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Nutrient-Dense Keto Food List for Beginners

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  Published on January 7th, 2021
  Reading time: 5 minutes
  Last modified May 13th, 2021
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When food is healthy, low-carb, and incredible-tasting, you know it’s a good choice for your ketogenic diet. Here is a keto diet food list of 8 nutrient-dense foods and mouthwatering recipes you can make to satisfy cravings!

 

1.   Eggs!

Eggs are high in healthy fats with virtually zero carbs! Eggs are loaded with nutrients that can improve your eye and brain health! Use this versatile, nutritious food to make keto cakes, breakfast omelets, frittatas, and so much more [1,2].
Try an egg-rich keto recipe:


2.   Tomatoes

The tempting tomato helps deliver your favorite flavors from Italian dishes, spruce up a keto salad, and more. Botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit, but they’re typically consumed as vegetables. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, and they’re also high in potassium and vitamin C! One whole tomato has around 4.8 grams of carbohydrates and 1.5 grams of dietary fiber [3].

It should be noted that if you have a sensitivity to nightshades, you might want to avoid tomatoes. Some people experience inflammation after consuming tomatoes and therefore avoid them on the keto diet; however, this experience is not universal and everyone reacts differently.
Enjoy a tomatoey keto recipe:


3.   Cauliflower

Most veggies are low in carbs. Cruciferous veggies and leafy greens have especially low carb counts, and most of their carbs consist of fiber. Starchy root vegetables like sweet potatoes and potatoes are higher in carbs and should be limited or avoided on keto.

The versatile cauliflower is a staple in most keto kitchens. High in vitamin C and K and folate, the humble cauliflower can improve various keto dishes. One cup of cauliflower has around 5.4 grams of carbs and just over 2 grams of dietary fiber [4].
Choose from one of these delicious dishes featuring the cauliflower cruciferous veggie:


4.   Meats!

Meats tend to be at the top of a keto diet food list because most types of meat are close to zero carbs. This is with the slight exception of organ meats like liver, which contains around 5% carbs [5].

For example, beef is filling, low-carb, and packed with important nutrients like vitamin B12 and iron. You can find different types of beef, from ground beef to hamburgers and ribeye steak! Lamb is another example and tends to be high in the beneficial fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).

For health, quality, and ethical reasons, many people opt for grass-fed, organic, and non-GMO meats when available and affordable. Also, choose fattier cuts of meat, such as juicy chicken thighs and wings. Mix it up and try something different like veal, venison, or bison!

When it comes to more processed meats like bacon and jerkies, most health experts recommend moderating your consumption and choosing organic, nitrate-free, sugar-free, and uncured whenever possible. Buying locally and supporting your farmers and farmers markets is another excellent option to improve the quality and nutrient-density of your food. Some keto dieters try the keto carnivore approach – a more meat- and seafood-based ketogenic diet that limits or avoids plant-based foods and focuses on animal fat and protein [6].
Check out these meaty, hearty, filling dishes:


5.   Seafood!

All sorts of wonderful foods come from the depths of the astounding ocean! Fatty fish and seafood are renowned for their benefits and nutrient-density. They’re especially high in iodine, B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Most fish and seafood contain next to no carbs, a perfect fit for a ketogenic diet.

Do you prefer salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, or shellfish? Shellfish rank close to organ meats in their nutrient density, and they’re also low in carbs. For example, 100 grams of oysters provides around 2.7 grams of carbohydrates [7].
Find a tasty fishy keto recipe:


6.   Bell Peppers!

Contrary to popular belief, bell peppers are actually fruits even though they’re most commonly prepared and eaten as a vegetable! These vibrant fruits have a satisfying, distinctive flavor and sweet crunch. They’re also high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. 100 grams of bell peppers has around 4.7 grams of carbs and just over 1 gram of dietary fiber [8].
Add some colorful peppers to your keto kitchen:


7.   Avocado

The avocado is in a league of its own. This unique fatty fruit is loaded with healthy fats, high in fiber and potassium, and more! 1 medium-sized avocado has over 12 grams of carbohydrates, but 10 grams of this is natural dietary fiber, which won’t spike your blood sugar and kick you out of ketosis. This means the net carb content of the avocado is just over 2 grams [9].

Even if you don’t like avocados, you can still enjoy them when cooking. Try swapping out your coconut oil or MCT oil for avocado oil next time you cook!
Sink your chompers into one of these avocadelicious keto dishes:


8.   Nuts!

Nuts and seeds are usually a keto-friendly choice. Nuts like walnuts and pecans are higher in fat and lower in carbs. Walnuts are also high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) — a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acid [10].
Do you prefer walnuts, almonds, pecans, or macadamia nuts? What are your favorite nuts? Go nuts with a nutty keto meal:


What’s Your Favorite Item On This Keto Food List?

Comment below and let us know! Did we miss anything on this keto food list that you enjoy?

 

 

References

1.    Zeisel, S. H., & Costa, K-A. (2009). Choline: An essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition Reviews, 67(11), 615-623. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x

2.    Handelman, G. J., Nightingale, Z. D., Lichtenstein, A. H., Schaefer, E. J., & Blumberg, J. B. (1999). Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70(2), 247-251. DOI: 10.1093/ajcn.70.2.247

3.    USDA Food Database. Tomatoes, Raw. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

4.    USDA Food Database. Cauliflower, Raw. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

5.    Self Nutrition Data. Beef Variety Meats, Liver, Cooked, Braised, Nutrition Facts & Calories. Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised Nutrition Facts & Calories (self.com)

6.    Mulvihill, B. (2002). Ruminant meat as a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Nutrition Bulletin, https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1467-3010.2001.00179.x

7.    USDA Food Database. Oysters, Raw. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

8.    USDA Food Database. Bell Peppers. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

9.    USDA Food Database. Avocado, Raw. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

10. USDA Food Database. Organic Raw Walnuts. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

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