Sticking to a low carb diet can be challenging if you are new, but it's certainly not impossible with the ketogenic diet, which actually implies eating lots of tasty foods. At the same time, this is the kind of diet that allows snacks and keto on the go meals, yet it requires some early preparation due to having to count the number of carbohydrates.
Maintaining a plan is not hard if you prepare it early, while sticking to it is a piece of cake if you cook in advance.
However, when it comes to keto fast food, it's imperative to do your homework and find out what you can eat freely, as well as what to avoid. Now, what are the main things to consider in the attempt to trigger the ketosis state with this diet?
Grass-fed meat is excellent on the ketogenic diet because the amount of carbs is low, while other nutrients are high. Sure, you can eat such meats freely, but it doesn't mean you can have 10 meals a day. Generally speaking, beef, goat and lamb are ideal. At the same time, fish and seafood are just as handy, yet you must stay away from farmed fish.
Other options include gelatin, pastured eggs, poultry and pork. Cook them responsibly and avoid mixing them with breadcrumbs or in hamburgers, as these options obviously involve using other ingredients too. Finally, organ meats are accepted too.
Nonstarchy vegetables are rich in vitamins and other nutrients, but low in carbohydrates, so they're excellent for keto recipes on the go. Leafy greens to have in your diet include chard, spinach, radicchio, lettuce, endive, bok choy or chives. Cruciferous vegetables are not highly recommended, yet there are a few exceptions worth being mentioned, such as radishes, kohlrabi or kale.
Don't overlook celery, asparagus and cucumbers. They're excellent in smoothies and shakes as well.
When it comes to fats, you have three options – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Saturated fats come from chicken, duck or goose fat, as well as butter or coconut oil. You can use them to cook other foods too – ideal for more aroma and flavor. As for monounsaturated fats, stick to natural alternatives, such as avocados or olive oil.
Avocados are excellent in salads, while the olive oil makes a good dressing.
Polyunsaturated fats are quite diversified and normally come from animal sources, especially seafood and fish.
Fruits are not supposed to be eaten freely due to the high amounts of sugar. You can have some berries for a healthy keto breakfast, but you can't eat them round the clock.
Although it's often sold among vegetables, the avocado is practically a fruit and makes a good choice. It's rich in healthy fats, as well as magnesium – more magnesium than bananas per 100g.
Drinks and Spices
Your options are quite limited in terms of drinks and condiments. Water is mandatory, so you should have at least 3 liters a day. Coffee is also good, yet it should be naturally sweetened. It can be mixed with some coconut milk or heavy cream. As for tea, stick to black and herbal teas only.
Mustard, pesto, pickles and mayonnaise make good sides, but you should still check their labels. Spices are accepted too, as well as herbs, zest or lemon juice.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most cruciferous vegetables must be eaten with moderation. The same rule applies to some root vegetables, such as spring onion, garlic, mushrooms or leek. Coconut, olives and rhubarb follow the same rules, not to mention fruits – stick to berries only.
Although accepted occasionally, it might be better to stay away from watermelons, apricots, peaches, apples, kiwifruits, plums, pears and cherries.
Seeds and Nuts
Macadamia nuts might be low in carbs, but they are high in MUFA. Pecans should be eaten occasionally too, as well as hazelnuts, flaxseed, sesame, hemp and sunflower seeds.
No one can deny the benefits of Brazil nuts, yet they're rich in selenium, so they make a good snack occasionally only. All in all, nuts make some great keto snacks to buy, but not more than once a week,
Grain Fed Animals and Dairy
Dairy products labeled as low fat or zero fat must be completely avoided. They're usually rich in starch and sugar. The label is only a marketing gimmick. Stick to full-fat cheese and yogurts instead, but in moderate amounts. The same goes for bacon, beef, poultry and eggs.
Condiments and Soy Products
While accepted when you cook or have a coffee, zero carb sweeteners must be eaten occasionally only. Check their labels upfront too. Thickeners also make a bad idea. The xanthan gum is the most common one, so again, check labels. Also, tomato products advertised to be sugarfree are not really helpful for your low carb diet.
Carob or cocoa powders and dark chocolate can be eaten sometimes, but in small amounts. As for sugarfree mints and chewing gums, many of them have carbohydrates. It's worth checking up front.
If you like soy, stick to non-GMO products only, as well as fermented products. Soybeans can be used when you cook, but avoid the processed ones.
In terms of alcohol, you can have unsweetened spirits, dry red or white wine. You can't refuse a glass when you attend an important social event, but make sure you don't go out every night just for this reason.
Grains – even wholemeal – should be avoided due to the high amounts of carbohydrates. The list includes oats, wheat, barley and rice, among many others. Stay away from white potatoes too, not to mention quinoa. Despite its benefits, it's not useful in the ketogenic diet.
Processed foods are contraindicated regardless of your diet. They contain MSG and cancer-related ingredients, as well as sulfites and BPAs. Believe it or not, the BPAs are not even required on labels, so you basically have no idea what kind of rubbish you put into your body. In terms of fast foods for keto, McDonald's is obviously out of discussion.
While a natural sweetener is allowed occasionally, the artificial ones are terrible for your health. They're associated with a series of health problems and can easily ruin your keto diet plan. Furthermore, some of them include carbs and can cause severe sugar cravings over time.
Low Fat and Zero Carb Products
You'll find such labels everywhere, especially in soda drinks, dairy products and chewing gum. It's a marketing diet. Even if they have no sugar or little to no fat, these foods are packed with carbs. Plus, they're rich in artificial additives.
Full fat milk is accepted occasionally and in small amounts. If you can stay away from it, do it. It's quite difficult to digest by the human body and it has plenty of hormones. Furthermore, a milk serving may have up to 20g of carbs. If you can't drink your coffee black, simply add a little cream.
Tropical fruits are known for providing the body with lots of carbohydrates – the last thing you want. Bananas, mangoes and pineapples are contraindicated. The same goes for grapes and tangerines. Even 100% natural and fresh fruit juices are not allowed for the exact same reasons. It's better to just come up with a healthy smoothie based on accepted ingredients.
Legumes include lentils, chickpeas and beans, among many others. They're quite rich in carbs, hence the contraindication. They also contain phytates, which the human body finds hard to digest. As for peanuts, they'll raise a series of question marks. Some people have them in moderate amounts and quite rarely. If you can avoid them, do it.
Refined and Factory Farmed Products
Refined fats are based on common oils, such as soybean, canola or sunflower oils. Margarine is also contraindicated. Although allowed in normal amounts, fish and pork must be avoided if they're factory farmed due to a series of potential adverse reactions.
In terms of alcohol, avoid sweet drinks and cocktails. You don't need an eating out the keto restaurant guide to figure what to eat or drink, but just stick to the above-mentioned products. A glass of dry wine is accepted occasionally. Pure liquors can go too, but in moderate amounts. You can have tequila, vodka, gin or whiskey, but that's pretty much it.
"Between work, school, and the gym, I don't always have time to cook up a big breakfast. In the morning I just throw one of the meal replacement shake packets in my bag and go. Plus they fill me up without killing my macros for the day! I drink the vanilla flavor which honesty taste just like a milkshake."
As a short final conclusion, the keto diet is not as restrictive as it's believed to be. Sure, there are plenty of foods that you should stay away from, but there are even more foods that you can eat freely or in moderate amounts.
There's one thing that can truly make the difference between the ketogenic diet and other similar diets – you won't starve. You don't need too much willpower to go through this diet, but just enough to follow a few simple rules.
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