The ketogenic or "keto" diet has become incredibly popular in recent years for its ability to help people lose weight and improve their health. One of the biggest challenges for many beginning the keto diet is determining which foods they can and cannot eat. This post provides detailed information on 20 healthy foods that are ideal for the keto diet.
Eggs are one of the most versatile and nutritious foods you can eat on keto. With only 1 gram of carbohydrates and up to 6 grams of high-quality protein per egg, they are the perfect breakfast or anytime food. You can eat eggs boiled, scrambled, baked into an omelet, or hard boiled for snacks. Be sure to choose pasture-raised or omega-3 fortified eggs when possible for optimal nutrition.
Avocados are a keto superfood loaded with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and numerous vitamins and minerals. A whole avocado contains around 20 grams of fat and only 3 net carbs. You can enjoy avocados sliced, mashed on salads or burgers, or as guacamole with low-carb veggies. Be careful of store-bought guacamole, which can be higher in carbs and calories from added ingredients like onions and peppers.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the best sources of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids on the ketogenic diet. A 3-ounce serving has only 2 grams of fat and no carbs. It's also rich in vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins. Opt for wild-caught Alaskan salmon when possible to avoid toxins found in farmed varieties. Roast, poach, or sear salmon fillets for a satisfying and nutritious main dish.
Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat, containing an impressive amount of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and more for only a few grams of net carbs per cup. Cook broccoli by steaming, roasting, or sautéing with olive oil and seasonings. It pairs well with proteins like salmon for balanced keto meals.
Boneless, skinless chicken breast is a staple protein for low-carb diets. A 3-ounce cooked portion contains only around 1 gram of carbs and over 20 grams of quality protein. Versatile chicken can be prepared thousands of ways - baked, roasted, grilled, or added to salads and stir fries. Opt for pasture-raised or organic chicken when possible.
6. Green Beans
These bright green veggies contain just 4 net carbs per 1 cup serving along with fiber, vitamins K and C. Green beans are delicious stir-fried with olive oil and garlic or roasted with herbs and Parmesan. Canned green beans are also okay in moderation if rinsed well to remove excess sodium.
With 6 grams of fiber, protein and healthy fats in a 1 ounce serving, almonds are perfect for snacking on keto. Enjoy a small handful plain, or toasted with seasonings. Look for raw or roasted, unsalted varieties to avoid excess sugars.
8. Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream is an indulgent treat that fits well within moderate carb limits. One tablespoon contains only 0.3 grams of carbs and delivers creaminess to coffee or dessert recipes like keto cheesecake or mousse. Be sure to buy full-fat heavy cream and use it judiciously due to its calorie count.
9. Grilled Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are a flavorful, satisfying keto snack or appetizer. Look for unsauced options and sprinkle with your favorite herbs or seasonings before baking until crispy. Grilled wings come in at just 2 grams of carbs and over 10 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.
10. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and adds meaty flavor to many keto dishes. Use it liberally for cooking and enjoy its versatility - drizzle over salads, roasted vegetables, meats, fish and more. Just 1 tablespoon contains zero carbs.
11. Grass-Fed Butter
Unlike margarines and spreads containing sugar alcohols, butter provides dense nutrition and satisfaction when consumed in moderation on keto. Grass-fed butter in particular is rich in vitamin K2 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Try it melted on broccoli or cauliflower rice for novelty.
12. Coconut Oil
This beneficial saturated fat is stable for high heat cooking and retains coconut flavor. Melt coconut oil for stir-frying greens and proteins or add to bulletproof coffee. It provides medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which may boost metabolism and energy levels.
13. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers come in several appealing colors and contain a surprising amount of vitamin C and fiber for their low carb count of around 5 grams per cup. Green, red, yellow and orange peppers can be eaten raw, roasted, grilled or added to dishes from omelets to stuffed peppers.
14. Sugar-Free Chocolate
For sweet cravings, opt for squares of 85-90% dark chocolate or sugar-free chocolate products containing negligible carbs like Lily's or ChocZero brands. Enjoy in moderation, as they are calorie-dense. Be wary of "keto-friendly" chocolates containing sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.
15. Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower "rice" is a versatile substitute for regular rice and contains only 5 net carbs per cup. Prep riced cauliflower by grating fresh heads in a food processor or buying pre-riced bags. Enjoy it alongside proteins like seasoned ground beef or curry chicken.
16. Pork Chili
Lean ground pork and spices make a hearty chili for the keto lifestyle. Brown ground pork and use seasonings like chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic to taste. Add diced tomatoes with green chilies and broth for a creamy, low-carb stew. Enjoy topped with cheese or sour cream.
At only 1 net carb per large cucumber, these crisp veggies refresh salads and provide moisture in tuna or egg salad. Slice cucumbers into sticks, salad bowls or spears for quick snacks and hydration. They pair nicely with herbed cream cheese or chicken salad too.
With only 1 net carb per 6 medium stalks, raw celery is perfect for snacking or adding crunch to tuna salad or egg salad. Celery is water dense and promotes hydration, with a minimal calorie count as well. Dip celery in guacamole, nut butter or herbed cream cheese for added keto-friendly satisfaction.
19. Collagen Protein Powder
Beyond animal protein sources, collagen peptide powder derived from beef, chicken or fish gelatin provides amino acids with zero net carbohydrates. Dissolve collagen in coffee, tea, soup or smoothies for extra joint and gut support along with a nutrition boost.
20. Unsweetened Almond Milk
For those who miss milk alternatives, unsweetened almond milk contains only 1 net carb per cup and delivers calcium along with vitamins and minerals. Use it in tea, coffee, smoothies or pour over cereal like shirataki noodles. Be mindful to watch out for added sugar in flavored varieties.
Implementing some or all of these 20 foods into your regular eating pattern can simplify your keto menu planning and ensure nutritional adequacy. Enjoy high-quality proteins, healthy fats and low-net carb veggies to feel satisfied and supported on your keto lifestyle. Watch portion sizes, cook at home when possible and prioritize whole, unprocessed ingredients for optimal sustained weight loss and health.