Switching over to a ketogenic diet can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Your focus should be on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of meals and snacks.
In order to reach and remain in a state of ketosis, carbs must be restricted.
While certain people might only achieve ketosis by eating less than 20 grams of carbs per day, others may be successful with a much higher carb intake.
Generally, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to reach and stay in ketosis.
This is why sticking to keto-friendly foods and avoiding items rich in carbs is the best way to successfully lose weight on a ketogenic diet.
Keto-Friendly Foods to Eat
When following a ketogenic diet, meals and snacks should center around the following foods:
- Eggs: Pastured, organic whole eggs make the best choice.
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey.
- Fatty fish: Wild-caught salmon, herring and mackerel.
- Meat: Grass-fed beef, venison, pork, organ meats and bison.
- Full-fat dairy: Yogurt, butter and cream.
- Full- fat cheese: Cheddar, mozzarella, brie, goat cheese and cream cheese.
- Nuts and seeds: Macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and flaxseeds.
- Nut butter: Natural peanut, almond and cashew butters.
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter and sesame oil.
- Avocados: Whole avocados can be added to almost any meal or snack.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Greens, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers.
- Condiments: Salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices.
Protein should make up 20-30% of your diet. Eating the right balance of protein while on a low carb diet is important in protecting muscle mass and supplying the liver with enough amino acids to make new glucose for the cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel.
Meat, poultry, and eggs
Meat and poultry are excellent no-net-carb sources of protein and some of the most keto-friendly foods. Make sure to get your protein from a variety of different sources and aim for three 4-6 ounce servings of protein each day. Eggs are also packed with protein as well as vitamin A and antioxidants. Enjoy your eggs any style, especially with some foundation vegetables mixed in for a filling, balanced meal.
Low carb keto diets replace your reduction of carbs with an increase in fat, typically accounting for at least 60% of your daily calories. But not just any fat; make sure to choose healthy fats from high-quality plant and animal sources, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts, as well as cheese, eggs, meat, and fish, which are also protein sources.
Oils and other healthy fats
While these oils are free of carbs, the recommended daily intake for added fats is 2–4 tablespoons. Steer clear of unhealthy fats —i.e. trans fats typically found in packaged and fried foods—like partially hydrogenated oils. When cooking with the following healthy options, avoid heating oils above their smoke point.
- Avocado oil
- Coconut butter
- Coconut oil
- Mayonnaise (with no added sugar)
- MCT oil
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil