All About Spinach From Carb Counts to Low Carb Recipes

Nutritional Information and Low-Carb Recipes for Spinach

Fresh spinach leaves in colander on wood
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Spinach and other leafy greens are sometimes considered a "free" food on low-carb diets because they have so little impact on blood glucose. The vitamin K they are packed with may even have a positive impact on blood glucose, and some diabetics notice that it is easier to control their blood glucose when they eat a lot of greens like kale and spinach and other lettuces. Note that 6 cups of raw spinach will cook down to only one cup of cooked spinach.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Spinach

Spinach can be added to many low-carb recipes because of its low calorie, high fiber food status. Whether cooked or raw, its benefits in your low carb diet are clear. Not only can the high fiber greens lower your appetite, but it can also boost your diet nutritionally. Here are the carb and fiber counts for spinach:

  • 1 cup raw spinach: .4 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus .7 gram fiber and 7 calories
  • 1 10 oz package raw spinach: 4 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 6 grams fiber and 65 calories
  • ½ cup cooked spinach: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 21 calories
  • ½ cup cooked chopped frozen spinach: 1 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 4 grams fiber and 32 calories

Spinach Selection and Storage

Like most leafy greens, leaves should be firm, unwilted and fully green. Any yellow or browning leaves should be thrown out.

Spinach should be stored in a plastic bag in a refrigerator away from fruits that rot easily, such as apples or bananas.

You may also try an airtight box with paper towels after rinsing them.

Glycemic Index for Spinach

As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of spinach

More Information about the Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load of Spinach

  • 1 cup raw spinach: 0
  • 1 10 oz package raw spinach: 2
  • ½ cup cooked spinach: 1
  • ½ cup cooked chopped frozen spinach: 1

More Information About the Glycemic Load

Health Benefits of Spinach

Leafy greens like spinach are simply packed with nutritional goodness. Spinach is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and manganese. It is a very good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, and iron, and a good source of calcium and vitamin E. In addition to having a zero score on the glycemic index, certain amino acids in spinach have been associated with lowering blood pressure. This is good news for diabetics who may also be at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease.

More Information on the Health Benefits of Spinach and other Leafy Greens

Low-Carb Recipes with Spinach

Once you've mastered how to cook greens, you can upgrade to some of these other dishes which can be added to salads, sandwiches in a no-cook raw spinach recipe, or try your hand at more elaborate recipes. By playing with spices and herbs, you can make spinach as simple or as exotic as your taste buds desire.

Here are our best, yet simple low carb recipes: 

More Carb Profiles for Common Food


Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).

United States Department of Agriculture. "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods - 2007. November 2007

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20.

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