For those on severely limited carbohydrate diets, finding substitutes for traditional sandwiches and snacks is challenging. While celery admittedly doesn’t match everyone’s idea of comfort food, it does offer a nutritious alternative to bread, starchy pretzels and chips. Along with being a good source of dietary fiber and vitamins B6, C and K, as well as folate, potassium and manganese, celery adds little or no fat, calories or carbs to your meal.
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Cooked celery has slightly more carbs than raw celery, although the difference is so minimal that it shouldn’t stop you from adding it to soups and casseroles. A 1 cup serving of cooked celery contains 6 g of carbs, compared to the 3.5 g for the equivalent amount of raw celery.
As with the per-cup carb counts, the per-stalk count varies slightly depending on whether the vegetable is cooked or fresh. One stalk of boiled celery contains 1.5 g, while a raw stalk has 1.2 g of carbs.
Comparisons to Other Vegetables
Even compared to other non-starchy vegetables, celery ranks among the foods with the least amount of carbohydrates. For diabetics and other people counting carbs for health reasons, a vegetable which contains about 5 g of carbs in a ½ cup serving represents a reasonable choice. Celery contains between 1 to 3 g for that serving size. Other vegetables at the low end of the carb scale include asparagus, scallions, spinach, radishes and kelp. Starchy vegetables carry the highest carb count in the vegetable family. White potatoes contain up to 35 g of carbs per cup, while corn contains 18 g and winter squash types average 18 g per cup.
Low-Carb Celery Meals
Because celery stalks contain hollow cores, they make ideal holders for other foods--perfect for people trying to cut back on bread. Stuff them peanut butter, hummus or cream cheese for portable, high-protein snacks. If you have the time, shred ham or turkey, vegetables and cheese together in the food processor, add a little relish, mustard or low-fat mayo to the mix, and spoon the savory filling into celery stalks. Celery pieces also make ideal substitutes for high-carb pretzels and chips. Pair them with dip or salsa for snacking. When lowering the starch content of traditional stews and casseroles, consider doubling the regular amount of celery called for in the recipe, while and eliminating or lowering the amount of corn, peas or potatoes.