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All starches turn into sugar when digested.
Starchy foods to avoid include bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, French fries, chips, crisps, bagels, crackers, legumes (most dried beans), cereal, porridge, oatmeal, and muesli. Even whole grains and grain-like foods such as quinoa are just other forms of starch.
There are many delicious substitutes for these foods that work on a keto diet. Try them out and you may not miss the carbs:
Meats and meat substitutes
Meats are perfect for keto. You can have beef, pork, lamb, wild game, and poultry of all kinds. Soy products like tofu and tempeh also work. You can also have deli meats like sausages and cold cuts. Choose items with no added sugars, starches, or breading to keep your carbs low.
Best keto fruits and berries
Most tart fruits, such as berries, lemons, and limes are fine if you keep the serving size small. The same is true for melons because of their high water content. But almost all other fruit contains too much sugar. A small scoop of fresh berries served with real whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate makes a lush, delicious keto dessert.
Cheese, butter, and cream can all be part of a keto diet. Greek yogurt, in particular, makes for a protein-rich breakfast with few carbs. Avoid flavored low-fat yogurt that is often full of added sugar.
Avoid drinking milk as the milk sugar quickly adds up (one glass = 15 grams of carbs). However, you can use it sparingly — a tablespoon or so — in your coffee. Also, regularly snacking on cheese when you’re not hungry is a common mistake that can slow down weight loss.
Keto-friendly fish and seafood
Most fish and shellfish are keto-friendly. Fatty fishes such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring are excellent choices, as are mild white fishes such as cod, halibut, and trout. Choose fish and seafood without added sugars or breading to keep your carbs low.
Best keto vegetables
Enjoy unlimited non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens and crunchy salad veggies such as cucumber, celery, and radishes. Other favorites include cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, and zucchini. Fresh or frozen, most vegetables that grow above-ground are keto-friendly. You can even eat a vegetarian keto diet.
Don’t fear fat. It can help you feel fuller longer. Most of your fat should come with protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. But you can also cook with olive oil, top your veggies with cheese, and add dressings to salads.
Rich sauces — think Bearnaise sauce, garlic butter, and mayo — can also be part of a keto diet, but if you are trying to lose weight, use only enough to make your meals enjoyable.
Eggs are delicious, portable, and vegetarian-friendly. Try them boiled, fried in butter, or in an omelet for a quick, inexpensive meal. Enjoy eggs as often as you’d like because when you avoid carbs, you don’t have to avoid dietary cholesterol.
Ways to eat eggs
Best keto nuts and seeds
Many nuts and seeds are low in carbs. Don’t eat too many! Start with just a few or up to ¼ cup (about 25 grams) for a snack. And the kind of nut you choose matters. Some nuts, such as cashews, are much higher in carbs than others, such as pecans or macadamia nuts. You can also enjoy pumpkin, sunflower, and other seeds on keto.
Keto cookies, chocolate bars, and similar products are usually highly processed. Although they may contain less sugar and flour than their high-carb counterparts, they provide little nutritional value and may cause carb cravings. Overall, they can slow down weight loss progress.
Ideally, avoid or limit them and go for nutrient-dense whole foods instead.
Drink water, coffee, tea, or the occasional glass of wine. For other ideas, choose from these:
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