*By Cory Yeakel
When most people hear the word “diet,” they immediately imagine being forced to give up all the foods they love in favor of bland, boring alternatives. While it’s true that dieting requires you to pay closer attention to your food, it doesn’t mean giving everything up you enjoy! This is especially true with the ketogenic diet, which is becoming more and more popular because of how many delicious foods you can still enjoy while following the plan.
For those unfamiliar with keto, it’s a form of low-carb diet that focuses on eating foods with higher protein and higher fat. “Higher fat?!”, you may ask. Yes, higher fat! By eating fewer carbs and more fat, you’re putting the body into a process called ketosis. In short, ketosis is where your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs, turning your body into a fat-burning machine that will leave you lean and mean.
One of the main reasons people give up on a diet is because they feel too restricted on what they can and can’t eat, but the ketogenic diet’s increased protein and fat limits really expand your options at meal time. To show you some examples, check out the quick cheat sheet below to see which foods are OK and which you should avoid when trying to go keto.
Foods to eat
- Meat and fish (pretty much any type)
- Non-starch vegetables (in other words, mostly those that grow above ground)
- Nut butter
- Olive oil
- Most condiments as long as they’re low-sugar (ketchup, mustard, etc.)
Foods to avoid
- Bread (including bagels, muffins, etc.)
- Processed food (crackers, candy, etc.)
- Processed drinks (soda, sports drinks, etc.)
- Potatoes (which means French fries, too!)
Additional tips for being successful with keto
Eating the right foods is 90% of the battle, but there are still a few additional things you can do to help you stick to your diet and make sure it’s going as efficiently as possible.
- Plan your meals. Many people like to eat on a whim based on whatever they’re craving at the moment. While this can certainly satisfy your taste buds, planning meals ahead of time will keep you from accidentally breaking your diet and falling out of ketosis (the fat-for-energy process).
- Track your ketone levels. Ketosis doesn’t have to be a guessing game. You can verify that your new eating habits are working as intended by using a ketone meter to check if your body is actually in a state of ketosis.
- Exercise! Some people diet for the sake of eating better, others diet to look better. Exercise is important for everyone, but especially if you fall into the second category, you’ll want to dial in a solid workout plan so that you’re working fitness from both angles.
Of all the diets out there, the ketogenic plan is definitely top five as far as food enjoyment is concerned. With foods like avocado and bacon as top recommendations, who cares about missing that morning bagel?
Cory Yeakel has been studying nutrition and exercise for over 10 years. When he’s not in the gym or in the kitchen, you can find him in the mountains hiking with his Siberian Husky, Thunder.