Keto Diet Plan Food List for Beginners

Do you want to go on the Keto Diet but just don’t know where to start? Or, are you wondering which foods you can still eat, and which foods you’ll have to give up? If so, then you’re looking in the right place. The Keto Diet Plan Food List makes it easier for you to prepare your meal plans and stock up on low-carbohydrate, high-fat groceries from the supermarket. Especially as a beginner, it is super-important that you pay close attention to the food that you consume. This post provides all you need to know before shopping for the foods that you’ll eat while embarking on the ketogenic diet.

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What is the Keto Diet

The ketogenic or keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein and very low-carbohydrate diet. It has gained a lot of popularity in recent times due to its ability to seemingly melt away fat. In order to successfully follow the keto diet, you will need to eat moderate amounts of protein, reduce your carb intake, and increase your fats intake. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy, but on a strict keto diet, less than 5 percent of your energy intake should be from carbohydrates. When you reduce your carb consumption, your body then turns to stored fat as its new fuel source in a process referred to as ketosis. This is a natural metabolic state that forces your body to burn fat rather than carbs. Stored fat is broken down into molecules called ketone bodies which your body then uses for energy in the absence of circulating blood sugar from food. Once the body reaches ketosis, most of your cells will use these ketone bodies to generate energy until you start eating carbohydrates again. To stay in ketosis, you must limit your carb intake to 50 grams a day.

The Keto Diet offers many health benefits, including

  • Weight loss
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Improved Cardiovascular health
Keto Diet Plan Food List - Fish meal

Things to Consider Before Going on the Keto Diet

The Keto diet can pose significant health risks to individuals who are:

  • Type 1 diabetic
  • Type 2 diabetic and on medication
  • At risk for heart disease
  • Diagnosed with kidney disease
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.

Also, even if you don’t have any underlying health issues, you are likely to catch the “keto flu” as your body adjusts to ketosis. This usually lasts about one to two weeks and comes with symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, headaches, and nausea.

You may want to consider playing it safe and consulting with a healthcare provider or doctor to determine if the keto diet is right for you.

List of Allowed Foods

When it comes to grocery shopping while on the keto diet, there are some foods which are staples, some foods which are strictly off limits and others which are okay to purchase in moderate amounts.  

Your shopping cart should be filled with low-carb, high-fat foods such as meat, seafood, non-starchy produce, and healthy fats. Bear in mind too that individuals who live a highly active lifestyle can afford to eat more carbs than someone who is less active. Additionally, it is good practice to look at the nutritional information included on food items to make sure there is no added sugar.

Now that we’ve gotten the basic introduction of the keto diet out of the way, let’s get right into our list of foods to have!

1. Fish and Seafoods

Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, crab, tuna, mussels, and cod are allowed. These are protein-rich, carb-free, and rich in B vitamins. They are also a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, and other good nutrients like potassium and selenium. Omega-3 fats have been found to lower your blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. 

Keto Diet Plan Food List - Fish and seafood

Frequent fish intake has also been linked to a decreased risk of chronic disease as well as improved mental health. You should try to consume at least two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish every week.

2. Meats, organic poultry, and grass-fed beef

Chicken, turkey, beef, venison, pork, and lamb are all okay to eat. Meat is a source of lean protein and is regarded as a staple on the ketogenic diet. Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbohydrates and are rich in B vitamins and minerals such a potassium, selenium and zinc. Processed meats, like bacon and sausage, are allowed on the keto diet, however they aren’t the best for your heart and may raise your risk of certain types of cancer if you eat too much. You should therefore choose chicken, fish and beef more often and limit processed meats. Organic selections also help with limiting environmental toxins, while grass-fed options change the composition of fats making it easier for your body to absorb those healthy fats.

3. Low-carb vegetables

Arugula, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, fennel, cabbage, celery, Brussels sprouts, and kale are allowed. Low-carb vegetables are non-starchy, low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other minerals. They also contain antioxidants which help to protect you against cell-damaging free radicals.

4. Low-sugar fruits

Tomatoes, avocado, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, star fruit, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, lemon, and limes are fine. These are keto-friendly fruits when eaten in moderation. Avocados are particularly high in monounsaturated fat and potassium and may help improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Berries are rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and can also protect against disease.

5. Nuts and seeds

Macadamia nuts, flaxseed, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds. These are extremely low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and are full of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fiber and protein. Because they are packed with protein, they keep you fuller for longer in between meals, while also providing you with healthy fats.

6. Healthy Oils

Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, nut oils, coconut butter, or MCT oil, are a great source of keto-friendly healthy fats. Olive oil is high in oleic acid and may lower your risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can increase ketone production. These MCTs may increase your metabolic rate and promote the loss of weight and belly fat too.

7. Dairy products

Cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, cream, and butter are allowed. Dairy products are a good source of protein, calcium, and healthy fats. Calcium and protein may reduce your appetite and promote fullness, while higher-fat yogurts and cottage cheese help to keep you full for longer.

8. Keto-approved condiments

This includes olive oil mayonnaise, mustard, unsweetened ketchup, oil-based salad dressings.

9. Eggs

These are another great source of animal protein just like poultry and meat. They are high in B vitamins and minerals and have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness and keep your blood sugar levels stable. They also contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to protect your eye health.

Keto Diet Plan Food List - eggs

10. Keto Approved Snacks

These include “no added sugar” nut butters, sugar-free jerky, dried seaweed, nuts, and low-carb crackers.

11. Unsweetened coffee and unsweetened tea

These contain 0 grams of carbohydrates, fat or protein. Coffee has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Tea is rich in antioxidants and may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, help with weight loss as well as boost your immune system.

12. Dark Chocolate which has at least 70% cacao, and cocoa powder

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, while dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping your arteries healthy.

So now that we have established all the foods that you can eat while on the Keto diet, it’s time to turn our attention to the foods that you should avoid like the plague.

Keto Diet Plan Food List - Not allowed

List of Foods and Other Things to Avoid

  1. Starchy vegetables such as carrots, corn, yams, beets, turnips, sweet and regular potatoes. These contain more digestible carbohydrates than fiber.
  2. High-sugar fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, pineapples, papayas, grapes, and fruit juices. These can increase your blood sugar more quickly than berries and contain more carbohydrates.
  3. Sweetened yogurt. This has added sugar in comparison to plain yogurt, while greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates compared to regular yogurt.
  4. Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts
  5. Grains such as rice, pasta, oatmeal, and bread are high in carbohydrates. Sugary breakfast cereals and healthy whole-grain cereals are also high in carbohydrates and should be avoided or minimized as well.
  6. Sugary beverages, including juice and soda. These are high in fast-digesting carbohydrates that increase your blood sugar. Water is a much better alternative.
  7. Honey, syrup or sugar in any form. These are high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients.
  8. Traditional snack foods, such as potato chips, pretzels, and high-carb crackers. These are high in carbohydrates and low in fiber.
  9. Baked goods, even if they are gluten-free.  Many gluten-free breads and muffins are just as high in carbohydrates as traditional baked goods, and usually lack fiber too.
  10. Low-fat dairy products
  11. Alcohol. Beer may be enjoyed in moderation on a low-carb diet, however, dry wine and spirits are better alternatives.

Final Thoughts

The Keto Diet is not a one-size-fits-all prescription diet. It is therefore crucial that you get the right foods to ensure that you get the proper nutrients while maintaining ketosis.  

Your keto diet plan food list should include mostly low-carb, high-fat foods such as meat, seafood, non-starchy produce, and healthy fats. Most processed, packaged foods are off-limits, and even certain whole foods such as sweet potatoes are considered too starchy and should therefore be avoided.

I hope you have liked this article. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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Until next time….



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