Top 10 Best Keto Diet Foods

The first thing you want to know before starting a new diet is: What can I eat? Diets are all about what you can’t eat, so this article will focus on plenty of delicious and keto-friendly foods you can eat to your heart’s content.

Low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet have gained popularity in the past several years for their abundance of benefits like weight loss by limiting net carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. Studies have also found this high-fat, low-carb diet to be effective for epilepsy[1] and diabetes[2], so what are you waiting for?

Healthy Keto Foods

1. Avocados

You may have already heard, avocados are incredibly healthy! The fact that they’re also delicious make them one of the more popular keto foods. Half of a medium-sized avocado—100 grams—contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of which are fiber. This gives you a net carb count of only 2 grams.

Aside from being low-carb, this tasty fruit is also high in several essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium. An increased potassium intake has even been shown to help transition to a keto diet easier[3].

2. Low-Carb Vegetables

There are plenty of non-starchy and low-carb vegetables you can eat on the ketogenic diet which are also high in nutrients like vitamin C.

The keto diet loves these particular veggies because they contain fiber, which isn’t digested and absorbed like other carbs. Fiber helps keep you feeling full for longer, so this can certainly benefit a keto diet.

Here are a few of our favorite keto vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Arugula
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Mushroom
  • Tomato

Always try to avoid vegetables that grow underground, such as potatoes and yams, as just a single serving can put you over your daily carb count.

3. Seafood

Seafood is considered to be very keto-friendly. Salmon and other fish are carb-free and also rich in B vitamins, selenium, and potassium, making them an excellent dish option.

Keep in mind, however, that the carb count in the different types of seafood, like mollusks and shellfish, can vary. For example, foods like crab and shrimp contain zero carbs, while other types like mussels and lobsters, do. Even though they are still low in carbs and can be included in the keto diet, it’s important to stay on top of your daily carb count.

Here is the carb count for 100 gram servings of a few of the most popular shellfish:

  • Mussels: 7 grams
  • Clams: 5 grams
  • Octopus: 4 grams
  • Oysters: 4 grams
  • Squid: 3 grams

4. Meat and Poultry

Meat and poultry are essential on the ketogenic diet, and are considered staple foods. After all, they contain no carbs, they’re filling, and rich in minerals and B vitamins such as selenium, potassium, and zinc.

They are also excellent sources of protein, which studies have shown help preserve muscle mass on a low-carb diet[4].

When possible, it’s always best to opt for grass-fed meat. This is because grass-fed animals produce higher quality meat with increased amounts of omega-3 fats and antioxidants than their grain-fed counterparts.

5. Eggs

Who doesn’t love eggs? This heart-healthy and keto-friendly food is super healthy and also incredibly versatile, making it a great food option while on a ketogenic diet.

You’ll find less than 1 gram of carbs and less than 6 grams of protein in one large egg, making it an ideal food for a low-carb diet. Additionally, eggs trigger hormones in our bodies that increase feelings of fullness while also maintaining blood sugar levels.

And yes, eat the whole egg, yolk and all! While you’ll see many people trying to stay lean by only eating the egg whites, most of the egg’s nutrients are actually in the yolk. The real threat to high cholesterol are added sugars and trans fats, not yolk.

Eggs contain less than a gram of carbs each and can contribute to you feeling full for longer, so eat up!

6. Cheese

Unlike many diets out there, the ketogenic diet embraces cheese. They are very nutritious and equally delicious! While there are tons of cheese varieties, fortunately, all are quite low in carbs and high in fat, making them a great addition to your keto diet.

One ounce—or 28 grams—of cheddar cheese contains 7 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, and 20% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for calcium.

High-fat dairy like cheeses, butter, and cream are an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and conjugated linoleic acid. This cocktail of nutrients is essential for your body to maintain its strength as it ages.

7. Plain Greek Yogurt

This is another high-protein and healthy food that the ketogenic diet loves. While plain Greek yogurt might contain some carbs, it’s low enough to be included in a keto lifestyle.

Consuming 150 grams (or 5 ounces) of Greek yogurt provides 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs.

Yogurt is also known to help decrease appetite and keep your body feeling full. Throw in some chopped nuts and a little cinnamon for a great, low-carb snack!

8. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a special item on this list, as it contains very unique properties suitable for a keto diet. It contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which are taken by the liver and converted into ketones. In a nutshell, it’s used by the body as a source of energy.

MCTs are known to help decrease calorie consumption while also increasing our energy levels and improving brain function. It has even been used to raise ketone levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders relating to the brain and nervous system[5].

9. Nuts and Seeds

While there are some nuts and seeds that are packed with carbs and not recommended for the keto diet, there are also plenty that are both high-fat and low-carb.

Since nuts and seeds are high in fiber, having them as a snack can help you feel full and consume fewer calories overall throughout the day.

Some of the best nuts and seeds to opt for on the keto diet include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Pecans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Almonds

Overall, nuts and seeds are a heart-healthy food that are also high in fiber. They contain 0-8 grams of net carbs per ounce.

10. Berries

On the keto diet, it’s best to avoid most fruits, as they are often high in carbohydrates and packed with natural sugars (fructose). One exception to the rule, however, is berries!

Berries are very low in carbs and high in fiber, making them an excellent keto-friendly food. They are also loaded with antioxidants and are incredibly healthy.

Here is a quick carb count for 100 grams (3 ounces) of different berries:

  • Blueberries: 12 grams net carbs
  • Raspberries: 6 grams net carbs
  • Strawberries: 6 grams net carbs
  • Blackberries: 5 grams net carbs

Bottom Line

The ketogenic diet is strict on carbs, sure, but there are simply tons of foods you can eat that are both delicious and nutritious. Some other keto foods include dark chocolate, olives, shirataki noodles, butter, cream, and more.

Stay in full control of your diet while reaping the many health benefits it has to offer by consuming these foods on a daily basis.

References:

[1] Wang HS, Lin K. Ketogenic diet: an early option for epilepsy treatment, instead of a last choice only. Biomed J. 2013:16-7. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.107155.

[2] Al-Khalifa A, Mathew TC, Al-Zaid NS, Mathew E, Dashti HM. Therapeutic role of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in diabetes. Nutrition. 2009;1177-85. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.04.004.

[3] Phinney S. Ketogenic diets and physical performance. Nutr Metab. 2004;1:2. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-1-2.

[4] Harber MP, Schenk S, Barkan AL, Horowitz JF. Effects of dietary carbohydrate restriction with high protein intake on protein metabolism and the somatotropic axis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(9):5175-81. Epub 2005 Jun 21.

[5] Fernando WM, Martins IJ, Goozee KG, Brennan CS, Jayasena V, Martins RN. The role of dietary coconut for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: potential mechanisms of action. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(1):1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515001452. Epub 2015 May 22.

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