The Ketogenic (Keto) diet is an amazing way of reaching your weight loss and health goals. The first question you’ll be asking is going to be “What can you eat on a keto diet?”
Furthermore, the dietary suggestions for the keto diet are not difficult. They are based around the three macro nutrients. These are Fats, Carbohydrates and Protein.
As a result, the keto diet works amazingly well when you consume your macros in the following daily amounts:
- Carbohydrates: 20g net (total carbs minus amount of fiber)
- Protein :20 – 25% daily intake
- Fats: 70 – 75% daily intake
Keep to your macros
It’s important to keep your daily carb intake to no more than 20g net carbs.
Hence, at this low level you will be able to reach ketosis. You can find you’re own personal carb limit when you’re established on the diet.
So for this reason, find your individual daily allowance for proteins and fats by using this calculator.
Keep track of any change in your weight
If you find you’re losing insufficient weight/ too much weight each week, adjust your fat intake.
However, don’t change the other two macros.
The carb limit of 20g net will ensure you enter ketosis. The protein amount is calculated according to your body weight.
The normal needed amount of protein each day is :
- Men: 56g per day
- Women: 46g per day
As with the carb limit, you’ll be able to fine tune this later once you’re well-adjusted to the keto lifestyle and used to it.
So, what can you eat on a Keto Diet?
Most above ground vegetables are good with the keto Diet. These include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green Beans
- Peppers (red and green)
- Swiss chard
Vegetables to avoid are the starchy, high carb veggies including:
- Potatoes including baked, chipped or mashed
- Sweet Potatoes
- Squash (butternut, acorn)
- Corn – wheat
- Onions (OK in small amounts as a flavoring)
Remember that you take away the fiber content from the total carb count.
For this reason some vegetables that look high carb, such as cauliflower and avocado, are completely Keto friendly.
Take care not to scrimp on your vegetables. They contain many super healthy micro nutrients.
So, as long as you use your carb allowance carefully, you will be able to eat enough vegetables each day.
What can you eat on a keto diet – fruit
Most fruits are high in sugar (carbs) and so they don’t fit well with the keto diet.
The only exceptions to this are berries. These can be eaten in moderation and you’ll be able to stay under you20g net carbs each day.
Always choose the full fat option.
Keto Dairy includes:
- Butter: grass fed
- Cheese: hard cheeses are the lowest carb
Dairy to avoid:
- Any reduced fat dairy. Often sugar has been added.
Bear in mind that it’s healthier to choose organic dairy as often as you can.
What can you eat on a keto diet -Meat and Fish
All meat is good with the keto diet.
With this is mind, choose fatty cuts of meat which will help you to reach your fat macros.
Buy the best quality meat that you can afford. Organic, free-range meat will taste better and be free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
Bacon is a popular choice, and you can certainly enjoy bacon and eggs.
However, you should consider limiting the amount of bacon that you eat each week. It’s a processed food, and not exactly super healthy.
Take care with other processed meats, as they may contain hidden carbs:
- Hot dogs
- Some sausages
These meats may also contain nitrates and nitrites.
All fish fits well with the keto diet.
Fatty fish is especially important as a source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Aim to eat at least two portions of a fatty fish each week.
Fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids:
- Atlantic Herring
- Muscles ( shellfish)
However, you should consider limiting your intake of large, long lived fish due to their possible mercury content.
Nuts can make a great keto snack.
However, you do need to take care as more than just a few may take you over your carb allowance.
Some people just can’t stop eating these. If you are one of these people you may want to consider giving nuts a miss.
If you can manage to have just a few, they are great sprinkled in salads or ground to make nut butters.
Some of the higher carb nuts such as cashews should always be avoided.
The keto diet is high fat, so oils are going to be your new best friends.
Use the healthy oils such as:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- MCT Oil
The first three oils can be used for cooking, baking and for pouring over salads.
You can be generous with the amounts. They are super healthy and will help you to reach your macros.
MCT Oil is tasteless and is not normally used in cooking. It is used for is many health benefits, and will help you to achieve ketosis more quickly.
It will give you a quick and healthy boost that is far superior to the energy drinks from the store.
If you haven’t used MCT oil before, you’ll need to start slowly to avoid any unpleasant stomach issues.
For more information see:
Avoid seed oils. These are not healthy and shouldn’t be used at all.
If you’re buying store sauces you will need to check the ingredients label.
Remember that many sauces contain sugar, and the carb content is too high for the keto diet.
These sauces are normally low carb:
- Soy sauce (limit)
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
Tomato sauce/ketchup is loaded with carbs. If you really like this consider making some at home.
Avoid sodas. These are packed with added sugars and will knock you out of ketosis in no time.
Because of this, try to make water your main drink.
If you want a hot drink, black tea or coffee will sit well with your keto efforts.
There are thousands of fans of keto coffee. Follow the link for several ways to make this.
Also, if MCT oil is added, it will take your coffee to a whole new level.
Eggs are powerhouses of goodness.
Due to this they are a nutritionally dense food which has high levels of fats and proteins.
Together with their low levels of carbohydrates, eggs make a great addition to the keto diet.
You could experiment with different ways and new recipes to ring the changes.
For example, omelets, fried eggs, scrambled eggs are all healthy and satisfying.
Wheat flour is too carb heavy for use with the keto diet.
However, there are various other types of flour that can be used instead.
These flours are the most popular for baking keto friendly treats:
- Almond flour: This can be used as a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour
- Coconut Flour: This is a dense flour, so substitute only a quarter of the amount of wheat flour required.
The keto diet is packed with healthy vegetables, nuts, meats and fish.
With some care you can reach all your nutritional needs while on this diet.
It’s important that you eat enough at your meal times so that you don’t feel hungry between meals.
However, if you do get the urge for an occasional snack then see Quick keto snacks for a guide to quick and easy snacks.
These are substantial enough that they will see you through to your next meal.
Bear in mind that if you often find the need to snack you should consider increasing your fat intake with your meals.
Track your weight
Adjust your weight loss up or down by eating slightly more or less fat each day.
When doing this you should be aiming for a steady loss of no more than about 1kg/ 1-2 lb each week.
And don’t forget to keep your carb or protein macros unchanged.
Fortunately, if you’re following the keto well, and making sure that you’re reaching all your macros, you will find that after the first week your appetite will be reduced.
You should feel much less hungry due to the fact that fat is very satiating.
Also, the keto diet will also balance your blood/ glucose levels.
This will stop the rebound hunger from eating too many carbs.
It will also prevent you from feeling that post lunch slump in your energy levels and focus.
For a more detailed list of foods that are keto friendly visit Top 100 Keto foods with nutritional values
For a list of foods to avoid see Foods to avoid on the keto diet
Once you are familiar with the keto diet, and have been on it for a few weeks you can adjust the carb allowance.
The carb allowance is a very individual thing.
Due to this, you may find that you can increase your carbs while still staying in ketosis.
For a guide on how to do this visit How to work out your own carb limit for ketosis
The keto diet is a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet when it is done properly.
Having said that, the keto diet does require a little research, but the rewards for you will be great.
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