A rising cost of living, changes in the job market, and the cascading effects of the current supply chain crisis have caused many consumers to hunker down on their food budgets and get creative to curb carb intake while reducing spending.
Some individuals believe that a ketogenic diet, which relies on low-carb, high-fat foods, is a vanity diet. In addition, others perceive the plan to be costly and only certified keto-approved if you eat nothing but organic and grass-fed foods.
However, you can still follow the keto diet regardless of your price range or budget. The essential point is limiting carbs and including plenty of healthy fats and proteins in your meals to keep you energized and focused.
Lastly, we're going to share six easy-to-make keto recipes the whole family will love, all with food you already have at home––and even those who have been on the fence about the keto diet will be converted!
Keto Pantry Staples to Keep Stocked
Those who follow a ketogenic diet will probably stock their pantry with common staples like heavy cream, eggs, and chia seeds. There are specific essential components in any keto kitchen, like substitutes for sweeteners and grain-based flours.
As we draft this post, we keep this sentiment in mind. And we aim to provide helpful and creative ideas to assist you in making the most of your meals using foods you already have at home.
Before we cover our favorite pantry meals, let's discuss some of the staples to keep well-stocked year-round, so you can create a wide variety of hassle-free dishes that the whole family will love.
Fish and Seafood
Including fish in your diet is one of the best ways to get plenty of omega-3-fatty acids and protein, which will help you build muscle and feel satiated, which can help you reduce your appetite.
Besides fresh-caught salmon, there are shelf-stable options such as canned mackerel, tuna, herring, oysters, and crab that you can have on hand for a wide range of delicious low-carb meals.
Here are some additional seafood options to enjoy from the pantry to your plate:
- Sardines: Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to lower blood pressure and the risk of blood clots, proving especially beneficial to those with a history of heart disease or heart attack.
- Trout (like the variety with dill sold at Thrive Market): Rainbow trout, a colorful, patterned variety of the salmon family, is a fantastic option for your pantry. The food is abundant in protein, niacin, and B12, which are necessary for optimal brain and body functioning.
- Shrimp: A can of shrimp can be beneficial on those nights when you want to make a quick stir-fry. Moreover, you can also use canned shrimp to make a delicious seafood salad or atop a hearty keto pizza for a protein-packed meal.
Mussels are rich in vitamin B12, crucial to red blood cell production. Furthermore, these shellfish are rich in marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA, essential to heart health.
Plus, this type of fat helps to regulate your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure, and facilitate the functioning of your blood vessels.
Clams: A variety of minerals, such as iron, potassium, and phosphorus, are found in clams. Plus, clams are high in protein, low in fat, ecologically sustainable, and carry a low toxicity risk. There are only 30 calories in a two-ounce serving of canned clams, but they provide four grams of protein!
These mollusks have numerous benefits, including boosting fertility and collagen synthesis, providing iron, helping to regulate blood pressure, being loaded with protein, good for thyroid health, strengthening the heart, and providing excellent choline and riboflavin.
Scallops: Scallops offer a delicate seafood selection that's well-suited to searing in lots of salted grass-fed butter. Moreover, these succulent shellfish contain nutrient-rich vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, which relax blood vessels and improve blood pressure and circulation.
Plus, scallops are especially beneficial when following a keto diet as they provide essential trace minerals, frequently flushed from the body when in nutritional ketosis.
The scallop is also packed with protein, has a slightly sweet taste, and adds very few calories to your daily calories––making it an excellent food for people who want to lose weight or become leaner.
Crab: Choosing foods high in antioxidants is key on keto, and calorie-conscious options like crab deliver zinc and calcium while strengthening bones and joints.
Plus, this crustation is a clever way to harness calories! And with 87 calories per three-ounce serving, you can enjoy a more significant portion with a minimal impact on your daily macros.
Furthermore, you can quickly assemble crab cakes to pair with creamy keto tartar sauce just in time for summer.
Lobster makes up for its lack of omega-3 fats with its stellar flavor and abundance of vital nutrients like selenium, copper, phosphorus, B12, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E—a boon to any keto dieter who focuses on maintaining optimal electrolyte levels.
Furthermore, this tasty seafood selection provides a healthy portion of protein, calcium, and iron to strengthen bones and boost energy levels.
- Anchovies: Omega3-rich fish like anchovies give ketchup and other condiments a distinct flavor while providing a portable, shelf-stable source of protein.
Herring (Kipper Snacks): Sauté some onions in grass-fed butter or extra virgin olive oil and add atop steamed cauliflower rice, with shelf-stable varieties available that are perfect for padding your pantry, for a quick dish rich omega-3 fatty acids and gut-healthy fiber thanks to the cruciferous cauliflower rice.
Plus, herring is rich in minerals like selenium as well as B12 and vitamin D––also aiding in healthy cholesterol levels and fortifying heart health.
Traditionally, kippers are smoked fat herrings (caught in season) that have been gutted, opened flat, salted or brined to reduce water content, and then cold smoked.
Meals made with canned meat can be delicious and easy to prepare. You can use foods in your pantry, fridge, or long-term freezer to create meat-based meals that are convenient and never boring.
Create delicious dishes by using the following fatty and protein-rich items:
Chicken breast: Lean chicken breast is excellent in fresh salads or dipped in lupin semolina to make chicken nuggets that kids will love. Plus, chicken breast offers optimal keto macros by providing 80% of calories from protein and 20% from fat.
In addition to providing loads of protein, chicken breast also contains B12, which is essential for the following critical functions:
- Assists in the formation of red blood cells and prevent anemia
- Prevents major congenital disabilities
- Supports bone health and prevents osteoporosis
- Reduces the risk of macular degeneration
- May lift your mood and alleviate depression symptoms.
Ham: Make a mouthwatering stir-fry by cubing cured ham and rehydrating mixed bell peppers or use the ingredients to make a tasty frittata in minutes.
Ham contains energizing nutrients, minerals, and B vitamins. Furthermore, ham is also lower in saturated fat than some other meats, and it is an excellent source of protein for building muscle mass.
Also, ham contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for tissue and muscle growth and repair.
Potted meat: It is easy and convenient to prepare keto-friendly meals using fresh meat from the fridge or freezer. However, using canned selections like potted meat––typically a blend of chicken, beef tripe, and salt––is a great way to get vitamins A, C, and D, along with potassium and bone-building calcium.
Put the meat spread on keto crackers or layer it into a low-carb casserole for a fantastic freezer-friendly meal that you can make in bulk and keep for easier mealtime prep; just heat and eat!
Corned beef: Grab a head of crisp cabbage, an onion, and a can of corned beef; you've got a tasty and low-carb recipe well worth trying.
Corned beef is an excellent protein, vitamin B12, and iron source. Moreover, it's rich in selenium, vital for making thyroid hormones.
Plus, corned beef contains significant amounts of sodium, and increasing this element while in metabolic ketosis is wise because the body releases it in more significant amounts when burning fat and ketones.
Canned bacon: Bacon has gotten a bad rap due to its saturated fat content, but bacon is actually pretty nutritious when you look at its micronutrients.
This beloved breakfast pastime provides:
- Many health-promoting ingredients like vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.
- 89% of the recommended daily amount for selenium.
- 53% of the RDA for phosphorus.
- Impressive amounts of the minerals iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
Furthermore, bacon is a source of vital omega-3 fatty acids and choline, which boosts brain function, improves your mood, and curbs those pesky cravings that can derail your body's attempt to lose weight on a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
All Natural Canned Beef: Adding canned beef to recipes is a simple way to boost protein and fat in any dish without contributing to the carb count.
Beef is also an excellent source of several vitamins and nutrients, including:
- Iron is an invaluable component of blood health, and beef is an excellent source.
- Beef contains zinc, which helps with immunity and healing to repair damaged tissues and maintain a healthy immune system.
- It also helps with muscle function, which is essential for muscle health, thanks to its ample protein content.
Plant-based protein sources are highly bioavailable and easy for the body to recognize and synthesize to provide needed nutrients.
Fill your fridge and pantry with tofu, tempeh, and edamame for a fabulous selection of plant-based protein and nutrients to fuel your workouts and help you to persevere on hectic days.
You can also include the following plant-based proteins in your comprehensive keto meal plan to improve the nutrient density of your diet:
- Spirulina: Vitamin-rich foods like spirulina provide the body with 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. Furthermore, these blue-green algae include iron, manganese, and B vitamins––except B12.
- Chia seeds: These tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch, providing a source of complete protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
- Sprinkle a few seeds over sugar-free, probiotic-rich yogurt, add to milk, and sit overnight for delicious, nutritious keto oats.
Hemp seeds: Similarly to chia seeds, hemp seeds are a complete protein. Hemp seeds offer 5 g of protein per tablespoon. They can be used in a similar way to chia seeds.
Plus, the omega-3 and omega-6 fats in hemp seeds make them a great source of these healthy fats. Both of these fats reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. So by including hemp oil in your diet, you may be able to lower your risk for heart disease.
Seitan: Dietary alternatives to meat such as seitan made from wheat gluten, water, and other seasonings are popular. This product is high in protein and low in fat. However, if you suffer from Celiac or Crohn's Disease or otherwise have a gluten intolerance, you will want to pass on this selection.
Otherwise, keep seitan on hand in your refrigerator or long-term freezer for a versatile, gut-friendly high-protein option to add to your keto recipes.
Nuts: Add keto-friendly nuts like almonds, pecans, pili nuts, and walnuts to your keto meal plan to boost protein and fat. Plus, nibbling on nuts while traveling is the perfect snack.
Furthermore, as a bonus, low-carb foods such as almonds provide an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, copper, and phosphorus.
Low-carb canned vegetables include green beans, olives, sauerkraut, pickles, and tomatoes. Make sure you stock up on foods that contain vitamin C and have high nutritional values. You can't go wrong with canned veggies.
Moreover, keeping the following keto veggie options at your disposal will make it easier to create tasty and healthy meals using the foods you already have at home while following a low-carb, high-fat diet:
- Leaf spinach
Olives: Olives contain a lot of vitamin E as well as other powerful antioxidants. In addition, research shows that they are good for the heart and may help prevent osteoporosis and cancer.
Olive oil is produced by extracting it from this savory fruit and is a critical component of the Mediterranean diet––an approach known to boost heart health and improve cholesterol levels while limiting carb and sugar intake.
- Diced green chiles
Asparagus is packed with vitamins and minerals and adds nutrition and variety to any diet.
Aside from being high in antioxidants, asparagus delivers a powerful punch of nutrients and minerals, such as fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate.
Moreover, it is an excellent source of copper, an essential trace mineral that aids in forming collagen, energy production, and iron absorption.
Some may consider fruit out of bounds while following a keto diet, but that’s simply not true. Select low-glycemic options like strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries are ideal options filled with antioxidants to prevent inflammation and aid in feelings of fullness.
Dairy is an excellent source of calcium, fats, and proteins. So whether it's paired with coffee or whipped into a light and frothy dessert, heavy whipping cream is a must-have in any keto kitchen.
Also, cheese is a great addition to a keto fridge because it adds calcium, fat, protein, and ooey-gooey results to your recipes. Consider creamy options like brie or sharp cheddar and tangy provolone––everything tastes better with cheese, so don’t hold back.
Adding condiments to meals can take a dish from good to great. Consider sugar-free ketchup and mustard, as well as other fatty dips and sauces to go with crisp cucumbers or keto crackers.
Keep in mind, though, that condiments are notorious for hiding sugars and other unsavory ingredients, so read labels carefully to avoid harmful options.
It is more important than ever to stay hydrated when following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
Consider adding the following beverages to your diet to ensure ample hydration as well as much-needed minerals and electrolytes:
- Plain water
- Plain or flavored seltzer water (unsweetened)
- Konscious Keto Shake in decadent Banana Creme Brulee, Strawberry Cheesecake, or Creamy Chocolate
- Bone broth
- Zevia (keto-friendly soda sweetened with stevia)
- Stur or Water Drops (water enhancers made with stevia)
Pantry Meal Ideas
It is virtually impossible to run out of keto meal options to make from the tasty foods you already have handy at home. So now, let's go over some recipes to consider when you need to make the most of what you have in your cupboards.
Suppose you're on a low-carb, high-fat diet. There are many breakfast options to choose from. Whether you're in a hurry and only have time to blitz a nutrient-rich protein shake or leverage meal prep to enjoy recipes with multiple servings, like quiche or egg muffins, there are many options for a satisfying keto breakfast. Eggs are a versatile breakfast ingredient, as they can be prepared in many ways, as outlined in this article.
Try options like our Quick N' Easy Breakfast Sausage Keto Quiche, a fabulous recipe to clear out the fridge and make good use of leftovers to prevent food waste.
You can make countless recipes using the tasty foods in your pantry and refrigerator.
Use canned chicken to recreate our delicious Kickin’ Keto Chicken Salad, or pop open a can of savory bacon to create a tasty and craving-crushing casserole.
Or serve up some zoodles with a creamy sauce straight from the pantry along with smoked oysters canned in olive oil for a quick and easy meal packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and an abundance of healthy fats.
Dining on keto-friendly fare is easy when you get creative with many of the common keto staples found in virtually any keto kitchen.
Quickly whip up a King Keto Taco Casserole using home-canned ground beef and taco seasonings along with a few other keto ingredients.
Alternatively, try this Keto Savory Pie with Zucchini recipe, another great way to use leftovers, pantry items, and other foods to create a delicious, nutritious keto dish.
A well-stocked pantry allows you to prepare various recipes whenever the mood strikes.
Also, stock your cabinets with healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, or avocado oil spray.
Making meals exclusively using ingredients you already have at home is likely even easier than you think. You’ll notice some common ingredients in most low-carb meals and can begin to build a roster of refrigerator, freezer, or pantry foods to use weekly in a vast variety of keto-friendly recipes.
Rely on your pantry, fridge and freezer foods during times when you can’t get out of the house or a budgetary blip leaves you needing to rely on your well-stocked resources to feed your family.
No matter the reason for crafting cuisine from your home-based stores, know that you can make tasty and easy keto-friendly recipes to fuel weight loss and improve overall health with many of the foods you already have waiting for you in your kitchen.
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