You may or may not know that in addition to helping people start keto, I also run a local meal prep service that offers keto (and standard) meals to my local clients. Whenever someone moves from a Standard American Diet to a Keto Diet, one of the things they are going to miss is potatoes. Everyone tries to find a way to be able to eat potatoes on keto.
Potatoes are not keto friendly because they are too high in carbs. One medium white potato has 32.3 Net Carbs, which is more than your net carbohydrate allotment for the entire day.
However, there are some pretty good keto alternatives, but first, let’s gain a better understanding of why potatoes are so bad for a ketogenic diet.
How Many Carbs Do Potatoes Have?
Keeping in mind that there are lots of different kinds of potatoes, let’s just take a look at the two major categories of potatoes: White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.
White Potatoes – 32.3 Net Carbs Per Serving
According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, one standard white medium potato (which is about 2 1/4″ to 3 1/4″ in diameter and weighs about 213 grams) has 37 grams of carbohydrates and just 4.7 grams of Total Dietary Fiber. That means that a medium potato has 32.3 Net Carbs.
In my No Cook Keto Meal Plan, I recommend that those new to Keto start with a maximum of 25 Net Carbs each day and just one medium potato surpasses that goal.
Sweet Potatoes – 34.74 Net Carbs Per Serving
Surprisingly, sweet potatoes are pretty similar to white potatoes in regards to carbohydrate content.
According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, a 205 Gram Sweet Potato has 41.5 grams of carbohydrates and 6.56 grams of dietary fiber. That gives a sweet potato 34.74 Net Grams of Carbs, only about 2.5 grams more than a similar medium white potato.
Is There A Low Carb Potato That is Keto Friendly?
You are going to be a little shocked to learn that there is a lower-carb potato variety, but it’s pretty hard to find.
There is a variety of potatoes called “Carisma” that is primarily grown in Canada and while it’s significantly lower in carbs than other potatoes, it’s still not very keto friendly.
“One medium (150g) Carisma™ potato contains just 70 calories, while providing 15g of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fibre and 3 grams of protein. Carisma™ potatoes are also a source of vitamin C, with a 150g potato providing 20% of our daily requirement.”
That means that an equivalent amount of Carisma Potatoes weighing 213 grams would have 21.3 grams of carbohydrates with 4.26 grams of dietary fiber. Doing the math, we see that the net carbs for one medium Carisma Potato is 17.04 Net Carbs.
That means that Carisma Potatoes have less than half the carbs found in a standard white potato or sweet potato!
Are Carisma Potatoes Keto Friendly?
No, Carisma Potatoes are not really keto friendly. With 17 grams net carbs in a 213 gram serving, a single serving of Carisma Potatoes would take about 70% of your daily allotment for carbs.
If you can find this low carb potato, I guess you could include it as an occasional treat, but you probably still won’t want to make this a staple food on your ketogenic diet.
Low Carb Alternatives to Potatoes
All is not lost, though! There are a number of good keto substitutes for potatoes, though I’m not going to tell you that any of them “taste just like real potatoes”. However, with the magic of the Ketogenic Diet, you can add lots of butter to any of these and we both know that’s going to make them pretty darn good.
#1 – Cauliflower – 1.81 Net Carbs Per 100 Grams
According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, 100 grams of cooked cauliflower has 4.11 grams of carbohydrates and 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, giving it just 1.81 Net Carbs. Cauliflower is a very keto friendly potato substitute!
You can boil, steam, or bake cauliflower until tender, and then prepare it as you would any potato. They can be mashed (creamed), left in chunks, or even formed into ‘keto tater-tots’ by first mashing them, then adding eggs and salt, forming them into the shapes you like, then baking them just like traditional tater-tots.
My favorite potato alternative is my Bacon and Gouda Mashed Cauliflower. It is rich and decadent and a huge family favorite at our house.
Or you might like my Keto “No Potato” Salad recipe. It’s great for potlucks and summer barbecues!
#2 – Turnips – 3.06 Net Carbs per 100 Grams
According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, 100 grams of cooked Turnips has 5.06 grams of carbohydrates and 2.0 grams of dietary fiber, giving it just 3.06 Net Carbs. Turnips are also a keto friendly potato substitute!
Turnips have a nice thick texture, not entirely unlike potatoes. Because of this characteristic, you can make keto turnip fries.
To make turnip fries, you peel and cut them up just like you would a standard potato, spice them up to your personal taste, then fry or bake them until tender.
Turnips also are good mashed…they are better mashed with lots of butter and maybe some bacon bits. 😉
#3 – Radish – 2.51 Net Carbs per 100 Grams
There are lots of different kinds of radishes but nearly all radishes are keto friendly. The two most common types of radish that you’ll find in the U.S. are Red Radishes and Daikon (the long white radishes) and both of them have very similar carbohydrate profiles.
According to the USDA FoodData Central Database, 100 grams of cooked Radishes has 3.53 grams of carbohydrates and 1.2 grams of dietary fiber, giving it just 2.51 Net Carbs. Radishes are also a keto friendly potato substitute.
Now radishes do have a distinctive flavor, and of all of the potato alternatives I’ve listed here, this one is the furthest away from the flavor of a potato. But let’s be honest, potatoes don’t have much flavor. Instead they are primarily a vehicle to carry butter and salt. That said, it’s going to take a lot of butter and salt to overcome the taste of a radish so you think you’re eating potatoes.
The only way that I use radishes as a substitute for potatoes is in what my family calls “American Fries” or “Breakfast Fries”. In my old SAD (Standard American Diet) we cut up potatoes into chunks and fried them in the leftover bacon or sausage grease for breakfast. Yummy.
Nowadays, on my Keto Diet, I do the same thing but with radish chunks. I said above that it takes a lot of butter to cover up the distinctive flavor of radish, but bacon or sausage fat will do the job just fine and the texture is perfect.
Other Ketogenic Potato Alternatives
Below are a number of other vegetables that are often touted as keto friendly, but as you’ll see in the notes, they are just as low carb. Still, if the better options above don’t meet your needs, I thought you should have these as second-tier alternatives.
- Kohlrabi – 5 Net Carbs per 100 Grams
- Rutabaga – 5 Net Carbs per 100 Grams
Conclusion on Keto Friendly Potatoes
The truth is that there are not any perfect low carb potato alternatives. You can substitute one of the low carb alternatives above, and with a lot of butter and/or bacon they will be really good, but they will not be just like real potatoes.
My advice to you is to not focus on the foods that you can’t eat on a Keto Diet, and instead focus on the great and tasty foods that you can eat. Mashed cauliflower swimming in butter and some cheese is amazing when you eat it next to that heavily marbled steak. Keto rocks!