What to Eat on Keto? Must-have Keto Food List + Diet Plan

So you’ve heard the arguments, weighed out the challenges and benefits, and decided you’re all in. You’re going keto. Well, now you need a plan, and keto food list will help.

Here’s what you need to know to ace your nutrition and supplementation during the crucial first month of ketogenic dieting, along with a sample meal plan!

But first, let us remember: Keto is a carbohydrate-restricted, high-fat, moderate-protein approach to macro distribution. Here’s how the macros end up looking for most people:

  • Carbohydrates: 5-10 %
  • Fats: 70-75 %
  • Protein: 15-20 %

So where do you start your calculations? With carbs and protein. When first getting started, it is ideal to keep carbohydrates less than 50 grams per day.

You can track only ‘net carbs’, which is total carbs minus fiber. For example, an avocado has 12 grams of carbs but 10 grams of fiber, which means it has 2 grams of net carbs. Also, green leafy vegetables are very nutritious and contain a lot of fiber, so you can almost eat them as much as you want and stay below your limit.

Must-have Keto Food List

Before you start buying groceries, go through the pantry, fridge, freezer, and secret stashes, and get rid of foods with any significant carb content. In the first few days, you could end up craving them—badly. Sorry, no fruit for now. Even carrots and onions are too high-glycemic to work with keto.

Now, here are some of the staples you should build your ketogenic diet around:

  • Fatty nuts and seeds: cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds
  • Avocado
  • Whole eggs
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Beef: ground chuck (80/20), filet mignon, porterhouse, ribeye
  • Chicken: Thighs and legs
  • Vegetables: spinach and other greens, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms, bell pepper
  • Pork rinds
  • Olive oil
  • Salted butter
  • Heavy cream
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies
  • Bacon
  • Chicken broth or bouillon cubes with at least 1 gram sodium

That last item may surprise you, but for many people, it makes all the difference. Why? When carbs are cut, we rapidly deplete glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrate. For every gram of glycogen we lose, we lose 3 grams of water. Addition of the bouillon will help prevent dehydration and improve the way you feel on the diet. Water isn’t enough on keto; you need enough sodium, too.

Having some super-fatty treats to help you hit your ambitious macros is also a must. Luckily, many people have already gone where you’re going.

There are a lot of “fat bomb” recipes you can find on the Internet, which are very good at satisfying your sweet tooth, and a great way to increase fat consumption without going over on protein. Also, you can have salted pumpkin seeds and salted sunflower seed kernels. Pork rinds are also a very good keto snack.

Keto Diet Meal Plan for Beginners

Breakfast 1: Fried eggs with sautéed veggies and bacon (Nutritional value: 774 Calories, 56g Fat, 5g Carbs, 25g Protein)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 large eggs, fried in butter
  • 2 pieces bacon
  • ¾ cup spinach
  • ½ cup mushrooms (sautéed with spinach in bacon grease)

Breakfast 2: The “no egg” breakfast (Nutritional value: 533 Calories, 45 g Fat, 9 g Carbs, 23 g Protein)

  • 1 oz. breakfast sausage (check to make sure it’s sugar-free)
  • 1 cup bell pepper (roasted in 1 tbsp. olive oil)
  • And 1 oz. Pepper Jack cheese

Lunch 1: Taco salad (Nutritional value: 570 Calories, 42 g Fat, 12 g Carbs, 36 g Protein)

  • 3 oz. ground beef 80/20
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning
  • 2 cups lettuce, sliced
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ oz. cheddar cheese
  • ¼ avocado
  • ¼ cup sour cream

Lunch 2: BLT lettuce wrap (Nutritional value: 632 Calories, 48 g Fat, 8 g Carbs, 42 g Protein)

  • 3 large leaves lettuce, sliced
  • 6 pieces bacon
  • 2 oz. grilled chicken
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Dinner 1: Pork chop with mushroom sauce and steamed asparagus (Nutritional value: 675 Calories, 55 g Fat, 9 g Carbs, 36 g Protein)

  • 4 oz. pork chop
  • ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup steamed asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Mushroom sauce:

  • ¾ cup white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • A pinch ground thyme
  • 3 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Dinner 2: Baked salmon with loaded baked “potatoes” (Nutritional value: 653 Calories, 53 g Fat, 6 g Carbs, 38 g Protein)

  • 4 oz. salmon (with 1 tbsp. butter)
  • ¾ cup steamed mashed cauliflower
  • 1 ½ tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 piece bacon
  • 1 tbsp. scallion
  • ½ oz. cheddar cheese

Note: Combine all ingredients except salmon, and bake at 350 degrees F until browned.

Anytime quick keto meal

Add the following to a skillet with butter or olive oil:

Protein: Ground beef, sausage, bacon, chicken, eggs

Veggies: Bell peppers, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, tomato, zucchini

Sugar-Free Seasoning: Salt, pepper, garlic, taco, ranch

Cheese: Just grate it on top and let it melt.

Snack Ideas:

  • Jerky (Watch the carbs here, because different flavorings can add to the carb count quickly.)
  • Cubed cheese
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pork rinds
  • Veggies and dip
  • Sugar-free Jello

The more variety of the ingredients, the better! Macros will vary on this one depending on the protein and veggies you use.

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