What is considered the keto diet food list? 

If you are interested in trying the ketogenic diet, or keto diet, you will need to identify foods and beverages with very low carbohydrates and high fat.  To identify a keto diet food list here are some top picks of things to eat. 

When looking at meats and poulty anything goes such as pork, beef, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey and duck as long as it is “real” unprocessed meat and poultry.  Avoid unprocessed products like the plague!  Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs.  When eating poultry, be sure to eat the skin too! 

Wild or freshly caught seafood is a great choice for the keto diet.  Salmon, haddock, trout, shrimp and most crabs contain no or very little carbs.  Other types of shellfish such as squid, oysters, octopus, clams and mussels contain between 3 and 7 grams of carbs for a 3.5 ounce serving.   So when consuming these products keep this in mind when configuring your total daily carb intake.  A good rule of thumb is to consume at least two servings of seafood every week.  Avoid the cultured or farmed fish and shellfish. 

Nuts and seeds are healthy, high-fat low-carb foods that are high in fiber.  They help you feel full and absorb fewer calories.  A one ounce serving of flaxseeds, brazil nuts, pecans, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios or cashews contain between 3 and 12 grams of carbs.  However, because of the fiber content they only contain between 0 and 8 “net” carbs.  Always consider the fiber content in what you consume subtracted from the carbs to get your actual carb intake, or net carbs because your body doesn’t digest and absorb the fiber. 

Most vegetables contain very few net carbs as long as they are not a “starchy” vegetable such as potatoes, yams or beets.  The net carbs for non-starchy vegetables and other plants range from less than 1 gram (a cup of raw spinach) to 8 grams (a cup of cooked brussel sprouts).  

A lot of low carb vegetables are a great way to substitute for higher carb foods you may be craving.  Consider using cauliflower to get your “fix” when you want rice or mashed potatoes.  Or try using zucchini and spaghetti squash to create “zoodles”.  Several different methods can be used to obtain these “vegetable noodles”, such as a spiralizer, hand held julienne peeler, food processor or mandolin.  The trick is not to overcook the zoodles so they mimic pasta noodles.  By adding a hot “sauce” to raw zoodles will satisfy your “pasta” craving in no time.  But if you really do want to cook them, less is more.  Throw them in the microwave for a minute, saute’ for 1-2 minutes, boil in a pot of hot water for a minute or bake for 10-15 minutes at a very low temperature.  Experiment with different methods to see which one is right for you! 

Another great alternative to pasta noodles, are shirataki noodles.  Shirataki noodles are a Japanese noodle made from the konjac yam and can be found in Asian markets and some stores in a dry and soft “wet” form.  They are mostly water and glucomanna which is a water–soluable dietary fiber that is very low in digestible carbs and calories (1 gram of carbs and 5 calories per serving) with very little flavor.  They come in a variety of shapes such as rice, fettuccine and linguine and can be substituted in all types of recipes from soups to sauce-based.   To get a pasta-like consistency, wet shirataki noodles should be drained and dry-roasted. 

What about fruit?  Well, most fruits are high in carbs so they should be avoided.  But the exception to this is berries.  Berries are low in carbs and high in fiber so they are perfect to make the keto diet foods list.  Raspberries and blackberries actually contain as much fiber as net carbs!  A 3.5 ounce serving of raspberries has 12 grams of total carbs but because of their fiber content your intake is 6 grams of net carbs.  And blackberries are even less with 10 grams of carbs but only 5 grams of net carbs.  If you prefer blueberries, 14 grams of total carbs are actually 12 net carbs and even better are strawberries with 8 grams total carbs but only 6 grams of net carbs. 

And what are considered “good fats”?  Good fats are typically fats and oils that are solid when at room temperature like lard and butter.  They only contain trace amounts of carbs per serving.  Olive oil is a pure fat source containing no carbs and is ideal for salad dressing and mayonnaise.  It’s best to use olive oil for low-heat cooking or adding it to foods that have already been cooked because it isn’t as stable as saturated fats when used at high temperatures.  Coconut oil is also a good fat as it is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are a saturated fatty acid that is more efficiently absorbed and rapidly transported to the liver as opposed to long-chain triglycerides (LCT) which are absorbed through the lymphatic system. 

So, what kind of beverages can you consume on the keto diet?  Water is imperative to consume while on the keto diet.  When you reduce your intake of carbs, the water in your body gets flushed more rapidly so it must be replaced to keep your body hydrated.  Coffee and tea are acceptable even by adding heavy cream but you should avoid adding or consuming “light” coffee or tea lattes made with non-fat milk and high-carb flavorings.  If a sweetener is an absolute must, then your best choice is to use stevia. 

How about keto friendly snacks?  I don’t know about you, but I could not imagine my life without cheese.  And on the keto diet, because all cheese is low in carbs and high in fat it is completely acceptable.  Imagine some zoodles or shitaki noodles with melted cheese and ham or bacon thrown in?  Yummmmm.  Like avocados?  Half of a medium avocado (3.5 ounces) has 9 grams of carbs, but 7 of those 9 grams is fiber.  So, your net carb intake is only 2 grams!  What about eggs?  A large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and less than 6 grams of protein (I don’t know about you but I could eat scrambled eggs with cheese, or an omelette with some bacon or ham thrown in any time of the day!  Breakfast?  check.  Lunch?  check.  Dinner?  check.  Snack?  check.)   

Olives are a great keto friendly snack as they have the same benefits as olive oil.  The carb content for a 1 ounce serving of olives is 2 grams but olives are high in dietary fiber making the net carbs for approximately 7-10 olives (dependent on size) only 1 gram.  If your sweet tooth is nagging at you, plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese are healthy, high protein alternatives when you add some nuts, cinnamon or stevia.  Both have been shown to decrease appetite and provide feelings of fullness.  Or add some chocolate to your keto diet foods list.  You can have 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate for only 3 grams of net carbs, or 1 ounce of dark chocolate (containing a minimum of 70% cocoa solids) for around 10 grams of net carbs. 

In my opinion, being able to wake up and have eggs and bacon for breakfast, some chicken wings for lunch and a steak with broccoli for dinner sounds like a heavenly way to eat for the day.  

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