Food to Eat and Avoid While on a Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet has taken the spotlight in the past few years. Famous athletes like LeBron James, Tim Tebow, and Kobe Bryant swear that keto diet is not only effective in shedding off some extra pounds, but it also helped them get more energy and have better athletic performance.

A keto diet consists mostly of fat. The simplest breakdown may go as 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. The aim of this diet is to put your body on a state of ketosis – a metabolic process where your body uses fat for energy instead of carbs.

If you have just started on a keto diet and are wondering what food to eat, this article is for you. Below is our complete guide on the food to eat and avoid while on a keto diet.

Full Keto Diet Food List to Eat

You may now be aware that fats are good in a keto diet. But there’s a little more to a keto diet than just fat. Here’s an extensive list of keto-approved foods:

Meat

meat for keto diet

Though unprocessed meats are keto-friendly and low carb, grass-fed and organic meat is a healthier option. You must not forget though that keto is a high-fat diet and not high-protein. You don’t need to eat huge amounts of meat. Consuming protein more than your body needs will make it harder for you to reach ketosis. Just consume a normal amount of meat, such as turkey, ham, bacon, lamb, ground beef, steak, pork, and chicken.

Stay away from processed meats like meatballs, cold cuts, and sausages as they often contain carbs. Always look at the ingredients and aim for less than 5% of carbs.

Fish and Seafood

Any kind of fish and seafood are all keto-friendly, especially fatty fish like salmon. You can also eat mussels, scallops, crab, lobsters, oysters, clams, halibut, catfish, cod, tuna, trout, and snapper.

Eggs

Eggs are versatile keto-friendly food. You can eat them any way you like – omelet, scrambled, fried, or boiled. If you’re concerned about your cholesterol, you should not consume more than 36 eggs per day.

Natural fat, High-fat Sources

Natural fat, High-fat Sources

You should get most of your calories from fat. Most of the natural sources would be eggs, fish, meat, etc. You can also use fat in cooking, like coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or butter. Remember, you should not fear fat. Keto is one of the few diets where fat is your friend.

Vegetables

You should not totally abandon carbs while on a keto diet. There are plenty of sources of carbs that are healthy and can provide you the needed nutrients. 

You will get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables. But before choosing a vegetable, it’s important that you find out how it grows. Vegetables that grow above the ground are okay. On the other hand, stay away from vegetables that grow below as they are often too starchy, like parsnips and potatoes.

Here’s a list of keto-approved vegetables:

  • Zucchini
  • Pumpkin
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Onion
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Green beans
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Alfalfa

High-fat Dairy

High-fat Dairy

Most dairy products are keto-approved as they are high in fat and have the right amount of protein. You can either eat them as a quick snack or work them into main courses. Just make sure that you get the full-fat options. Also, going raw or organic is a healthier option. 

Dairy keto products include heavy whipping cream, plain greek yogurt, plain yogurt, parmesan, Colby, cheddar, mozzarella, goat cheese, sour cream, ricotta, cottage cheese, feta, cream cheese, brie, and blue cheese. 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are excellent snack choices that you can keep in your pocket when hunger pang strikes. Here’s a full list of nuts and seeds that are keto-approved:

  • Walnuts
  • Cashew butter
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Almond flour
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Pecans
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Cashews
  • Almonds

Berries

You can consume berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries moderately.

Beverages

Water is the best beverage in a ketogenic diet. You can consume as much water as you want. 

If you’re looking for other options though, there are some beverages that you may enjoy in moderation. Drinks such as tea, coffee, club soda, lime juice, lemon juice, and unsweetened almond milk are okay as long as they are taken in moderation. You can also enjoy alcoholic beverages, such as champagne, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila, rum and wine, in moderation too.

Ketogenic Diet Explained

What You Can’t Eat

Knowing what types of food to avoid is just as important as knowing keto-approved ones by heart. If you want to achieve ketosis, make sure to stay away from these foods:

Fruits

A lot of fruits contain a high amount of sugar. Stay away from mangoes, plums, grapefruits, limes, lemons, pears, cherries, pineapples, melons, peaches, watermelons, grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples.

Grains and Starches

Sprouted grains, buckwheat, amaranth, bulgur, millet, barley, quinoa, corn, oats, rye, rice, and wheat are high in carbs. You’re better off without these in your diet.

Root Vegetables

Vegetables that grow below the ground are starchy and high in carbs. Turnips, beets, yuca, parsnips, yams, carrots, and potatoes are a no-no in a keto diet.

Grain Products

Flour, muesli, bagels, granola, popcorn, pizza, crackers, oatmeal, corn, rice, pasta, bread, and cereal are high in carbohydrates. 

Legumes

Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and black beans are not recommended to be consumed in a keto diet.

Sweeteners and Sweets

Keto is successful in weight loss by eliminating sugar as a primary source of energy. You must not consume sweeteners like corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, Splenda, agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, and cane sugar. Sweets, such as custard, pudding, cookies, ice cream, pies, tarts, pastries, buns, cakes, chocolate, and candy must be avoided.

Some Oils

Some oils, such as sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are not keto-approved as they contain carbohydrates.

Alcohol and Sweetened Drinks

While there are alcoholic beverages that you can drink moderately while on a keto diet, you must stay away from alcohol that has carbs and sugar. These include sweetened alcoholic drinks, sweet wines, cider, and beer.

Juice, smoothies, and soda are high in sugar too, so you must cross them out from your grocery list.

Keto diet is one of the easiest type of diet to follow because you don’t have to starve yourself just to lose weight. With this comprehensive list of keto-approved food, you can eat your way to achieve your ideal body weight. 

REFERENCES

Eedfeldt, A. (2019). Ketogenic diet foods – what to eat. Retrieved from https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/foods 

Ketogenic Diet Food List: Everything You Need to Know. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ruled.me/ketogenic-diet-food-list/ 

Picard, C. (2018). What You Can (and Can’t) Eat on a Keto Diet. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a19660747/list-of-keto-diet-foods/ 

Weik, M. (2018). Stop Wondering What to Eat – Our Complete Ketogenic Diet Food List Guide. Retrieved from https://www.vaxxenlabs.com/ketogenic-diet-food-list/