So you’ve just decided to go through with the Ketogenic Diet. You know that you have to cut your carbs close to zero while eating more fat on a regular basis than you probably have before. You’ve been thinking about all the dietary changes you’ll have to make but maybe you don’t know where to start when it comes to your grocery list. Don’t worry friend I got you covered. Here is a short list of items I keep in my kitchen that I’m sure will get you off to a great start. If you’re still on the fence and are curious about what we crazy keto dieters eat, this will give you a good idea.
1. Beef, Fish, Poultry, and Eggs
When it comes to beef, opt for fatty cuts of steak or if you want ground beef get the 80/20, don’t get the lean ground beef. Fish, and seafood in general, is usually very lean, but that’s nothing some butter can’t fix. Personally I go for salmon. It’s fattier than most other fish and it’s high in omega 3s. If you buy chicken look for the stuff with the skin on. If you already have boneless skinless chicken breasts, that’s ok. You’ll just have to add some fat to it yourself. Eggs are eggs, just don’t get the liquid egg whites. They don’t have as much fat as whole eggs.
2. High Fat Butter like Challenge or Kerry Gold
If you have margarine or any type of butter with hydrogenated oils in it, get rid of it and replace it with some real butter. Why? First off, the fat content of butter like Kerry Gold or Challenge is higher compared to spreads like Country Crock. Second, it just isn’t good for you to be eating hydrogenated oils. Third, in my opinion real butter just tastes better than the other stuff.
3. Coconut, Olive, Sesame, and Avocado Oil
You’re going to be cooking with and eating large amounts of oils because they’re full of healthy fats and their fat content is pretty high at about 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. Sometimes I put coconut oil in my hot tea or drizzle some sesame oil on my food or vegetables. Avocado oil is good for cooking because of its high smoke point. I also like to put it directly onto my food because it doesn’t have a strong taste to it like olive oil.
4. Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream is such a versatile substance when it comes to cooking. You can beat it into your scrambled eggs before you cook them and you can put it in your coffee or tea with some stevia for a great tasting beverage with some extra fat in it. I even mix it into my protein shakes with some almond milk and chia seeds.
5. Almond Milk
I keep lots of almond milk for two reasons. The first has to do with the fact that I think cow’s milk doesn’t taste good and the second is because of the carb count. Almond milk has very few carbs with about 30 calories per serving if you get the unsweetened kind. I’ve also cooked with it before, using it as a substitute for cow’s milk and there is pretty much no difference in taste and texture.
6. Almond Flour, Coconut Flower, and Flax Meal (if you like to bake)
My wife really likes bread, pancakes, waffles, and all that other stuff so I make bread for her out of the low carb flours and meals from time to time. It takes a bit of practice to get used to baking with these types of flours but it is worth it. You can make hot cereals with these flours as well. If you’re not into baking and don’t really care for bready foods in the first place, you can just skip these.
I NEED my coffee. Maybe you feel the same way I do, maybe you don’t, but even if you aren’t normally a coffee drinker it does have a few benefits. Caffeine is great for giving you some pre-workout energy and raising your metabolism. If you’re like me and caffeine blunts your hunger you can use it to help you to not eat so much. Some days I just can’t eat enough and some days I don’t feel like eating anything. On those days when I’m constantly hungry the coffee helps me keep it under control.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is just good for you with its antioxidants, plus, I like the taste. A cold glass of tea and lemonade can hit the spot on those warm days. Also, don’t feel like you only have to limit yourself to just green tea. I love to drink different varieties and even if you aren’t normally a tea drinker, you might just find some that appeal to your taste buds.
9. Zero Calorie Sweeteners like Stevia or Erythritol
One of the major tests of will with the Ketogenic Diet is staying away from sugary foods and beverages. When you get that sweet tooth, it’s better to reach for the stevia than trying to calculate how many carbs you’ve already eaten for the day just so you can put a teaspoon of sugar in your tea.
Vegetables are important for general heath. Go for fibrous veggies like broccoli or green leafy veggies like kale and spinach. Eggplant and spaghetti squash is good, too. There are many other veggies out there that you can eat but those are the ones I eat most of the time.
Nuts are a great snack because they are high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and very easy to eat. When I’m hungry I usually just head to the pantry and grab a handful of macadamia nuts if I don’t feel like cooking, or if I need something to hold me over until my next meal. They’re also great for when you’re out and about because of their portability. All you have to do is just throw a few servings in a small container or bag and you’re good to go. I really like macadamias, pecans, and walnuts. There are many other varieties out there but these have very high amounts of fat per serving and are low in carbs.
This list doesn’t include everything, however, it is a good starting point. One thing I didn’t want to do is overwhelm you with a large list of stuff to go buy. Transitions like this are best when smaller steps are taken. As you progress in your keto journey you’ll learn that there are many more foods and additives you can buy, you’ll run across some recipes you may want to try, and ultimately you’ll figure out what works best for you.
Thanks for reading, see you on the next post.
Photo credit: Caden Crawford