Croutons can add some crunch and taste to a variety of recipes. Find out whether they are keto-friendly and what substitutes exist.
It is possible to eat croutons on their own but more commonly, you add them to dishes and recipes like salads and soups.
Their nutrition can vary but 100 grams of one example of crouton contains around 68.4 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber).
That means standard croutons are not keto-friendly or good for low-carb diets at all. Even in tiny amounts, they are very high in carbs.
One thing to note is that there are also low-carb crouton recipes. Additionally, you can consider one of the more keto-friendly alternatives to croutons.
Will croutons always kick you out of ketosis?
In practice, croutons will almost always kick you out of ketosis. In theory, you could eat tiny amounts of croutons on a keto diet. Understanding why this is the case can help you approach the popular keto diet in a smarter way.
As long as you stay in ketosis, you can consider a diet to be ketogenic. Ketosis is a state where your body mainly burns fat to get its energy (1).
To get and stay in ketosis you have to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. How low depends on details like your weight, body composition, activity levels, time of the day, etc.
That being said, there are some general ketogenic diet recommendations to help you get an idea of what it takes.
A rough guideline is that you want to get about 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.
This will often come down to eating around 20 to 50 grams of net carbohydrates a day.
You want to keep in mind that the amounts above typically don’t include fiber. While fiber is a category of carbohydrates, your body uses these in a different way.
With this, you can understand that even high-carb foods like croutons could potentially fit within a ketogenic diet if you keep your portions small enough.
Are croutons high in carbs?
While it is not the only important nutrient, the number of carbs in croutons compared to other foods influences how keto-friendly they are a lot.
Before going into some numbers, you need to know that crouton recipes can vary. Different types can contain different amounts. The carbs below are from one example.
100 grams of plain croutons contain the following amounts of carbs (2):
- Total carbs: 73.5 grams
- Of which fiber: 5.1 grams
- Net carbs: 68.4 grams
Even if you eat nothing else besides 100 grams of croutons in a day, the 68.4 grams of net carbon are likely enough to kick you out of ketosis.
This is especially the case in combination with real amounts of food.
One ounce of croutons is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:
- Total carbs: 20.6 grams
- Of which fiber: 1.4 grams
- Net carbs: 19.2 grams
Smaller amounts are somewhat more keto-friendly but croutons are still very high in carbs compared to many whole foods.
You likely don’t even want to consider regular croutons on a ketogenic diet.
Other nutrients in croutons
So far, most of the attention went to carbohydrates.
However, other nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals also play a role in whether you stay in ketosis and your progress toward goals like losing weight and getting healthier.
100 grams of croutons contain the following nutrients (2):
- Calories: 407
- Protein: 11.9 grams
- Carbs: 73.5 grams
- Part of the carbs that is fiber: 5.1 grams
- Fat: 6.6 grams
- Selenium: 54% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Thiamin: 42% of the DV
- Folate: 33% of the DV
- Sodium: 29% of the DV
- Niacin: 27% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
It is true that croutons contain decent amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. However, they will still likely kick you out of ketosis.
Additionally, there are also more keto-friendly foods that contain even more of these nutrients.
Keto crouton substitutes
By now, it should be clear that croutons are not keto-friendly at all.
At the same time, you may still want something crunchy and/or tasty for your salads, soups, and other recipes.
In that case, you could consider some of the following crouton alternatives:
- Low-carb croutons (that are not made of regular bread)
- Nuts & seeds
- Roasted vegetables
- A few roasted chickpeas
- Cheese crisps
You do want to keep in mind that these keto crouton substitutes still contain certain amounts of carbohydrates.
That means you may need to keep your portions under control to stay in ketosis.
What is your goal with keto?
Whether you absolutely want to avoid croutons in all amounts depends on your goals with the ketogenic diet.
There are individuals that need/want to stay in ketosis every minute of the day. In a situation like that, you likely want to stay away from croutons.
On the flip side, even though croutons are not good for weight loss and health, a few of them likely won’t be the end of your goals. Even if they kick you out of ketosis.
Enjoying dishes like salads more thanks to a few croutons could improve your consistency with your eating plan. In turn, this could benefit your progress toward certain health goals.