The Ketogenic diet continues to rise in popularity. If you find that the trending diet has captured your interests or are simply looking for some meal and snack ideas that are healthy and sustainable, you’ve come to the right place.
The keto meal plan is mainly based on a diet that is high in healthy fats, low in carbohydrates, and moderate amounts of protein. This may seem simple on paper, but in reality, changing your eating habits requires intense planning and dedication to be successful. The keto diet has a specific range of foods that should comprise your daily meals, knowing the best foods to add to your kitchen will ensure that you are properly prepared to make your transition simple. Here are 10 secret keto diet foods and their benefits.
10 Ketogenic Diet Foods You Need to Know About
1. Eggs, Eggs, Eggs!
Eggs are a key part of just about every diet, including the keto diet. Eggs are a true superfood and are highly beneficial thanks to the high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals found in the yolk. Eggs make a great addition to the keto diet plan because they actively work to stabilize blood sugar levels which in turn decreases your daily calorie intake. With only 1 gram of carbs per egg, it tops our list for the most efficient keto friendly food that should be on your menu.
2. Dark Chocolate
No one can resist chocolate, well, very few anyway. Thankfully on the keto diet, you can indulge in this sweet pleasure without guilt. Dark chocolate is known for its ability to reduce blood pressure and insulin resistance as well as its effect on mitigating the risk of heart disease. This super fruit is also packed with antioxidants which is great for all ages. (1) Make sure that you pay attention to the carb content in the dark chocolate products you purchase since many have hidden carbs that can halt your ketosis. Look for those that don’t contain added sugars or those that are organic.
3. Olives and Olive Oil
Olives and their oils have a number of healthy compounds that your body needs to stay healthy and aid your weight loss efforts. Olives have a compound called oleocanthal that works as an anti-inflammatory which is great for people who are seeking more natural methods of pain relief. One ounce of olives, about 10 olives, only have 2 grams of carbs, making them a healthy fat source option for your keto diet plan. Eating the olives in their raw form, or cooked over a low flame will ensure that you get all of the fat-soluble vitamins they have to offer.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fat for any diet. Nuts and seeds help lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, and even some cancers. They also help you lose weight thanks to their high fiber content which makes you feel more full and causes you to eat less. Fiber also offers prebiotic support to your body, which supports a healthy gut. Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, and almonds are all great choices for keto diets as they are high in fat and low in carbs. As far as seeds go, chia seeds have many health benefits, are low in carbs and high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber (which is great for digestive health as a bonus). Other seed options which are an easy addition to your meals or as a snack on their own include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds.
5. Avocados and Avocado Oil
Every post, recipe, guide or blog you find about the keto diet will mention avocados at some point. Avocados play a key role in the keto diet, especially at the start because it’s a healthy high-fat food that is jam-packed with minerals and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. They also help mitigate the effects of “keto flu” that most people experience during the first week on their new meal regimen while their body is purging glucose stores. This healthy fruit also reduces bad cholesterol in the body while increasing good HDL cholesterol. They are also very low in carbohydrates, averaging about 2 net carbs per avocado. (2)
6. Kale & Broccoli
Low-carb vegetables have a range of essential minerals, fiber, and vitamins you need to ensure that you are eating a well-balanced keto meal. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale will give you an extra boost of vitamin A and vitamin K along with a healthy dose of sulforaphane. This compound is created when we chew broccoli, kale, or other cruciferous veggies. The compound is important because it helps flush toxins from the body which will improve brain function and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They have a very low to nil carb content which allows you to sub them for many high carb foods.
7. Full Fat Dairy
You can stop skipping over that full flavored full-fat cheese or milk in the dairy aisle as long as you remain on the keto diet plan. High amounts of healthy fats are just what you need to maintain your weight loss, and that means that you can eat cheese to your heart’s content. This also counts for butter, heavy cream, whole milk, cottage cheese, and regular/greek yogurt (make sure it’s plain to avoid added sugar). Full-fat dairy products also have an assortment of minerals, vitamins, and acids your body needs to maintain its strength as you age.
8. Coconut Oil
Most diets want you to avoid fat or promote a very low-fat intake, but on a keto diet, healthy fats should make up the bulk of your daily calories. Coconut oil is one of the densest healthy fat foods you can find, and instead of it causing you to gain weight, it actually helps your body shed pounds. Coconut oil has been clinically proven to reduce belly fat and control the lipids in your blood. This pure fat food is a dream from those following the keto diet since its pure energy for your body. The MCT’s (medium-chain triglycerides) that are found in coconut oil (or formulated into MCT oil after extraction) are also said to raise energy levels and improve the quality of life of people with certain degenerative brain disorders.
While fruit is good for your gut health, most fruits are not good keto foods as they don’t fit into a low-carb diet. Berries are the exception and are a great way to get your vitamins and anthocyanins. 100 grams of blackberries only have 10 grams of carbohydrates but are full of health-friendly antioxidants. 100 grams of raspberries only have 12 grams of carbs and are known for supporting the immune system. 100 grams of blueberries only have 14 grams of carbohydrates and have been proven to improve memory in older adults.
10. Lean Meat
Adding high-quality meat as a protein is a very important part of your keto diet plan. Veggies and dairy are good for you, but there are nutrients that are found in meat that you can’t get from any other source. B12, some forms of iron, and DHA are only able to be obtained from animal products. Opt for grass-fed, organic red meat since it tends to have more omega 6 and omega 3 fats that animals only fed with grain. Bone broth and wild-caught, fatty fish are also good additions to a high-fat diet.
Additional Keto Foods & Those to Avoid
While they did not make the above ketogenic diet food list, here are some additional foods that are keto approved as well as those to avoid.
- Include non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, mustard, etc.), cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, etc.), asparagus, celery, eggplant, herbs, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes, broccoli raab, tomatoes, and zucchini
- Avoid high-carb fruits and veggies (yes this includes sweet potatoes even though they are lower in carbs than white potato varieties)
- Include water, coffee, tea, and red wine (in moderation) are carb-free/low-carb
- Avoid bread, potatoes, most fruits, pasta, soda, fruit juice, junk food (candy, donuts, other highly processed sugary sweets), beer
Build on the Healthy Habits of a Keto Diet by Adding Probiotic Support
The Ketogenic diet will continue to rise in popularity as its effectiveness in fat loss is discovered. The diet is also a great way to discover and implement more sustainable and healthy eating habits. As you continue your search for more information on keto recipes and food lists, also consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet plan to ensure you are supporting your gut and metabolism.
- Gunnars, Kris. “7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.” Health Line. Last modified June 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate.
- Gunnars, Kris. “12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado.” Health Line. Last modified June 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado.