What to Eat
When beginning the Ketogenic Diet people often wonder what types of foods they should be eating and what their daily caloric allowance should be. In my experience, counting calories isn’t a necessity. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to jump the gun and think you can eat as many calories as you’d like but a big part of the ketogenic diet is ensuring you have enough healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein to keep you satiated for longer. Counting calories or fat intake is not exactly necessary because eating foods low in carbs and high in fiber is going to naturally keep the body fulfilled and satisfied for a longer period of time. The goal is to make sure to keep your fat intake high with healthy fats to satisfy your hunger pangs, keep insulin levels steady, and cravings low.
While below is a great list of food substitutes it is not all inclusive, there are many other substitutions not listed that can be very beneficial in the ketogenic lifestyle. Just be sure to always check the nutrition label.
Common Foods Common Food Replacements
|Vegetable oil and canola oil||MCT oils, Coconut oil, Avocado oil|
|Margarine||Grass fed butter, coconut butter|
|Bread Crusts or Fried food breading||Pork Rind Dust or Parmesan cheese|
|Pancakes/Waffles||Almond flour pancakes and waffles; cream cheese pancakes|
|Common table salt||Pink Himalayan salt; Celtic Sea Salt|
|Chips||Baked Parmesan Crisps, Bacon Chips|
|Buns or Bread||Cloud Bread, Lettuce Wrap|
|Biscuits||Low carb keto biscuits made with blanched almond flour|
|Dough pizza||Cauliflower crusted pizza|
|Mashed potatoes||Loaded Cauliflower potatoes|
|Pasta||Zucchini, spaghetti squash or shirataki noodles|
|Taco shells||Baked parmesan cheese shells|
|Sweets and treats||Fat Bombs and low carb desserts|
|Soda||LaCroix or natural sparkling water with stevia sweetened flavoring drops|
|Fruit Juice||Low carb berries with heavy whipping cream and almond milk smoothie|
|Coffee and sweetener; cappuccino||Fat Coffee, Functional Fat Coffee, or Coffee with Stevia and your favorite flavored sweetener drops (i.e caramel or vanilla drops)|
|Flour||Almond or Coconut flour|
|Sugar||Stevia, Erythritol or Swerve sweetener|
|Yogurt||Full fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, coconut milk yogurt|
Eating ketogenic does not have to be boring or fully restrictive of the things you love. When it truly is adopted as a lifestyle change, you will dive more into finding tons of quality recipes and tweaking the recipes you already love to fit the ketogenic way of eating.
One of the first questions we find people asking right after they make the decision to start the ketogenic diet is, “What should I eat?” We covered the basic macros in our “Ketogenic Diet 101” post that went over the foods you should eat. In this post we will dive into our suggested grocery list for your first time to the store shopping keto.
Our grocery list below will serve as a guide for your trips to the store. We will list out a variety of different options that you can use to properly outline your macros. We organize everything by food group making it easier for you while you’re in the store. As you read over this list feel free to mark anything off you don’t plan on buying. From our experience, we definitely suggest not buying more food than you or your family can consume in a week. This allows you to buy more fresh foods without the worry they will spoil and be thrown out. Although all the food on this list is “keto-friendly” it’s important to note that all foods are not created equal. Even though foods are keto it doesn’t mean you can indulge everyday.
When picking out meats for the keto lifestyle it’s important to emphasize quality over quantity. Personally, I like to suggest people stay towards high quality white meats more often than red meats. Since the goal is to keep your fat content high and your proteins moderate you need to ensure all your meats are high-quality, healthy, and full of nutrients. The best choices would be grass-fed or pasture raised beef, bison, and lamb. When looking at fish I always recommend wild caught instead of farmed. Properly raised pork and chicken are harder to find for a good price, so you might end up limiting these more unless your budget allows more frequency.
For most people learning about healthy oils can be one of the best tools in the keto arsenal. They are absolutely great for baking and cooking but it’s important to keep an eye on amounts you are using at first, since both the fat content and carb count can add up quickly with small serving sizes.
Ultimately, on the keto diet, the majority of your carb intake should come from vegetables. You will want to get creative with different recipes, as items in this section should be eaten regularly to ensure your body is getting the proper nutrition and fiber.
Low-carb veggies should be eaten at almost every meal. Fruits need to be more of a treat for the most part. The only exception to this would be avocados, which technically are a fruit and are one of the best sources for “good fat.”
It goes without saying that you should pick low carb flours and sweetners vs the normal versions. However, you’ll want to limit this in general since they don’t contain as much nutrition as whole food keto options.
Beef (fattier cuts)
Making sure to have an outlined list is crucial in saving yourself time and money. It’s important to have a plan for the meals that you will make each week. With the right groceries in the pantry, you will be more apt to stay on track and be successful.
You are here because you are ready for a change, you have exhausted many efforts and came up wanting. You are the mom or dad wanting more time and energy with your children. You are the person wanting to feel better in their clothes. You are tired of feeling like there is nothing more to life than working and sleeping.
You heard someone, somewhere, say their life has changed drastically because they are doing this low carb thing. You have tons of questions and are looking for where to begin. Look no further! We are here to make your new lifestyle transition smooth and easy. Now let’s get started!
Why is this diet transforming into a lifestyle and movement that is working for so many people? The answer is simple… it gets us back to our “native state” which is proven with the latest scientific research. What is our native state? Back in the days of the caveman, humans hunted and gathered their kill and what they ate off the land would allow them to thrive, with sustained energy for long periods of time until their next meal was found.
Small Daily Changes
Some people take an all or nothing approach to the ketogenic diet. If you are one of the 5% of the world that can take a massively strict approach and not fail… go on with your bad self! For the rest of the population, I suggest making small changes to your eating habits over time to make a big impact. We didn’t get radical and throw out everything in our pantry when beginning the keto lifestyle. We started with taking the bun off our burger when eating fast food, having our coffee black without the added artificial sugars, and cutting out soda. That lead to cooking with grass fed butter, using zuchinni in place of noodles, and adding mct oil to our coffee. Gradually our family adapted this way of eating and our children even got on board.
When I heard someone say, “eat fat to burn fat” I thought they were crazy. Unbeknownst to me, they were right! The typical American diet has an abundance of carbs and unhealthy fats. Many people are carb loaded, meaning their diet is made up of mostly carbs that are converted into glucose. The energy from glucose is not sustainable and short lived. Think of when you have a breakfast consisting of toast or cereal. Within a couple hours hunger creeps in again and energy levels crash. When following the Ketogenic Diet the body transitions from running on glucose to burning fat, which breaks down into ketones. Once your body is producing ketones from fat this is the metobolic process called ketosis. Ketones are a much cleaner fuel source that allow for sustained energy and satiety. In order to get in and stay in a state of ketosis, carb intake must be low. Macronutrients are the compounds in food in which we get the bulk of our calories from to create the body’s energy. They include carbs, proteins, and fats. Typically one should maintain 5-10% of calories from carbs. Keeping carb counts under 20-30 grams of net carbs (grams of carbs minus grams of fiber) is a good start; 15-30% of calories from protein; and 60-75% of calories from wholesome, healthy fats.
With that being said, macronutrient intake is not exact and every person is different, meaning, one person can maintain ketosis with 30% protein, 60% fat, and 10% carbs while another person has to stick to 5% carbs, 25% protein, and 70% fat. There are apps available to help track macros to figure out the ideal route for each individual. You can access a keto calculator here.
At a high level, to understand what to eat, here is a suggested food list.
Critical Tips to Stay in Ketosis
When following a ketogenic diet there are some critical tips to follow to stay in a state of ketosis.
1. Stay Hydrated
2. Practice Intermittent Fasting
3. Consume Enough Good Salts
4. Get Regular Exercise
5. Improve Your Bowel Motility
6. Don’t Eat Too Much Protein
7. Choose Carbs Wisely
8. Use MCT Oil When Possible
9. Keep Stress Down
10. Improve Your Sleep
You can find the full break down here.