What foods are considered ideal when one is on a keto diet is usually the most crucial thing to ask yourself if you have chosen to lose weight. After all, what puts the keto in the ketogenic diet, is the food that you consume. So, what foods can I eat on the ketogenic diet, if I may ask?
You can eat foods that are low in carbs, like pork and chicken breast, and high in fat, e.g., avocado and cheese, which are the best for meal planning for a keto diet. Other food classes like grains such as bread and quinoa are no-go areas when you are considering losing weight.
Having said that, we will be taking a more in-depth look at what foods are worth stocking your fridge with, what foods to avoid, and other essential topics when next you are out shopping at your favorite grocery store.
What are the common foods that would make up the bulk of my meal during keto?
The foods that would be ideal while on a keto diet would be those foods with high-fat content and low carbohydrate content. The high-fat content is to place your body in a state of ketosis where you force your system to turn to ketones as its energy source, instead of glucose which carbohydrates readily provide.
You can consume and of the listed foods below while on a keto diet;
Seafood provides a rich variety of foods, especially fishes from mackerels to trouts. Excellent options of seafood for a keto diet include trouts, salmons, and scallops. Fatty acids found in such seafood have been found to help with satiety and increase metabolism.
Nuts are rich in calories, unsaturated fat, and antioxidants, e;g almonds. Although nuts are high in calories, consuming them has been linked to a lower risk of weight gain and insignificant changes in body mass index (BMI).
Some nuts to add to your keto diet include hazelnuts, peanuts, and macadamia nuts. The unsaturated fat found in these nuts has been linked with protection from various diseases, especially heart diseases.
Vegetables are mostly part of any regular meal, but the meals on a keto diet are far from typical. Hence, only select vegetables can and should be used when preparing your meals on a keto diet.
Choice vegetables for a keto diet include broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. Most of the veggies you can have on keto are low-calorie (kale and cauliflower) while being rich in fiber, e.g., broccoli and beets.
You can have berries on the side with your meal during keto, as they are among the fruits that are suitable for consumption during keto. Raspberries, blueberries, and goji berries are some of your healthiest options out there for berries on a keto diet.
Raspberries have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, and blueberries can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by almost 26%.
High-fat dairy products
Dairy milk (cow’s milk) is not suitable for consumption while on the keto diet, but other dairy products make the cut. Among these are sour cream, cream cheese, grass-fed butter, and grass-fed beef.
A study in the Nutrition Journal has shown grass-fed meat to contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the probability of contracting heart disease.
When on a keto diet, intermittent fast, or a mix of both, only low-calorie or zero-calorie drinks should be consumed. Zero-calorie drinks include water and plain black coffee.
Low-calorie beverages like apple cider vinegar with 22 calories per 100g are acceptable for drinking on a keto diet. If you need a sweetener for your coffee, heavy cream would be suitable, compared to sugar or maple syrup high in carbs.
Spices, dried herbs, and some sweeteners, e.g., stevia, and erythritol, and xylitol
The dried herbs and spices low in carbs that deserve a place on your shopping list include thyme, cinnamon, mint, ginger, and coriander. Other spices like oregano and paprika should be used in smaller quantities.
As for sweeteners, maple syrup, honey, and sucrose are no-go areas due to their high carbohydrate content and place on the glycemic index. Safer alternatives with a lesser impact on your blood sugar levels are stevia, xylitol, and erythritol.
What are the foods that I should avoid when on a keto diet?
The foods listed below have a high amount of carbohydrates that can be detrimental to losing weight. The foods listed below are those whose carb content can throw you out of a state of ketosis if some of them are taken excessively.
By grains, I mean a lot of them (not all, though). Grains are known for their high carbohydrate and starch content, with the former being where the problem lies. Grains to avoid on a keto diet include barley, brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole rye, and buckwheat.
Judging by the taste, you can tell that most fruits have sugar in them. And with that much sugar comes some ridiculously high amount of carbohydrates that are counterproductive to your weight loss journey.
Fruits to steer clear of while on keto include mangoes, apples, dates, oranges, and bananas. The juice gotten from such fruits, especially orange juice, should be avoided.
Starchy foods are classified as complex carbs, as different sugar molecules are joined together, resulting in their formation. Some studies link starchy foods to a possible increase in blood pressure, which could ultimately lead to hypertension.
Starchy foods to avoid include white bread, cereals, pasta, oatmeal, corn, and potatoes. Healthier alternatives to the listed starchy foods are whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and russets for potatoes.
Table sugar and some sweeteners
Sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, should be left alone when on a keto diet. Alternative sweeteners like xylitol and stevia are great substitutes for sweeteners on a keto diet.
Alternative sweeteners to sugar that you should avoid while on a keto diet include maple syrup, honey, maltodextrin, and agave nectar, just to name a few. The listed foods rank highly on the glycemic index and do more harm than good to your system.
Finger foods and takeout loaded with sugar and carbs are not ideal for a keto diet. Treats such as pretzels and candied fruits have more than 20g of carbohydrates in serving sizes, as small as one ounce.
Pretzels have a high sodium content that could translate to a higher risk of increased blood pressure from a study published in 2014.
What would a typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner for keto look like, and why?
Here is what the breakfast, lunch, and dinner of someone on the keto diet would look like;
High-Protein Cottage Cheese Omelette
Why we love it: The eggs used in the omelet with subtle notes of spinach add a significant amount of protein to your meal. The ricotta cheese is an excellent source of fat, with spinach being one of the best leafy veggies you can have on the keto diet. Overall the carb content is kept low, while the fat and protein are in the perfect amount needed.
Keto broccoli salad
Why we love it: Broccoli is another top vegetable on the keto diet, along with kale, spinach, and cauliflower. The keto salad and the dressing contain almonds, bacon, shredded cheddar, broccoli, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and other ingredients.
All the ingredients listed are low in carb, while ACV is good for weight loss, and almond being a suitable nut to chew on.
Keto beef stew
Why we love it; One primary ingredient that stands out in the recipe is the extra-virgin olive oil, which is an excellent source of fat. You also use low-sodium beef broth, celery, and other ingredients like mushrooms and carrot that are all low in carbs.
What is the recommended daily intake for each macronutrient on a keto diet, and why?
The recommended intake is 70% to 80% for fats, 20% to 25% for proteins, and 5% to 10% for carbs. Although most people are familiar with the threshold of 50 grams of carbs on a keto diet, there is more to deciding how each macronutrient should be stacked.
Fat stays at 70 to 80%, as ketones from fat would be replacing glucose as the primary energy source. Protein comes in next, as proteins are an essential part of body tissue and muscle, with collagen being the most commonly found protein in the body.
Carbohydrates come in last, as you need to reduce the intake of foods rich in carbs to stay in ketosis. Foods such as bread, quinoa, and potatoes are carbs to be avoided.
After calculating how many calories you will need per day based on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), you deduct 500 calories for weight loss. After that, you determine the percentage of calories you need from fats, carbs, and protein to incorporate into your meal.
Will I be able to eat my favorite foods on keto?
You will be able to eat your favorite foods on keto, provided you do not exceed the maximum intake of 50g of carbs per day. There are different variations of the keto diet, and dirty keto will be best suited to you if you want to have less planning to do when it comes to what you consume.
The most crucial factor is that you keep your carb intake in check. It could be a double cheeseburger or a sandwich, but remember to track the carb content of whatever you eat. Apps you can use for this purpose include Lifesum and MyfitnessPal.
What snacks could I have on keto, especially if I am sweet-toothed?
Keto is not just vegetables, oils, and a miserly serving of fruits, as people tend to picture it. There is a rich assortment of snacks, smoothies, and even protein shakes you could have to satisfy your cravings while on keto.
There are egg muffins, keto sushi rolls, avocado egg salad, and bone broth for snacks, to name a few. For smoothies, you should use avocado and nut butter as a base for great fat content. Use fruits low in carbs like lime or raspberries while including vegetables like kale or broccoli.
A great protein shake option would be a chocolate protein shake, but with collagen added to it for extra protein supplementation. I highly recommend Authentic Keto’s Collagen Powder for this purpose.
What about dirty keto?
There is nothing wrong with dirty keto, except that dirty keto allows you to be a lot more flexible with what you eat on a standard ketogenic diet (SKD). It could be fast food or takeout, and dirty keto tends to place less emphasis on vegetables.
However, what is essential is that your carbohydrate consumption is under the stipulated 50g maximum daily intake. The primary reason why people prefer dirty keto, if you may ask, is nothing but convenience.
What you eat determines the outcome of any transformation goal concerning your body, be it weight gain, muscle building, and weight loss. Nutrition is usually the most challenging part of staying disciplined regarding such plans, hence eating right and achieving those targets.
Keep in mind that there may be some foods that, when taken in moderation, can be suitable for a keto diet, e.g., pineapples. However, remember that it all boils down to discipline with your meals, especially carbs.
There are keto meals for vegetarians low in carbs but prioritize veggies like spinach and cauliflower and protein sources like tofu and almond butter.
You can have nectarines, avocados, cantaloupes, cranberries, raspberries, avocados, watermelons, peaches, and kiwi on a keto diet, and some other ones not mentioned like lime and figs.
To add some taste to your unsweetened plain coffee, add some heavy whipped cream to your cup of coffee. You can also add some keto collagen to make it more like a chococino or vanilla coffee.
You have to worry about the famous “keto flu.” It’s a particular “sickness” you feel when you switch from high-carb to low-carb meals. Common symptoms include thirst, dizziness, bad breath, and insomnia.