If the keto diet has piqued your interest, the first thing you’ll want to know is what you can and can’t eat. After all, finding a diet you can stick to is the secret to long-term weight loss success.
And while decimating your sugar and carb intake overnight is tough on the first-time keto virgin, there are stacks of delicious fatty foods you can get stuck into instead.
So without further ado, here’s what you can and can’t eat to achieve a state of fat-burning keto goodness.
What You Can Eat On Keto
To succeed at keto, you’ll need to get into the habit of eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in healthy (saturated) fats and with moderate levels of protein.
Meat, Poultry, and Seafood
Ravenous carnivores will find the switch to keto easy as all kinds of meat are well and truly on the menu. For optimal results, aim for quality cuts of grass-fed and organic beef/pork as well as free-range chicken.
Fattier cuts are fine, but avoid anything crumbed or deep-fried.
- Beef steaks, ground beef, roast beef, sausages, and veal
- Chicken breast, wings, and thighs
- Quail, turkey, and duck
- Pork chops, pork tenderloin, bacon, and ham
- Goat and lamb
- Offal such as tongue, liver, heart, and kidney
- Shellfish such as lobster, crab, mussels, and oysters
- Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, catfish, mackerel, and trout
- Stews and bone broth from any of the above
Dairy foods are an excellent source of saturated fat and play a critical role in the keto diet. Again, opt for the good stuff (grass-fed cows, free-range chickens, and organic) and go for whole-fat/full-cream dairy instead of the low-fat alternatives.
Be careful, though, because not all dairy is keto-friendly. For example, many dairy products contain added sugar, so you’ll need to give those a miss.
- Sour cream, whipped cream, heavy cream
- Butter and ghee
- Most kinds of cheese
Nuts and Seeds
Low-carb and sugar-free nuts and seeds are keto compliant and serve as a great snack to nibble on between meals. Eat them raw rather than roasted and avoid any that have been coated in sugar.
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
You might be surprised to learn that a lot of veggies are carbohydrate-rich, so you’ll need to give these a wide berth. Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens are keto staples because they’re nutrient-rich and have very few carbs. As a rule of thumb, always opt for veggies that have less than 5 grams per serve.
- Lettuce: romaine, iceberg, and butterhead
- Leafy greens: spinach, arugula, and kale
- Fermented vegetables: kimchi and sauerkraut
- Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, and zucchini
You’ll need to give most fruits a miss, unfortunately, as many varieties have too much fructose for your keto goals. There are a few delicious low-sugar options to choose from, however.
- Berries: cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
- Avocado (woohoo!)
Herbs and Spices
Feel free to go gangbusters with your plant-based garnishing because these contain virtually no carbs. Grab them fresh from the grocery store or grow your own for the ultimate flavor infusion.
Healthy Fats and Oils
High-fat foods are a core aspect of the keto diet, so don’t be afraid to use generous portions in your cooking. Both animal and plant-based saturated fats are good to consume.
- Coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, and sesame seed oil
- Coconut butter
- MCT powder
What You Can’t Eat On Keto
Now for the bad news.
Keto means forgoing carb-dense and sugar-rich treats. You’ll need to limit these foods severely; otherwise, you’ll never succeed in sustaining a prolonged period of fat-busting ketosis.
But don’t panic, because there’s a wide array of tasty alternatives we can eat to compensate for missing out on carbs and sugars.
Grains are jam-packed full of carbs, so you’ll have to avoid them altogether on a keto diet. The sacrifice will be considered at first, but the rewards will quickly outweigh the cravings once you hit that precious state of carb-free ketosis.
- Whole grains
The good news is there are lots of ways you can imitate carb-rich recipes to continue eating your favorite foods. Zucchini pasta and zucchini rice are superb keto-compliant alternatives to the carb-heavy originals. If you love your Mexican food, know that low-carb tortillas are a thing and they’re actually really good.
Sweet tooths will have to be careful because sugar is a big keto no-no. Even a small amount will raise your blood sugar levels and bring on an insulin spike, thus shattering your hard-earned state of ketosis.
- Added sugars in coffee tea
- Soft drinks, fruit juice, and soda
- Ice cream and chocolate
- Desserts, pies, pastries, and cakes
- Tomato/barbeque sauce
Chocoholics needn’t despair, though, because dark chocolate is still fair game on the diet. Other tasty keto-friendly sweets include peanut butter cookies, gluten-free brownies, and low-carb chocolate gelato.
Although fruits have stacks of well-documented health benefits, they’ve also got enough fructose to ruin your keto game. You’ll need to avoid pretty much all fruits except berries, avocado, and tomato.
Legumes and Beans
Vegans and vegetarians rely on these puppies for their protein, which is why the keto diet can be so challenging for our non-meat-eating friends. Sadly, beans and legumes contain lots of carbs, so they’re not a viable option with keto.
- Baked beans
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
Tubers and Other High-Starch Vegetables
These guys are quite healthy on the whole, but they’ve simply got too many carbs to align with the keto diet.
- Sweet potato
While most types of oil are fine, highly processed seed oils are not particularly keto-friendly.
- Peanut oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
Party people will need to dial their vices back because booze is abundant with both sugar and carbs. Furthermore, your liver will elect to detox last night’s poison rather than focus on ketosis, which kind of defeats the purpose of it all. The good news is that you won’t have to become a total teetotaler because the moderate consumption of low glycemic alcoholic beverages is acceptable every once in a while.
Now that you know what you can and can’t eat, it’s time to formulate a meal plan that includes a few key KEPPI supplements. And once you’ve got that sorted, you’ll be ready to embark on your fat-busting keto adventure.