All The Keto Friendly Foods You Can Eat While On Keto

The keto diet or ketogenic diet is a variation on the classic strict low-carb diet. It’s also quite close to the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the paleo diet.

There's a wide variety of foods that can be consumed on the keto diet, although the emphasis is on eating foods that are high in protein and/or high in fat with limited intake of carbohydrates. Of course, the more varied your diet, the broader your nutrient intake, which can help prevent deficiencies. Fortunately, most low-carb vegetables are acceptable on keto, and, depending how strict you’re being, some low-carb fruits are okay too.

Below, will explain what foods you can and can't eat on the keto diet, but first, let's quickly go over how this diet actually works to help you lose weight. 

How Does The Keto Diet Work?

In order to explain how the keto diet works to help you lose weight, we need to clarify how the body uses energy.

There are two basic fuels that can “operate” your body:

Sugar: from high-carb foods like bread, donuts, cakes, cookies, pasta, rice, and, potatoes
Stored Fat

Your body will always try to use sugar for fuel first. This means that if you're eating a diet that's high in foods like doughnuts, cookies, pasta, potatoes, and breads, your body will use the glucose (sugar) from these foods first and foremost for energy — and you’ll never experience weight loss.

If there isn’t any sugar in your system, however, your body has to resort to the other option for fuel: Fat.

When the body runs out of sugar and has to resort to fat for energy, it is put into a state called ketosis. During this state, stored fat is broken down, and the liver produces molecules called ketones, which are then used as fuel for the body.

The keto diet emphasizes fat- and protein-rich foods so that the body will be in the state of ketosis all the time and effectively burning fat all the time.

What Foods Should Be Consumed On The Keto Diet?

One thing to note about the keto diet is that its guidelines and food lists aren’t “set in stone.” With the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet, for example, there are set rules and guidelines that must be followed. The keto diet, on the other hand, is more of a style of eating. That is, there are several ways you can do keto.

Still, there are certainly “do” and “don’t” foods on keto. Below, we’ll list and discuss the foods that are best for keto if you’re doing a fairly strict version of the diet. We’ll also include recipes in each section to help you start integrating these keto-friendly foods into your lifestyle.

Following these recommendations will almost certainly help you burn fat, lose weight, and increase your energy.

Best Keto Diet Foods By Category

Meat

Without a doubt, meat is at the core of the keto diet. It’s the perfect keto food because it’s naturally high in protein and fat. Plus, nearly all meats have zero carbs.

Combined, these benefits keep you fuller for longer and help speed up your metabolism. Meat gives you the energy you need to get through your day without making you feel sluggish or drained over time. Additionally, meats contain essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. It is especially essential for bone and muscle health.

Keto Friendly Meats

Best
• Beef: Steak, veal, ground beef, roastPork:
• Ham, bacon, ground pork, pork loin, pork, chops, tenderloin
• Poultry: Chicken, turkey, duck, wild game
• Goat & Lamb
• Organ Meats: Kidney, liver, heart, tongue, offal

Acceptable
• Bologna
• Mortadella

Carb & Fat Content Of Popular Meat

Beef Steak, 3 oz. (lean and fat eaten)
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 9.3 grams

Chicken Breast, 4 oz. (boneless, skinless)
• Net Carbs: 3 grams
• Fat: 3.5 grams

Bacon, 2 pan-fried slices
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 9 grams

Pepperoni, 4 slices
• Net Carbs: 1 gram
• Fat: 3.7 grams

Meat Based Keto Recipes

1. Grilled Chicken With Avocado Salsa (Gimme Delicious)
2. Garlic Butter Steak (Life Made Keto)
3. Keto Sheet Pan Pizza (Delish)
4. Keto Bacon Egg and Cheese Bites (Maebells)
5. Leftover Turkey Casserole (That Low Carb Life)

Fish & Seafood

Like meat, fish and seafood are both keto-friendly as well. Both are high in protein, relatively high-fat, contain just a few (if any) grams of carbs, and provide numerous nutrients. Various types of fish, especially, provide excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which means they promote a healthy brain and heart. Fish also contain vitamins like potassium, vitamin B, and selenium.

Keep in mind that, although certainly low in carbs, shellfish is not quite as keto-friendly as fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.

Keto friendly fish and seafood

Best

• Salmon
• Cod
• Tuna
• Haddock
• Halibut
• Sardines
• Flounder
• Mackerel

Acceptable

• Shrimp
• Scallops
• Lobster
• Clams
• Mussels

Carb & Fat Content Of Popular Fish & Seafood

Salmon, 3 oz. portion
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 5.4 grams

Tuna, 6.5 oz. can packed in water and drained
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 1.6 grams

Shrimp, 8 large shrimp, cooked with moist heat
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: .5 grams

Fish and Seafood Based Keto Recipes

1. Keto Salmon Cakes (Hey Keto Mama)
2. Keto Tuna Salad (Diabetes Strong)
3. Walnut Crusted Salmon (The Healthy Foodie)
4. Baked Cod (Savory Tooth Low Carb Recipes)
5. Low Carb White Fish Pomodoro (A Spicy Perspective)

Egg & Dairy Products

Eggs are certainly a fitting food for the keto meal plan. This is because they have zero carbs and are high-protein.

For those who don’t require dairy-free keto foods, dairy products such as grass-fed butter, various cheeses, and heavy cream can be great on the keto diet too. Dairy products should be consumed “full fat,” meaning you should opt for whole milk over 2% or 1% and full-fat cheese over low-fat cheeses.

Keto Friendly Egg & Dairy Foods

Best

• Eggs
• Grass-fed butter
• Heavy cream
• Provolone cheese
• Gouda cheese
• Colby cheese
• Swiss cheese
• Soft cheeses: Cream cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese gouda, brie, buffalo mozzarella, camembert

Acceptable

• Whole milk
• Sour cream
• Mascarpone and ricotta cheeses
• Cottage cheese
•Hard cheeses: Havarti, feta, pepper jack, parmesan, mozzarella
• Greek yogurt

Carb & Fat Content of Eggs and Popular Dairy Foods

Egg, 1 egg
• Net Carbs: .5 grams
• Fat: 5 grams

Provolone cheese, 1 cubic inch
• Net Carbs: .4 grams
• Fat: 4.5 grams

Unsweetened Greek yogurt
• Net Carbs: 7.3 grams
•Fat: 0 grams

Egg and Dairy Based Keto Recipes

1. Keto Breakfast Burrito (Ditch the Carbs)
2. Basic Keto Cheese Crisps (All Recipes)
3. Keto Egg Cups (Life Made Keto)
4. Bulletproof Coffee Recipe With MCT Oil (Wholesome Yum)
5. Keto 4 Ingredient Ice Cream (Chocolate Covered Katie)

Nuts

Nuts are among the healthiest types of foods to enjoy on the keto diet, and they’re especially satisfying as a keto-friendly on-the-go snack. Just grab a small bag of almonds or a handful of nut trail mix, and you’ll be as full as you would be eating a sandwich. Nuts provide a plethora of nutrients. Pecans, for example, can lower your insulin levels, making them great for blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Chia seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits. And macadamia nuts improve healthy HDL cholesterol level.

When it comes to keto, however, remember to avoid certain nuts such as cashews. Other nuts are much better for any type of low-carb diet.

Naturally, a variety of nuts can also be made into nut butters, which are perfect for spreading onto keto bread, spreading onto celery, or eating alone. Nut butters without added sugar even contain MCT oil and probiotics, both of which provide energy and help support the metabolism.

Keto Friendly Nuts

Best

• Pecans
• Seeds: Chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds
• Brazil nuts
• Hazelnuts
• Walnuts
• Macadamia nuts
• Nut butters (Macadamia nut butter)

Acceptable

• Almonds
• Sunflower seeds
•Pine nuts

Carb & Fat Content of Popular Nuts

Pecans, 19 halves (1 oz.)
• Net Carbs: 3.9 grams
• Fat: 20.4 grams

Flaxseed, 1 Tbsp., whole seeds
• Net Carbs: 3 grams
• Fat: 4.3 grams

Almonds, 23 almonds (1 oz.)
• Net Carbs: 6 grams
• Fat: 14 grams

Nut Based Keto Recipes

1. Vegan Keto Walnut Chili (Abbey’s Kitchen)
2. Keto Nut Bar (Aussie Keto Queen)
3. Keto Chocolate Covered Almonds (The Keto Summit)
4. 3-Ingredient Keto Almond Butter Cups (The Big Man’s World)
5. Easy Almond Butter Fat Bombs (Hey Keto Mama)

Produce

When it comes to produce, you have plenty of options, all of which make great complements to other main dish keto foods like meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. Still, it’s not a free-for-all. In the category of produce, veggies are always going to be better than fruits (which can contain quite a number of carbs), and non-starchy vegetables will always be better than other veggies like leafy greens.

As you likely already know, these veggies and keto-friendly fruits pack a lot of punch where nutrients and vitamins are concerned. From leafy greens (a keto favorite), you’ll get large amounts of calcium, iron, and folate — plus vitamins A, C, and K. From other vegetables like mushrooms, you’ll get niacin and riboflavin. And asparagus is great for chromium, folate, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.

Keto Friendly Produce

Best

• Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens, mustard leaves, Swiss chard
• Romaine lettuce, watercress, Boston lettuce, and field greens
• Asparagus
• Bell peppers
• Zucchini
• Radishes
• Eggplant
• Avocados
• Celery
• Herbs: Basil, cilantro, parsley

Acceptable

• Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage
• Cucumbers
• Avocado
• Green beans
• Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
• Sweet potatoes

Carb & Fat Content of Popular Produce

Spinach, 3 cups, loosely packed
• Net Carbs: 3 grams
• Fat: 0 grams

Avocado, ½ cup, sliced
• Net Carbs: 6.3 grams
• Fat: 10.7 grams

Strawberries, 1 cup, halved
• Net Carbs: 11.7 grams
• Fat: .5 grams

Produce Based Keto Recipes

1. Low-Carb Ginger Garlic Vegetable Stir Fry (Stay Snatched)
2. Keto Oven Roasted Vegetables (Wholesome Yum)
3. Zucchini and Parmesan Bake (Ditch the Carbs)
4. Low Carb Keto Roast Chicken Soup (Sugar Free Londoner)
5. Easy Keto Vegetable Ratatouille Recipe (The Keto Summit)

Beverages

Various beverages are totally okay on the ketogenic diet — most notably, still and sparkling water, tea and coffee, and diet sodas. Of course, diet sodas aren’t recommended on any type of healthy diet, so if you can, stick to water.

If you’re interested in an alcoholic beverage, spirits are your best bet all around. Just don’t mix your gin, whiskey, vodka, or tequila with carb-laden mixers (even tonic water is full with carbs). Wine is acceptable on keto, but whatever you do, steer clear of beers. Other than a few, special low-carb options, beers tend to have the most carbs of any alcoholic beverage.

Keto Friendly Beverages

Best

• Still water
• Sparkling water
• Green and black teas
• Coffee
• Diet sodas
• Spirits: Whiskey, vodka, tequila, brandy, gin

Acceptable

• Whole milk
• Coconut water
• Vegetable juice
• Unsweetened nut milks
• Unsweetened dry wines

Carb & Fat Content of Popular Beverages

Coffee, 1 cup (8 oz.) black
• Net Carbs: .8 grams
• Fat: 0 grams

Whiskey, 1 shot (1.5 oz.)
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 0 grams

Almond milk, 1 cup, unsweetened
• Net Carbs: 1.4 grams
• Fat: 2.7 grams

Keto Beverage Recipes

1. Gin Fizz, The Ultimate Low-Carb Cocktail (Keto Diet)
2. Keto Infused Iced Tea (Low Carb No Carb)
3. Keto Berry Smoothie Recipe (Ketogasm)
4. Low Carb Strawberry Lemonade Mojitos (I Breathe I’m Hungry)
5. Keto Turmeric Milkshake (Ditch the Carbs)

Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

In this category, we have those small ingredients that are present in so many recipes and meals, but that often go under the radar when it comes to nutritional content.

Best in the group are healthy fats like canola and olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. While most dried herbs and spices are low-carb, some are more keto-friendly than others as you’ll see below. For sweeteners, not too many are totally keto-friendly; however, in a pinch, we’ve provided some options.

Keto Friendly Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

Best

• Olive oil
• Canola oil
• Coconut oil
• Avocado oil
• Vinegars: Cider, white, and wine vinegar
• Broth and bouillon
• Stevia
• Dried herbs and spices: Black pepper, mint, basil, cloves, coriander, ginger powder, tarragon, garam masala, cinnamon

Acceptable

• Ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, mayonnaise (optimally, sugar-free)
• Soy sauce and tamari sauce
• Balsamic vinegar
• Monk fruit
• Dried herbs and spices: Ground cumin, oregano, paprika, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder

Carb & Fat Content of Popular Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

Olive oil, 1 Tbsp.
• Net Carbs: 0 grams
• Fat: 13.5 grams

Stevia, 1 pack (2 grams)
• Net Carbs: 2 grams
• Fat: 0 grams

Sugar-free ketchup, 1 Tbsp.
• Net Carbs: 4 grams
• Fat: 0 grams

Keto Recipes with Spices, Condiments, and Sweeteners

1. Low-Carb Taco Seasoning (Low Carb Maven)
2. Keto Barbecue Seasoning (I Breathe I’m Hungry)
3. Homemade Sugar-Free Ketchup Recipe (Low Carb Yum)
4. Zero Carb Homeowner Keto Mayonnaise (Soccer Mom Blog)
5. Low Carb Sweetener Blend (Keto Cake Walk)

Natalie Butler, RDN, LD

Natalie gained an understanding of the organic and natural food industries, the supplement industry and clinical dietetics through her various job experiences. Natalie started her own private practice, Nutrition By Natalie, in 2005 to further help people reconnect with nourishing, wholesome food. She advocates for a personalized, nutrigenomics and functional-medicine based approach to disease prevention and treatment. Natalie specializes in medical review, consulting and corporate wellness services for various large tech and health information companies. She also works with Healthline as a medical reviewer, for Mind Body Green as a health writer, is on the advisory board for Head Health, Inc. and consults for the popular intermittent fasting app, Simple.

Published:August 17, 2020
Updated:August 17, 2020

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WHAT TO READ NEXT

Keto Myths That Make You Squeak

KETO MYTHS THAT MAKE US SQUEAK 



Written by Tony Berardo on April 29th, 2022 


Starting a new fitness program or changing your eating habits can be intimidating and confusing.


For decades we’ve been told that certain foods are bad for us. However, as more research is done, it turns out that some of those foods, like fat, could actually be very beneficial.


The goal of a ketogenic, or keto, diet is to get more of your calories from protein and fat than carbohydrates. This makes sense since we all know that carbohydrates from sugar, soda and pastries are not ideal for daily consumption. 

 

You’ve probably noticed that you feel different after you eat these foods. Think about how you feel after eating a bunch of bread before your appetizers or a nice slice of cheesecake after your meal.


Just as not all carbs are bad, neither are all fats and sugar. 


If you think a keto diet might be right for you, it’s important to distinguish the facts from the myths in order to achieve the best results and make your experience as stress free as possible.


MYTH: KETO IS ONLY USED FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

As you would expect when eliminating certain foods from your diet, especially carbs, you will notice some weight loss. However, that is not the only change you will experience while on a keto diet. Following a proper keto diet has been shown to support overall metabolic health, body composition and improved cognitive function.


But can you gain weight while on the keto diet? As with any diet, weight gain is a possibility if the diet is not followed correctly. With a keto diet, weight gain could happen if you are not actually in a state of ketosis. If someone is following a diet and their caloric intake is less than their needs, they may lose weight over time. If their caloric intake is more than their needs, they may gain weight over time, even if the calories come from fat or protein. 


This is why a ketogenic diet takes research and planning to ensure all the necessary steps are taken to achieve optimum results. 


MYTH: EAT AS MUCH FAT AS YOU WANT

This is probably the most common myth. Although research has shown that some fats are very beneficial for a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t mean that you should eat as much fat as you want. There is a difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, with unsaturated fats being the preferred type for a keto diet. On a keto diet, 75% of your daily calories should come from these unsaturated fat sources. Some good examples of those fats are nuts, fatty fish, eggs and avocado.


MYTH: GOING KETO MEANS ZERO ALCOHOL 

Although beer and wine are generally full of carbohydrates, there are other options, like dry wines, light beers and most liquors, if you wish to indulge. Just watch out for those mixers and chasers! You may notice that your tolerance to alcohol changes, so always be sure to drink responsibly. 


MYTH: IT’S A HIGH PROTEIN DIET

This is another common myth. As stated earlier, close to 75% of your daily calories should be coming from fat, not protein, which should only account for 20% of your caloric intake, with carbohydrates contributing the remaining 5%. If you’re having trouble meeting your fat, carb and protein goals, supplementation could be an easy way to stay keto-friendly.  Whether you’re in between meals or hungry after a workout, Keto Bars has some delicious and filling Keto Bars and foods that will help keep you on track. 


MYTH: KETO IS THE SAME FOR MEN & WOMEN

Although studies suggest women could be more sensitive to dietary changes than men, women can still safely follow a keto diet as long as they do so carefully.


It’s recommended that women focus on eating a clean, alkaline diet in addition to following a keto diet. This means that they should eat more non-starchy vegetables to ensure they are getting plenty of electrolytes and nutrients.


Of course, this advice should always be used while listening to your body. If you’re switching up your diet, your body will tell you if something is wrong. When starting a new diet, be sure to keep a food journal or download a meal tracking app on your phone so you can easily identify what bothers you if you have any issues. 


MYTH: EAT LESS FOOD WHEN ON KETO

When you first start a keto diet, it may seem like you’re eating less food. The nutrients in your food are what really matter. A decrease in your carb intake will make it feel like you are eating less in the beginning, but that is normal. You won’t be eating less food, just fewer carbs! A keto diet allows you to be more aware of the types of nutrients you consume.


MYTH: KETO FOODS ARE BLAND 

Quite the opposite is true. When first starting a keto diet, most people just focus on reading labels and trying to figure it out all on their own. The addition of supplements, protein bars, shakes and healthy snacks into your diet of whole foods like fruits, veggies and meats can make eating keto delicious and healthy.


There are many more myths about keto out there, but it is important to remember that like people, not all diets are created equal. However, when combined with exercise and patience, a keto diet could be the key to reaching your overall fitness goals.


For more help on reaching your goals and keto advice, follow our blog at https://www.ketobars.com/blogs



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