If you’re ready to give keto a try, you might be wondering what you should actually eat. In this final part of this series, we delve into the how-tos of the keto diet.
When done right, a keto diet can be super nutritious and sustainable. Remember to base your new eating regime around real foods rather than processed foods, and lots of (low carb) veggies (think things with leaves). Here’s the breakdown.
The first thing is pretty obvious: you’ll need to dramatically cut your carbs to induce ketosis.
The general consensus is you’ll need to keep your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. To put that in perspective, a medium banana contains about 20 grams of carbs, a cup of sweet potato about 30 grams and a cup of cooked lentils about 40 grams.
Generally, you’ll want to avoid pasta, grains, rice, legumes and most below-ground vegetables (like potatoes), as well as all high-sugar foods (sorry, no cookies). You’ll also want to steer clear of low-fat diet products – which are usually just filled with sugar and other processed nasties anyway – and stick to very small portions of low-sugar fruits like berries.
Above-ground vegetables (think leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus or cabbage) are basically fair game – they’re high in nutrients and relatively low in carbs, making them a keto go-to. Aim to eat these kinds of veggies with every meal.
Fats and Proteins
A keto diet should be primarily high in fat, and moderately high in protein. That means that eggs, fatty fish, dairy (like butter, cheese and full-fat milk and yoghurt), nuts and seeds are all on the table.
Olive oil and coconut oil are perfect for cooking and dressing salads with. And don’t forget those avocados!
If you’re struggling to induce ketosis, it might be because your body is converting excess protein to blood sugar. Make sure you keep to moderate amounts of high protein foods, like unprocessed meat.
A rough guideline is to get about 5% of your energy from carbs, 15 to 25% from protein and around 75% from fat. That might sound like you’re going to need to eat a stick of butter every day, but remember that high fat foods are super energy-dense, so you don’t need as much of them to feel full.
Stuck for ideas on how this plays out day to day? Here are some delicious ideas to get you started:
Breakfast: Veggie omelette with avocado, yoghurt with nut butter or a berry cacao smoothie
Lunch: Chicken and feta salad, tofu stir fry or a bunless burger with cheese
Dinner: Roast salmon with green beans and almonds, steak with a leafy side salad or pesto chicken with broccolini
Snacks: Celery and carrot sticks with a yoghurt dipping sauce, a handful of almonds or a couple of slices of cheddar
The bottom line?
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everybody (and every body) is different, and diets are not one size fits all. A keto diet might be a solid option for some, especially those who’ve had difficulty losing weight with other methods – but you might find it’s not for you. And that’s okay.
Generally, we always suggest talking to your healthcare professional before making major changes to your diet.