The key to a keto diet is to build ketones. And, the key to building ketones is a mixture of fasting and a diet with at least 65% of your food intake being from fat. This leaves you with about 30% proteins and the last 5% can be an additional 5% of fat or 5% of dark green low carb vegetables like dandelion leaves, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.
The diet has a strict 5% carbohydrate allowance.
In general, you can eat from the following food groups: Fats and Oils, Protein, Vegetables and Fruits, Dairy products, Nuts and Seeds, Water and Beverages.
Starting a new diet isn’t easy, especially when you need to eat specific foods and stay from other types of foods. This ketogenic diet food list should help you be able to make decisions about what you are eating and shopping for.
Fats and Oils
Try to get your fat from natural sources like meat and nuts. Supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil. Here are some to choose from:
- Fatty Fish
- Animal Fat (non-hydrogenated)
- Egg Yolks
- Macadamia/Brazil Nuts
- Coconut Butter
- Cocoa Butter
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- MCT Oil
Remember that too much protein on a ketogenic diet is not a good thing. Choose from the following:
- Fish. Anything that is caught wild like catfish, cod, flounder, halibut, mackerel, mahi-mahi, salmon, snapper, trout, and tuna. Fattier fish is better.
- Shellfish. Clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels, and squid.
- Whole Eggs. You can prepare them in many different ways like fried, deviled, boiled, poached, and scrambled.
- Ground beef, steak, roasts, and stew meat. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Pork. Ground pork, pork loin, pork chops, tenderloin, and ham. Watch out for added sugars and try to stick with fattier cuts.
- Poultry. Chicken, duck, quail, pheasant and other wild game.
- Offal/Organ.Heart, liver, kidney, and tongue. Offal is one of the best sources of vitamins/nutrients.
- Other Meat. Veal, Goat, Lamb, Turkey and other wild game. Stick with fattier cuts where possible.
- Bacon and Sausage. Check labels for anything cured in sugar, or if it contains extra fillers. Don’t be overly concerned with nitrates.
- Nut Butter. Go for natural, unsweetened nuts
Vegetables and Fruits
This includes tomato, eggplant, and peppers. Fruits include raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. This includes lemon, lime, and orange juice (or zest) in water and in recipes. Completely avoid starchy vegetables and large fruits like potatoes and bananas.
- Root Vegetables.This includes onion, parsnip, garlic, mushrooms, and squash.
- Greek yogurt
- Heavy whipping cream
- Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
- Spreadable items including cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, Crème Fraiche, etc.
- Soft Cheese including mozzarella, brie, blue, Colby, Monterey Jack, etc.
- Hard Cheese including aged cheddar, parmesan, feta, Swiss, etc.
Nuts and Seeds
- Fatty, low carbohydrate nuts. Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans can be consumed with meals to supplement fat.
- Fatty, moderate carbohydrate nuts. Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts can be used in moderation to supplement for texture or flavor.
- Higher carbohydrate nuts. Pistachios and cashews should rarely be eaten or avoided as they’re very high in carbohydrates
Water and Beverages
This will be your staple, go-to source for hydration. You can drink tap, bottled or sparkling water, loaded with vitamins and nutrients. More importantly, it will kick-start your energy by replenishing your electrolytes.
- Improves mental focus and has some added weight loss benefits.
- Has the same effect as coffee. Try to stick with black or green.
- Coconut/Almond milk.You can use the unsweetened versions in the carton from the store to replace your favorite dairy beverage.
- Diet soda.Try to severely reduce or completely stop drinking this. It can lead to sugar cravings and sometimes insulin spikes in the long run.
- The small packets that are flavored with sucralose or stevia are fine. You can alternatively add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange to your water bottle.
- Choose hard liquor. More beer and wine will be too high carb to consume. Frequent consumption of alcohol will slow weight loss down
Foods to Avoid
If you are uncertain about any products or food items that might not be keto friendly here is a list of things that you should always be on the lookout for and avoid:
- Sugar. It’s typically found in soda, juice, sports drinks, candy, chocolate, and ice cream. Avoid sugar at all costs.
- Grains. Any wheat products, pasta, cereal, cakes, pastries, rice, corn, and beer should be avoided. This includes whole grains like wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.
- Starch. Avoid vegetables like potatoes and yams and other things like oats, muesli, etc. Some root vegetables are okay in moderation – be sure to read the section on vegetables.
- Trans Fats. Margarine or any other spreadable replacement butter should be avoided as they contain hydrogenated fats.
- Fruit. Avoid any large fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas as they’re extremely high in sugar. Some berries can be consumed in moderation – be sure to read the section on fruits.
- Low-fat foods. These tend to be much higher in carbs and sugar than full-fat versions. Make sure you read the package.
Sample Meal Plan could look like this:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked any way with yolks. Sausage containing no carbs or sugar. Bacon.
- Lunch: Chicken with as much skin and oily gooey bits as possible. Steamed spinach or broccoli.
- Supper: Steak with cheese. Fried mushrooms. Leafy green salad.
- Before bed 1 glass of wine with a slice of cheese.
Or like this:
- Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with fried mushrooms, cheese, and chopped parsley.
- Lunch: A whole duck breast if you can get it or chicken again with as much fatty skin as possible. Leafy green salad.
- Supper: Hamburger made with high-fat mince without the bun. The mince can contain the usual paprika, chopped onions, and garlic if you like, but absolutely no syrup or sugar. Add cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and any other leafy low-carb greens you like.
- Before bed 1 glass of wine with a slice of cheese.
It will be difficult to change your eating habits, at first, but with meals like those listed above it won’t be long before you enjoy eating a ketogenic diet.