The ketogenic diet, or keto, may be a healthy way of losing weight and reducing body fat. Strict macronutrient ratios, however, may make it difficult to know which foods to choose from, and may require careful grocery shopping preparation.
This article discusses what to include in a list of keto foods and offers suggestions for breakfast , lunch and dinner recipes.
It also discusses the diet’s side effects, and how they can be avoided.
About the keto diet
The typical ratios for macronutrients according to one report in 2020 are:
- 55–60% fat
- 30–35% protein
- 5–10% carbohydrates
That means restricting carbohydrates to 20–50 grams ( g) per day on a 2,000 calorie diet per day.
According to the same article in 2020, a keto diet can limit the consumption of protein to less than 1 g per pound (lb) of body weight (or 1.5 g per lb of body weight for those doing heavy weight training).
A keto diet keeps the body at a ketosis stage. This happens as the body switches from burning carbohydrates as a fuel to instead burning stored fats. Some keto diets seek to make weight loss easier by developing a metabolic state where the body transforms fat stores into energy.
Foods to include
The following are some items which are keto-friendly to add to a list of groceries.
In a keto diet, a person should include non-starchy vegetables to provide vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Such vegetables include:
- green beans
Many fruits have too high a sugar content for keto-friendly use. An individual can, however, count their fruit intake as part of their daytime carbohydrate allowance and choose lower sugar fruits, such as berries, coconut and citrus fruits.
People can vary their sources of protein in order to get variety in keto diet. Many forms of protein, such as meat and dairy, often contain fat, so when monitoring their macronutrients people should account for that.
The following are some protein foods to include:
- chicken and turkey
- red meat, such as beef or lamb
- unsweetened dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, cheese, and cream
- fish and shellfish
- tofu, tempeh, and seitan
One criticism of the keto diet is that too much saturated fat can be eaten by a person. The American Dietary Guidelines suggest reducing the risk of heart disease by restricting calories from saturated fats to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
More healthful unsaturated fats sources include:
- olive oil
- avocado and avocado oil
- fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon
- nuts and nut butter
- sesame oil
- hemp seed oil
Coconut oil is a saturated fat that can be used, and often people use triglyceride oil in the medium chain too.
People should remain hydrated properly at all times. This can also assist in avoiding keto diet side effects.
Plain water is a easy, safe choice but there are other ideas for drinks to include
- water with added mint leaves and citrus slices
- herbal teas
- occasional zero sugar sodas
- unsweetened soy and almond milk
- bone broth
People can stock up on the following useful pantry items for a keto diet:
- coconut cream
- almond flour
- soy sauce or tamari
- liquid aminos or coconut aminos
- fish sauce
- dried herbs and spices
- cocoa powder
- garlic powder and onion powder
There are plenty of online sites enabling people to look up ideas for keto recettes. Keto diet apps, for example, can be a good choice, as they have several ideas for the recipe along with their macronutrient material.
One keto diet app sets out the following breakfast , lunch and dinner meal ideas:
Breakfast mug frittata
Cook time: 5 minutes. Prep time: 5 minutes.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 2 tbsp Cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup raw white mushrooms
- Spray a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray or coat with butter.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper until frothy.
- Add the spinach, cheese, mushrooms, and chives.
- Pour the egg mixture into the prepared mug and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Check the eggs and microwave for another 30 seconds if they are not set. Continue to cook in 30-second increments until the eggs are firm.
- Enjoy while hot.
Keto salmon patties
A person could serve these patties for lunch with a green salad.
Cook time: 6 minutes. Prep time: 10 minutes.
- 1 lb canned salmon
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 tbsp chives
- 1 tsp dill weed
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- In a large bowl, mix the canned salmon, almond flour, eggs, chives, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Form 10 small salmon patties out of the mix, flattening each so that they are about half an inch thick. Set on a tray.
- In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Once the oil has melted, add the patties to the skillet (working in batches if necessary) and cook for 3 minutes. Flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, or until they are perfectly golden brown.
- Serve while hot.
Grilled chicken with peanut sauce
Cook time: 15 minutes. Prep time: 10 minutes.
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp ginger root
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp granular erythritol sweetener
- 6 whole chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 6 cups shredded green cabbage
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and lime juice.
- Add 2 tbsp of water and the granular erythritol, then whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with ground coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat and grease the grates with oil.
- Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down, and cook for about 6 minutes.
- Turn the chicken and cook for a further 6–8 minutes until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, toss the cabbage with the peanut sauce until well coated.
- Serve the chicken hot over a bed of shredded cabbage with the peanut sauce.
Potential side effects of the keto diet
People may initially find keto diets difficult, and may have a cravings for food and hunger pangs. Usually this subsides with time though.
There are also some short-term side effects of keto diets, often referred collectively to as keto flu.
Symptoms can include:
People should make sure they stay hydrated with fluids and electrolytes to help avoid some of those side effects.
Eating foods that are rich in fiber and magnesium — such as dark green leafy vegetables, chocolate, and pumpkin seeds — can help prevent constipation.
Keto diets can cause a buildup of acids in the blood, known as ketones. Small amounts of ketones in the blood suggest fat is broken down by the body. High levels of ketones can however poison the body, resulting in a condition known as ketoacidosis. Hence, tracking kidney function while following a long-term keto diet is critical.
Keto diets may not be acceptable for people with health conditions including diabetes and those taking some drugs. First, a person should consult with his or her doctor.
If a person reverts to a normal diet, they should do so gradually to prevent high blood sugar rebounding and weight gain.
After a person has decided that a keto diet suits them, they can begin by planning what they will eat and making a list of groceries.
Varying the meals can help make the menu more interesting, which can encourage someone to adopt a diet plan.
People should be careful not to saturate too much fat, and should make sure they have a variety of vegetables. Storing staples at the pantry and using a keto recipe app are suggestions to better plan future meals.