First-timers to the Ketogenic diet plan are often confused about what food is acceptable and unacceptable, especially since carbs are off-limit.
While this may be a frustrating situation, it is one that you can easily wriggle out of by having a cheat sheet. So here’s our cheat sheet to give you useful information about what you can and cannot eat on Keto.
First things first, what is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet, which is also referred to as keto, is a high fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet that is aimed at burning up fat. Basically, under the Keto diet, you will get more calories from fat and protein and less from carbohydrates.
This way it’s easy for you to lose weight without starving yourself. The diet is composed of about 60 to 70 percent healthy fats. If the fat isn’t healthy, it defeats the entire aim of the diet. For more information on what a ketogenic diet entails, you can check Totalshape.com, they published an extensive infographic on “Ketogenic Diet – Beginner’s Guide”.
What you can eat on the keto
- Meats: Any type of meat is allowed in the Keto diet. However, the best kind of meat for this diet is grass-fed meat, but if you can’t get it, it’s fine.
Don’t get stuck on just one kind of meat, instead incorporate different varieties of meat such as chicken, beef, mutton, bacon, venison, in your menu.
- Seafood: Any type of seafood you can think of is acceptable in the Keto diet. But the best is wild-caught seafood. Add shrimps, octopus, tilapia, tuna, bass, cod, salmon, and any other fish or seafood into your menu.
- Leafy Vegetables: Most of your carbs in the Keto diet will come from vegetables. Avoid starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. You can eat Cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes (avoid large ones), black olives, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, yellow squash, broccoli, beans, cauliflower, celery, onions, garlic, green peppers, and leafy greens.
- Berries: Even though most fruits are off-limits in this diet, you can still enjoy different berries. Berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even lemon and lime are permissible.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts like sunflower seeds, almonds, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin, pecans, coconuts, pistachios, and walnuts are allowed in the diet.
You can also eat butter made from some of these nuts like peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter with some restraint.
- Cheese: Heavy whipping cream, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, feta, sour cream, brie, mozzarella, feta, and blue cheese can all be eaten. Butter is also acceptable.
- Eggs: The good thing about eating eggs while on the Keto diet is that you are not limited to eating just egg whites, you can eat the entire egg.
- Low carb flour meals: Being on a Keto diet doesn’t mean that you can’t bake some of your favorite pastries.
The only thing that changes about your baking is that you will replace your regular flour with other options low in carbs. Any of the following can be used to bake; almond flour, almond meal, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal.
- Dairy: Your regular cow milk contains sugar so it should be highly restricted and should be replaced with full-fat dairy products like unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened yogurt, and heavy cream.
- Healthy oils and fats: Even though fat makes up a huge percentage of the diet, only eat healthy fats and oils. Avocado’s, chia seed, coconut oil, coconut butter, butter, flaxseed oil, olive oil, mayonnaise, fish oil, bacon fat, walnut oil, lard, and sesame oil can be eaten.
What you cannot eat on keto
There are a lot of regular foods that aren’t allowed in the Keto diet, not because they have no nutritional value, but because of the high level of carbohydrates they contain.
Below are some foods you can’t eat on the Keto diet.
- Low Fat Dairy: Any dairy product that is low on fat, probably has too many carbs so they should be avoided. Fat-free yogurt, sweetened yogurt, skim mozzarella, skim milk, cream cheese, and low cheese should be avoided.
- Grain Products: Even though whole grains are rich in protein, they also contain carbs, and it is easy to exceed your daily carbs intake if you add them to the diet. Pasta, rice, cereal, oatmeal, flour, granola, and pastries made with flour such as bread, pizza, bagels, and crackers are not allowed.
- Fruit: You may think this is a little too overboard but most fruits are not allowed on the Keto diet and the reason is that most fruits are high in carbohydrates.
For instance, one apple has over 20 grams of net carb, so eating up to two apples a day can make you exceed your carbs limit for the day. And this is also applicable to most fruits and that is why they should be avoided.
Bananas, watermelon, apples, pineapples, pears, grapefruits, mango, peaches, melon, etc are also banned.
- Sweets and Sweeteners: Sweet or sugary foods are not allowed in the Keto diet for obvious reasons. This means that buns, honey, custard, saccharin, cakes, ice cream, maple syrup, and other kinds of syrups, sugarcane, chocolate pudding, cookies, and pies are to be excluded from your menu.
- Legumes: While Legumes are laden with fiber which aids digestion, they also have a high level of carbs. Legumes like lentils, black beans, pinto beans, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas should be eliminated from your diet and substituted with other fiber alternatives.
- Sweetened drinks and Alcohols: Even though some people believe that alcohol can be taken while on the diet, we will advise you to stay away from it because it is detrimental to health.
Drinking alcohol while on the Keto diet will slow down your progress. The same is true for sweetened drinks. No beer, sweetened alcoholic drinks, juice, soda, sweetened tea or coffee, sweet wines, and cider should be taken.
- Root Vegetables: Most root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, beets, and carrots are high in starch and should be avoided at all costs.
Remember that variety is the spice of life, because you are on a Keto diet doesn’t mean that you should get stuck in a rut. Eating the same food every day will make the process very burdensome, so try out different keto recipes daily.
Are you on a Keto diet? Share your keto experience with us.