A ketogenic diet generally limits carbohydrates to 20 to 50 grams per day. While this may seem like a challenge, many nutritious foods can easily adapt to this way of eating.
Here are some healthy foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.
- Fish and shellfish are very ketogenic foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium, but they contain virtually no carbohydrates. However, the carbohydrates in different types of seafood vary. For example, while shrimp and most crabs do not contain carbohydrates, other types of shellfish do.
- While these shellfish can still be included on a ketogenic diet, these carbs are important to consider when trying to stay within a narrow range.
2. Low carbohydrate vegetables
- Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and various minerals.
- Vegetables and other plants contain fiber, which your body does not digest or absorb like other carbohydrates.
- So look at your digestible (or net) carb count, which is total carbs minus fiber. The term “net carbohydrates” simply refers to carbohydrates that are absorbed by the body.
- There are hundreds of types of cheese. Fortunately, most are very low in carbohydrates and high in fat, which makes them ideal for a ketogenic diet.
- One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese provides 1 gram of carbohydrates, 6.5 grams of protein, and a good amount of calcium.
- Cheese is high in saturated fat, but it has not been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, some studies suggest that cheese can help protect against heart disease.
- Avocados are incredibly healthy; 3.5 ounces (100 grams), or about half of a medium avocado, contain 9 grams of carbohydrates.
- However, 7 of these are fiber, so your net carb count is just 2 grams.
- Avocados are high in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral that many people don’t get enough of. What’s more, higher potassium intake can help ease the transition to a ketogenic diet.
5. Meat and poultry
- Meat and poultry are considered staples on a ketogenic diet.
- Fresh meat and poultry do not contain carbohydrates and are rich in B vitamins and several important minerals.
- They are also a great source of high-quality protein, which has been shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carbohydrate diet.
6. Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are healthy and high-protein foods.
- While they do contain some carbohydrates, they can still be included in a ketogenic lifestyle in moderation.
- One-half cup (105 grams) of plain Greek yogurt provides 4 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein. That amount of cottage cheese provides 5 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of protein.
- Both yogurt and cottage cheese have been shown to help decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness.
7. Nuts and seeds
- Nuts and seeds are healthy foods, high in fat and low in carbohydrates.
- Frequent consumption of walnuts has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and other chronic diseases.
- Plus, nuts and seeds are high in fiber, which can help you feel full and absorb fewer calories overall.
- Although all nuts and seeds are low in net carbs, the amount varies quite a bit between the different types.
- Most fruits are too high in carbohydrates to include on a ketogenic diet, but berries are an exception.
- Berries are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber. In fact, raspberries and blackberries contain as much fiber as digestible carbohydrates.
- These little fruits are loaded with antioxidants that are credited with reducing inflammation and protecting against disease.
9. Butter and cream
- Butter and cream are good fats to include on a ketogenic diet. Each contains only small amounts of carbohydrates per serving.
- For many years, butter and cream were believed to cause or contribute to heart disease due to their high content of saturated fat. However, several large studies have shown that, for most people, saturated fat is not linked to heart disease.
10. Shirataki noodles
- Shirataki noodles are a fantastic addition to a ketogenic diet. You can find them near products in grocery stores or online.
- They contain less than 1 gram of net carbohydrates and 15 calories per serving because they are primarily water.
- In fact, these noodles are made from a viscous fiber called glucomannan, which can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water.
The viscous fiber forms a gel that slows the movement of food through your digestive tract. This can help decrease hunger and blood sugar spikes, making it beneficial for weight loss and diabetes control.