Following a keto diet can have its challenges, especially if you’re coming from a diet heavy in simple carbohydrates. But one of the diet’s perceived drawbacks–a lack of keto foods to choose from–isn’t as much of an obstacle as you may think. In fact you may be pleasantly surprised by just how many keto food are available that allow you to stay within the diet’s macro ratios.
The lists below, organized by food group, are each ranked from least to most net carbs. The light green-shaded foods are considered low-carb by keto standards. The blue-shaded foods are considered moderate in carbs, and the dark green foods are considered high in carbs. As you can see by scanning the charts below, there’s a lot of light green. So focus on those keto foods, and carefully select from the blue list. Try to avoid the dark green items, as some of them can single handedly bust your daily carb limit!
To see how many of these keto foods are incorporated in to tasty recipes that make it enjoyable to follow a keto diet, check out The Deliciously Keto Cookbook.
When most people think of dairy, they think of milk. Interestingly though, milk, in its different varieties, is actually fairly high in carbs due to its moderately high levels of natural sugars. So be cautious with your milk intake, and chocolate milk… forget about it!
Nuts & Seeds
Most people think of nuts as being high-fat, low-carb foods. But actually, there’s quite a broad range of carb content across the category. And one of the most common picks, peanuts (okay, yes, technically a legume), are among the highest in carbs.
Vegetables & Beans
Okay, lots to choose from here! And you’ll wan’t to work in as many options from this category as possible each day in order to get the vitamins and other nutrients so easily forgotten on a keto diet. One easy tip is to minimize your consumption of starchy root vegetables and beans. Do that, and almost everything else in this category is fair game.
Fruits and Juices
Not a whole lot of great keto food options here (no light green and a lot of dark green!). So be cautious with the short blue list and minimize your consumption of everything else. And at 109 net carbs per cup, you might think twice about scooping that cranberry sauce onto your plate next Thanksgiving!
Grains & Pasta
Nothing to see here! Unfortunately, all foods in this category are high in carbs. In fact, many of them have more carbs in a single serving than your entire day’s limit. But if you’re a pasta lover, a lot of alternative low-carb noodles options are becoming more widely available, so check them out.
When in doubt, eat meat! As you can see, there are lots and lots of low-carb keto foods here to help you manage your daily macro ratios on a keto diet. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t go wrong here. Preparation methods make a difference. That zero-carb chicken breast isn’t zero carb when it’s breaded and deep fried, then wrapped between to buns.
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference 28 Software v.3.7 2017-02-22