What should I eat?
Updated: Apr 1
Where should you begin with the keto diet? I think you'll find it's actually really easy! Here are some tips.
By Keto for People
1. Fish and Seafood
Fish and seafood are perfect keto friendly foods. High in protein and very low in carbs, fish and seafood not only fill you up, but provide many essential nutrients that support brain health. I encourage you to buy wild-caught over farmed fish as with farmed, you run the risk of buying fish that have been treated with antibiotics. Although with wild-caught you do run the risk of ingesting mercury and microplastics. You just have to make a judgment call, I guess. Also, always try to buy from sources that are cruelty-free and employ sustainable fishing practices.
Some great options are:
-Tuna (if canned, go for Skipjack to minimize the amount of mercury you might ingest - I like Ocean's Flaked Light Tuna in water)
In moderation (these can be higher in carbs)
2. Lean and Clean Meat and Poultry
These are key for the ketogenic diet because they are low - and many no-carb high-protein options, and depending on what you're having, they can be a good source of healthy fats as well. Leaner meats won't have as much, obviously. It's best to try to choose grass-fed meats wherever possible, and I always want everyone to support local if they can! I want to encourage everyone to check the source of their meats as well - a lot of times, meats come from factory farms that pump their animals full of antibiotics due to the cramped and unsanitary living conditions in which they're forced to live. Not only is this unhealthy for you (you're eating them, so you consume what they've consumed), but it's also supporting animal cruelty. My personal opinion is if you have to eat meat, try your best to buy it from sources you know are antibiotic-free, hormone-free, local, and practice humane and sustainable slaughtering practices.
Some great options are:
Basically all of them. Bacon.
3. Low Carb Fruits and Veggies
This means non-starchy veggies (avoid tubers and legumes altogether, and limit your intake of fruits and veggies high in sugar such as peas, carrots, bananas, and apples).
Some low-carb veggies:
-leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula to name a few)
-pickes and olives
-tomatoes (in moderation)
Some low carb fruits (make sure you choose wisely and check your carb content):
-avocados (yes, they are a fruit!)
-lemons and limes
4. High-Fat Clean Dairy
Not everyone can handle dairy, and having a lot of it can actually slow down your progress. However, it can be a great source of healthy fats and proteins when you consume high-quality dairy products. These include:
-plain yogurt (full fat - Greek is a great one because it's very high in protein, but be aware that it has environmental costs to its production. Read this article for more on this)
Eggs are a staple of the ketogenic diet. This low-carb, high protein food makes a great meal, snack, and pre- or post- workout food that packs a healthy punch. That the food industry has demonized them for years as being high in cholesterol, it's not a cholesterol that will harm your heart. For more expert advice on this, read this article from PubMed.
6. Nuts and seeds
-all of them.
-this includes peanut butter and nut butters but read labels! Avoid those made with hydrogenated or vegetable oils and added sugar. Try to buy organic, and those with as few, easy-to-pronounce ingredients as possible. I'm personally not a huge fan of nut butters, but I LOVE me some peanut butter. I like Adam's All Natural Peanut Butter, and you can find it at any grocery store.
7. Oils and fats
Clean, clean, CLEAN is the name of the game here. No hydrogenated oils. No vegetable oils.
-coconut oil (!!!)
-olive oil (!!!!!)
-flax seeds and flax oil (check out my video for making a wonderful ketogenic flaxseed bread)
-mayonnaise (read labels, try to buy those that are free from canola oil, vegetable oils, and soybean oils)
-macadamia nut oil
-lard, tallow, suet
8. Herbs and spices
Go ahead and spice it up! Just be aware that sometimes, spices can have carbs or sugar in them, so if you're tracking your carbs really carefully just make sure you read labels. For example, Turmeric has a small amount of carbs, and pumpkin pie spice blends can also have a small carb count, and sometimes even added sugar.
It's really important to stay hydrated on the ketogenic diet because of the diuretic effects of limiting your carbohydrate intake. Here are some great options for beverages, and a few that won't break your fast (if you're into intermittent fasting). I've ranked these from best to worst.
-dry wines (in moderation - even dry wines which are lower in sugar can still have a lot of sugar)
-diet pop (soda for you American readers)
-zero calorie water replacements (Gatorade, for example)
I hope that gave you an idea of where to get started. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so be sure to check out some of the resources I used when researching this article below.
I touched on a few things to avoid here, but I plan on releasing another, more comprehensive blog post soon about what to avoid on the ketogenic diet. Thanks for reading!
Berg, E. (n.d.) Here are the list of foods to get into ketosis (fat burning). Retrieved from https://www.drberg.com/ketosis-approved-foods
Delauer, T. (2019). The 3 best keto veggies. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1179255135584819
Slajerova, M. (2019). Complete keto diet food list: what to eat and avoid on a low-carb diet. Retrieved from https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/lchf/Keto-Diet-Food-List-What-to-Eat-and-Avoid
Spritzler, F. (2017). 16 Foods to eat on a ketogenic diet. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-foods 9