The keto diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that can be quite restrictive when it comes to the choice of foods you can eat. When following a ketogenic diet, you should aim to make fat the main macronutrient in your meals, followed by protein and very little carbs. However, it may be complicated to know what exactly you can eat. Carbohydrates can be found in different quantities in fruits and vegetables, restricting your choices even more.
What can you eat on keto?
When following a ketogenic diet, you can eat plenty of fats (up to 75% of your calories) moderate amounts of protein, and very few carbohydrates, between 20 and 50 grams per day.
These are some of the foods you can eat while on keto:
- Fats: Healthy, unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Saturated fats like butter, palm or coconut oil, lard. You can also eat different kinds of nut butter as long as they don’t have added sugar. Fats should make up the biggest part of your meals.
- Protein: Lean protein is okay but protein sources high in saturated fat like beef, pork, and bacon are also encouraged. You can also eat cheese high in saturated fat with low quantities of carbs, whole milk. Most fish are also keto-friendly.
- Carbohydrates: This is the macronutrient that needs to be restricted. Fruits should be generally avoided, with few exceptions like small portions of berries. As for vegetables, you can include the ones low in carbs like leafy greens such as kale or spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, and celery.
What should you avoid on keto?
As you may have guessed, while on a ketogenic diet you should avoid foods rich in carbohydrates. Here are some examples:
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Grains like rice and pasta
- Added sugars and sweeteners
- Sugary beverages like juice
- Snack foods like potato chips or crackers
- Most fruits except lemons, limes, tomato, and berries
- Starchy vegetables like corn or potatoes
- Alcohol like wine, beer, or sweetened cocktails
Remember to keep your overall quantity of carbohydrates low throughout the day. You can eat vegetables but remember that eating a lot of them will easily add up and risk throwing you off keto.
To have an idea, one cup of broccoli has six grams of carbs while one cup of potatoes has 26 grams. When in doubt, you can always do some research on how much carbs are in specific vegetables.
Finally, remember that as with many other diets, keto can have side effects. Make sure to check with your doctor if you can follow such a restrictive eating plan.