Perfect-for-Summer Low-Carb Fruit Lists for Keto and Atkins

Platter of summer fruits: oranges, apples, blueberries, raspberries, walnuts
If you think you can't have fruit on Keto or Atkins,
these perfect-for-summer low-carb fruits lists
might change your mind!

[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after using one of those links, I may receive a small financial compensation, at no cost to you.]

Fruit is not allowed on Atkins Induction, but once you move into Phase 2 of the diet, the restrictions change, depending on your carbohydrate tolerance. 

While Atkins 2002 places fruits (other than berries) at rung seven of the Atkins Carbohydrate Ladder, prior Atkins plans and some Keto and LCHF plans are more lenient, and let you determine the best time to add fruit back to your low-carb diet.

It's been in the 90s this week, so I've been looking for creative ways to serve cool and inviting dinners when hubby gets home from a long, tiring, hot day. 

We've been eating a lot of sliced strawberries over the past few weeks, and I couldn't resist coming home from our last shopping trip with a small basket of plump, red raspberries.

Summer ushers in a wide variety of tasty fruits that make the perfect side dish to accompany your fish or chicken. If you're missing fruit, being on a low-carb diet doesn't mean you have to pass up Mother Nature's delicious bounty all summer long. 

It just means you have to be selective when adding fruit to your meals and snacks.

You do have to stay aware of portion sizes and keep your fruit indulgence within your personal carbohydrate tolerance level. 

While those of you on Atkins Induction will have to wait a bit before returning fruit to your diet, if you're doing Keto, an Old-School Atkins plan, or a generic LCHF, I have a special treat for you:

[Don't forget to pin this post, so you can keep the following perfect-for-summer fruit lists handy.]

Pinterest Image of a fruit platter: strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, lemon, cranberries

How to Use the Following Perfect-for-Summer Low-Carb Fruit Lists

[*NOTE: When I checked out the ANA's Atkins 20 Carbohydrate Ladder last year (2017), I noticed that fruits other than cherries, berries, and melon have now been tagged pre-maintenance and maintenance, with a stipulation that if you can tolerate the carbs in the foods listed under Phase 3 and 4, you can have them during Phase 2. 

Not everyone needs to keep to a very low-carb diet, and Atkins now makes room for those with higher carb tolerances.

Rules for Atkins 40 have changed. You are now limited to 10 carbs per meal, with only an occasional 15 allowed. For these reasons, I'm omitting most of the references I previously made to Atkins 20 and 40, but if you're on those programs, feel free to use the lists that fit into your carbohydrate tolerance.] 

If you've been experiencing hot weather like us, or you're craving your favorite fruits, below you'll find several perfect-for-summer low-carb fruit lists that will help you give in to your cravings without ruining your diet.

I get a lot of email from newbies who ask me about summer fruit, so I created several low-carb lists to help you discover how to add fruit to your low-carb meal plans.

Each list is designed to fit within the macros of a specific low-carb plan, but you don't have to stick to your particular diet list. I've arranged the fruit choices into groups, divided by carb count, to make them easier to use and more adaptable and inclusive across all low-carb diets.

You don't have to stick with the exact serving size in the following lists, either. Feel free to change the serving sizes, or mix-and-match the various fruits, to fit your taste and application. If you choose to do that, you will have to readjust the carb count.

If you're only eating 20-net carbs per day, for example, you can toss a 1/4-cup of blueberries into your low-carb yogurt or cottage cheese instead of eating the whole half a cup, as suggested. The carb count would then be half of the listed amount.

If you can eat at 30-net carbs and still lose, you might want to sprinkle 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries on top of your dinner salad, rather than using just one. In that case, you would need to double the listed carb count.

Old-School Atkins plans used to offer a way to include higher carb foods in your weight-loss plan, and fruit was one of those additions. Older Atkins books recommended including fruit a "few" times a week, rather than everyday, to spread the carb count out over the course of a week.

For example, peaches are 8-net carbs each, which is slightly more than a 5-carb level. If you multiply those 5 carbs across the days in the week, you get 35 net carbs for the week. Four peaches comes to 32 carbs, so you could eat a peach every other day and still be okay. 

Since peaches will put you 3-net carbs over on the days you eat them, on the days when you don't eat peaches, you simply eat 5 carbs less than your CCLL to make up the difference. By the end of the week, your carbs will still be within your target range.

Dr. Atkins called this method: Real Life!

There's also nothing wrong with cutting some of these portions in half to lower the carbs. For example, when I serve oranges, hubby and I share one orange. I simply cut it into sections and count it as 6.5 net carbs each.

Low-Carb Fruits Under 10-Net Carbs

Watermelon, Apple chunks, Orange Segments on Platter
Instead of thinking in terms of whole pieces of fruit,
think about watermelon wedges, apple chunks, and
orange segments that can be shared with the family! 

This is a general list of low-carb fruits specifically tailored for those following Keto or another 20 to 40-net carb diet. Since carb levels vary widely on Keto, I decided to limit this first low-carb fruit list to serving sizes of 10-net carbs, or less. 

The list features net-carbs, so this fruit list isn't appropriate for those counting total carbs.

Apple, ½, 8.6
Applesauce, unsweetened, 1/3 cup, 8.6
Apricot, 9.3
Blueberries, fresh, ½ cup, 8.2
Blueberries, frozen, ½ cup, 10
Berries, mixed, frozen, ¾ cup, 8.2
Blackberries, ½ cup, 5.6
Boysenberries, frozen, ½ cup 5.5
Cantaloupe, ¼ of 5-in melon, 10
Casaba melon, 1 cup cubes, 9.2
Cherries, 10, 9.7
Cranberries, dried, 1 tbsp, 5.7
Currants, dried, 1 tbsp, 7.25
Grapes, 10, 8.6
Grapefruit, pink, ½, 10
Grapefruit, yellow, ½, 9.4
Honeydew melon, ½ cup diced, 7.3
Kiwi fruit, large, 10
Kiwi fruit, medium, 8.7
Lemon, ½, 5.8
Lemon juice, 1 tbsp, 1.3
Lemon peel, 1 tbsp, 1.0
Lime 5.2
Lime juice, 1 tbsp, 1.3
Nectarine, ½, 7
Orange, navel, ½, 6.5
Orange, juice-type, ½, 5.7
Peach, 8
Pineapple, fresh, 1 slice, 9.5
Pineapple, canned in juice, 1 slice, 7.5
Pineapple, canned in juice, ¼ cup crushed, 7.5
Plum, 8
Raisins, 1 tbsp, 7.25
Raspberries, fresh, ½ cup, 2.9
Strawberries, fresh, 1 cup, 7
Tangerine, 7.5
Watermelon, ¼ of a slice, 8
Watermelon, diced, ¾ cup, 8

Low-Carb Fruits 10- to 15-Net Carbs

Bunch of Green Grapes
Atkins 40 allows more fruit than keto does,
but you still need to stay aware of your fruit portions.

I originally created this list for those doing Atkins 40, but 15-net carbs is no longer allowed for regular meals. Only for special occasions. I suppose you could call summer fruit a special occasion, though. 

You still have a nice-sized fruit allowance of 5 to 10 net carbs that you can spend on most summer fruits. However, keep in mind that fruit can be a stumbling block for those with insulin resistance.

You can also be sensitive to certain fruits and not others. 

Atkins 40 is a low-glycemic plan, which means it's best to start out with low-sugar fruits like berries and cherries first, and then if the weight continues to come off nicely, you can experiment with other choices – one fruit at a time.

If you're following Keto or your own low-carb plan, and you can handle 30- to 45-net carbs a day, you'll be able to easily use some of the following fruit choices, as well. 

Applesauce, unsweetened, ½ cup, 13
Berries, frozen, mixed, 1 cup, 11
Cantaloupe, 1 cup cubed, 12.2
Cranberries, dried, 2 tbsp, 11.5
Currants, 2 tbsp, 14.5
Grapes, 15, 12.9
Honeydew melon, 1 cup cubed, 14.6
Kiwi, large, 10.4
Mango, 1/2 cup, 11.5
Nectarine, 13.8
Orange, navel, 12.9
Orange, juice-type, 11.5
Papaya, 1 cup cubes, 11.2
Pear, ½, 10.5
Pineapple, canned in juice, tidbits, ½ cup, 16
Raisins, 2 tbsp, 14.5

Low-Carb Fruits 5 to 8 Total Carbs (One Level on Atkins 72)

Fresh Pineapple, Sliced
A slice of fresh pineapple is 8 total carbs making it
one level on Atkins 72 or 92. 

Traditionally, dieters on Atkins 72 or 92 have limited themselves to berries for their summer fruits, but I don't really understand why that is. In the 1972 book, Dr. Atkins said that berries and melon would “go the furthest and provide a nice variety,” but Atkins 72 or 92 doesn't limit you to just berries and melon.

You are free to add whatever fruits you like, but they must fit within your carbohydrate sensitivity.

Like the other food levels, the instructions are to look at a carbohydrate gram counter and select fruits and portion sizes that will fit into your plan. The following list offers portion sizes for fruits that easily fit into a typical 5- to 8-gram carbohydrate level for Atkins 72 or 92.

Applesauce, unsweetened, ¼ cup, 7.5
Blackberries, fresh, 1/3 cup, 6
Blueberries, fresh, 1/3 cup, 6.8
Blueberries, frozen, 1/3 cup, 7
Bosenberries, frozen, ½ cup, 8
Cantaloupe, 1/6 of 5-in melon, 6.4
Casaba melon, ¾ cup cubes, 8
Cherries, 1 carb each
Cranberries, 1 tbsp, 6
Currants, dried, 1 tbsp, 8
Grapes, 0.9 each
Lemon, ½, 5.8
Lemon juice, 1 tbsp, 1.3
Lemon peel, 1 tbsp, 1.0
Nectarine, ½, 8
Peach, ½, 5
Pineapple, 1 slice, 8
Pineapple, canned in juice, ¼ cup crushed, 8
Raisins, 1 tbsp, 8
Raspberries, fresh, ½ cup, 7
Strawberries, fresh, ¾ cup, 8
Lime, 7.1
Lime juice, 1 tbsp, 1.4
Watermelon, 1/8 of a slice, 4.3
Kiwi fruit, ½ large, 5.6

Low Carb Fruits That Are 8 to 15 Total Carbs

Tangerines, one is peeled
Dr. Atkins said you can eat a "few" tangerines per week.
Try thinking of a diet levels in terms of carbs per week
rather than in terms of carbs per day.

One of the beauties of Atkins 72 and 92 are their flexibility. The levels that Dr. Atkins designed were not set in stone. He believed in bending the diet to fit your tastes and lifestyle, as well as your carbohydrate tolerance. 

For that reason, he often bent the diet by allowing his patients to choose a food they missed that was a little bit higher in carbs than would fit into a standard level, and then bent the rules to fit that particular food in.

For example, half a white grapefruit is 10 carbs, rather than 5 to 8, so instead of eating that half a grapefruit every single morning, Dr. Atkins suggested that you try having it twice a week, instead, and see how you do.

The same thing could be done with any of the higher carb fruits, such as tangerines, kiwi, applesauce, or watermelon. Instructions in the Atkins 72 book merely say that you can eat a “few small peaches or tangerines for the week.”

For those who might want to experiment with eating higher-carb fruits intermittently, rather than having lower carb fruits every day, the following list contains fruits that are 15 full carbs, or less:

Applesauce, unsweetened, ½ cup, 15
Apricot, 12
Cantaloupe, ¼ of a 5-in melon, 11.2
Casaba melon, 1 cup cubed, 10.6
Grapefruit, pink, ½, 12
Grapefruit, white, ½, 10
Kiwi, large, 13.5
Kiwi, medium, 11.3
Papaya cubes, 1 cup, 13.8
Peach, 10
Pear, ½, 12
Pineapple, fresh, 1 slice, 10.5
Plum, 8.6
Tangerine, 9.4
Watermelon, ¼ of a slice, 8.6

Del Monte No-Sugar Added Canned Fruits

This fruit list can be used on any low-carb diet, provided you adjust the serving size to fit within your macros. 

It lists the typical serving size of Del Monte no-sugar added canned fruit, sweetened with Splenda, so some of the carb counts are a bit high. As far as I know, Del Monte is the only brand that offers no-sugar added canned fruit, so I decided to put it in its own list.

To make the options fit within your macros, you might have to eat less than one serving.

For example, if you're on Atkins 72, one-half cup of sliced peaches or one slice of pineapple would be a level and fit into your plan easily. To make the other fruits work, you'd have to cut the serving size down. 

While a quarter-cup of fruit cocktail might look lonely on the side of a barbecued pork chop, it would make a colorful topping for cottage cheese or CarbSmart yogurt.

Don't forget that you can also use no-sugar added canned fruits in recipes to spread out the carb count across several servings. A little crushed pineapple added to traditional coleslaw would really perk up the flavor, and a cup of fruit cocktail added to 4 servings of sugar-free gelatin would make a nice 5-carb summer treat, with or without a little whipped cream topping.

Fruit cocktail, ½ cup, 10g, 1g fiber
Fruit cocktail, extra cherries, ½ cup, 9g, 1g fiber
Mandarin oranges, ½ cup, 13g, 1g fiber
Peaches, sliced, ½ cup, 8g, 1g fiber
Pears, sliced, ½ cup, 10g, 2g fiber
Pineapple chunks, ½ cup, 17g, 1g fiber
Pineapple crushed, ½ cup, 17g, 1g fiber
Pineapple slices, 8g, 0.5g fiber
Pineapple tidbits, ½ cup, 17g, 1g fiber

What About No-Sugar Added Canned Pie Filling?

Pie filling is extremely difficult to put into a list because manufacturers have really stretched out the serving size to be unreasonable. 

For example, the Great Value brand no-sugar added cherry pie filling says the can serves 7 people for 8 carbs each, even though a traditional pie serves 8. The Comstock no-sugar added cherry pie filling does the same thing. It says 7 servings for 8 carbs each.

Ordinarily, there isn't much volume of pie filling in a single can. 

It generally takes two cans to make a pie, so the true carb count for a single serving cut from an 8-serving pie is closer to 14 each. And that doesn't include the crust or any topping.

One way to cut down on the carbs is to mix one can of Splenda-sweetened pie filling with some blueberries or sliced strawberries to make it go further without having to add another whopping 56 carbs to the recipe. 

You could also just put a few cherries on top of a slice of cheesecake or low-carb vanilla ice cream, and then drizzle it with a little bit of sauce from the can.

No matter which way you go with this, no-sugar added pie filling is going to take a huge chunk out of your carb allowance, due to the cornstarch used to thicken the sauce. 

It's best to just go with traditional summer fruits and thicken them up yourself with a little xanthan gum, chia seeds, or glucomannan.

Be Cautious When Eating Fruit

These low-carb fruit lists are intended to help you make the best choices this summer when choosing which fruits to add to your low-carb diet, but even with the lists and smaller serving sizes, you still need to be cautious when eating fruit.

The way your body will respond to branching out from eating just berries, now and then, to incorporating more carby choices will depend on your degree of insulin resistance, as well as any hidden food intolerance you might have. 

Although many low-carb dieters stay completely away from fruit, due to its high fructose content, most of the fear about fructose is based on misconception.

Yes, fruit is metabolized by the liver and if you eat too much, it can lead to fatty liver disease and other complications, when glycogen stores are overflowing, but this is more likely to occur in those eating high-fat, high-carbohydrate diets.

When you eat fruit, if you don't need the fructose for immediate energy, the liver will simply store it in the form of glycogen. It's only when your glycogen stores are full, that the liver has no choice but to turn the fruit sugar into fat.

The real danger in eating fruit is that it can ignite your cravings for sweets and other carby foods. 

If you're not paying attention, you can find yourself going face down into a plate of chocolate-chip cookies before you even realize you've eaten them. This is why it's best to add fruit slowly and watch carefully to see how your body reacts to fructose. 

If you're hunger goes up, even a little bit, you'll need to limit the amount of fruit you eat on a regular basis. If it doesn't ignite cravings, then sit back and enjoy the bounty that Mother Nature has provided.