If you find yourself in a conversation about dieting or weight loss, chances are you’ll hear of the ketogenic, or keto diet. That’s because the keto diet has become one of the most popular methods worldwide to shed excess weight and improve health. Research has demonstrated that adopting this low-carb, high-fat diet can promote fat loss and even improve certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline. To adopt it, what plan and keto foods you should consider are as follow.
Switching over to a keto diet can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Your focus should be on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of meals and snacks. In order to reach and remain in a state of ketosis, carbs must be restricted.
While certain people might only achieve ketosis by eating 20 grams of carbs per day, others may be successful with a much higher carb intake. Generally, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to reach and stay in ketosis. This is why sticking to keto-friendly foods and avoiding items rich in carbs is the best way to successfully lose weight on a keto diet.
Keto-Friendly Foods to Eat
When following a keto diet, meals and snacks should center around the following foods:
- Eggs: Pastured, organic whole eggs make the best choice.
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish: Wild-caught salmon, herring and mackerel.
- Meat: Grass-fed beef, venison, pork, organ meats and bison.
- Full-fat dairy: Yogurt, butter and cream.
- Full- fat cheese: Cheddar, mozzarella, brie, goat cheese and cream cheese.
- Nuts and seeds: Macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and flaxseeds.
- Nut butter: Natural peanut, almond and cashew butters.
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter and sesame oil.
- Avocados: Whole avocados can be added to almost any meal or snack.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Greens, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers.
- Condiments: Salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid foods rich in carbs while following a keto diet.
The following foods should be restricted:
- Bread and baked goods: White bread, whole-wheat bread, crackers, cookies, doughnuts and rolls.
- Sweets and sugary foods: Sugar, ice cream, candy, maple syrup, agave syrup and coconut sugar.
- Sweetened beverages: Soda, juice, sweetened teas and sports drinks.
- Pasta: Spaghetti and noodles.
- Grains and grain products: Wheat, rice, oats, breakfast cereals and tortillas.
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas and pumpkin.
- Beans and legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.
- Fruit: Citrus, grapes, bananas and pineapple.
- High-carb sauces: Barbecue sauce, sugary salad dressings and dipping sauces.
- Certain alcoholic beverages: Beer and sugary mixed drinks.
Though carbs should be restricted, low-glycemic fruits such as berries can be enjoyed in limited amounts as long as you’re maintaining a keto-friendly macronutrient range.
Be sure to choose healthy food sources and steer clear of processed foods and unhealthy fats.
The following items should be avoided:
- Unhealthy fats: Margarine, shortening and vegetable oils such as canola and corn oil.
- Processed foods: Fast food, packaged foods and processed meats such as hot dogs and lunch meats.
- Diet foods: Foods that contain artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners such as sugar alcohols and aspartame.
Sugar exists in a wide variety of beverages including juice, soda, iced tea and coffee drinks.
While on a keto diet, high-carb drinks must be on the beverage list just like high-carb foods.
It’s no small matter that sugary beverages also have relationship with various health issues — from obesity to an increased risk of diabetes.
Thankfully, there are many tasty, sugar-free options for those on the keto diet.
Keto-friendly beverage choices include:
- Water: Water is the best choice for hydration and should be consumed throughout the day.
- Sparkling water: Sparkling water can make an excellent soda replacement.
- Unsweetened coffee: Try heavy cream to add flavor to your cup of joe.
- Unsweetened green tea: Green tea is delicious and provides many health benefits.
If you want to add some extra flavor to your water, try experimenting with different keto-friendly flavor combinations.
For example, tossing some fresh mint and lemon peel into your water bottle can make hydration a breeze.
Though alcohol should be restricted, enjoying a low-carb drink like vodka or tequila mixed with soda water is perfectly fine on occasion.
Snacking between meals can help moderate hunger and keep you on track while following a keto diet.
Because the keto diet is so filling, you may only need one or two snacks per day, depending on your activity level.
Here are some excellent, keto-friendly snack options:
- Almonds and cheddar cheese
- Half an avocado stuffed with chicken salad
- Guacamole with low-carb veggies
- Trail mix made with unsweetened coconut, nuts and seeds
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Coconut chips
- Kale chips
- Olives and sliced salami
- Celery and peppers with herbed cream cheese dip
- Berries with heavy whipping cream
- Cheese roll-ups
- Parmesan crisps
- Macadamia nuts
- Greens with high-fat dressing and avocado
- Keto smoothie made with coconut milk, cocoa and avocado
- Avocado cocoa mousse
Though these keto snacks can maintain fullness between meals, they can also contribute to weight gain if you’re snacking too much throughout the day.
It’s important to eat the appropriate number of calories based on your activity level, weight loss goal, age and gender.