The ketogenic diet is becoming more and more popular these days. So many people are finding that their friends or family members who tried it out are raving about just how amazing it is. People who have struggled for decades to lose their excess weight by trying out various diets and starving themselves during the process have found that keto is a great way to eat delicious food and lose weight at the same time. No more starving or food cravings, guilt or shame about not having the self-control to resist food and stay hungry.
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb diet with moderate amounts of protein. Weight loss is just one of the health benefits of a keto diet. The problem with following a keto diet is that most of us have been taught to avoid fat and the staple foods like wheat, rice, etc in our everyday diets are quite high in carbs. Most people simply don’t know what they can or can’t eat on a ketogenic diet as they have to limit their carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. So here are 15 healthy foods that will help you stay on track with a keto diet:
Fish and shellfish are great additions to a keto diet. They are also great sources of B vitamins, potassium and selenium. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. While shrimp and crabs do not have any carbs, some types of shellfish do have small amounts of carbs in them.
While this is not something to worry about on a normal low carb diet, it has to be taken into account on a strict ketogenic diet where the carb intake is set as low as 20 grams. Check out the carb counts for a 100-gram serving of the following types of shellfish:
Clams: 5 grams
Mussels: 7 grams
Octopus: 4 grams
Oysters: 4 grams
Squid: 3 grams
2. Low-Carb Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbs as well as calories making them an excellent addition to keto diets. Their net carb content ranges from 1–8 grams per cup.
Vegetables are high in many nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, and several minerals. Since most of the fiber in vegetables are indigestible, this lowers their net carb content.
Cauliflower, zucchini, spaghetti, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, okra, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, snake gourd, … the list goes on for non-starchy vegetables. But do stay away from “starchy” vegetables like potatoes, yams and beets as just one serving of these can push you over your carb limit for the day.
Cheese contains only a minimal amount of carbs. But it is rich in protein, calcium and many beneficial fatty acids making it a nutritious and delicious addition to a keto diet.
If you are confused about the type of cheese to choose from, don’t worry, all of them are very low in carbs and high in fat. 28 grams or an ounce of cheddar cheese has just 1 gram of carbs while it has 7 grams of protein and it provides 20% of the daily requirement for calcium.
Avocados have just 2 grams of net carbs per serving. Though 100 grams of avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of them are fiber. Avocados are high in fiber and have many nutrients including potassium.
Potassium intake has been found to make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier. Regular consumption of avocados helps improve cholesterol readings, especially the triglyceride levels.
5. Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry form a major portion of the ketogenic diet as they contain no carbs. They are rich in B vitamins and minerals like potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Red meat or chicken are great sources of high-quality protein. Adequate protein intake is most important in a keto diet to preserve the existing muscle mass. Just try to choose grass-fed meat, whenever possible. Practice portion control as an excess of protein while following a keto diet, breaks you out of ketosis as it leads to a rise in the blood glucose levels.
Eggs are nature’s magic nutrition bullets. A large egg contains over six grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and just 1 gram of carbs making it an ideal food choice for a ketogenic lifestyle. It’s considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Eggs also trigger hormones that increase the feeling of satiety. It helps keep blood sugar levels stable and prevents food cravings. Keep in mind that you have to eat the entire egg, as most the nutrients, including the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in the yolk. And no, unlike the popular belief egg yolks though high in cholesterol, do not raise blood cholesterol levels in most people.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which gives it certain unique properties. Unlike other fat sources, MCTs are taken up directly by the liver and are converted into ketones. They are used as a rapid source of energy, which makes coconut oil quite well suited for a ketogenic diet.
Lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil boasts of many health benefits. Coconut oil is one of the few natural sources for lauric acid. The other main source of lauric acid is breast milk, which should give you just how uniquely healthy this nutrient is. Studies have found that coconut oil increases metabolic rate and it promotes weight loss, especially belly fat loss.
8. Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese which are both made from milk are high-protein foods that can be added to a keto diet. You need to be careful about the quantity as they do contain some carbs.
150 grams of Greek yogurt has 5 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein while 150 grams of cottage cheese contains 5 grams of carbs and 18 grams of protein. The best part is that they are not only delicious, they also help decrease appetite as they promote a feeling of fullness.
9. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, full of healthy fats while being low in carbs – making them excellent additions to a ketogenic diet. Regular consumption of nuts has been linked to reduced risks of heart disease, depression, and other chronic diseases.
Its high fiber content keeps you feeling full for a longer duration. The presence of fiber also means that the net carb content absorbed by the body is different from the total carb content of the foods. Check out the net carb content of an ounce of the following nuts and seeds.
Almonds: 3 grams net carbs (6 grams total carbs)
Cashews: 8 grams net carbs (9 grams total carbs)
Walnuts: 2 grams net carbs (4 grams total carbs)
Chia seeds: 1 gram net carbs (12 grams total carbs)
Flaxseeds: 0 grams net carbs (8 grams total carbs)
10. Butter and Cream
Doesn’t butter and cream sound simply delicious… and fattening! We have been so conditioned in avoiding them as unhealthy and fattening that it may take a while to overcome our inhibitions. But the truth is that these are good and healthy fats to include on a ketogenic diet as they contain only trace amounts of carbs per serving.
If you are still worried about the heart disease aspect of it, then you may be surprised to find that researchers have discovered that a moderate consumption of high-fat dairy may possibly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The conjugated linoleic acid found in dairy fat is believed to promote fat loss.