Before you set your heart to embrace a ketogenic lifestyle, let’s ask you why? Most people lean towards keto-friendly foods intending to lose weight, while others do it to manage certain health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, and more.
To tell you the truth, a keto diet has more layers than just cutting down on carbs; the purpose is to disguise your body to burn fats and proteins by limiting carbs. In other words, the keto approach suggests consuming high-quality fats and proteins to offset the lack of carbs.
Get started by taking a closer look at your current diet. Figure out the source of carbs you are eating, and bingo – that should be the point of establishment. Now, you can work out the specifics of cutting back. Here’s a comprehensive list of what to eat on a keto diet for the best results.
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Top 15 Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet
Below, we’ve outlined the top eight foods that are not only low in carbs and high in good fats but also deliciously tasty and full of nutrients.
The once humble avocado has experienced a massive boom in popularity over the last decade thanks to its tremendous array of health-promoting qualities.
Classed as a superfood, avocados are full of nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and more.
They’re also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which reduce inflammation and improve heart health and are precisely what we need to eat on a Keto Diet.
A 100-gram serving of avocado contains 19.7 grams of healthy fats and just 1.8 grams of carbohydrates, making them the very definition of a low-carb, high-fat food. This is one of our picks for the 20 best keto vegetables.
How to Include Avocados in Your Keto Diet?
Besides its excellent nutritional properties, the great thing about avocado is that it’s such a versatile fruit.
While many enjoy eating it as-is, it can also be a great replacement for high-carb spreads and dips.
However, as good as avocados are, remember that they also pack 160 calories per 100 grams. As such, it’s worth paying attention to portion control to avoid eating more than you should.
2. Salmon and Other Seafood
Seafood is a staple in the ketogenic diet, with tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, and oysters featured in countless Keto-friendly recipes. Among these, salmon is the best.
This high-fat, zero-carb fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health, as well as B vitamins and the antioxidant, Selenium.
A good portion of salmon can also help you meet your Keto protein quote to ensure your bones and muscles stay healthy and strong while the pounds fall off you.
How to Include Salmon in Your Keto Diet
Like avocado, salmon is a calorie-dense food. One hundred grams of this succulent fish has 208 calories, a little less than a quarter of the medically recommended 2,000-calorie diet needed to maintain weight.
On the plus side, there are tons of ways you can enjoy fresh salmon as long as you get your portions right.
Grill it, bake it, add it to a soup or salad; the possibilities are abundant, meaning there’s no reason to get bored with eating the same old thing every day.
3. Olive and Coconut Oils
When it comes to cooking oils and dressings for your Keto-approved meals, olive oil and coconut oil are the top two options.
A hallmark of the Mediterranean diet, famous for boosting longevity, olive oil is a monounsaturated fat with a substantial amount of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties have also been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity, which is good news when you’re training your body to rely on fat for energy instead of glucose.
Best of all, a regular table spoon of olive oil contains roughly 14 grams of fat and no carbohydrates. Thus, making it the perfect cooking oil for Keto diets.
If you prefer an alternative, coconut oil is another excellent addition to your pantry.
This versatile oil is in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), saturated fats that the body absorbs and turns into ketones.
If you read our complete guide to Ketosis, you’ll know that ketones are the chemicals produced as the body burns fat, so adding extra ketones through coconut oil will only aid the process.
How to Include Olive and Coconut Oil in Your Keto Diet
Both olive and coconut are ideal cooking oils for those keto meals that involve frying, roasting, or sautéing.
Coconut oil, in particular, also makes a great alternative to cream and sugar in your morning coffee.
If you’re not a fan of either oil, you’ll find other options in this guide to the best coconut oil alternatives for Keto.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a perfect Keto food because they’re in carbs but high in healthy fats with just the right amount of protein.
The best types of nuts for keto include:
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
The best types of seeds to eat include:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
How to Include Nuts and Seeds on a Keto Diet
Eating a handful of nuts is a great way to stave off hunger without consuming a lot of food. Nuts make an invaluable snack when you’re first starting the Keto diet and getting used to eating fewer carbs.
Try different keto flavored almonds to switch things up.
If cutting sugar from your diet leaves you craving something sweet, pick up some tasty strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries.
As they are low in carbohydrates, they not only have that naturally sweet taste you’re longing for but also provide plenty of vitamins, fiber, and an antioxidant called polyphenols that can protect your body from damage caused by pollution and natural UV rays from the sun.
Polyphenols have also been linked to improvements in cardiovascular and neurodegenerative.
How to Include Berries in Your Diet
Although berries are low in carbs, they do still have natural sugars. The body uses sugar as its first choice for energy creation, so overeating them will hinder Ketosis.
As long as you keep your serving to no more than a quarter of a cup, you can incorporate berries into smoothies, yogurts, and even Keto-friendly cakes.
6. Leafy Greens
If you read our guide on what not to eat on a Keto diet, you may remember that many vegetables (especially those that grow in the ground) are off-limits because they contain high amounts of glucose-producing starch.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean veggies are off the table altogether.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, cabbage, and cauliflower will contribute very little to your daily fat intake. Still, they’re all a great way to ensure you get a host of vital nutrients such as iron, calcium, folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K without too many carbs.
How to Incorporate Leafy Greens and Other Vegetables into Your Keto Diet
Most of these vegetables and other popular Keto-friendly options, such as cucumbers, green beans, bell peppers, and eggplants, contain little to no carbohydrates.
As such, it may be tempting to pile your plate high. Be careful, however, as leafy greens have a reasonable amount of protein.
Eating too much protein can kick you out of Ketosis, so you don’t want to overdo it.
As a reference point, a single cup of leafy greens contains roughly 2 grams of carbohydrates and a gram of protein.
Eggs tick all the right boxes for an effective keto diet.
A great source of protein, they’re high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates, making them a great regular addition to your diet if you want to maintain ketosis long-term.
Eggs are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and choline, which can reduce inflammation and even improve brain health.
How to Include Eggs in Your Keto Diet
Whether you like them poached, fried, boiled, or scrambled, eggs make a delicious and nutritious choice for any meal.
A single, medium-sized egg contains just 0.6 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein.
Given that your protein intake should be no more than 20% of your daily food consumption, you may not want more than two or three per day, especially if you have a history of heart disease or high cholesterol.
Otherwise, feel free to switch things up by combining eggs with other low-carb foods to make an exciting array of different delectable dishes.
Generally, it’s best to avoid cheese spreads and other processed cheese products as they tend to be high in carbs and other Ketosis-blocking compounds.
Fresh cheese, however, is perfectly Keto-friendly as long as it’s consumed in small quantities.
If you’re worried that no longer consuming certain foods will negatively affect your bone health, the high quantity of bone-protecting calcium should alleviate those concerns.
Meanwhile, this delicious source of healthy fats and proteins also provides you with various essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B12, and Vitamin K2, all of which can boost your immune system and encourage the formation of red blood cells.
How to Include Cheese in Your Keto Diet
A typical serving of cheese is approximately two slices or one cube, which are around 40 grams.
In one 40-gram serving, there are just 0.4 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein.
That should give you some idea as to the portion size you should aim for when experimenting with the many different ways you can eat cheese on a Keto diet.
Just as good as a snack on its own as it is as a topping for meats, vegetables, and salads, cheese can also serve as a base for dips, low-carb cheesy potato chips, and more.
See our mouthwatering Keto Cauliflower and Pistachio Cheesy Bake recipe as a prime example of the many creative ways you can use cheese.
9. Plain Greek yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Full-fat plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are the best choices for keto-friendly dips, spreads, and condiments.
These keto diet foods are excellent calcium sources and contain lower lactose levels than other dairy products. They do not qualify as fatty foods, but being rich in lean protein and only containing traces of sugars makes them ideal for the ketogenic lifestyle.
Cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt might not sound appealing, but they are game changers, especially when combined with various keto items.
How to Include Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese in Your Keto Diet
Consuming about 100 grams of plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt daily is safe. If you do not like its slightly tart flavor, toss in some sweet berries and nuts to add texture and crunch.
Substitute your regular cheese (cheddar) with cottage cheese to make your keto diet meals healthier than ever. Even though the two cheeses do not taste the same, the latter does tend to grow on you.
Talking of proportions, 100 grams of cottage cheese contains roughly 100 hundred calories. Add it to your breakfast omelet, stuff it in baked peppers, make a parfait with your favorite nuts, or turn it into a dip by blending it with spices and herbs.
10. Unsweetened Plant-based Milk
If you thought regular cow milk should be okay for keto, it’s a good thing you’re getting acquainted with this keto diet food list.
Contrary to popular belief, whole milk is not keto-friendly; one cup contains about 12g of carbs, which is way above the recommended limit.
Luckily, several unsweetened plant-based milk options fit right into the keto food chart. To name a few, you can add coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk to your day-to-day cooking and beverages.
How to Include Unsweetened Plant-based Milk in Your Keto Diet
Plant-based milk is easily available under several brand names and in different varieties at grocery stores nowadays. When buying prepackaged plant-based milk, do not forget to check the ingredients.
Almond milk is closest to regular cow milk, taste and texture-wise, so it is quite suitable for making keto-friendly desserts and smoothies. Food prepared from plant-based milk is also safe for people with lactose intolerance.
11. Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Taking a break from what to eat on a keto diet, how about we discuss two vital keto-friendly drinks? Whether you’re a tea person or a coffee addict, the good news is that both work for the keto journey.
Unsweetened coffee and tea (without milk) have zero sugar, and they improve metabolism, so it’s a win-win situation.
These beverages also help curb appetite and prevent untimely cravings, making achieving your fitness goals easier.
How to Include Unsweetened Coffee and Tea in Your Keto Diet
Whenever you need a caffeine boost, grab unsweetened coffee or tea without hesitation because they are keto approved.
The best part is that tea and coffee speed up fat burning, making them all the more suitable for the keto lifestyle.
You may choose plant-based milk and stevia if you prefer your coffee or tea with milk and sweetener.
12. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Even though most of your cherished sweet treats are probably off the table, dark chocolate is still one of the keto diet foods you can enjoy in moderation.
Unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants known to strengthen the immune system and delay aging.
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are keto-friendly foods and beneficial for heart health. Regular consumption aids in lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.
How to Include Unsweetened Coffee and Tea in Your Keto Diet
If you wish to indulge yourself, only choose high-quality dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa. You are allowed to have one ounce (nearly 28 grams) of dark chocolate in a day.
You may add a small amount of unsweetened cocoa powder to your keto-friendly desserts and smoothies to give them a rich, chocolaty flavor.
Bell peppers are ideal for the keto diet, particularly the green ones since they have the lowest percentage of carbs.
These peppers are full of Vitamins and carotenoids, which improve eye health and vision. Bell pepper is a keto-friendly vegetable that can fulfill your body’s daily needs of vitamins A and C.
How to Include Peppers in Your Keto Diet
Thanks to the versatility of bell peppers, they can be added to a variety of savory dishes. You can always saute or roast some to complement a steak dinner.
One medium-sized bell pepper contains no more than 5 grams of carbohydrates, and the overall calorific value is also low.
Using bell peppers of different colors can make your keto diet meals more vibrant as well!
14. Shirataki Noodles
Many people cannot follow the keto diet because they find it impossible to give up on carb-rich food staples like rice and noodles.
Shirataki noodles are a stellar substitute for pasta lovers who need help figuring out keto-approved choices. These noodles are nearly 97% water and 3% fiber, making them perfect for low-calorie and low-carb diets.
If you’re struggling with weight management or digestive problems, shirataki noodles could be a valuable addition to your keto diet plan.
How to Include Shirataki Noodles in Your Keto Diet
Shirataki noodles have a gelatinous structure and very mild flavor, so a bit of creativity promises endless prospects.
You may add them to a cold salad, stir fry, soup, stew, or anything that could logically work with pasta. Shirataki noodles are not the same as regular pasta, but you get used to the taste after a few tries.
15. Butter and Ghee
If you’ve taken out some time to explore foods for keto diet, you may have noticed that animal fats fit right in.
The ketogenic lifestyle allows you to consume a diet that derives around 80% of calories from fat, so butter and ghee are a safe bet.
Butter and ghee are loaded with healthful nutrients like Calcium and Vitamin D, which strengthen our bones and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
How to Include Butter and Ghee in Your Keto Diet
If you’re currently using plant-based cooking oil, swap it with butter and ghee to make your meals richer.
Butter and ghee can be used for frying, grilling, sauteing, and baking other keto-friendly foods on your agenda.
Since consuming excess saturated fat can harm the body, you should avoid using more than four to five tablespoons of butter or ghee daily.
What to Eat on a Keto Diet – Key Takeaways and Final Tips
The key to a successful keto diet is achieving the right balance of significant food groups. You are to consume a higher proportion of fat and a controlled amount of protein while excluding carbs to maintain the state of ketosis.
Even though the keto diet might seem like a free pass to eat all the fatty foods you like, it is not an excuse to binge eat unhealthy or junk food. To achieve the best results from our keto diet food list, you may:
- Study our complete beginner’s guide to Keto
- Check out our collection of Keto recipes
- Learn more about the best foods to eat on a Keto diet
- Consult a healthcare professional