There’s no denying that the ketogenic diet (keto for short) is the hottest new nutrition trend. And although it’s still controversial among dietitians, doctors, and other nutrition experts, there is some scientific research to back it up. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that following a ketogenic diet can help control hunger levels and improve metabolic rate. If you want in on these weight-loss benefits, you need to make sure you are adhering to the diet’s key principles, which begins by stocking up on the best keto diet foods.
First and foremost, the keto diet is all about ratios: you want to make sure that carbohydrates make up 10 percent or less of your total caloric intake, with 15-25 percent from protein, and the remainder from healthy fats. Eating in this manner will help your body achieve ketosis, a metabolic process that occurs when the body resorts to burning fat for fuel, which only happens when glucose reserves are depleted. In basic terms, successfully following the keto diet means cutting out all sources of sugar and most carbohydrates and loading up on foods with a high fat content.
The key to sticking to keto guidelines is focusing on what you can eat, not what you’re cutting out. If you’re unsure about what’s safe to snack on, you are in luck. We have picked out our favorite, keto-friendly foods that will make eating a fat-centric diet easy and, dare we say it, enjoyable.
Read on and then bookmark this essential keto diet food list that you’ll need to successfully take the ketogenic plunge. And if you’re already following the diet, it may be worth checking out these 8 Major Mistakes You’re Making on the Keto Diet to ensure you’re keeping yourself healthy.
¼ avocado: 80 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Pass the guac! Avocados are one of the best keto diet foods thanks to their high healthy fat content and low carbohydrate count. Just avoid pairing this fatty fruit with chips or toast in order to adhere to ketogenic principles—instead, enjoy it as a topping to your salad, baked with an egg inside, or as a side to your morning bacon and eggs.
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¼ cup: 210 calories, 20 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein
Walnuts are an excellent source of fat and protein, which makes them a healthy choice for most kinds of meal plans. Their high fat content and zero sugar status make them a must for keto devotees.
¼ cup: 170 calories, 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (4 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 6 g protein
Another protein-packed pick, almonds are a great choice for keto dieters. The combination of fat, protein, and fiber is an ideal trio when it comes to annihilating hunger and stopping cravings in their tracks. If you’re looking for more healthy foods to snack on during the keto diet, don’t miss these 22 Best Keto Snacks to Buy For Fat Loss.
1 cup: 25 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 1 g protein
Whether you prefer this veggie as a mashed potato stand-in or masquerading as rice, cauliflower is an ideal substitute for many starchy meals and snacks. With just two measly grams of sugar in an entire cup, it is safe to eat with abandon.
1 egg: 70 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 6 g protein
Scrambled, boiled, poached, or fried, all varieties of eggs are welcome on the keto diet. With a healthy dose of both fat and protein, the ratio of macronutrients makes this protein one of our go-to keto diet foods.
1 cup: 20 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 8 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein
Mushrooms’ meaty texture makes them one of the most satisfying vegetables around. They also happen to be particularly low in sugar and carbohydrates, a dream come true for people going keto.
1 tablespoon: 80 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein
This tropical oil has faced some controversy in recent years, but its high fat content makes it a staple for keto dieters. Whether you use it in a salad dressing or to saute your favorite cut of steak, coconut oil is a ketogenic mainstay.
¼ cup shredded: 110 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein
When it comes to maximizing your fat intake, hard cheeses like cheddar have an edge over softer options like goat or feta. Don’t be afraid to place a couple of slices atop your next (bun-free) burger.
1 slice: 80 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein
A diet that welcomes bacon may sound too good to be true, but it is a reality for the ketogenic diet. With zero carbohydrates and no sugar, feel free to enjoy this breakfast staple at all hours of the day (or night).
1 tablespoon: 100 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 3 g protein
Pick this nut butter over the peanut variety if you’re trying to minimize your carb intake. An equal portion of peanut butter has two extra grams of carbs and not as much healthy monounsaturated fat.
3 ounces: 90 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 18 g protein
Fish is a go-to for most diets and the keto diet is no exception. Stick with wild varieties of this pink-hued fish which are more sustainable and nutrient-dense than their farmed counterparts.
1 cup: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (4 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 6 g protein
Leafy greens have fewer carbs than other forms of produce, a serious plus when you’re crafting your keto diet foods list. Spinach is also rich in iron, potassium, and fiber, all of which have major health benefits.
¼ cup: 160 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein
Try these tropical nuts the next time you get tired of popping almonds. Macadamia nuts have the same low carb content and also boast high concentrations of vitamin A and magnesium.
3 ounces: 110 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 18 g protein
With no carbohydrates and more fat than most white meat, ground beef is a keto-friendly source of protein. The grass-fed variety has a greater concentration of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E, and healthier omega-3 fats.
1 tablespoon: 120 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Healthy fats should be a part of any balanced diet, but they take center stage in ketogenic plans. With an abundance of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, olive oil is one of the best choices for lipids. Try cooking up some of our other keto diet foods on this list in olive oil to unlock fat-soluble nutrients and boost flavor!
1 cup: 30 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 2 g protein
While most fruits are off-limits ( on this low-carb diet, tomatoes are an exception. This piece of produce makes our list of go-to keto diet foods because it is an excellent source of lycopene, a compound with some serious heart health benefits. In fact, a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that an increase in lycopene consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
1 tablespoon: 120 calories, 13 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Unfamiliar with this fatty food? Ghee is a form of clarified butter that regularly makes an appearance in Indian food as well as on our list of fat-burning keto diet foods. In addition to its abundance of fat, ghee is also high in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin D. You can, of course, buy ghee at the grocery store or you can make your own: The Easiest Way to Make Ghee at Home.
1 cup: 40 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 3 g protein
These mini cabbages are a winter and fall favorite that you can enjoy all year-round on the ketogenic diet. Brussels sprouts are chock-full of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and phosphorus, so don’t be afraid to dig in.
1 cup: 30 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 3 g protein
Asparagus is a low-carbohydrate vegetable that you should make an effort to incorporate into your diet, whether you are going keto or not. The stalky green is rich in glutathione, a compound with major cancer-fighting benefits. A study published in the journal Cancers found that glutathione participates in cell protection and regulation.
8 ounces: 2 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Caffeine-fiends are in luck: coffee is allowed on the ketogenic diet. The bad news? Sugar and milk are both off-limits. If you can’t stomach the idea of drinking your coffee black, you can make bulletproof coffee, which is made by adding butter and coconut oil or concentrated MCT oil to your morning brew. Just make sure you’re choosing the right keto add-in, because some keto creamers are on our list of 7 Things You Should Never Add to Your Coffee.