Yes, turnips are keto-friendly and can be included as part of a ketogenic diet. Turnips are low in carbohydrates and calories, and contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A 1/2 cup serving of turnips contains about 5 grams of net carbs, allowing it to fit within daily carb limits on keto. Turnips make a great low-carb substitute for higher carb vegetables like potatoes. They can be roasted, mashed, added to soups and stews or spiralized into turnip noodles as part of a keto meal plan.
What are Turnips?
Turnips are root vegetables that are members of the cruciferous vegetable family, alongside kale, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The most common type of turnip is white and has a purple top, although there are a variety of turnip cultivars in shades of white, yellow, red and purple.
Turnips have a sweet, earthy and somewhat peppery flavor. They have a similar texture to potatoes when cooked, making them a popular low-carb swap. Turnips can be eaten raw or cooked by methods like roasting, boiling, mashing, and spiralizing into noodle form.
Some of the key nutrients found in turnips include:
- Fiber – 2.3 grams per 1/2 cup, providing 9% of the daily value
- Vitamin C – 13.8 mg per 1/2 cup, providing 23% DV
- Potassium – 173 mg per 1/2 cup, providing 5% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 0.1 mg per 1/2 cup, providing 5% DV
- Folate – 12 mcg per 1/2 cup, providing 3% DV
- Manganese – 0.1 mg per 1/2 cup, providing 7% DV
In addition to vitamins and minerals, turnips contain beneficial plant compounds like glucosinolates and carotenoids that act as antioxidants in the body.
Given their stellar nutrient profile, turnips are considered one of the healthiest low-carb veggies around.
Are Turnips Keto-Friendly?
The ketogenic diet typically limits net carbohydrates to 20-50 grams per day. With around 5 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup cooked, turnips can definitely fit into keto meal plans and macros.
Here is the carb breakdown for a 1/2 cup of cooked turnips (79g):
- Total Carbohydrates: 6.5 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Net Carbs: 4.2 grams
The fiber content of turnips helps reduce the digestible carb content, bringing down the net carbs. For comparison, a medium baked potato contains about 37 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 33 grams.
Turnips have one of the lowest carb contents out of starchy vegetables and contain less than half the net carbs of potatoes per serving. Their low glycemic index and glycemic load also make turnips unlikely to spike blood sugar levels.
With their minimal impact on blood sugar and ketone levels, turnips can be enjoyed often as part of a well-formulated ketogenic diet.
Benefits of Turnips on Keto
Here are some of the top benefits of adding turnips to a ketogenic eating plan:
Low in Carbs
As a root vegetable, turnips contain more carbs than leafy greens, but are still one of the absolute lowest carb veggies. Their low net carb and calorie content allows turnips to be included in keto meals and snacks within daily carb limits.
Soluble and insoluble fiber play important roles on keto by slowing digestion, supporting gut health and reducing constipation. With 2.3 grams of fiber per half cup cooked, turnips can help meet the 25-30 grams of fiber recommended daily on a ketogenic diet.
Turnips provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for very few calories and carbs. Eating nutrient-rich foods like turnips ensures nutritional ketosis is optimized on keto.
Aid Weight Loss
Due to their low calorie density, turnips can promote fat burning, satiety and weight loss on keto. Replacing higher carb foods with turnips allows you to eat larger portions while still reducing overall carb intake.
Act as Substitute for Potatoes
With a similar texture and flavor when cooked, turnips make an excellent potato substitute on keto. Mash them, roast them or turn them into fries for a low-carb alternative to classic potato dishes.
Incorporating turnips into keto recipes like soups, casseroles and salads adds variety to the diet and ensures you get a range of different nutrients. Their versatility also helps beat boredom and stick with keto.
How to Add Turnips to a Keto Diet
Here are some easy ways to enjoy turnips as part of a ketogenic meal plan:
Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of turnips. Simply chop turnips into wedges, toss in avocado oil and seasonings and roast at 400°F until tender and caramelized.
For keto-friendly mashed potatoes, boil chopped turnips until tender then mash with butter, cream and seasonings. Add roasted garlic for extra flavor.
Cut turnips into fry shapes, coat in oil and spices and bake in the oven until crispy for a crunchy, low-carb fry substitute.
Spiralized Turnip Noodles
Use a spiralizer to turn turnips into noodle form. Saute turnip noodles in a pan or use in place of pasta in dishes like chicken noodle soup.
Thinly slice turnips and bake with oil and seasoning until crisp for a tasty high-fiber chip to snack on.
Blend roasted turnips with broth until smooth for an easy side dish with weeknight keto dinners.
Dice turnips and saute in butter or oil over medium high heat. Add complementary flavors like garlic, rosemary or lemon juice.
Layer thinly sliced turnips with cream and cheese then bake until the top is crispy and brown for a comfort food gratin.
Whole vs Baby Turnips for Keto
Both whole and baby turnips can be part of a keto diet. Whole turnips may need to be peeled and chopped before cooking. Baby turnips can be cooked whole with just the green tops removed.
Here is a comparison of the nutrition profiles of whole vs baby turnips:
|Nutrient (per 1/2 cup)
As you can see, there are only minor nutritional differences between whole and baby turnips. Baby turnips are slightly lower in calories and carbohydrates. However, the carb and calorie count is negligible for both.
Whole or baby turnips can be used in keto recipes like roasted turnips, turnip fries and mashed turnips based on your personal preference. Opting for smaller, baby turnips means less prep work chopping and peeling.
Potential Downsides of Turnips on Keto
Although turnips are considered a keto superstar vegetable, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind:
If overeaten in large quantities, the net carbs from turnips can quickly add up and knock you out of ketosis. Stick to around 1/2 cup cooked per serving.
Like other cruciferous veggies, turnips contain goitrogens that may impact thyroid function if consumed raw in high amounts. Cooking neutralizes this effect.
Bloating and Gas
The fiber and carbohydrates in turnips may lead to more gas and bloating in some individuals, especially when eaten raw.
Although rare, turnips may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Discontinue use if any symptoms like hives or swelling occur.
To prevent potential issues, consume turnips in moderation as part of a varied low-carb diet. Cook turnips thoroughly, limit high-fiber foods and watch your portions.
Turnip Recipe Ideas for Keto
Here are some delicious keto recipes featuring turnips:
Keto Mashed Turnips
- 3 cups diced turnips
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil turnips until very fork tender, about 15 minutes
- Drain turnips and return to pot
- Add remaining ingredients and mash until smooth
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
Keto Turnip Fries
- 2 turnips, cut into fry shaped batons
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Toss turnip fries in oil, garlic powder and paprika until coated.
- Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.
- Bake 25-30 minutes until crispy, flipping halfway.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Keto Turnip and Bacon Soup
- 4 slices sugar-free bacon
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups diced turnips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove and chop.
- Saute onion, carrot and celery 5 minutes.
- Add broth, turnips, bacon and thyme. Simmer 20 minutes.
- Puree soup with immersion blender.
- Stir in heavy cream.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about eating turnips on the keto diet:
Can you eat turnips raw on keto?
Yes, you can eat raw turnips on keto occasionally as long as they fit your daily net carb limit. Opt for small portions since turnips are lower in net carbs when cooked.
Are turnip greens keto-friendly?
Yes. Turnip greens are very low in net carbs, with just 1 gram per cooked cup. They can be sauteed or used raw in salads.
What part of the turnip do you eat?
Both the root and the greens of the turnip are edible. The root can be eaten raw or cooked. The nutritious greens can be used like other cooking greens.
Do turnips spike insulin?
No. Turnips have a low glycemic index and are unlikely to cause large spikes in blood sugar or insulin levels. Focus on controlling portions.
Can you substitute turnips for potatoes in any recipe?
In most cases, yes. Turnips can substitute for potatoes at a 1:1 ratio in recipes for mashed, fried, roasted and boiled preparations. Adjust cook times as needed.
The Bottom Line
Turnips are a keto all-star. With just 4 grams of net carbs per half cup cooked, they can be enjoyed regularly on a ketogenic diet. Turnips provide a tasty, low-carb alternative to starchy veggies like potatoes. For maximum benefits, incorporate turnips into recipes like mashed turnips, turnip fries, roasted turnips and turnip noodles. With their stellar nutrition and versatility, turnips are a fantastic addition to any keto meal plan.