What to eat on a keto diet

Updated: Sep 26, 2020



What’s the most important thing to do to reach ketosis? Avoid eating too many carbs. You’ll likely need to keep carb intake under 50 grams of net carbs per day, ideally below 20 grams.

The fewer the carbs, the more effective the diet appears to be for reaching ketosis, losing weight or improving type 2 diabetes.

Full keto diet food list

First, Always seek to buy Organic Foods:

  1. Meat – Unprocessed meats are low carb and keto-friendly, and organic and grass-fed meat might be even healthier.  But remember that keto is a higher-fat diet, not high in protein, so you don’t need huge amounts of meat. Excess protein (over 2.0 g per kg of reference body weight; can be converted to glucose, which could make it harder for some people to get into ketosis, especially when starting out and with high levels of insulin resistance. Read more about protein and its effect on blood sugar. Note that processed meats, like sausages, cold cuts and meatballs often contain added carbs. When in doubt look at the ingredients, aim for under 5% carbs

  2. Fish and seafood – These are all good, especially fatty fish like salmon. If you have concerns about mercury or other toxins, consider eating more of the smaller fish like sardines, mackerel and herring. If you can find wild-caught fish, that’s probably the best. Avoid breading, as it contains carbs.

  3. Eggs – Eat them any way you want, e.g. boiledfried in butterscrambled or as omelets. How many eggs can you eat, considering cholesterol? Our advice is no more than 3 eggs, per day. But feel free to eat fewer if you prefer.

  4. Natural fat, high-fat sauces – Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You’ll likely get much of it from natural sources like meat, fish, eggs, and other sources. But also use fat in cooking, like butter or coconut oil, and feel free to add plenty of olive oil to salads and vegetables. You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces, including Bearnaise sauce, garlic butter, and others (recipes). Remember, fat helps you feel full and adds flavor to food. Don’t use more than you want or need, but don’t fear fat.On keto, fat is your friend. 



Vegetables growing above ground. Fresh or frozen – either is fine. Choose vegetables growing above ground (here’s why), especially leafy and green items. Favorites include cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli and zucchini. Vegetables are a tasty way to eat good fat on keto. Fry them in butter and pour plenty of olive oil on your salad. Some even think of vegetables as a fat-delivery system. They also add more variety, flavor and color to your keto meals. Many people end up eating more vegetables than before when starting keto, as veggies replace the pasta, rice, potatoes, and other starches. It’s even possible to eat a vegetarian or vegan keto diet. 

  • High-fat dairy – Butter is good, high-fat cheese is fine, and heavy cream is great for cooking. Avoid drinking milk as the milk sugar quickly adds up (one glass = 15 grams of carbs), but you can use it sparingly in your coffee. What does “sparingly” mean? That depends on how many cups per day you drink! We recommend one cup with just a “splash,” about a tablespoon max. But even better is to do away with the milk completely. Definitely avoid caffè latte (18 grams of carbs). Also avoid low-fat yogurts, especially as they often contain lots of added sugars.

  • Nuts – Can be had in moderation, but be careful when using nuts as snacks, as it’s very easy to eat far more than you need to feel satisfied. Also be aware that cashews are relatively high carb, choose macadamia or pecan nuts instead 

  • Berries – A moderate amount is OK on keto, perhaps with real whipping cream, a popular keto dessert.

In summary, eat real low-carb foods like meatfisheggsvegetables and natural fats like butter or olive oil. As a basic beginner’s rule, stick to foods with fewer than 5% carbs (numbers below).

Drink

Here is a list of what you can drink on a ketogenic diet:

  • Water – The #1 option. Have it flat, with ice, or sparkling. Sip it hot like a tea, or add natural flavouring like sliced cucumbers, lemons, or limes. If you experience headaches or symptoms of “keto flu“, add a few shakes of salt to your water.

  • Coffee – No sugar. A small amount of milk or cream is fine. For extra energy from fat, stir in butter and coconut oil for “Bulletproof coffee.” Note, if weight loss stalls, cut back on the cream or fat in your coffee.

  • Tea – Whether black, green, Orange Pekoe, mint, or herbal — feel free to drink most teas. Don’t add sugar.

  • Bone broth – Hydrating, satisfying, full of nutrients and electrolytes — and simple to make! — homemade bone broth can be a great beverage to sip on the keto diet. Stir in a pat of butter for some extra energy.


Shopping lists & meal plans

If planning your own meals sounds too time-consuming, we can help you avoid it. As a member you have full access to our 90+ keto meal plans, and you can adapt them or make your own with our customizable meal planner tool. Personalized shopping lists are included.

Focus on eating good quality, minimally processed real food. Ideally the food you buy shouldn’t even have a list of ingredients (or it should be very short).

How low carb is keto?

Keto is a low-carb diet, not “no carb”. So how much of carbs can you eat in a day?

The answer is that it depends. But as a rough guide stay under 20 grams per day for maximum effect. If you want to eat more carbs, you should probably aim for at least staying under 100 grams of carbs per day in order to still see some of the benefits from low-carb eating, such as weight loss.

Below are three examples of how a low-carb meal can look, depending on how many carbs you eat per day.

Ketogenic 0-20 

Moderate 20-50 

Liberal 50-100 

How much fat do you need to eat?

The body has two main sources of energy: carbs and fats. Take away most of the carbs and the body switches to burning fat for energy. This can come from your body’s fat stores or the fat in your food (e.g. butter or olive oil).

Because of this, a proper keto low-carb diet always means you get a lot more energy from fat. But because much of this fat may come from your body’s fat stores, this does not always mean eating more fat in the long term.

However, this is why some people call keto diets “LCHF” (low carb, high fat).

How much fat should you eat? As much as you need to feel satisfied. Whatever else the body burns, it will take from your fat stores, as you lose weight. Eat more fat than you need to feel great, and it will slow down your fat loss. Eat too little fat, and you might feel tired and hungry.

Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are satisfied. Then repeat. It can be that simple
















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