When I first committed to keto, I spent a ton of time figuring out what I could and couldn’t eat and what I should and shouldn’t buy. I knew that keto was ideally based on consuming whole, unprocessed, single-ingredient foods.
I read labels, researched, and made discoveries by trial and error. And I still believe that buying organic products is best, but I know that’s not always practical in the monthly food budget. Buy the best quality of meats, eggs, dairy products, and vegetables your pocketbook allows.
Keto Staple Foods To Enjoy
Enjoy a variety of meat, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy products like cheeses, butter, and cream, low-carb nuts (especially pecans, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts), healthy oils, low-carb condiments, low carb veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens and a whole lot of avocados! Here’s a more detailed list of
these ketogenic kitchen staples, which you will see is called for frequently in this book’s recipes.
Avocados are a ketogenic diet staple. They are low in carbs, packed full of nutrients, and high in healthy fats. They pair well with most dishes and are a great way to add flavor and fat into your diet.
Full-fat dairy products, including cream cheese, sour cream, cheeses, heavy (whipping) cream, and grass-fed butter make any dish creamy and rich, and they are all keto-approved. Avoid dairy products with added sugars as well as those that are low-fat and fat-free. Even though dairy is a key aspect of the ketogenic lifestyle, you can still manage to do a dairy-free keto diet. Some tips that accompany the recipes in this book can help you pull this off.
Eggs are convenient, inexpensive, and easy to add to any dish. You can fry, scramble, poach, and boil eggs. Having a dozen eggs in the refrigerator at all times is a great way to stay on track and always have a backup meal plan. Half an avocado, bacon, and a couple of fried eggs is the perfect keto meal. Use free-range and organic eggs when possible.
Fats and oils
Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, lard, beef tallow, butter, and ghee are healthy fats that should be incorporated into your diet. Cooking meats and vegetables in these healthy fats help you achieve your keto goals by making your meals filling and satisfying. When you are keto-adapted, these healthy fats are your body’s primary fuel source, so it’s important to add these fats to your diet.
When it comes to meats, you can eat pretty much whatever you want—just be sure to balance lean meats with fatty side dishes to hit your macros with every meal. Watch for added sugars in bacon and sausages and stick to uncured and no-sugar-added meats.
Almond and coconut flour are great keto substitutes for wheat flour. Both are gluten-free, grain-free, and low-carb. When making keto-friendly desserts, baked goods, or breading for proteins, these flours are great to have on hand.
Nuts and nut butter in moderation are a great fat source. Stick to nuts that are high in fat and low in carbs like almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans. Watch out for pistachios, cashews, and sunflower seeds due to their higher carb content. Nuts are very calorie-dense, so watch your serving size.
When living a ketogenic lifestyle, you may experience a decrease in sodium. Adding extra salt to your food may be scary at first, but it is essential when going low carb. Ideally, use Himalayan salt or sea salt.
Stevia and erythritol are all-natural, low carb sugar replacements. Experiment to see what tastes best to you and what your body responds well to. When you are craving something sweet or need to take your Fat Coffee to the next level, it’s nice to have these on hand so you can keep your blood sugar stable and your sweet tooth satisfied.
When shopping in the produce section, stick to mostly green vegetables. Choose non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts. Stay away from starchy vegetables like beans, corn, potatoes, and winter squashes.
Foods To Limit
You may enjoy certain higher-carb fruits and vegetables in moderation. For instance, a handful of berries or a small serving of squash, carrots, tomatoes, or onions are okay to incorporate into your diet. I cook with a few of these ingredients often, because I love the flavor and texture they bring to my dishes. I feel it’s worth using some of my daily carbs to enjoy their contribution.
Watch for higher carbs in cottage cheese, full-fat yogurts with added sugar, and certain nuts, including cashews, chestnuts, and pistachios, and their corresponding nut flours. These items are fine to incorporate into your diet in moderation, just be sure to track those carbs.
Foods To Avoid
Foods to altogether avoid on a keto diet include grains, most fruits, processed foods, starchy vegetables, sugary drinks, and refined fats.
Watch nutrition labels for hidden sugars and carbs while grocery shopping and cooking. This is especially important when you are buying condiments, sauces, and dressings rather than making them yourself. Storebought versions of these products are often loaded with sweeteners and starchy thickeners.
Alcohol should also be avoided, but dry wines and low-carb spirits can be consumed in small amounts. When you drink alcohol, your body is going to burn the alcohol first as energy and then use fat (if you are fat-adapted). So, realize when you are drinking that you aren’t making any progress, just stalling until your body burns through the alcohol.