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If you decide to embark on a low-carb, high-fat journey you’re making a commitment and if you want to see lasting results you need to stick to it. That might sound strict, but what sets keto apart from other diets is that there’s much less emphasis on cutting things out or eating less. Rather than limiting what you can eat, keto aims to find substitutions that are just as satisfying but much healthier.
Grab a cart and I’ll show you what I mean.
Cutting out sugars is an absolute must for achieving ketosis. And fruit, while very healthy, is called ‘nature’s candy’ for a reason.
Keep on the shelf- Bananas, grapes, mangos, apples, raisins, dates, and pineapples are all very high in carbs. Depending on your macros, one or two pieces of these fruits could bring you close to your daily carb limit or exceed it entirely.
Put in the cart- Berries still have sugar but in much lower quantities. They’re also very high in fiber, which helps you stay fuller longer. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries can be enjoyed alone in moderation or by adding them to keto-friendly desserts like low carb cobblers and crumbles. Make sure to stock up on avocados, they’re a keto essential!
There’s a nifty rule of thumb when finding vegetables that are keto-friendly. If it grows above ground it’s lower in calories, whereas root vegetables are higher. That takes out a lot of the guesswork!
Keep on the shelf- Potatoes and sweet potatoes are one of the absolute worst foods because they’re very starchy. Onions are okay when used as a topping because the carbs are negligible, but be cautious of sauteed or caramelized onions.
Put in the cart– Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach are always a safe pick. Green vegetables in general tend to be lower in carbs, greens peppers being a great example when compared with their red and yellow counterparts. Zucchini is a necessity as it’s used to make keto alternatives like fries and pasta.
▶ Also Read: Keto Meal Prep Ideas
When people think keto the first foods that come to mind are often fatty meats. And while they’re very important to a keto diet, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis. You shouldn’t have meat at every meal, and some meat you shouldn’t have at all.
Keep on the shelf- Glazed ham is often made with sugar. Bacon, while keto-compliant, isn’t heart healthy. Processed meats like sausages, hot dogs, and meatballs can be loaded with carbs. Avoid any meat products that are factory farmed.
Put in the cart- Steak, ground beef, pork, and fatty fish like salmon are the things you need to reach for. If you’re buying chicken opt for dark meat as it’s higher in fat. Make sure that the meats you pick are organic and grass-fed. Buy local, pastured eggs whenever possible.
This is probably one of the most straightforward categories when it comes to a ketogenic diet. If it’s very sweet or you weren’t allowed to have it as a kid, odds are it’s not suitable.
Keep on the shelf- Fruit juice, soda, alcohol, and sweetened tea. Some energy drinks are technically keto-friendly but they’re very unhealthy to begin with. Milk is also a big no-no when it comes to keto as it’s full of lactose, a natural sugar.
Put in the cart- Unsweetened tea and coffee can be used for your morning caffeine. Seltzer water, sparkling water, and club soda make an excellent alternative to sodas and diet sodas. You have plenty of options for replacing regular milk such as almond, coconut, cashew, and soy milk.
Like drinks, knowing which snacks are or aren’t keto-friendly is fairly intuitive. Though there are a few that may surprise you.
Keep on the shelf- No junk food, not even the occasional small bag of chips. Cashews are healthy but sadly quite high in carbs. Most of the safe snacktime go-tos like snack bars, crackers and pretzels are no longer on the menu.
Put in the cart- Dark chocolate is keto-friendly, but should still be eaten in moderation. Pork rinds and beef jerky are also fine, but double check the ingredients for hidden sugars. Both sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts are healthy and high in fat. Keep an eye out for keto-friendly chips, crackers, and popcorn to try!
Did you notice how we completely skipped over breads, grains, and pastas? There’s no compromise to be made there, so as you’re writing a shopping list when starting a keto diet remember those foods are completely off-limits. Something else you may have noticed is that this is a keto shopping list for people who don’t cook. Whether it’s because you lack the time, skill, or energy, one of the great things about keto is it often requires little to no cooking whatsoever. Even meat-based dishes are fairly simple.
So what are you waiting for? Those avocados aren’t going to buy themselves.
▶ Take advantage of our Nutiro Ultimate Guide on How to Meal Plan that gives you the flexibility to enjoy other meal planning options such as keto, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, etc.