When following the Ketogenic Diet, there are three lists to pay attention to. The green list, amber list, and the red list.
Green means go – you can generally eat as much as you like and fill your boots. Amber means proceed with caution, i.e. only in moderation. And red? Aim to avoid or steer clear in general.
As you get used to the diet you’ll learn as second nature what you can and can’t eat, and you’ll find it much easier to make balanced and healthy choices as a result. There is also no shortage of recipes to be found online, which helps you keep your new lifestyle choice exciting and varied on a daily basis.
The Ketogenic Diet isn’t a fad. It isn’t something you should pick up and put down whenever you choose. You are forcing your body into a different metabolic state, i.e. ketosis. If you yo yo between this and a ‘regular’ eating pattern, you’re going to confuse your system and put yourself at risk of developing rather unpleasant side effects as a result.
If you follow the diet properly, enjoying the huge array of healthy foods at your disposal, you’ll find the weight you want to lose disappears pretty quickly, you have more energy, and your confidence levels will soar as a result.
The Keto Diet is a lifestyle choice, something you should aim to continue for life.
Within that, there are certain core foods which you should be packing into your routine as much as possible. So, to make it all much easier, let’s check out 20 foods you should be chowing down on when following the Keto Diet.
20 Healthy and Delicious Keto Foods
- 20 Healthy and Delicious Keto Foods
- Seafood Choices
- Different Types of Cheese
- Poultry and Meat Choices
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Nuts and Various Seeds
- Creams and Butters
- Dark Chocolate
- Shirataki Noodles
- Tea and Coffee (Unsweetened)
- Bone Broth
- Fresh Herbs
There are countless delicious foods you can enjoy on the Keto Diet. It’s important to understand your keto macro’s in order to get the most out of it.
Once you know your macronutrient ratios, make sure you pack your diet with the following healthy choices:
Overall, fish and different types of seafood are healthy and full of omega 3 acids, but on the Keto Diet many fish and seafood options are also free of carbs. This is a plus point because we know the Keto Diet to be low car. Salmon is especially good for you and is packed with B vitamins and potassium. Do be careful with all types of shellfish however, as some do contain carbs. You’re generally safe with shrimps and crabs overall.
It’s a good idea to go for around two different servings per week of seafood and fish. This will give you the omega 3 intake you need, as well as ensuring you get an overall array of vitamins too.
There are certain vegetables which are super-Keto friendly and that includes the non-starchy variety especially. By eating these types of vegetables you will get a daily boost of vitamin C and various other important and vital minerals, as well as a good amount of fiber, which is needed for a healthy digestive system.
Do be careful with vegetables which are starchy, as these contain quite a lot of carbs; potatoes in particular are something to avoid a lot of. By non-starchy we are talking about things like spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini.
Different Types of Cheese
There are so many different types of cheeses around that you could work your way through them all and never get bored! Most cheese types are low in carbohydrates, which is the Keto aim, but also high in fat, which is what you need to load your diet with to keep that fat burning switch on.
There is some suggestion that although cheese does have a large dose of saturated fat within it, it could actually be beneficial for heart disease protection.
Poultry and Meat Choices
Meat will make up the bulk of your Keto diet choices, unless you are vegetarian. Go for grass-fed meats, because not only is Keto about eating low carb and high fat foods, it’s also about eating clean foods too, which are free of anything extra which might have been added during the raising process, e.g. antibiotics.
Very fresh poultry choices (chicken, turkey), and meat are extremely low in carbs, and some don’t have any carbs at all. In addition, they are very high in other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and potassium, to name just two. You also need to eat plenty of protein on the Keto diet and meat and poultry give you that.
Always go for free range eggs as the healthiest option, but you can certainly create a range of delicious meals with eggs! Low in carbs and high in protein, studies have also shown that eggs can also make you feel fuller for longer.
Don’t be scared of eating the yolk of an egg; most people think that you should only eat the white, but the yolk contains the bulk of the vitamins.
We know that avocados are a staple food on many diets, and that includes the Keto lifestyle. Avocados are tasty and very low in carbs, whilst giving you a good boost of fiber and other nutrients. You can add avocados to any dish, including many breakfast and lunch recipes.
Another plus point in the direction of avocados is that they may also help with cholesterol levels. Consuming avocados can actually increase the amount of good cholesterol in your system (HDL), and a reduction in the bad cholesterol (LDL).
Ideal for cooking and adding to dishes in general, coconut oil is a great Keto lifestyle food to put in your shopping trolley the next time you’re at the supermarket! In addition, coconut oil actually helps with the ketosis process, because the triglycerides contained within the oil are quickly used up by the liver and turned into ketones. If you know about the fat burning process, you’ll know that ketones are vital.
Tasty and versatile, coconut oil has also been shown to help reduce abdominal fat stores, which is the area most people want to target.
Everyone knows that olive oil is good for you, especially for your overall heart health. We also know that the Mediterranean way of life is centred around olive oil, and the adverts tell us that people following these diets live longer! The reason for this is reduction of many risk factors for damaging diseases, such as heart disease.
Olive oil is very low in carbs, i.e. it contains zero and it’s perfect for cooking, and also creating many dishes, such as dressings for salads. Stick to the extra-virgin option for more benefits.
We mentioned cheese earlier, but cottage cheese is a versatile and healthy choice to add to your Keto menu. Per serving you can expect around 5g of carbs, and the bulky nature of the dish also means it is going to make you feel fuller for longer. Whilst you might think that 5g of carbs is a lot (it’s on the moderate list), provided you eat this in moderation, and use it to add fullness to your dishes, it’s a good go-to to have.
Opt for the plain version. As with cottage cheese, Greek yogurt is an ‘in moderation’ food, but it is one which can give you a sweet treat when you need it, especially when you add in some chopped fruits or natural sweeteners, such as cinnamon.
Again, Greek yogurt is also good for reducing appetite and promoting a sense of fullness, so perhaps a serving of Greek yogurt with fruit for breakfast could be a good choice to get you through the morning.
Berries are tasty, low in carbs, and high in fiber, which is the ideal Keto combination. We’re talking about things like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, which can easily be snacked on when you want something sweet, or added to yogurts or other dishes to boost your fiber intake and antioxidant bulk. Antioxidants are vital in your diet, because they help boost your immune system and protect you against inflammation.
Nuts and Various Seeds
A great snack food option, nuts and seeds are low in carbs and high in fat content. Again, this is the ideal Keto way. Snacking on nuts has also shown to reduce heart disease risk, and other serious risk factors for disease, such as various types of cancer.
It is a good idea to check out the carb amounts in the various types of nuts and seeds however, as this does vary. We’re talking about things like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, for example.
Creams and Butters
Part of the Keto way of life is adding in extra fats to your diet, and creams and butters are a good way to do this. There is only a very small amount of carb intake in each one, but plenty of fat to be burnt as a result.
A key ingredient in both creams and butters is something called linoleic acid, which has been shown to help with fat weight loss.
Again, a huge part of the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle, olives are a great Keto-friendly food to add to your menu. We talked about olive oil earlier on, and olives in general have the same benefits, basically because oil is derived from the olive itself!
Olives also have a high antioxidant content and also have anti-inflammatory powers which helps to drive down your risk factors for certain diseases. There is some suggestion that olives can also help to reduce blood pressure in certain circumstances. Low in carbs and high in fiber, olives can be added to various dishes with ease.
Good news! In moderation (with ‘moderation’ being the key word), dark chocolate is very Keto-friendly, and can give you a real boost of antioxidant content too. Always go for the dark version and not the milk option, as dark contains more antioxidants and doesn’t have the same added sugars and milks. Dark chocolate also contains flavanols, which have been shown to help reduce your heart disease risk factor level.
If you’re a noodle fan then shirataki noodles need to be on your shopping list. Low in carbs, these types of noodles are made mostly of water, and viscous fiber, which can help with weight loss, make you feel fuller for longer, and can help with certain digestive issues. No matter what type of dish you are trying to make, you can substitute the regular type of noodles called for in the recipe for shirataki noodles and get the same effect!
Tea and Coffee (Unsweetened)
Provided you don’t ladle in the sugar and sweeteners, coffee and tea are great for the Keto diet and can also prove to be an energy boosting pick me up too. Of course, both contain caffeine, which give you a boost of energy, and also help to boost your metabolism too. When unsweetened both contains no carbs at all, and there is also a link with a lowered risk of diabetes too.
Packed with vitamins and minerals, bone broth is a great Keto-friendly dish to make and you can even add in a little butter if you want, to give it a creamier taste, with more energy coming your way.
The perfect addition to most dishes, garlic is a great way to add taste, but also grab some nutritional benefit too. Low in carbs, you can sprinkle in as much as you can take, and garlic has also been shown to help boost the immune system. Full of anti-anti-inflammatory and anti oxidative benefits, make sure you chow down on that garlic, especially during the winter months.
As with garlic, herbs are totally carb free, or extremely low in carbs, and add flavour to absolutely everything.You can turn the most boring of dishes into a total taste sensation with a shrinking of herbs and spices, so before you begin enjoying the Keto way of life, make sure you stock up your kitchen cupboards.
As you can see, there is nothing boring about the Keto Diet with this huge array of delicious ingredients available to you!