What People On The Keto Diet Should Know About Tomatoes

For those following a ketogenic diet, it can be difficult to always know what you can and can't eat on the high-fat, low-carbohydrate plan. For example, although almost all other types of fruit are on the "no" list due to their high sugar content, you might not realize that fresh tomatoes are surprisingly keto-friendly, as confirmed by Healthline. The article points out that all tomato varieties contain markedly lower carbs than other fruits, and are also packed with healthy fiber and antioxidants that help provide nutrients that may sometimes be lacking on the restrictive keto diet.

The goal of this eating plan – which the New York Times reported as being the most popular diet in the United States in 2020 – is to ingest only 5-10% of daily calories from carbs (or around 50 grams), which tricks the body into fueling itself by burning fat instead of glucose, a state known as ketosis. In addition to the being able to consume more calories overall, other benefits may include better mental focus, diminished feelings of hunger, and lower cholesterol.

While Healthline makes a case for tomatoes being keto-friendly, they also note the important distinction that being made from tomatoes does not necessarily mean that a processed product has the same low-carb characteristics. Unfortunately, the majority of canned or jarred items have added sugar in order to enhance their flavor, so your best bet is to purchase fresh tomatoes in the produce section.

There are tons of delicious fresh tomato options

The versatile tomato comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. As outlined in a thorough guide from Nature Fresh Farms, taste and texture also vary, so finding a great option for any recipe is foolproof! On the one end of the spectrum, grape tomatoes range from bright yellow (a little tart), to orange and deep red (a sweet, rich flavor). Their tiny size makes them a perfect snack, and their thicker skin holds the texture when cooked. Try them in a vegetarian dish like zucchini boats with tomato and feta for a light, warm-weather dinner (via The Mediterranean Dish).

On the other side, there are meaty beefsteak tomatoes, which possess an extra juicy quality that's ideal for salsa and guacamole. Another possibility is to slice them into rounds and stack them on the grill with chicken breasts, fresh mozzarella, and a basil pesto garnish for a classically simple Caprese chicken entree (courtesy The Mediterranean Dish). The larger Roma tomatoes also feature a hearty, robust texture that is great for a stew, paste, or sauce. 

Successfully maintaining a keto diet has its challenges, but it helps to discover even little culinary bright spots that make the whole experience more enjoyable. Luckily, tomatoes are an immensely tasty and adaptable ingredient that will keep your carb consumption under control while feeling satiated.