A List Of ‘Keto Friendly’ Foods
If you are new to eating keto, and find yourself often wondering whether a food item fits into a ketogenic diet or not, don’t worry, MANY of us have been there too!
When you first begin your ketogenic diet, changing your eating habits and lifestyle, it’s difficult for many people to understand and remember which foods are “keto friendly” and which ones aren’t.
So I’ve compiled a list of keto friendly foods here for a primer on understanding what makes foods good for a keto diet, and also to serve as a handy reference for you in the future.
Keto Friendly Foods To Eat & Unfriendly Foods To Avoid
Before getting into detailed foods in the list, let’s cover a few basic guidelines.
- Besides the obvious limitation of net carbohydrates in a food, it’s also wise to avoid processed foods, and any foods that contain preservatives and food colorings.
- Eat REAL food. What is “real food”? …Foods like meat, eggs, nuts, yogurt, vegetables and occasionally some fruits.
- Avoid foods advertised as “sugar-free”. While they may have fewer carbs than the regular sugared version, the sugar-substitute ingredient present can be a harmful chemical to your body, and can still have just as much metabolic impact as the real thing resulting in insulin creation.
Without Further Ado, The Keto Friendly Food List…
- Saturated –
- Monounsaturated –
- Polyunsaturated –
- Grass-fed meats – beef, lamb, goat, pastured pork, or pastured poultry
- Grass-fed organ meats – heart, kidney, liver, heart, and other organs
- Wild-caught fish and seafood – avoid farm-raised fish
- Some Dairy Products – butter or ghee,
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Avocado –
Eat Only Occasionally
…more to come soon, thanks for your patience!
Avoid! …Foods high in carbohydrates, factory-farmed meats and processed foods
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s impossible to cover every food that exists, but there are many foods we commonly get asked about that aren’t specifically covered above. And, as particular foods get asked about repeatedly, we’ve added them below to reference people toward.
Q: Is Popcorn Keto Friendly?
Answer: If you compare it to other common snacks, such as potato chips or cookies, popcorn is quite healthy and nutritious – and for the average American, it would be a great choice for an evening snack, compared to what they’re accustomed to eating.
But is it the snack you want to reach for if you’re trying to stay in ketosis?
While it’s high in fiber (which is subtracted from total carbs to give you net carbs – the number you truly pay attention to for ketosis), 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has 15 grams of net carbohydrates.
Every person’s daily limit of carb intake to still be in ketosis is different, but with the average threshold being around 30 to 50 grams of daily carbohydrate intake, you probably don’t want to waste about half of your daily carbs on 3 cups of popcorn.
So, while it’s not the worst snack to choose, and does have its benefits, just a small bit of popcorn can put you over your daily limit along with the carbs that are in almost everything else you have throughout the day.
It’s not totally off-limits if you want to remain ketogenic, and the high amount of fiber can help make you feel full, perhaps keeping you from eating more or worse things for you, so if you really want some, be sure to only eat one serving size (3 cups of popped popcorn), and don’t add flavoring with sugar or carbs hidden in it.
If you are virtually a popcorn addict, but want to make it easier on yourself to stay in ketosis, consider some popcorn alternatives like cheese pops (slices of cheese baked in the oven for a few minutes), pork rinds, or nuts (like pistachios, almonds, or pecans).
Q: Is Hummus Keto Friendly?
Q: Are There Carbs In Cream Cheese?
Answer: Most cream cheeses will contain at least some carbohydrates. Just how many, depends on the brand, how they make it, and what ingredients they add. But the most common ones will have less than 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and some even less than 1 gram per serving.
As you can see in this nutrition label above, for Kraft Philedelphia Original Cream Cheese, there is less than 1 gram of total carbohydrates per serving. And it’s for this reason that cream cheese is so commonly used in ketogenic diet recipes!
Just be aware of what you’re purchasing, and pay attention to nutrition labels. Some types of cream cheese will contain more carbs because they have flavoring, sugars, fruits, skim milk, or other ingredients added. In general, to get a cream cheese as low in carbs as possible, stick to the original, basic, brick of cream cheese with as few ingredients as possible!
Q: Can I Have Mashed Potatoes?
Answer: Many diets will rule out mashed potatoes because they’re high in calories. And just how many calories are in mashed potatoes depends entirely on how you make it. Of course, the best tasting mashed potatoes are loaded with butter, milk or cream, and perhaps even cheese, all of which contribute large numbers of calories since they’re full of fats.
If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, or unfamiliar with what it entails, you may be worried about the number of calories in mashed potatoes, but the real problem comes from combining carbs/starches with fats at the same time. Your body will utilize the carbohydrates for fuel first, and put the fats (from dairy, butter, etc.) to storage in your body.
On a ketogenic diet, you strictly limit carbohydrate intake, reducing the availability of it for the body to consume, which directs it to burn fats instead (aka being in a state of ketosis).
Fats are the most calorie-dense of all food groups, but on a ketogenic diet, calories are less important (they do still matter) than carbohydrate intake, and because you actually want to consume the majority of your calories from fats on a keto diet, you will naturally have a higher calorie diet…but it’s the ultra-low carbohydrate intake numbers that are important.
So, to clarify what I mean, something like mashed potatoes, while high in calories, being high in carbohydrates/starches from the potatoes is why you don’t want them included in a ketogenic diet.
But, if you’re a mashed potato lover (like me), don’t despair!
A great replacement for mashed potatoes that many Keto Dieters rave about is cauliflower mashed potatoes. They’re delicious, and high in calories, but because you’re consuming them on a ketogenic diet, while hopefully in ketosis, the calories won’t matter as much (still eat within reason, of course. You don’t want to over-eat even in ketosis), because the cauliflower (the replacement ingredient for potatoes) is very low in carbohydrates. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory says there are about 5 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup of cauliflower.
To make them, simply boil a head of cauliflower, cut into florets, until soft. Then add to your blender with butter, a bit of heavy cream, some parmesan cheese, and some cream cheese. Also add minced garlic if you like, as well as salt, pepper, and/or chives. Blend and serve! Super simple, and delicious!