Before starting a diet, most people are enthusiastic and passionate about their new, life-changing experience. With time, their passion dwindles as they face questions concerning their new diet. If you have adequate knowledge of what you should be eating, then you’re probably headed the right way – way to go!
However, you have to be careful on the keto lifestyle as certain foods are restricted and will throw you out of ketosis. Keto is a game changer diet, where your nutritional requirements are fulfilled by REAL food, instead of sugarcoated artificially-flavored preserved food items (sounds like carbs, doesn’t it?).
Before you start thinking there are no low carb meal options out there, sit back, chillax, and read the following list of keto-approved foods.
Fats & Oils –
A staple nutrient of the keto diet is fats and oils. Fats provide necessary energy and are often ingested in the form of nuts, butter, oils, and animal fats. Add flavor to your keto diet using saturated fats (butter, ghee, coconut oil, and lard), monosaturated fats (olive, avocado, and macadamia nut oils) and natural polyunsaturated fats in animal proteins and fatty fish. Avoid the refined polyunsaturated fats in margarine spreads and trans fats, as they are processed and chemically altered for a longer shelf life.
Here’s a pro diet tip: prepare your food with lard, tallow and coconut oil; drizzle your steak with egg yolk, olive oil or avocado oil; mix your coffee with butter, cocoa butter, or MCT oil.
Running short on your Omega-3’s? Put some fatty fish on the menu or purchase a quality supplement at your local pharmacy.
When it comes to choosing proteins for a keto diet, the best choices are grass-fed and pasture-raised. Choosing proteins with these qualities lowers your chances of dealing with bacterial infections or hormonal imbalances.
Always select the fattiest and darkest meat rather than white meat. Some great protein choices include fish, shellfish, whole eggs, beef, pork, poultry, organs, lamb, mutton, bacon, sausages, and nut butter (peanut or almond butter).
As usual, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Keep an eye on your protein intake as too much protein can lead to reduced ketone production and spiked insulin responses. Eat moderate amounts of protein to keep your energy and muscle growth up. Have steak on the menu? Consider topping with herb butter or adding some fatty side dishes or sauces to dazzle your taste buds and appetite.
Fruits and Veggies -
Believe it or not, vegetables and fruits are a crucial component of a keto diet. For a well-balanced and maintained keto diet, opt for dark and leafy vegetables. Some greens that really pack a superfood punch are spinach and kale. Cruciferous veggies that grow above the ground, such as romaine lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower, are also great options.
Some vegetables are high in carbs and should be limited or avoided altogether. These vegetables include nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers), root vegetables (onions, garlic, mushrooms, parsnip, and squash), berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries), and citrus fruits (lemon and limes). Avoid starchy and sweet fruits and vegetables, like potatoes, corn, carrots, and all fruits that aren't berries.
Dairy Products -
Keto approved dairy products include raw and organic dairy with a rich fat content, such as heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, butter, eggs, full fat spreads (cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream etc), soft and hard cheese types.
Nuts and Seeds –
Nuts and seeds are rich in fats, but they also contain a certain amount of proteins and carbs. Snacking on nuts might help you curb the hunger, but can also put your weight loss goals in reverse. When eating nuts, choose fatty, low-carb options (pecans, brazil and macadamia nuts) with your meal for fat supplementation. Eat moderate carb nuts in small quantities (walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pine nuts) with your food for added flavor or texture. But always AVOID high carb nuts (pistachios and cashews).
Regarding seeds, you can use flaxseed meal for baking recipes in moderation. You can also use almond or coconut flour in place of wheat flour.
Water and Beverages –
A common problem most people experience when starting keto is dehydration. To avoid possible urinary tract infections, constipation, and dizziness, drink those recommended 100 oz. Stay hydrated!
Some people like to start their day with a keto coffee or tea, which is good – especially when these are consumed in moderation. If you find it hard getting the recommended amount of liquids in your diet each day, try adding some low carb sweeteners, flavorings, or salt to add some variety and replenish your strength.
Water, broth, coffee, tea, unsweetened coconut/almond milk, diet soda, small packs of stevia or sucralose, and vodka, are commonly consumed keto beverages.
Sauces and Condiments -
Sauces are great way to add flavor and fats to your keto meals, just watch out for added sugar and high carb ingredients. Try preparing them at home to ensure quality and product control. Low carb condiments include mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, relish, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, ranch, and caesar dressing.