Starting out on a low carb high fat or keto diet can be SO daunting! One of the most common questions that I get asked is what type of foods are allowed so I put together this guide. This is not a complete list of every single keto food there is but it is a great start.
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If you are brand new to keto check out THIS POST first.
A lot of may think of meat when you hear about the keto diet. ALL the bacon and beef, right? Meat definitely plays an important part in the keto or low carb lifestyle but one thing I definitely recommend taking into consideration is the quality of meat you are eating.
You want to avoid processed meat as much as possible and stick with organic, grass-fed if it is in your budget. (If you have an ALDI near you it is a great place for affordable grass-fed.) All bacon, salami, and pepperoni should be organic (if able) and nitrate free.
Butcher Box is also a GREAT option for high-quality grass-fed meat and bacon. It’s a subscription based service and they are running a special now where you can get FREE BACON FOR LIFE! And it is the BEST bacon you will ever have.
Beef – ground beef, steak, stew meat
Poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, wild game
Pork – tenderloin, pork chops, ham, ground pork, bacon
Fish – Wild caught is best. Salmon, trout, tuna, catfish, bass, flounder, cod, halibut
Shellfish – crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, scallops.
Whole eggs – free range is best.
It can be easy to skimp on eating your veggies when starting on a keto or low carb diet because of all the other high-fat rich food but don’t do it guys! You want to load up on your veggies to stay healthy. They are full of antioxidants and all the good stuff. It is best to aim for two cups a day of salad greens and one cup a day of fibrous veggies.
Salad Greens – lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, bok choy, chard, cabbage
Fibrous Veggies – asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, artichokes, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, snow peas, sprouts, zucchini, summer squash
It can be easy to overdo it in the dairy department on a keto or low carb diet so I do recommend it in moderation. Always choose full fat and organic is best if you are able. I think the following recommendations are a great guide to follow.
Cheese – Up to 4 ounces a day. Mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, brie, gruyere, goat, feta, cream cheese.
Cream – Up to 4 tablespoons a day. Heavy cream, sour cream. Not half and half or regular milk.
It is recommended that you enjoy fruit in moderation because it is high in carbs. ¼ cup per day is what I have seen as the recommended amount. Berries are the fruits lowest in carbs.
Fruit- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon, lime
Even though are you encouraged to eat a lot of fat on a keto or low carb diet it is very important that you avoid trans fats and stick with healthy fats such as coconut oil, nuts, and avocado. The best choices for fats are as follows:
NUTS AND SEEDS
Nuts and seeds definitely earn a spot on a keto or low carb food list but certain types can be high in carbs so just be mindful. I would say limiting your intake to one or two handfuls a day is a good guideline.
Nuts – macadamia, almonds, pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, Nut butters ok but make sure that there is no sugar added to it.
Seeds – Flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin
I do recommend making your own sauces and dressings at home because store-bought typically does have added sugar and preservatives. A simple homemade dressing with just oil, vinegar, lemon, and spices is so simple and tasty. If you are going with store-bought stick with 1 to 2 grams of carbs per serving or less.
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It is so important to drink enough water when doing a keto/low carb diet because it is very common to get dehydrated. Seltzer and flavored water are also great choices. You can also get creative and infuse your water with different fruits and spices. It is recommended to avoid alcohol at first and adding in low carbohydrate alcohol (vodka, whiskey, etc) in moderate quantities once ketosis is established as your body does stop burning fat to process the alcohol.
Beverages – water, seltzer, coffee, tea, unsweetened almond and coconut milk, BCAAs
I do not recommend artificial sweeteners because they can cause your insulin to spike which can lead to more sugar cravings. Stevia and sugar alcohols are better alternatives.
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