Does the keto diet have to be meat-heavy?
The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a popular way of eating to maintain good health and body composition. Done properly, the keto diet can be nutritious, healthy, and sustainable.
As a rule, the keto diet is low in carbohydrates, high in fat and moderate in protein. When following a keto diet, carbs are generally reduced to under 50g per day, with fats replacing most of the removed carbs. When you eat this way, your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy. The reduction in carbs puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. When you are in ketosis, your body uses ketones that are produced in the liver from fat, as an alternate fuel source. Keto diets can reduce hunger levels, increase satiety, and may have a range of health benefits.
Keto Meal Planning
As long as your carb intake remains low, your keto eating patterns can be either higher in fat and lower in protein, or moderate in fat and higher in protein. This allows for a great variety in your keto eating plan to accommodate a range of eating styles that are healthy and sustainable. A keto diet does not have to be built solely around meat, cheese and high saturated fat animal products. For some people, this style of eating is unpalatable and unsustainable. By incorporating more nuts, seeds, olive oil and lower carb vegetables, it is possible to build a varied, sustainable and more plant-focused keto diet. Find the balance that suits you best.
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When following a keto diet, your meals and snacks should centre around the following unprocessed and minimally processed foods:
- An abundance of fresh, locally sourced seasonal lower starch vegetables, straight from your ShiokFarm Low Carb bag!
- Healthy oils – extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, cold pressed flaxseed oil and sesame oil
- Avocados, olives
- Nuts and seeds – macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, chia and flaxseeds
- Nut butter – natural peanut, almond and cashew butters
- Fatty fish – wild caught salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and herring
- Eggs – organic whole eggs are a great option
- Grass fed beef, venison, pork and organ meats
- Poultry – chicken and turkey
- Full-fat dairy – yoghurt, butter, cream and sour cream
- Full fat cheese and vegan cheese
- 90% dark chocolate
- Fresh herbs, spices, lemon juice, pepper, and vinegar
Foods to Restrict
Higher carb and healthy foods need to be limited to small amounts each day, so that you achieve and maintain ketosis. You will need to restrict the following foods;
- Starchy vegetable – potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas and pumpkin
- Grains and grain products – wheat, rice, oats, quinoa and cous cous
- Breads and baked goods
- Legumes and beans – chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and black beans
Whilst on a ketogenic eating plan, high-carb drinks and beverages also need to be limited. Keto-friendly drink choices include:
- Sparkling mineral water
- Unsweetened green tea
- Unsweetened coffee
- Spirits mixed with soda
- Add fresh mint, lemon or lime to your drinks for extra flavour
What to look out for
Consuming too many carb-rich and high sugar foods will limit your ability to establish and maintain ketosis, so be sure not to overdo it with the healthy and higher carb foods listed above. Furthermore, you want your keto diet to be healthy so do your best to avoid the following foods and drinks:
- Highly processed and packaged foods
- Biscuits, cakes, lollies, crisps and sugary ‘junk’ food
- Fruit juice, bubble tea, soda, iced tea, highly sugared teas and coffee beverages
- Processed meats
- Unhealthy oils such as poor quality vegetable oils, margarines and shortening
A healthy keto diet can be maintained for both the short and the long term. It can be used as an effective short-term weight management tool however it can also be adopted as a sustainable long-term lifestyle choice.
Use your ShiokFarm Low Carb bag as your base and enjoy all the fresh keto-friendly foods that have been carefully sourced for you. Supplement your bag with whole foods to build your own healthy and sustainable keto eating plan. Enjoy your keto eating and enjoy the benefits of reduced hunger, less cravings and feeling satiated!
Dr Naras Lapsys is a consultant dietitian, based in Singapore. If you have any diet or keto-related questions, or want help in building a healthy keto diet, please feel free to contact Dr Naras directly at: email@example.com. He will do his best to answer all your questions!