What are the ideal foods in this type of diet?
If you find yourself in a conversation about diet or weight loss , chances are you hear about the ketogenic or keto diet.
This is because the keto diet has become one of the most popular methods around the world for shedding excess weight and improving health.
Research has shown that adopting this low-carb, high-fat diet can promote fat loss and even improve certain conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline.
This article explains what to eat and avoid while on a keto diet and provides a week-long keto meal plan to get you started.
Ketogenic Diet Basics
The keto diet, as a rule, is very low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and moderate in protein.
When following a ketogenic diet , carbohydrates are generally reduced to less than 50 grams per day, although there are stricter and less stringent versions of the diet.
Fats should replace most of the reduced carbohydrates and provide about 75% of your total calorie intake.
Protein should represent around 20% of energy needs, while carbohydrates are generally restricted to 5%.
This reduction in carbohydrates forces the body to rely on fat as its main source of energy instead of glucose, a process known as ketosis.
While in ketosis, your body uses ketones, molecules made in the liver from fat when glucose is limited, as an alternative fuel source.
Although fat is often avoided for its high calorie content, research shows that ketogenic diets are significantly more effective in promoting weight loss than low-fat diets.
Additionally, keto diets reduce hunger and increase satiety, which can be particularly helpful when trying to lose weight.
The ketogenic diet is based on a very low carb routine. Carbohydrates are generally restricted to less than 50 grams per day, mostly replaced with fat and moderate amounts of protein.
Ketogenic diet meal plan
Going to a ketogenic diet can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Your focus should be on reducing carbohydrates while increasing the fat and protein content of meals and snacks.
To achieve and stay in a state of ketosis, carbohydrates must be restricted.
While certain people can only achieve ketosis by eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day, others can succeed with a much higher carbohydrate intake.
In general, the lower your carb intake, the easier it is to achieve and stay in ketosis.
This is why sticking to ketogenic foods and avoiding carbohydrate-rich foods is the best way to successfully lose weight on a ketogenic diet.
Foods to Follow a Keto Diet
When following a ketogenic diet, meals and snacks should focus on the following foods:
- Eggs : organic whole are the best option.
- Poultry: chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish : wild salmon, herring and mackerel.
- Meat : grass-fed beef, venison, pork, offal, and bison.
- Whole dairy products : yogurt, butter, and cream.
- Whole cheese : cheddar, mozzarella, brie, goat cheese, and cream cheese.
- Nuts and Seeds : Macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and flax seeds.
- Nut butter: natural peanut, almond and cashew butters.
- Healthy fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter, and sesame oil.
- Avocados – Whole avocados can be added to almost any meal or snack.
- Non-starchy vegetables : broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
- Seasonings : salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices.
Foods to avoid
Avoid carbohydrate-rich foods while on a keto diet.
The following foods should be restricted:
- Bread and baked goods : white bread, whole wheat bread, crackers, cookies, donuts, and muffins.
- Sweets and sugary foods : sugar, ice cream, caramel, maple syrup, agave syrup, and coconut sugar.
- Sweetened beverages : sodas, juices, sweetened teas, and sports drinks.
- Pasta : spaghetti and noodles.
- Grains and grain products : wheat, rice, oats, breakfast cereals, and tortillas.
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, peas, and squash.
- Beans and Legumes : Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans.
- Fruit : citrus, grapes, bananas and pineapple.
- High Carb Sauces : BBQ sauce, sugary salad dressings, and dipping sauces.
- Certain alcoholic beverages : beer and sugary mixed drinks.
Although carbohydrates should be restricted, low-glycemic fruits like berries can be enjoyed in limited amounts, as long as an easy keto macronutrient range is maintained.
Make sure you choose healthy food sources and stay away from processed foods and unhealthy fats.
The following items should be avoided:
- Unhealthy fats : margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils like canola and corn oil.
- Processed foods : fast food, packaged foods, and processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats.
- Diet foods: foods that contain artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols and aspartame.
Drinks on a keto diet
Sugar can be found in a wide variety of beverages including juice, soda, iced tea, and coffee drinks.
During a ketogenic diet, drinks that are high in carbohydrates should be avoided as should foods that are high in carbohydrates.
It is no small thing that sugary drinks have also been linked to various health problems, from obesity to an increased risk of diabetes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty, sugar-free options for those on the keto diet.
Healthy drink options on a keto diet include:
- Water : water is the best option for hydration and should be consumed throughout the day.
- Sparkling Water – Sparkling water can make an excellent replacement for soda.
- Unsweetened Coffee – Try heavy cream to add flavor to your cup of coffee.
- Green tea without sweetens r: green tea is delicious and provides many health benefits.
If you want to add extra flavor to your water, try experimenting with different keto flavor combinations.
For example, adding some fresh mint and lemon zest to your water bottle can make hydration a breeze.
Although alcohol should be restricted, enjoying a low carb drink like vodka or tequila mixed with soda water is perfectly fine at times.
A healthy ketogenic diet should revolve around high-fat, low-carb food options and restricting highly processed products and unhealthy fats.
Healthy drink options on a ketogenic diet should be sugar-free. Consider unsweetened water, sparkling water or green tea, and coffee.
A sample keto menu for a week
The following menu provides less than 50 grams of total carbohydrates per day.
As mentioned above, some people may have to cut carbohydrates even more to achieve ketosis.
This is a general week-long keto menu that can be modified depending on individual dietary needs.
- Breakfast: two eggs fried in pasteurized butter served with sauteed vegetables.
- Lunch: a breadless grass burger topped with cheese, mushrooms and avocado on a bed of veggies.
- Dinner: pork chops with green beans sauteed in coconut oil.
- Breakfast: mushroom omelette.
- Lunch: tuna salad with celery and tomato on top of a bed of vegetables.
- Dinner: roast chicken with cream sauce and sautéed broccoli.
- Breakfast: peppers stuffed with cheese and eggs.
- Lunch: arugula salad with hard-boiled eggs, turkey, avocado, and blue cheese.
- Dinner: grilled salmon with spinach sautéed in coconut oil.
- Breakfast: Full yogurt topped with keto granola.
- Lunch: steak with rice with cauliflower, cheese, herbs, avocado and sauce.
- Dinner: bison steak with cheesy broccoli.
- Breakfast: baked avocado egg jars.
- Lunch: Caesar salad with chicken.
- Dinner: pork chops with vegetables.
- Breakfast: cauliflower toast topped with cheese and avocado.
- Lunch: Bunless salmon burgers topped with pesto.
- Dinner: meatballs served with zucchini noodles and Parmesan cheese.
- Breakfast: coconut milk chia pudding topped with coconut and walnuts.
- Lunch: Cobb salad made with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, cheese, and turkey.
- Dinner: coconut chicken curry.
As you can see, keto foods can be diverse and tasty.
Although many keto foods are based on animal products, there are also a wide variety of vegetarian options to choose from.
If you are on a more liberal ketogenic diet, adding a cup of berries to your breakfast or a small serving of starchy vegetables to your dinner will increase the amount of carbohydrates in this meal plan.
A ketogenic eating plan, like any healthy diet, should include whole foods and lots of high-fiber, low-carb vegetables.
Choose healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, and grass butter to increase the fat content of dishes.
Healthy Keto Snack Options
Snacking between meals can help curb hunger and keep you on track while on a ketogenic diet.
Because the ketogenic diet is so filling, you may only need one or two snacks per day, depending on your activity level.
Here are some great, healthy snack options:
- Almonds and cheddar cheese.
- Half an avocado stuffed with chicken salad.
- Guacamole with low carb vegetables.
- Mix made with coconut, nuts and seeds without sugar.
- Boiled eggs.
- Coconut chips.
- Kale chips.
- Sliced olives and salami.
- Celery and bell peppers with herbed cream cheese sauce.
- Berries with whipped cream.
- Dried meat.
- Cheese rolls.
- Parmesan fritters.
- Macadamia nuts.
- Keto smoothie made with coconut milk, cocoa, and avocado.
- Avocado and cocoa mousse.
Although these keto snacks can keep you full between meals, they can also contribute to weight gain if you eat a lot throughout the day.
It’s important to eat the right amount of calories based on your activity level, weight loss goal, age, and gender.
If you’re not sure how many calories to eat, check out this article to learn how to calculate energy needs.
Proper keto snacks should be high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Increase your fiber intake by eating low-carb, sliced vegetables with a high-fat sauce.
A simple keto shopping list
A well-rounded ketogenic diet should include plenty of fresh produce, healthy fats, and proteins.
By choosing a mix of fresh and frozen items, you will ensure that you have a supply of keto-linked vegetables and fruits to add to recipes.
The following is a simple keto shopping list that can guide you when browsing the grocery store aisles:
- Meat and Poultry – Beef, chicken, turkey, and pork (choose organic, pasture-raised options whenever possible).
- Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are best.
- Seafood: oysters, shrimp and scallops.
- Eggs: Buy omega-3 enriched or pasteurized eggs whenever possible.
- Whole dairy products: unsweetened yogurt, butter, heavy cream, and sour cream.
- Oils: coconut and avocado oils.
- Avocados – Buy a mix of ripe and unripe avocados to last your supply.
- Cheese: brie, cream cheese, cheddar and goat cheese.
- Frozen or fresh berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries.
- Nuts: macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios.
- Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds.
- Nut butters : almond butter, peanut butter.
- Low carb fresh or frozen vegetables: mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, greens, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes.
- Seasonings: sea salt, pepper, sauce, herbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard, olives and spices.
It is always worth planning your meals in advance and filling your cart with the necessary ingredients to enjoy a few days of healthy dishes.
Plus, sticking to a shopping list can help you avoid tempting and unhealthy foods.
Preparing a shopping list can help you decide which foods will fit into your keto meal plan. Fill your cart with meat, chicken, eggs, low-carb veggies, whole dairy, and healthy fats.
The bottom line
A healthy ketogenic diet should consist of around 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% or less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Focus on foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates, such as eggs, meats, dairy products, and low-carbohydrate vegetables, as well as sugar-free drinks. Make sure to restrict highly processed items and unhealthy fats.
The popularity of the ketogenic diet has made it easier than ever to find a wide range of interesting and healthy keto food ideas online.
Using this article as a guide to getting started on the keto diet can set you up for success and transition to a high-fat, low-carb diet in no time.