The Ketogenic Diet is a Low-Carb, High-Fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
While on the face of it, it can seem extremely restrictive - and some foods are indeed totally off limits - you’ll be surprised to learn just how varied a Keto Diet can be.
Foods you CAN eat on a Keto Diet
One of the most important things to consider when starting any new diet is how you will be able to make sure that all your nutritional needs are being met, so I’ve put together this list of which foods you CAN eat while following the Keto Diet so you know exactly what's allowed on your plate!
Before you start, make sure you know what your Macronutrients are: the ratios of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrate to eat each day.
This is typically:
1. Meat, including Beef, Lamb and Pork
You're embarking on a ketogenic lifestyle, but you can't eat meat all the time. In fact, eating too much of it will kick you out of ketosis - so while meat is okay in moderation, it should not be your number one staple.
Protein is important for building muscle and staying full long after meals. But let me tell you: Eating too much protein can actually knock you right out of ketosis - because when we become fat-adapted (AKA “Keto"), excess protein turns into sugar through glucogenesis, which could cause blood glucose levels to shoot back up again!
That's why I recommend sticking to no more than 15-20% of your macronutrients being protein, from meat and other sources, to ensure you meet your nutrient requirements while staying within daily macronutrient ranges.
Choose fatty cuts of meat to help you with your fat intake (more about that in a minute), like ribeye steak, brisket, ribs, pork belly, leg of lamb. Buy grass fed or organic if you can. I get a lot of my meat online from Pipers Farm, and I can get marrowbones there too, for making stock and sauces for my meat dishes. For quick and easy meat options, head for the deli section and grab a mix of charcuterie.
Oh, and BACON - LOTS OF BACON! Eating bacon can help curb those carb and sugar cravings because it is packed full of protein and fat which are both essential nutrients on the Keto Diet.
Tip: When you are cooking fatty meat or bacon, keep any fat left in the pan and toss vegetables in it, or use it for cooking in place of shop bought lard. Delicious!
2. Poultry including Turkey, Chicken and Duck
I love to pop a couple of turkey drumsticks in my InstantPot with some homemade bone stock and a couple of teaspoons of curry powder. You can thicken the stock with some Linwoods Milled Flaxseed - quick, easy and pure Keto curry. Don’t forget to save the bones for making more stock! You can just pop them in a bag in the freezer once you have stripped the meat off of them.
We love homemade burgers from turkey mince or chicken thighs. I add an egg, maybe a tablespoon of roasted peppers, or sliced onions from the freezer, some herbs and spices and chop / blend everything together in my Ninja.
3. Fish and Seafood, including Salmon, Tuna and Shrimp
Like meat & poultry, most fish and seafood is zero or very low carb and packed full of healthy fats. Salmon, tuna and shrimp are all readily available and fabulous choices, but why not be a little more adventurous?
Discover an A-Z of Keto friendly fish & seafood - from Abalone, a limpet farmed in New Zealand, to Zander, a freshwater fish known as the pike-perch - at The Fish Society.
Paired perfectly with bacon, eggs really are a staple of the Keto Diet. We eat tons of them!
Eggs are a good source of protein and many other nutrients. They also happen to be one of the easiest items to cook in your kitchen, which is why you’ll want to add them into your diet as part of your Keto-friendly meal plan. Scrambled, poached, fried, in frittata, as wraps, pancakes - you name it, I’ve cooked it. When I hear people say they get sick of eggs on Keto, I just think they are not trying hard enough! Just use Google or Instagram for ideas. Eggs are a great source of protein Keto because they're low in carbs and provide you with essential nutrients like choline, selenium and phosphorus.
Some people avoid eggs because they think that they cause high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, but this is not the case. Eggs have been shown to actually help with lowering cholesterol levels and making your heart healthier!
You may be wondering how eggs do this? Well, their choline content helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while also increasing good cholesterol (HDL). They're also low in sodium so you won't experience any negative effects from eating them!
5. Butter, Dairy and Cheese
Fats should be a high percent of your macronutrients - around 75-80% - which can sound intimidating, but there are lots of ways to incorporate healthy fat into a Keto Diet, not just from meat, poultry, eggs and fish.
As long as you don’t have an intolerance - sadly I do - dairy can be a good source of both protein and fat, but watch the carbs! Butter has zero carbs, but whole milk can have up to 5g of carbs per 100g. Milk alternatives - oat & coconut for instance, can be even higher carb, so do pay attention to your labels!
Heavy (double) cream and most cheeses come in between 2-6g carbs per 100g, so again just watch your portion size. Cheese is beneficial to your health because it's a great source fat and protein, plus calcium, vitamins A and B12, protein, and zinc.
Shopping basket staples: Lactose free milk (lower carb than whole milk), unsweetened plain greek yoghurt, double cream, sour cream, feta, cottage cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.
Avoid yoghurt and cheese with added fruits, because even though they’re delicious, fruit really hikes up the carb count.
I could quite literally eat (goat) butter off a spoon, but you can also cook with it, cover everything in it, even blend it into your coffee or tea.
6. Healthy Oils
All plant-based oils have zero carbs and protein, making them the best option when it comes to fats on Keto. But not everything in the cooking oil aisle is a good for your Keto lifestyle.
Olive oil is a great addition to any ketogenic diet, providing some amazing benefits! Olive oil will not only bring out flavour when used as dressing or added into cooking but has been shown through research studies that extra virgin olive oils have many properties including anti-inflammatory effects among other things. It’s also very versatile, for everything from salad dressing to high heat applications such as frying and baking.