The ketogenic (keto) diet has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. This is not at all surprising since this diet comes with promises of seamless weight loss, increased energy levels, and better metabolic health.
To follow this diet correctly, you need to eat less than 50g of carbohydrates per day, increase your fat intake to 65-80% of your calories, and keep your protein intake moderate. To do that, you will have to exclude high-carb foods and replace them with low-carb, high-fat keto diet staples.
Take a look at this short yet comprehensive list to find out which foods should become part of your keto journey.
Since fat is the primary source of your calories on a keto diet, include a variety of fat-rich foods. Great sources of fat on a keto diet include:
Oils and butter
Unrefined and cold-pressed oils like extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and avocado oil add fat to your keto meals and protect your cardiovascular health. Butter is another ingredient that can help meet daily keto macros.
Fatty cuts of meat
Bacon, pork belly, minced beef, chicken thighs, and other fatty meats provide ample fat along with protein.
A cup of sliced avocado has over 20g of fat, most of which are heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The same serving size only 2g digestible carbohydrates and 10g of fiber.
Nuts and seeds
Most nuts and seeds are high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Eat them on their own but also as nut butters (e.g. peanut butter), nut flour, seed pastes (e.g. tahini), and nut oils.
To learn how to incorporate these ingredients into your keto diet, check out this 2-week meal plan by Kiss My Keto.
Moderate protein intake is usually defined as 0.8-1.2g per kg of body weight. To keep your protein intake within this limit and fat intake high, choose protein sources that also contain at least some amount of fat.
Salmond, herring, tuna, sardines, and anchovies are fish with a high oil content. The meat of fatty fish can contain up to 30% oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Of course, they also provide easy-to-digest protein.
Eggs are one of the best protein sources out there. They provide all 9 essential amino acids along with a range of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron, and many more.
Besides butter, aged cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and heavy cream add fat but also protein to your keto meal plan.
While soy products are usually not listed as a keto-friendly ingredient, tofu can be a great keto staple since a 100-g serving provides 8g of protein and only 1.6g of net carbohydrates.
Many of the food examples listed here as sources of fat also happen to provide protein. Meat, as well as nuts and seeds, are good examples.
Low-carb fruits and vegetables
When it comes to carbohydrates, your focus on the keto diet should be mainly to avoid them as much as possible so your intake is no greater than the recommended 50g limit. To do that, include only low-carb plant foods such as:
Kale, broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, parsley, and other leafy greens typically have less than 10g net carbs in a cup. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to help support good health and digestion.
Zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, and artichokes are examples on non-starchy vegetables that won't put you over your carb limit.
Most fruit is off limits on a keto diet, but berries can be eaten in moderation. Most are low in carbohydrates and help support good health thanks to their antioxidant content.
Driven, dedicated and team-oriented professional with more than 6 years of experience providing wellness and nutritional support in various capacities. After Sofia learned about "food deserts" as a kid, she became determined to devote her life to like making healthy foods accessible to everyone, regardless of income or location. Sofia has traveled around the world, teaching nutrition to communities in extreme poverty. In her spare time, Sofia loves long bike rides and exploring local farmer's markets.