On a keto diet, most sugars and processed foods with high levels of carbohydrates should be avoided, including their substitutes such as natural sweeteners like stevia or xylitol.
Carrico recommends cold-water fish like tuna and mackerel that provide essential omega-3 fatty acids as healthy snacks, along with nuts or seeds (with an eye towards carb content) and leafy greens as side dishes.
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate approach. Healthline reports that healthy keto foods include meat, dairy and eggs as well as plant-based oils like coconut, avocado and olive. When selecting meat for keto eating purposes, opt for cuts high in omega-3 fats to support heart health while still keeping calories and carbs at a minimum.
Lean cuts of beef are suitable, but for optimal ketosis it’s best to steer clear of processed varieties that contain added sugar and unhealthy ingredients such as MSG. Instead, look for natural varieties without added sweeteners – examples of keto-friendly meats include:
If you enjoy eating fish, opt for healthy choices like sockeye salmon, tilapia or mahi-mahi to ensure optimal heart health. When selecting jerky options like Stryve that don’t contain sugar, MSG or nitrates – even try venison or pork belly for something unique in the meaty snacks category!
Dairy products are an integral component of the keto diet, such as full-fat milk and hard cheeses like Swiss and cheddar. But keep in mind that this plan allows only moderate amounts of saturated fats.
Eggs are an integral component of the keto diet, packed with protein and healthy fats. Be sure to focus on using more of the yolk than of its white, as its nutrients contain more vitality than that found in either. Use your yolk in crabmeat-and-cheese baked casserole, cheesy bacon-and-veggie omelets for breakfast or lunch, or create dishes using it such as crabmeat-and-cheese baked casserole. Be mindful not to consume too much protein as this process known as gluconeogenesis can transform it into glucose for use by your body.
Fresh non-starchy vegetables are low in both carbs and calories while providing essential vitamins such as C, K, magnesium and potassium. To stay on track with keto eating habits, aim for no more than 8 net grams per cup from your veggie servings; broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers or zucchini should all qualify.
Ideal, when shopping for produce, would be purchasing it from local farmers markets to ensure you receive maximum nutritional benefits. But frozen vegetables may be less costly and could contain less sodium compared to canned foods.
If you want to add sweetness without increasing carbs, opt for berries. A cup of raspberries or blueberries contains only 6 g of total carbohydrates – so factor their sugar and fiber counts into your net carbohydrate consumption!
Cheese contains no carbohydrates and is high in protein, making it an excellent addition to the keto diet. If lactose intolerance is an issue for you, however, limit dairy intake to small quantities such as plain full-fat yogurt or hard cheeses.
We all know it by now; cauliflower has quickly become a go-to food hack in keto diets for adding flavor and texture to soups, salads and even desserts. From cauliflower rice to pizza crust and even ice cream – cauliflower’s versatility provides ample opportunities for experimentation! Additionally, studies have also shown it to reduce bloat and help with digestion issues.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds provide essential fats while being low to moderate in carbohydrates. Furthermore, they’re an excellent source of fiber – helping keep blood sugar stable, supporting weight loss efforts, and improving digestive health in general.
When selecting nuts and seeds, look for those with the lowest net carb counts. That means avoiding cashews and peanuts that contain more carbohydrates per serving; walnuts and pine nuts have lower net carb counts while still offering significant healthy fat content; walnuts have an ideal combination of sweetness and salty flavors, while pine nuts offer unique textures with distinctively delicious tastes that cannot be found elsewhere.
Nuts can be enjoyed raw or added to salads and recipes such as nut butters and hummus; just be mindful of portions as these nuts contain high caloric intake.
Plant oils like olive, avocado and coconut oils provide another tasty keto-friendly source of fats that are ideal for cooking and dressings on meals to add variety and reduce food boredom. Fatty fish is another delicious source of keto-friendly proteins – full of lean proteins as well as beneficial omega-3 fatty acids which may help combat inflammation.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils are excellent choices for keto dieters. These healthy fats can lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, improve cholesterol levels and promote overall heart health – especially when extracted from avocados, olives and coconuts where minimal processing occurs and their natural nutrients remain intact, along with high smoke points for safe high heat cooking. In contrast, vegetable oils undergo more industrial processing processes which often decrease omega-3 fatty acid content while increasing omega-6s (15).
Milk is an excellent source of both healthy fats and proteins. To protect your digestive health and avoid bloating, look for full-fat dairy such as Swiss, Feta, Parmesan Cheese Ricotta Cottage cheese.
Eggs are an integral component of a keto diet and an ideal source of both protein and healthy fats, not to mention versatility! Be sure to eat both the yolk and white as the latter contains more cholesterol but is still packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Or you could try them boiled, hard boiled or even fried in butter!
Keto diet-compliant fruits typically exclude most fruit due to their high sugar content; however, fresh berries and some low-carb fruits like strawberries may be enjoyed occasionally for flavor and nutrition – providing over three grams of fiber and 53% of your daily recommended value of vitamin C in one cup!
Blackberries and figs are two fruits that complement a keto diet in small portions, like when blended together into a smoothie for breakfast or snack. Sliced fresh figs make an irresistibly delectable breakfast or snack addition when served alongside goat cheese on some keto bread!
Cheese should be included as part of a balanced diet as it provides protein, vitamins, and minerals. Opt for full-fat options that do not contain added sugars instead. Cheddar cheese pairs well with almost every meal or snack option!
Other dairy foods to include in your diet include sour cream, butter and mayonnaise without added sugars; bone broth provides an excellent source of proteins and electrolytes and can be enjoyed both as a hot beverage or part of soup recipes.
Herbs and Spices
Spices are an indispensable component of any kitchen and can add zest and color without adding an abundance of calories or carbs to dishes. Certain herbs and spices such as dill, peppermint, cilantro, basil, parsley and even smoked paprika (even though this type is considered keto friendly!) have low carb counts. Blends of herbs can also be found for use in various recipes or mixed together to produce different flavor profiles.
Seasonings like soy sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce are low-carb condiments that add flavor without increasing calories and carbohydrates. Lime juice also makes an excellent low-carb addition to seafood or poultry dishes for an additional tart kick!
Olive, avocado, canola and flax oils as well as coconut oil are popular low-carb condiments. Although coconut oil contains saturated fats that could clog your arteries if consumed too frequently; instead use it when cooking with or as a healthy fat replacement in recipes.
Non-starchy vegetables are an integral component of any healthy diet and the ketogenic diet, especially. Packed full of essential vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber to aid in proper digestive function, these veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini and leafy spinach – just to name a few!