The Best Foods to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic diets are extremely restrictive, which means your grocery list will look quite different than it did before you started the diet.
- Don’t worry; it will all be worth it in the end. There are so many amazing foods to eat on a ketogenic diet that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything at all!
- If you follow this list of the best foods to eat on a ketogenic diet, then you can rest assured that your body will not have to deal with any lack of nutrition.
High Fat Dairy
Dairy foods can be high in carbohydrates, so watch your intake. If you choose to drink milk, go for it. Just go easy on it (one glass of milk contains eight grams of carbohydrates), and select and use low-carbohydrate products whenever possible.
For example, don’t have a bowl of cornflakes with your dairy – opt for low-carb oatmeal instead. And stick with hard cheeses or better yet – skip cheese altogether.
When choosing which cheese is best for you, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- -Don’t buy anything that lists sugar as an ingredient.
- -Buy aged cheeses (at least six months old) to get the maximum health benefits from this food group.
- -Buy organic varieties when possible as they are free from hormones and antibiotics.
Also avoid processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, etc., because they typically contain nitrates and other preservatives which could result in cancer risk.
In their place try eating smoked salmon or other types of fish that is wild caught over farm raised because it will be higher in omega 3s than its counterpart.
Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters
The best source of protein and healthy fats, nuts are also high in calories. You’ll need to limit yourself to a handful or two.
The same goes for seeds and nut butters. You don’t need as much fat from these sources, so restrict your portions (i.e., don’t eat a whole bagel).
A serving of almonds is about 18 nuts, about an ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds is about 17 seeds, 1/4 cup cashews or peanuts is about 18 nuts, 1/4 cup macadamia nuts is only 2-3 nuts, and you can use peanut butter as a dip for fruit (if you aren’t allergic).
Use sparingly if you have kidney issues! And be sure to soak them overnight first, to help reduce the phytic acid content.
Low Carb Vegetables
The foundation of any keto diet is high-quality, fresh vegetables. Vegetables are rich in micronutrients, antioxidants and fiber.
Fiber keeps you full and satisfied, preventing overeating and bad snacking choices; antioxidants help combat free radicals that damage cells and contribute to inflammation.
The best low carb vegetables include broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts—all rich in vitamins C & K and vitamin A (beta-carotene).
Leafy greens like kale, bok choy and Swiss chard also make excellent additions to your plate. Add them raw or lightly steamed for optimal nutrition benefits.
Low Carb Fruits: Unlike many other fruits, berries like raspberries and blackberries have a low net carbohydrate content and contain more vitamins than traditional sweets like apples or oranges.
However, the nutritional benefits of fruit depend largely on the amount consumed so try not to overdo it! You can also add citrus fruits like lemons or limes into your water or even opt for lime juice instead of vinegar when making salad dressings!
Fish and Seafood
Most of us consume more omega-6 fatty acids than we do omega-3s, which is why fish and seafood are your best dietary sources of omega-3s.
These fats have anti-inflammatory properties that have been studied for their potential benefits in protecting against heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and asthma.
Wild salmon, trout, halibut and herring are all good choices. Although crustaceans like lobster contain some omega 3’s they also contain a lot of cholesterol so if you do eat them be sure to check with your doctor first.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian then plant based omega 3 sources are a great way to make up the difference. Walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed oil and leafy greens are all rich in these important fats.
Red Meat, Poultry and Eggs
Beef, pork and chicken are all good options for keto. Try to keep their consumption to three times per week or less and make sure they’re grass-fed, pasture-raised and organic whenever possible.
Meat is loaded with cholesterol, which can negatively impact your health so eat leaner cuts with little or no saturated fat. For example, try eating turkey bacon instead of pork bacon or top sirloin steak instead of rib eye steaks.
Eggs are another excellent source of protein on keto—one egg has about five grams of protein and just one gram of carbs. The yolks provide some additional fat from omega-3s in eggs and have zero carbs as well.
Filling your plate with green veggies is essential. Leafy greens are not only tasty and satisfying, but they’re also packed with nutritional benefits like vitamin K, folate, and magnesium.
Studies have even found that higher intakes of leafy greens may help lower cholesterol levels. So fill up with dark-green leafies like spinach and kale for optimal health.
Arugula and watercress can be great in salads too—and don’t forget to add avocado! Raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts will also add variety.
Other healthy options include mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions—basically any vegetable that’s rich in antioxidants or phytonutrients.
Stick to fresh produce as much as possible because it has more nutrients than canned varieties and keep it simple so you’ll avoid mindless snacking later on.
Condiments and Seasonings
Our taste buds can get awfully picky when following a keto diet Salty and sweet flavors are some of our favorites, but many of us just aren’t satisfied with regular ol’ salt and pepper alone.
Try experimenting with condiments like dried herbs, different types of vinegar, or spicy sauces. You can also try making your own—there are tons of recipes for keto-friendly mayonnaise or ranch dressing out there!
The possibilities really are endless once you get going, so have fun with it! Just remember that you should be counting calories and macros while trying new condiments; they add up quickly!