A healthy keto plan includes eating a wide range of nutritious foods.(2)
Consume high-quality animal and plant fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish for optimal nutrition.
The keto diet deprives your body of sugar, prompting it to convert stored fats to energy instead. This leads to the formation of ketone bodies which may help you both shed excess weight and improve overall health.
Eat plenty of nutrient-dense plant foods.
The keto diet aims to transition your body away from using sugar as fuel and onto burning fat instead. To do this, carbohydrates must be restricted to less than 50 grams a day; then your body starts breaking down fat into ketones for energy use; usually this state, known as ketosis, should occur within three to five days after starting this diet.
To aide in this process, it’s essential that meals and snacks contain plenty of nutrient-dense plant foods containing proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals while meeting all your protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral needs while keeping carb intake to an absolute minimum.
You can find keto-friendly vegetables at most grocery stores, such as dark leafy greens, peppers, mushrooms and cauliflower. In addition, avocados, low-carb berries and unsalted nuts make great keto snacks!
Opt for whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices and dried fruit as these offer more water and fiber content to provide greater satiation with fewer calories.
When choosing dairy products, full-fat options offer more muscle-building protein and satisfying fats (approximately 50% saturated). Avoid processed meats as these tend to contain high levels of sodium.
Olive oil is an extremely versatile cooking ingredient and low in carbs, perfect for creating salad dressings and cooking vegetables. Another healthy plant-based fat to try is ghee, which also remains completely carb-free.
If you love sweet treats, why not bake your own low-carb desserts? Not only can these be tasty treats but they can also provide valuable sources of fiber provided that you limit how much sugar is used.
Health food stores also carry plant-based protein powders and bars, many with added sugar; please read labels carefully if need be. If sweeteners are necessary, choose one low in carbohydrates made with gluten-free ingredients for best results. It may take some effort to develop new recipes or replace favorite snacks; but in the long run you’ll feel better while likely losing weight along the way! For even faster weight loss you could try exogenous ketone supplements to increase ketone levels faster and enter ketosis faster.
Eat plenty of healthy fats.
A healthy keto plan involves eating nutritious high-fat, low-carbohydrate foods and restricting carbohydrates. The goal of keto dieting is to switch your body over to burning fat as energy, potentially aiding weight loss or managing health conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Before embarking on this diet plan, be sure to get clearance from your physician first as well as consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist on developing an individual meal plan tailored to your goals.
Carbs are your body’s main source of energy, but the keto diet switches it for fat. Your body breaks down fat into ketones that provide fuel to your brain while decreasing hunger levels. Aiming for net carb intake of under 100 grams daily should be your goal in keeping yourself in ketosis.
Avoid processed and refined carbohydrates found in cakes, cookies, breads, crackers and any foods with added sugars such as cakes. These quickly convert to blood sugar levels and can throw you out of ketosis. Starchy vegetables such as peas, carrots and potatoes should be limited while opting for lower-carb options like cauliflower, zucchini and kale instead.
Consume lean meat and poultry regularly – they form an integral part of a nutritious diet, accounting for at least half of daily caloric needs. Organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed options tend to offer greater omega-3 fats and other vital nutrients.
Avoid processed meats such as salami and bacon, which tend to be high in sodium levels that increase cancer risks according to a 2021 review published in the European Journal of Epidemiology. To add flavor and variety to your meals, try cooking with oils rich in monounsaturates such as avocado oil or olive oil instead.
Dairy products are high in fat, yet can provide essential calcium, potassium and B vitamin intake. But you should be wary when choosing your dairy – avoid those containing added sugars while choosing almond, coconut or low-carb varieties as alternatives.
Eat plenty of protein.
On a healthy keto plan, lean meat is still allowed; however, plant-based proteins should also provide your body with all the essential vitamins and minerals, including bone-building calcium and immune-enhancing vitamin C. Plus, plant-based proteins help your metabolism stay functioning effectively, leading to faster weight loss while at rest.
Protein helps your muscles repair and remain strong while on a keto diet, and insufficient amounts may even force your body to use its own muscle cells as fuel, hindering fat-burning efforts and leading to less overall weight loss.
For optimal protein consumption, choose low-sugar, high-quality animal foods like eggs and Greek yogurt without added sugars; other healthy sources include nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables (kale or spinach). Or try Max Greens as an easy powdered plant food option with a multitude of vitamins and nutrients packed into each serving – offering impressive amounts of nutrient-packed protein per dose!
Drinks that contain high amounts of carbs such as soda, iced tea and coffee should be limited on a healthy keto plan. Drinking too many of these beverages could add extra carbohydrates into your daily intake and pull you out of ketosis altogether.
Instead, choose water or non-caloric beverages like black coffee and green tea as sources of hydration. Moderation with alcohol consumption (red wine and vodka, distilled spirits etc) should also be observed; wine has the fewest carbs of all the alcoholic drinks and should be your go-to beverage choice if possible.
Calculate and adhere to your healthy keto meal plans’ recommended net carb intake levels when it comes to beverages you drink, which is calculated as total carbohydrates minus fiber content. Also be wary of exceeding this number; excessive carbohydrates will knock you out of ketosis and spike insulin levels which prevent fat burning; instead it uses stored energy (ie muscle cells) instead, leading to less weight loss overall.
Eat plenty of keto-friendly vegetables.
As part of a healthy keto plan, eating plenty of low-carb vegetables is vital. They offer essential nutrition while supporting ketosis; choose green leafy and cruciferous varieties like broccoli, cauliflower and peppers; these can be eaten raw, steamed or sauteed in butter; you could also create smoothies using these fruits as ingredients; salads featuring mixed greens can also work.
On a diet with limited protein sources, eating enough meat and fish to meet your protein requirements is of vital importance. Lean meats provide B vitamins, potassium and selenium while processed meats such as salami, hot dogs or charcuterie contain suspicious ingredients, sauces or added sugars that could potentially interfere with absorption.
Eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds as well as soy-based products like tempeh and tofu provide additional proteins to include. Low-carb fruits like avocados and low-sugar berries should also be consumed regularly; however, as some fruits can contain an excessive amount of carbohydrates so you should monitor them carefully.
An essential aspect of this diet is keeping your carbohydrate consumption under 20 grams daily, which you can do by calculating net carbs from foods (total carbs minus fiber). When choosing this plan, avoid unhealthy, starchy carbohydrates like corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes as well as high-sugar fruits such as bananas, watermelons and mango.
Your aim should be to substitute glucose calories from carbohydrates with fat calories in order to aid weight loss and boost energy levels. This should lead to both weight reduction and increased energy.
To maintain a healthy weight on this diet, it’s necessary to increase physical activity levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five or six days each week.
As well as offering numerous health benefits, the keto diet is rich in many essential nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin D and K. If you want to try the keto diet for yourself, use a nutrition calculator to determine how much protein, fat and carbs to consume each day – otherwise it’s easy to get off track by overeating carbohydrates or proteins instead of fats; this may cause your body to burn muscle instead of fat as fuel for energy purposes, leading to lower energy, irritability or digestive issues.