may help maintain eye health.

Lycopene protects the body against an array of heart, liver, bone, skin, nervous and reproductive systems diseases, according to a review of a 2020 study published in the journal Antioxidants.

Tomatoes are super versatile. Use them in salads, sauce for pasta or non-starchy vegetables and soups — from cream of tomato to gazpacho. Tomatoes are also a delicious part of a sheet pan recipe with feta and veggies or as part of a grilled veggie kabob.

3. Lemon

Carbs: 6.1 carbs

Serving size: 1 lemon (65 grams)

Although the idea of biting into a lemon slice may not sound appealing, adding lemons to your drinks and dishes is a delicious way to soak up this fruit’s bounty of health benefits. From squeezing lemon juice into your water, blending a few wedges into your smoothies or incorporating them into your dishes, lemons are a great fruit if you’re watching your carb count. They may be low in carbs, but they’re high in other nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

While they are a good source of potassium, calcium, iron and vitamin B6, lemons are a vitamin C powerhouse, delivering 45 milligrams of this important vitamin and 74% of your daily value.

If a lemon is too tart for your palate, its cousin — the Meyer lemon — is a hybrid of a regular lemon and a mandarin orange, which gives it a sweeter and less acidic flavor profile. These fruits are nutritionally comparable, but Meyer lemons have less vitamin C: One Meyer lemon contains 31 milligrams of vitamin C. Considering this delivers 34% of your daily value, it’s still a good source of this vitamin.

4. Carambola (star fruit)

Carbs: 6.7 grams

Serving size: 1 medium star fruit (91 grams)

Carambola, also known as star fruit, is a delicious tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. 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.

“This exotic fruit gets a five-star rating,” says Patricia P. Araujo, a clinical dietitian with Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center in Chicago. “One carambola usually has less than 10 grams of total carbohydrates.”

You can eat star fruit as is, use it as a garnish and add it to salads.

5. Plums

Carbs:7.5 grams

Serving size: 1 plum (66 grams)

Packed with antioxidants and vitamins A and C, plums are juicy and sweet stone fruits that are great as a snack or as a companion to a lunch meal.

Here are three other ways to use plums:

Grilled plums: Brush plums with a splash of olive oil, and place them on a grill until they’re charred. Grilled plums can be added to salads, enjoyed as dessert or served alongside grilled meat.

Salad ingredient: Plum slices make a great addition to spinach and couscous salads.

Roasted plums with oatmeal: For a tasty alternative to berries or banana slices, try roasted plum slices with your oatmeal.

6. Guava

Carbs: 7.86 grams

Serving size: 1 medium guava (55 grams)

Guava is sometimes referred to as the “queen of fruits” for its range of nutrition and health benefits.

Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and fiber, this tropical fruit has been associated with lower blood sugar levels, better heart health, improved digestion, anti-cancer properties and weight management.

7. Strawberries

Carbs: 8.2 grams

Serving size: 1 cup (150 grams)

Strawberries, like its other berry cousins, are superfoods that are packed with nutrients — including vitamin C calcium, iron, potassium, folate and magnesium — and anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that gives these fruits its red color.

While peak strawberry season for most of the U.S. is June, strawberries — especially the frozen variety — are usually available year-round, making them an excellent go-to option if you’re looking for a versatile, low-carb fruit. You can snack on them as they are or blend them into a nutritious smoothie, such as this strawberry rhubarb smoothie recipe.

8. Figs

Carbs: 9.6 grams

Serving size: 2 small figs (50 grams)

Figs are a seasonal fruit, and are typically available in the early summer, though you may be able to find some in the late summer and early in the fall.

Every part of a fig — including the light-colored flesh, the dark purplish skin and the seeds — is edible. If you prefer to peel the skin and/or remove the seeds, that’s fine too. Figs can be baked, grilled or consumed fresh.

Figs make great snacks or can be added to salads and oatmeal.

9. Prunes

Carbs: 10.2 grams

Serving size: 2 prunes (16 grams) “Compared to other dried fruits, prunes are lower in naturally-occurring sugar and have a low glycemic index of only 29, meaning they will have less impact on blood sugar levels,” explains diabetes expert Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian based in Sparta, New Jersey, and author of the “2-Day Diabetes Diet.”

In addition to helping promote steady blood sugar levels, the fiber in prunes provides a feeling of fullness and promotes digestive regularity.

Research also shows that eating prunes can help support healthy bones. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in October 2022, researchers found that consuming 50 grams of prunes on a daily basis can help prevent the loss of total hip bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

To reap the benefits of eating prunes, you can enjoy them alone, add them to salads or even use them to sweeten your favorite recipe.

“Pureed prunes can be used to replace added sugar in a 1:1 ratio in baked good recipes as a delicious way to reduce added sugar, while boosting the fiber and nutrition content of your recipe,” Palinski-Wade says.

10. Kiwi

Carbs: 10.5 grams

Serving size: 1 kiwi (75 grams)

Not only is kiwi low in carbs and calories, but it also has a low glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a low glycemic index are absorbed more slowly and can help regulate blood sugar levels.

11. Watermelon

Carbs: 11.5 grams

Serving size: 1 cup diced watermelon (154 grams)

Sweet, ripe watermelon is tasty, good for you and low in carbohydrates. Plus, watermelon is high in water content, low in calories and rich in antioxidants and potassium, making it a perfect treat after a workout.

12. Coconut

Carbs: 12.2 grams

Serving size: 1 cup shredded coconut (80 grams)

You can add shredded, fresh coconut to salads, desserts, soups and sauces.

Because coconuts are high in saturated fat, it’s best to consume this fruit in moderation. But beware of dried coconut products, as many are packed with added sugar.

“It’s important to read the label for that,” Araujo says.

13. Cantaloupe

Carbs: 12.6 grams

Serving size: 1 cup (155 grams)

This tasty summer fruit has a high water content and is a great source of fiber and vitamins.

“With only 60 calories per cup, this melon packs a powerhouse of vitamin C and vitamin A,” says Beth A. Czerwony, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition in Ohio.

It’s also an excellent source of potassium, which helps with post-exercise recovery.

There are many ways to enjoy cantaloupe. Cantaloupe slices can be part of a healthy fruit salad, made into chilled soup or grilled with prosciutto pasta salad.

14. Avocados

Carbs: 12.8 grams

Serving size: 1 avocado (150 grams)

Avocados primarily have unsaturated fats, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Research suggests that eating avocados can be good for weight management. For instance, a large 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients found that habitually consuming avocados was associated with a lower prevalence of excess weight and mitigated weight gain in individuals with normal weight over time.

Another large study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in March 2022, included more than 68,000 women and more than 41,000 men without a history of cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke. Researchers found that higher avocado intake was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and coronary heart disease and replacing certain fat?containing foods with avocado could lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are many ways to enjoy avocados: You can put slices in salads, on toast or eat them as is with a little lime and cayenne pepper. You can also put chunks of avocados in various soups.

15. Blackberries

Carbs: 13.8 grams

Serving size: 1 cup (144 grams)

Blackberries are rich in various vitamins and nutrients — including vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber — to boost the immune system and improve digestion.

“Berries provide a tremendous amount of nutrition from fiber, potassium and vitamin C but with low calories and fewer carbohydrates,” Bowman says.

16. Raspberries

Carbs: 17.8 grams

Serving size: 1 cup (150 grams)

Raspberries are an excellent low-carb choice that also provides dietary fiber to aid in digestion and maintain a healthy gut, as well as antioxidants to combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. In addition, this bite-sized fruit is packed with vitamin C to help promote a strong immune system and support healthy skin, making it a powerhouse of nutrition.

17. Peaches

Carbs: 15.2 grams

Serving size: 1 peach (150 grams)

Peaches are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels. That in turn helps you feel fuller longer and may help with weight loss, says Maggie Michalczyk, a registered dietitian based in Chicago.

Peaches also contain vitamins A and C and antioxidants.

Enjoy this juicy fruit fresh, grill it and serve with lean protein or mix with yogurt and granola.

18. Papaya

Carbs: 17.8 grams

Serving size: 1 cup (165 grams)

Papaya is packed with vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium and antioxidants to support immune function and skin health, but the tropical fruit also boasts a high content of fiber and papain, an enzyme that breaks down protein, to promote digestive health.

Despite having a higher carb content per serving that might make keto dieters shy away from eating this fruit, papayas can still fit into a low-carb diet if consumed in moderation.

19. Grapes

Carbs: 27.2 grams

erving size: 1 cup (150 grams)

Grapes contain antioxidants, which research suggests help prevent chronic diseases by protecting healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals and reducing inflammation.

There are various types of grapes. Some of the most popular include concord, crimson and green table grapes, which are typically tart, not sweet. However, cotton candy grapes, which resemble green table grapes, are — as its name suggests — very sweet.

While grapes are typically consumed fresh, you can freeze them for a cold snack on hot days. Just take off the stems, rinse and dry the grapes, put them in a bag and pop them into the freezer. You can also blend seedless grapes with ice and grape juice to make a tasty slushy.

More from U.S. News

12 Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Healthy Carbs to Eat on a Diet

What Are the Best Fruits to Boost Immunity?

19 Fruits to Eat on a Low-Carb Diet originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 06/20/24: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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