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What Can You Eat on The Keto Diet Plan?

What Can You Eat on The Keto Diet Plan?

by Lauren Garcia -

Starting the keto diet is overwhelming and intimidating, especially when you look at all the things you can’t eat. We know it’s hard to imagine life without bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies.

There’s no denying we live in a carb-heavy world, but when you start to feel the benefits of keto, you’ll begin to realize why so many people are fatigued, sick and obese and you’ll never want to go back to feeling the way you felt before.

Fueling your body with ketones from your fat stores will give you some of the best energy you’ve ever felt.

We’re talking about jumping out of bed in the morning, allowing you to say goodbye to sluggishness.

And that’s just the start of it. Most people with just a few pounds to lose will experience rapid, natural, feel-good weight loss.

Many people also report significant relief from a range of chronic health issues. It doesn’t take much googling to find all kinds of success stories and impressive before and afters.

So, what can you eat?

What does a keto diet menu plan look like?

And where can you get food from that is tasty, quick and convenient?

It’s much simpler than you think.

What Does a Keto Diet Menu Look Like?

If you’re like many, you’ve spent too many exhaustive years counting calories and assuming that all food was created equal.

Cutting back on lunch means you can indulge in a scoop of ice cream later, right?

Unfortunately, that sort of thinking keeps many from seeing any progress on the scale and in their well-being.

However, it’s not about the calories—which is something of a relief when you come to that realization. 

Keto does involve a tiny amount of math (mostly percentages), but no worries because it’s not nearly as daunting.

What Are Keto Macros?

If you’re thinking about going keto, you’ve most definitely heard the term “macros.” 

Everything is about macros.

But what does that mean exactly? 

Below, we’ll break down how food is categorized into these macronutrients (or macros). And there’s three of them.  

Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (carbs), and as you start to nail down what foods and snacks are keto, and what are not, you’ll start to get the hang of these percentages.

In general, your keto diet will consist of around:

  • Fats: 60-80%
  • Proteins: 15-30%
  • Carbohydrates: 5-10%

Here’s how to incorporate each as you embark on a keto diet plan.

Keto Food: Fats

Fat has gotten a bad rap for far too long. Thankfully, it’s finally getting its due, because fats are just as vital as protein.

Fats provide energy, help regulate your hormones, protect your organs, and absorb essential nutrients.

Healthy fats support weight loss, partly because they help fill you up, preventing you from overeating.

Fats are also crucial for the brain—it’s 60% fat after all (2).

On top of that, all those low-fat or non-fat foods we all thought were healthy are just loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of fat.

See, fat helps make food taste good, too (think about a salad without some rich, satisfying olive oil!).

But just like calories, not all fats are the same. 

When on a keto diet, you’ll want to steer clear of trans fats found in processed foods (look for the word “hydrogenated” on the ingredient list).

Even though the FDA has officially banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the compliance date for this ban does not go into effect until January 1, 2020 (1).

You’ll also want to avoid heavily processed vegetable oils like canola, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower.

In general, you’ll want to stick to healthy, organic and (when applicable) grass-fed fats.

And don’t be afraid of saturated fats; one form found in coconut oil (medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs) is a critical energy-boosting ingredient for many keto dieters.

In your keto diet plan, fat should make up anywhere from about 60-80% of your daily calories.

Here are the types of fats you can consume on a keto diet:


  • Butter and ghee (best if grass-fed)
  • Lard and bacon fat
  • Dairy fats (like cheese and yogurt)
  • Coconut oil and coconut butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Flaxseed oil


  • Sesame seeds and paste (tahini)
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Other nuts, seeds and their butter (including almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pumpkin seeds)
  • MCT oil and MCT powder


Dairy offers both fats and proteins and is an excellent addition to any keto diet.

You’ll want to make sure always to pick full-fat versions (these are far more satisfying than low- or non-fat anyway!) and organic varieties when possible.

Here are some good sources of dairy that you can consume on a keto diet:

  • Cheeses: cheddar, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, goat cheese, gouda, mozzarella (whole milk), parmesan, ricotta, swiss
  • Creams: sour cream, heavy whipping cream
  • Yogurt: full-fat, plain and unsweetened

Keto Food: Proteins

The idea of protein may conjure up images of bodybuilders chugging down thick, grainy shakes in hopes of building big muscles. 

The truth is, we all need protein and quite a bit of it. It’s a crucial part of our survival.

Every cell in your body contains protein, from your muscles and bones to your skin, hair, and nails. 

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are vital to nearly every body function. Protein not only builds muscle and tissue but repairs it. It also supports hormones and enzymes and regulates organs.

But as necessary as protein is, you still don’t want to overeat of it as part of your keto diet plan. This is a crucial factor that a lot of people miss when trying to stay in ketosis.

Here’s what happens: When your body is low on glycogen, which stores glucose (sugar), it turns to another fuel source. This  was when a process called gluconeogenesis kicks into gear.

When this happens, your liver breaks down amino acids (the components found in protein) and turns them into glucose for fuel. 

This process triggers an insulin release, which will reduce the number of ketones in your bloodstream.

To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to find the right balance of protein. 

Most experts recommend consuming around 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (this is your body weight minus your body fat weight).

Or, follow the simpler guideline of no more than 1 gram per kg of body weight per day. 

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), keep your protein intake to around 68 grams.

Here are the types of proteins you can consume on a keto diet. 

You’ll want to pick grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic varieties when possible:

  • Beef: Choose fatty cuts like steak and ground beef.
  • Poultry: This includes chicken, duck, turkey, quail and wild game.
  • Pork: This includes ham, pork loin, pork chops, pork belly and bacon (of course!)
  • Fish: Fatty fish are best, like salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel, cod, and sardines.

Bison, lamb, and goat

  • Shellfish: This includes oysters, clams, crab, shrimp, mussels, and lobster.
  • Eggs: Enjoy the whole egg—yes, the yolk too!—any style, like fried, scrambled, poached or boiled. It’s best to look for pasture-raised (not “vegetarian-fed”).
  • Organ meats: All you adventurous eaters keen on trying nutrient-packed heart, liver, kidney or offal may get an extra boost of energy.

Keto Food: Carbs

While fat has often been portrayed as a villain, carbohydrates have always remained somewhat innocent in most dieters’ eyes.

However, the necessity of carbs has become quite a controversial topic. 

It’s always been thought that we need carbs for energy, but it may be the one macro we don’t need. 

Most people find when they cut carbs, they tend to lose weight, increase their energy, and feel better overall.

That said, carbs are often misunderstood. When we think carbs, we tend to envision heaping piles of pasta and oversized loaves of bread.

But the majority of snacks and processed foods you’ll find on your grocer’s shelves are mostly made up of carbohydrates, sugars, and sweeteners.

The largest calorie source for Americans is now high-fructose corn syrup, which has, along with sugar, been linked to metabolic disorders and obesity (3).

But even when you take out sugary and processed foods, we often forget that fruits and vegetables are mostly carbohydrates, too. 

That doesn’t make them dangerous, of course, but it does mean you’ll need to watch which types you eat if you want to stay in ketosis.

In general, the keto diet menu mostly consists of fats and proteins, with a limited amount of carbs.

This is not a zero-carb diet. Instead, you’ll want to focus on consuming healthy and beneficial carbs, especially ones containing high amounts of fiber.

This is typically in the form of vegetables, but will also come from the nuts, seeds, and dairy, as well as the occasional serving of fruit.

Avoid all wheat (bread, pasta, cereal), oats, rice, grains (quinoa, barley, millet), beans, legumes, sweets, and processed foods, plus starchy vegetables like corn, green peas, potatoes, and parsnips.

Most experts suggest limiting your carb intake to around 20-50 grams per day. 

Here are some of the lower-carb vegetables and fruits to enjoy on a keto diet:


  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Cruciferous vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower,  turnips
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Leafy greens: collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard, watercress
  • Lettuces: arugula, romaine
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Sauerkraut (make sure it’s naturally fermented with no added sugar)
  • Zucchini


  • Avocado
  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries

Vegan Keto Foods You’ll Love

While the vegan diet is typically pretty carb-heavy, it’s still possible to be vegan and keto.

There are enough plant sources to keep you fueled with ketones. But we’ll be honest—it won’t be easy, and your choices are minimal.

It’s also important to be aware of the carbohydrate content of some of these foods (like tofu), as they’ll be higher than animal sources of protein.

Nevertheless, here’s how you can do it:


  • Coconut oil and coconut butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Flaxseed oil


  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Soy milk


  • Sesame seeds and paste (tahini)
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Other nuts, seeds and their butter (including almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds)
  • MCT oil and MCT powder


  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Veggie burger


  • Kelp noodles
  • Shirataki noodles
  • Vegan cheese (no casein)

What Can I Add to Keto Food?

Toppings, sauces, sweeteners or spices can add a lot of great flavors. 

Since most commercially made dressings and sauces include added sugars and artificial flavors, your best bet is to keep them homemade.

If that sounds a bit daunting though, have no fear—there are still quite a few options available on most grocer’s shelves that are keto-friendly.

Just make sure you read the labels for any added sweetener or ingredient that may seem suspect. 

Here are some of my go-to additions:


  • Anchovy paste
  • Capers
  • Chili peppers
  • Coconut aminos
  • Coconut milk (full-fat and unsweetened)
  • Fish sauce
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Miso paste
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Pesto
  • Pickles
  • Salsa
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Tahini (sesame paste)
  • Vinegar: including balsamic, cider, red or white wine
  • Wasabi
  • Worcestershire sauce


  • Blue cheese dressing
  • Italian dressing
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Olive oil and vinegar
  • Ranch dressing


Any pure herb or spice is perfectly keto-safe and can bring a ton of taste to any dish.

  • Basil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin powder
  • Dill
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric


In general, you should skip all sweet foods and sweeteners. Once you take those away, you’ll stop craving them.

If you do want to use a sweetener on occasion, I recommend:

  • Liquid Stevia
  • Monk fruit
  • Xylitol

Keto Diet Sample Menu Snacks

Snacks for the keto diet can be both easy and delicious. Here are some of our go-to keto diet snack ideas:

  • Ready-made meats like cold cuts, salami, and smoked fish
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Hard and high-quality cheeses
  • Raw vegetables with keto-friendly dip or sauce
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole-fat yogurt (add nuts or seeds as a topping and maybe a few berries)
  • Avocado with olive oil
  • Olives
  • Chia seed pudding with coconut milk

What Beverages Can I Drink?

You’re not just limited to boring old water! And you can even drink alcohol! 

Yes, there are even beverages that have either low or zero carbs, including:

  • Club soda, seltzer or sparkling water (add a splash of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing twist)
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Unsweetened nut milk and coconut milk
  • Unsweetened coconut milk


While alcohol is okay on the keto diet, you’ll want to limit the amount you drink, of course—aim for just 1-3 drinks per week maximum. 

Be very careful about serving sizes; it’s easy to go overboard, especially with wine. 

  • Alcohol: Hard liquor (gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey) has zero carbs
  • Wine: one 5 oz. glass is under 4 carbs
  • Champagne: one 3.5 oz. glass is 3 carbs
  • Light beer: one 12 oz. can is 3 carbs

What Foods Are Not Part of a Keto Diet Plan?

Looking at these lists above offers a bit of relief, right? 

As you can see, you can enjoy quite a bit of delicious foods on the keto diet. 

Of course, there are plenty more you’ll want to stay away from; a good rule of thumb to go by is to avoid all processed foods.

Just by doing that you’ll eliminate nearly all sugar, additives and artificial flavors.

If life starts to get crazy busy (as it always does) and you have to reach for packaged or pre-made food, at least learn what to look for on labels and ingredient lists.

We’ll also help you out with that in the next section!

Not Keto: Sugar  

This is the big one, and probably the hardest habit to kick when starting on keto. But it’s so worth the struggle.

Most of us know that saying “sayonara” to sugar means avoiding sweets, candies, pastries, cakes, cookies, chocolates, donuts, cereals and ice cream.

You also need to stay away from all sodas (including diet), fruit juices, flavored waters (like Vitamin Water) and energy drinks, all of which are packed with sugar and artificial sweeteners.

The tricky part is avoiding all the hidden sugar that can be found in “health” or “energy” bars, sauces, dressings, drinks, yogurts, and other packaged goods. 

It’s even best to stay away from all natural sweeteners too, like honey and maple syrup.

As I said above, once your body adjusts to the lack of sugar, you’ll find yourself not even craving it anymore.

Not Keto: Grains, Beans, and Starchy Foods  

Starch is all carbohydrates, meaning you want to avoid foods like bread, pasta, rice, fries, and potato chips.

All grains are off limits as well—yes, even the gluten-free kind like quinoa, millet, teff, and buckwheat.  

A lot of breakfast faves are no-no’s, too, including cereals, oats, porridge, muesli, granola, etc.

Beans and legumes are also high in carbs. This means even hummus (made with chickpeas) is off limits. 

You’ll want to skip on some of the starchier vegetables, including potatoes (even sweet potatoes), carrots, parsnips, beets, and onions.

That said, you can still consume these in small amounts as long as you count them into your daily carb intake.

For example, 100 grams of onions will set you back 7 grams of carbs, but you probably wouldn’t eat that much in one sitting anyway.

Not Keto: Most Fruits  

Aside from the fruits okayed above (avocado and berries), you’re going to have to pass up on everything else.

There’s just too much sugar in most fruits, and while it’s natural, it will still raise your blood sugar and take you out of ketosis.

If you’re craving some fresh fruit, I recommend grabbing a handful of berries to help quench your craving. 

If you do eat fruits, however, it is advisable to go for a walk after eating to help lower your insulin response.

In ketosis, moderate, low-impact exercise is a great way to boost ketone production.

Not Keto: Artificial Flavors and Additives   

While most artificial flavors, preservatives, and other additives do not contain carbs or calories, you still want to avoid them as much as possible.

For example, the artificial sweetener in diet soda may increase your desire for more sugar. Other additives can disrupt hormones and may affect your digestion.

How to Read Labels to See if Food is Keto

When you’re looking for a quick snack or meal, you’ll need to know how to read nutrition labels.

You see, many food manufacturers will sneak in various forms of sweeteners and still call their product “healthy.” Don’t fall for any of those marketing mottos! 

Go straight to the ingredient list first. 

Check for sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose and watch for fillers like dextrose or maltodextrin.

Then look at the label for total fat and protein grams. Be sure to note the serving size. 

When figuring out your carbohydrate count, you’ll need to calculate “net carbs.”

Net carbs equal the amount of starch and sugar in a food minus any fiber. 

The best way to figure this out when looking at a nutrition label is by subtracting the fiber amount from total carbs.

The resulting number is your net carbs. Your aim should be around 20 grams of net carbs per day.

Keto Supplements  

Following all of these guidelines can be overwhelming. To help you stay in ketosis, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a little extra support. 

Fortunately, there are some great products available to help you out.

Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are nutritional supplements that can give you a nice, immediate boost of ketones. 

The best part is that even if you’re not exactly sticking to your keto diet 100%—it happens to all of us!—these supplements can help you stay in ketosis.

Especially, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which is the most abundant ketone made in the body; giving you incredible energy, support weight loss, and even make you think clearer.

Exogenous ketones come in various forms, including powders and liquids. 

The powdered forms are typically the easiest to work with and are best mixed into a shake or smoothie. 

Exogenous ketones are highly recommended to keep you in ketosis and on track.

MCT Oils and Powders

If you’ve been researching the keto diet, you’ve heard plenty about MCT. 

This stands for medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which help boost ketone levels and provide quick, immediate energy. MCTs can stabilize blood sugar, suppress your appetite and promote faster weight loss.

The best natural source of MCTs is in coconut oil. 

However, it only contains 55% MCTs versus MCT oil or powder, which is made up of 100% MCTs.

You can use MCT oil as cooking oil, as the base for a salad dressing, or added to coffee, tea or smoothies.

MCT powders can also be mixed into drinks, smoothies, soups or stews. 

They can also be easier to digest than the oils, but most of the research done so far has focused only on MCT oil.

Either way, you’ll want to start with small half-teaspoon doses, at a maximum of one tablespoon a day, as your body adjusts to its effects.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. It’s what makes your skin glow, your nails firm, your hair healthy, and your joints, ligaments, muscles, and bones strong.

The only way we can consume collagen is through the skins and tendons of animals. One of the more popular ways to get a good dose of collagen is via bone broth.

Collagen supplements can be a little easier to—well—swallow, and they’re great additions to any keto diet.

The best way to take collagen is by blending it (along with some MCT oil, too!) in your coffee or other beverages like nut milk or cream.

Are You Ready to Start Your Keto Diet and Feel Better Than Ever?

I hope this guide helps demystify the keto diet at least a little bit for you!

Once you start to get the hang of all the fantastic foods and keto diet snacks you can still enjoy, it’ll just get easier and easier for you.

And you’ll keep feeling better and better!



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