Didn't know that cucumbers are actually a fruit, did ya? Find out how to enjoy this delicious creation of nature while on the keto diet!
Cucumbers are known for being a refreshing way to lighten up meals and add more nutrition. They make an excellent base for appetizer snacks. They’re wonderful in salads and sandwiches.
And guess what…cucumbers are keto friendly!
Of course, there’s a bit more to know about this humble fruit that we eat like a vegetable. Read on to find out more about the nutrition of cucumbers and how you can successfully put them into your keto diet plan!
Cucumber Nutritional Information
You’ll be happy to know that cucumbers are a wonderful choice when you’re on the keto diet. All varieties of cucumbers have a low carb count, though you can lower that carb count even more by peeling your cucumbers first.
For one whole raw cucumber, you’ll get 7.2 grams of total carbs. The net carbs are 6.2 grams. By peeling it, it will have 4.3 grams of total carbs and just 2.9 grams of net carbs.
But not everyone sits around and eats an entire cucumber. Usually, you’ll slice it up. So, how many carbs are you getting from your cucumber then? If you have a ½-cup of slices with the peel on, you will get 1.9 grams of total carbs, or 1.6 grams in net carbs. The number of net carbs will be less, of course, if you take the time to peel the cucumber before slicing it up.
As for mini cucumbers, one will have 2 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs. And for all cucumbers, they are low in calories but feature a bounty of vitamins and minerals that are great for your overall health. You get 62% of your recommended daily value for vitamin K from cucumbers. Plus, you’ll also get vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Cucumbers also give you more water since they are 96% water themselves. While they contain some fiber, it’s not a whole lot. And if you peel them to reduce the carbs, you’re also reducing the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals you’re getting with each serving.
Why Eat Cucumbers on the Keto Diet?
If you love cucumbers, you will be happy to eat them on the keto diet. Not just because they are keto-friendly, but also because they have many other benefits for you.
For one, cucumbers have antioxidants that can help reduce the oxidative stress that free radicals cause on your body. For another, that high water content helps promote hydration. When you’re trying to get your body healthier, drinking your water is one of the most important things you can do. However, your body also gets water from the foods you eat.
That’s not to say you should skip drinking those eight glasses of water. But by eating foods like cucumbers that are primarily water, you will keep your hydration levels fulfilled and sustained throughout the day.
Cucumbers are also a great choice for keto dieters that want to lose weight. They are low in calories and high in water content, a perfect combination for helping you tip the scales in your favor. Additionally, that water content can help keep your digestion and bowel movements regular because it contains a type of soluble fiber known as pectin.
How to Select the Perfect Cucumber
Now that you know you’ve got the green light to go ahead with eating cucumbers on the keto diet, it’s time to grab some from the store. When buying cucumbers, you should choose ones that are dark green and firm. Lighter cucumbers are an indication that they are older.
The texture should feel firm when you pick it up. If the cucumbers feel spongey at all, put them back. Also, if you notice a waxy substance on your cucumbers, you should avoid it. Many growers will apply it to make them last longer from harvest to purchase, though you can always use a vegetable peeler to remove that wax.
And if you’re not crazy about the seeds in cucumbers, the smaller varieties will be your favorite. These contain fewer seeds than the larger ones.
How to Store Cucumbers
As for storing cucumbers, you need to keep them in the fridge. They will do best in a plastic bag in the front of your vegetable drawer. But don’t bulk-buy them unless you’re making a huge cucumber salad to bring as a keto-friendly potluck dish. Cucumbers are best when you eat them within 2 to 3 days of buying them.
What to Do with Cucumbers
Since cucumbers are a keto-friendly item, you’ll be glad to know you can do so much with them. You can make a keto and radish salad with a keto-friendly creamy dressing. Or for an appetizer or a lunch on a lighter appetite, you can slice them up and layer them with herbed cream cheese, then top with smoked salmon, the perfect keto dish!
If you miss sandwiches and aren’t a fan of those keto-friendly breads, let cucumbers be the stand-in for sub rolls. Just slice them lengthwise and fill them with your favorite stuff, from meats to veggies. You can also cut them into sections, hollow them out, and fill them with tuna or chicken, which will make a tasty meal or a party treat that won’t kick you out of ketosis.
You can make a Greek salad that’s perfect for keto with your cucumbers. And if you have a vegetable spiralizer, you can even turn cucumbers into noodles themselves. They’re great when you add Asian flavors for a light yet satisfying meal.
Cucumbers are Keto Friendly!
Ultimately, there are so many ways you can use cucumbers. And because they have low net carbs, you can plan them to be a part of your meals while you eat keto!