Just because you’re on the ketogenic diet doesn’t necessarily mean you’re food is the healthiest or highest quality. Sometimes it’s about what you know and where to go. For example, if you know that organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef is healthier than grain-fed, factory-farmed beef, you can try to choose this option as much as possible when you’re consuming beef. Whether you’re a keto vegetarian or vegan, paleo, or some other version of keto, you can make the best possible food choices to enhance your general health and wellness.
‘Isn’t it expensive?’ is often the first question that comes to mind when mentioning foods that are organic, wild-caught, or grass-fed; however, when you’re equipped with the right knowledge, tools, and tips, eating healthier can be more affordable. At the end of the day, it’s always important to just do your best, don’t stress, and take it one step at a time.
Top Tips for Understanding Food Quality
Here’s how to source better quality keto food:
1) Better Quality Meats and Fish
Whenever you can, select wild-caught salmon over factory-farmed salmon and grass-fed beef over grain-fed, factory-farmed beef. Beyond the ethical reasons, from a health standpoint, it’s always optimal to consume foods that are available as nature intended. Meat and fish are healthiest when the animal is in its natural environment and fed its natural diet. For example, for cows, this means eating grass and roaming plains. For salmon, depending on the type, this means swimming in the ocean and eating plankton.
Grass-fed and organic meats and wild-caught fish and seafood are often more expensive. It’s helpful to know when your local grocery stores have sales on these items. You can also support your local farmer’s markets or smaller food shops and figure out when they offer their best pricing or if you can get a better deal if you buy in bulk weekly or biweekly. Many online grocers with discounts and memberships are now also available. You could even go fishing yourself and see what you can catch!
2) Choose Organic When You Can
Throughout history, food was organic until modern agricultural practices evolved to spraying bug-killers and chemicals on crops. From your fruits to your vegetables and your nuts and seeds, organic is usually a better choice because the food isn’t sprayed with certain potentially harmful chemicals and pesticides. Many researchers and health experts believe these pesticides and chemicals might be damaging to human health.
Organic isn’t always affordable, but there are certain options, such as weekly sales, buying in bulk, and farmer’s markets. Even if the food isn’t certified organic by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), you could visit your small local farm, talk to the farmer, and do your research to determine if it’s natural, organic, and a good option for your keto diet. Many local farmers are happy to have the support and to share their foods with the community.
Another great option is stocking your freezer with organic frozen berries, veggies, and meats, which can be more affordable and convenient. It’s useful to pay attention to freshness, ripeness, and expiration dates.
3) Go Local and In Season!
Farmer’s markets and community gardens are always fun and promote health and wellness. Foods that are local and in season are usually the highest quality and most nutrient-dense.
4) Unrefined and Minimally Processed!
Minimally processed and unrefined oils are ideal, such as unrefined coconut oil. With some items, such as coconut milk or almond milk, choose the brands that have little to no additives. If you’re unsure, check the ingredients.
5) Storage and Meal Prepping!
Storing food properly can avoid food wastage and make your high-quality ketogenic diet foods more affordable and last longer. For example, you could store your leafy salad greens or pre-made salads in mason jars. Stainless steel and glass containers are also a good choice.
Meal prepping is another way to make the keto lifestyle a little easier, avoid food wastage, and save money. You could batch cook, freeze meals, chop ingredients, and more.
Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.