Adapting to a ketogenic lifestyle can take reworking your habits and a new perspective on how you approach meals and snacks.
No matter how you were eating before, most of the foods that are the pillars of a keto diet are things you’re already familiar with — we’re just helping you learn to use them in slightly different ways to promote ketosis in your body.
Though there are hundreds of foods that fit into a keto diet, there are some that are the true rock stars of the bunch.
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Here are our top 10 most versatile and healthful foods for the ketogenic diet.
Top 10 Foods for the Ketogenic Diet
High in protein and low in carbs, eating eggs has been shown to help promote a feeling of fullness, and egg yolks contain thirteen essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. While eggs were once demonized for their relatively high cholesterol levels, we now know that consuming them doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels in most people and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Try the Chorizo Baked Eggs recipe to incorporate some eggs into your morning routine and save the rest for a super quick and easy-to-take breakfast.
2. Olive and olive oils
These heart-healthy little fruits are bursting with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. A one-ounce serving contains two grams of total carbs. Stock your pantry with extra-virgin olive oil, which is one of the healthiest oils for baking, cooking, and deep-frying at high temperatures.
3. Meat, poultry, and seafood
In addition to being low in carbs and high in fat and protein, meat contains nutrients, like vitamin B12, creatine, and taurine, that aren’t found in plants. Shellfish and fish contain anti-inflammatory omega-3s associated with improved mental health and decreased disease risk. If you want a fun and simple dinner that the whole family can enjoy, try our Baked Italian Meatballs using ground beef. Choose 100% grass-fed pasture-raised red meat, pasture-raised poultry, and sustainably farmed or caught seafood. Not only is this better for the animals and the environment, but meat from humanely raised animals is also typically more nutrient-dense.
4. High-fat dairy
High-fat dairy contains quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, and something called “conjugated linoleic acid,” which is one of the few fatty acids that promote fat loss. Some studies suggest that a moderate amount of high-fat dairy helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. High fat and minimal carbs make high-fat dairy a keto winner! Try full-fat cream and sour cream, butter and ghee, soft cheeses like mascarpone and cream cheese, and hard cheeses like jack and cheddar.
5. Dark chocolate
Scientifically speaking, real chocolate (not the processed stuff with tons of sugar) isn’t the “sinful” treat it’s often made out to be. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and flavanols that can decrease blood pressure, heart disease risk, and insulin resistance. Just be sure that there are no sugars and a minimal amount of carbs per serving, and enjoy sparingly.
Berries are some of the healthiest and most keto-friendly fruits. Blueberries have been shown to improve memory and brain function, while raspberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Remember to eat berries in moderation, as they do contain carbs. Make a sweet treat to include some berries into your diet by freezing up some Berry Bomb Pops using raspberries and blueberries.
Garlic, onions, leeks, and other alliums are prized in most cuisines for their aromatic flavors. They also contain allicin, a potent plant compound that protects the body from brain damage and disease. These veggies tend to be relatively high in net carbs, but, used in small quantities, they are great for enhancing the flavor and nutrition of your keto cooking.
8. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other cruciferous veggies contain high levels of vitamins K and A and a unique compound called sulforaphane. Once digested, sulforaphane can help detoxify the body and protect cells from oxidative stress. We also love cruciferous vegetables for their low-carb counts and fantastic versatility. Were you craving an old favorite at dinner? Whip up a batch of Easy Creamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. You will see the real thing!
9. Coconut oil
Though very high in saturated fat, coconut oil has been found to help lower cholesterol and promote belly fat loss, thanks to medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are absorbed directly by the liver and converted into ketones, which can help decrease calorie consumption, increase energy levels, and even improve brain function.
10. Nuts and seeds
Rich in fiber and minerals, nuts and seeds are also associated with reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and obesity. We suggest avoiding nut and seed oils, which contain high levels of inflammatory omega 6s, and choosing whole or freshly ground nuts and seeds instead. The best seeds and nuts for the keto diet are macadamia and brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts and almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds.
Here is a list of foods that are commonly included in a ketogenic diet, along with their net carbohydrate (total carbohydrates minus fiber) and protein content per 100 grams:
|Food||Net Carbohydrates (g)||Protein (g)|
It’s important to note that the exact macronutrient content of each food can vary depending on factors such as the animal’s diet, the cooking method, and the specific variety of the food. Additionally, different people may have different macronutrient needs and may need to adjust the proportions of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in their diet accordingly.