- Although many assume that keto-friendly food choices are limited, experts suggest that there are plenty of keto-friendly foods you can add to your diet that will provide lots of fiber and essential nutrients like calcium and zinc.
- If you are craving chocolate, expert dietitians suggest choosing dark chocolate, as it is usually lower in carbs than milk chocolate.
- Non-starchy vegetables like spinach are also suitable for a ketogenic lifestyle, as the net carb count for these vegetables usually ranges from less than one gram.
- Berries are also OK for consumption on the keto diet, as they provide necessary fiber and antioxidants.
Although many assume that keto-friendly food choices are limited to lots of animal protein, low-carb vegetables, and next to no fruit, experts suggest that there are plenty of foods you can add to your diet that will provide lots of fiber and essential nutrients like calcium and zinc.
To bring some new low-carb meal ideas to your plate, we spoke to some experts about all those foods you didn’t realize you could eat on the keto diet. Below are some sweet and savory options to definitely give try next time you’re feeling creative in the kitchen.
Always choose dark chocolate.
Registered dietitian Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, CDN, said that chocolate can be part of a ketogenic diet, however, it’s important to choose your chocolate with caution.
She advised choosing dark chocolate if you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, as she explained that it contains a minimum of 70% of cocoa solids, and one ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa) has just 3 grams of net carbs.
Add non-starchy vegetables to your diet.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Rissetto also recommended adding non-starchy vegetables (think spinach) to your diet, as she said the net carb count for these type of vegetables ranges from less than 1 gram.
Eggs are suitable for a ketogenic lifestyle.
- Marco Verch/Flickr
“One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and fewer than 6 grams of protein, making eggs an ideal food for a ketogenic lifestyle,” said Rissetto.
Berries are low in carbs and high in fiber.
Rissetto said that berries such as raspberries and blackberries contain as much fiber as digestible carbs. In addition, she said that these tiny fruits are loaded with antioxidants that have been credited with reducing inflammation and protecting against disease.
Squash is a fall and winter seasonal vegetable to take advantage of.
“Squash is in season right now, making it a delicious ingredient of low-starch soups and oven-baked side dishes,” said Alex Ruani, chief nutrition science educator at The Health Sciences Academy. With only 2 grams of carbs and 14 calories per 100 grams, she noted that squash is a tasty addition to any low-carb regime.
You can eat scallions on the keto diet.
- Flickr/Guy Montag
While many keto dieters try to avoid white or red onions because of their higher sugar content (6 grams per 100 grams), Ruani said that scallions are actually a great onion substitute, as they contain half the sugar amount of onions, but still have a ton of health benefits (think fiber and beneficial sulfur compounds).
“Scallions are an excellent way to top off your keto dishes, soups, and salads for extra flavor,” she said.
Chia seed pudding can be the perfect sweet treat you’re looking for.
Ruani suggested that maintaining adequate fiber intake when going keto is a must, making chia pudding a sweet way to get fiber and essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and zinc. “You can try making your own by mixing chia seeds, coconut or almond milk, vanilla extract, and stevia in a jar, and then letting the mixture sit in the fridge overnight,” she said.
Feel free to whip up a homemade Caprese salad.
- Alexis Lamster / Flickr
Ruani explained that Caprese salad can also be a delicious low-carb starter you can easily make it at home with ingredients like fresh tomatoes and mozzarella slices, basil, and a dash of olive oil. “Both tomatoes and mozzarella only have 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams,” she said.
Pistachios can keep you fuller longer.
- Casey Fleser/Flickr
“Nearly 90% of the fats found in pistachios are the better-for-you mono and polyunsaturated type,” said registered dietitian Lori Zanini, RD, CDE. In addition, she explained that pistachios provide a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, which can help keep you fuller longer throughout the day.