What to eat on keto diet

Trendy smoothie bowl with fresh fruit, avocado, chia seeds, and berries. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons


Fish and shellfish are very keto-friendly. Salmon and other fish are not only nearly carb-free but also rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium. However, the carb count in shellfish varies by type. While shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs, oysters and octopus do. You can still eat these foods on the keto diet, but it’s important to carefully track these carbs to stay within your range. Additionally, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been associated with lower insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity in people who are overweight or have obesity. Frequent fish intake is linked to improved brain health and a decreased risk of disease. The American Heart Association recommends that adults over 18 years old eat 8–10 ounces of seafood per week.

Low-Carb Veggies 

Non Starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals. They also contain antioxidants that help protect against cell-damaging free radicals. Aim for non starchy vegetables with less than 8 g of net carbs per cup. Net carbs are total carbohydrates minus fibre. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini and spinach fit the bill.


Eggs are an extremely healthy protein source.

Because each large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and about 6 grams of protein, eggs can be ideal for keto.In addition, eggs have been shown to trigger hormones that increase feelings of fullness. It’s important to eat whole eggs rather than egg whites since most of an egg’s nutrients are found in the yolk. This includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect eye health.Although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, they don’t appear to increase your risk of heart disease.

Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese 

Yogurt and cottage cheese are high in protein and calcium-rich. Five ounces of plain Greek yogurt provides just 5 g of carbohydrates and 12 grams of protein. The same amount of cottage cheese also has 5 grams of carbohydrates with 18 grams of protein. Studies have shown that both calcium and protein can reduce appetite and promote fullness. Higher-fat yogurts and cottage cheese help keep you full for longer, and full-fat products would be part of the ketogenic diet.

Meat and poultry

Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on the keto diet.

Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several important minerals. They’re also a great source of high quality protein, which may help preserve muscle mass during a very low carb diet. One small study in older women found that a diet high in fatty meat led to 8% higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol than a low fat, high carb diet.It may be best to choose grass-fed meat, if possible, since it has more omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than meat from grain-fed animals. 

Nuts, Seeds and Healthy Oils 

Nuts and seeds are full of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, fiber and protein. They also are very low in net carbs. Olive oil and coconut oil are the two oils recommended on the keto diet.Olive oil is high in oleic acid and is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which can increase ketone production. MCTs may increase metabolic rate and promote the loss of weight and belly fat too. Measure portion sizes when consuming any type of healthy fat.

High fat veggies

Avocados and olives, while technically both fruits, are unique among vegetables in that they’re fairly high in fat. They also contain fibre and are low in net carbs.Oleuropein, the main antioxidant in olives, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect your cells from damage.

Additionally, one study found that people who ate one avocado per day experienced improvements in heart health risk factors, including lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).

Unsweetened Coffee and Tea 

Plain coffee and tea contain zero grams of carbohydrates, fat or protein, so they are A-OK on the keto diet. Studies show coffee lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Tea is rich in antioxidants and has less caffeine than coffee; drinking tea may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, help with weight loss and boost your immune system.


Most fruits are too high in carbs to eat on the keto diet, but berries are an exception.

Berries, particularly raspberries and strawberries, are low in carbs and high in fibre. While blackberries and blueberries are lower in carbs than some other fruits, they may not fit into strict keto diets.

These tiny fruits are loaded with antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and help protect against disease.

Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powde

Check the label on these, as the amount of carbs depends on the type and how much you consume. Cocoa has been called a “superfruit” because it is rich in antioxidants, and dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy.

Olive oil

Olive oil provides impressive benefits for your heart.

It’s high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been found to decrease heart disease risk factors. In addition, extra-virgin olive oil is high in polyphenol antioxidants — plant compounds that further protect heart health by decreasing inflammation and improving artery function. As a pure fat source, olive oil contains no carbs. It’s an ideal base for salad dressings and healthy mayonnaise.Because olive oil isn’t as stable at high temperatures as saturated fats are, it’s best to use olive oil for low heat cooking or add it to dishes after they’ve been cooked. 

Other excellent plant-based oils to try on keto are coconut oil and avocado oil.


Cheese has zero carbohydrates and is high in fat, making it a great fit for the ketogenic diet. It’s also rich in protein and calcium. But, a 1-ounce slice of cheese delivers about 30 percent of the daily value for saturated fat, so if you’re worried about heart disease consider portions when noshing on cheese.



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