If you know anything about the keto diet, it’s that sugar is off limits. That means most fruit, which naturally contains sugars, is pretty much off the table. Pineapple? Nope. Bananas? Not a chance.
Believe it or not, though, there are some fruits you can still incorporate into a keto meal plan with a little strategy. “In order to stay in the altered metabolic state of ketosis, most people will only be able to consume 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day,” says Seattle-based Ginger Hultin, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That means you’ll have to carefully portion out and track your fruit intake to make sure it fits into your total carb allowance for the day. “An apple, for example, contains about 20 grams of net carbs, so eating just one could max out all of your carbohydrates for the day,” she explains.
When you need something sweet, go for fruits as low in carbs and sugar as you can get your hands on. The following five fruits are your best bets for satisfying your sweet tooth without throwing yourself out of ketosis.
Small amounts of berries are commonly included in keto diets. “One cup of blackberries or raspberries contains between six and seven grams of net carbs,” says Hultin. Meanwhile, strawberries contain eight and blueberries contain 17. Hultin recommends sticking to half-cup servings to keep net carbs as low as possible.
Almost forgot avocado is a fruit, didn’t ya? “Avocado is a very keto-friendly fruit because it is so high in fat,” Hultin says. In fact, they’re 80 to 90 percent fat, which perfectly mimics a keto diet.
“One cup of sliced avocado contains just two grams of net carbs so it’s one to include at any meal and snack to boost fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin C,” she says. Add avocado to omelets or salads, or whip up a tasty homemade guac.
When the summer sun is beating down, keto-eaters will be happy to know that watermelon can fit into their diets. “Since watermelon has such a high water content, it will fill you up and help keep you hydrated,” says Dana Angelo White, R.D., A.T.C.
Still, keep portions to a minimum. One cup of diced watermelon contains 10 grams of net carbs, which isn’t so bad for a fruit, but can certainly mess with ketosis if you go overboard.
Honeydew and cantaloupe melons can also work on a keto diet—just keep in mind that they’re higher in net carbs, with about 14 grams per cup each.
Don’t worry, the lemon and lime you put in your water are a-okay on a keto diet. Lemons and limes, in particular, provide vitamin C and other antioxidants for just four to five grams of net carbs, says Hultin.
Oranges and grapefruit, though? Proceed with caution. These citrus fruits contain three to four times as many net carbs and may not be as easy to fit into your daily limits.
Technically a fruit, tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants like lycopene, along with vitamin C and other nutrients. Plus, fresh tomatoes (especially in the summer) are bursting with natural sweetness! One cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, for example, contains four grams of net carbs.
Keep in mind that green, orange, and yellow heirloom tomatoes are typically higher in carbs—and that packaged tomato products, like tomato sauce and ketchup, aren’t the same as whole tomatoes. A single tablespoon of ketchup for example, contains almost four grams of sugar. (And who ever uses just one tablespoon?)
To bring out tomatoes’ natural sweetness, White recommends roasting them. From there, you can add them to anything from salads to vegetable sides to proteins.
Consider this infographic your keto-friendly fruit grocery list: