If you’re interested in starting the keto diet, you need to know what you can and cannot have! The bad news is that there are some things you will need to avoid, but the good news is that with a little ingenuity, you will find all foods are keto foods if you just put in that work!
So, don’t fear if you think you will miss your favorite “non-keto foods.” Our awesome website has ideas to help you makeover your favorite non-keto foods into stuff you can enjoy, all while enjoying a healthier lifestyle.
So, let’s get right into this keto food list of stuff you have to avoid while staying in ketosis and following it up with an alternative.
Drinks to Avoid on Keto
If you are trying to enjoy a healthier lifestyle, water is the way to go. After all, we need lots of it, so carry a bottle around.
Drinking your calories won’t help you drop excess weight or increase energy levels. It’s best to avoid them if you can.
Here are some drinks ketogenic dieters should avoid:
- Sugary drinks and sweetened drinks- Sweet tea is a huge favorite of mine, but on keto, I have to steer clear. It is ideal for you to stay away from sweetened drinks as they are heaped up with carbs. Sugary sodas and colas, fruit and veggie smoothies and juices, and coffee drinks with tons of sweeteners should all be put on the back burner. Dairy alternatives that are sweetened, such as almond milk sweetened with sugar, must also be avoided for best results.
- Alcohol- this one is a toughie because we all like to have a drink every now and then. There are methods you can enjoy your drinks but stay in ketosis, but by and large, you will need to avoid alcohol.
But remember everyone, we can have everything we want with a little ingenuity. I don’t miss out on my sweet tea because I make mine with tea, monk fruit, and water, of course. Sure, it tastes different, but I LOVE the nice memories I have of sipping it with family. And I get to stay on track!
Drinks are no different. For beer, Michelob Ultras are low in carbs and sold everywhere. And for mixed drinks, vodka and soda water is one way to go. I mix a bit of Mio water enhancer into my vodka and soda, and it tastes great, keeps me in the party spirit and my goals on track.
Condiments, Packaged Foods & Processed Foods, Ingredients to Avoid
I was very surprised to learn ketchup has lots of sugar in it. I never noticed it. Then, it dawned on me that many of my favorite condiments were packed with trans fats, preservatives, sugars, and other additives that made you get hooked on it.
Here are things you should avoid when shopping for condiments and packaged foods:
- Baked goodies
- Ice cream/frozen desserts
- Sugary mints and gum
- Candies or sweets
Even if you locate a food that bills itself as low carb, no-carb, you should be cautious of what’s on that label. Many of these companies try to rope you in with tiny serving sizes that look ideal to keto dieters, but the normal serving size is packed with carbs. You will also find that gluten, additives, and other fake ingredients might be utilized that are unhealthy.
Watch out for…
- Artificial flavors, colors, preservatives: There are lots of ingredients that fall under this umbrella. The health effects are relatively unknown, which is dangerous since we just don’t know. It’s best to steer clear.
- IMO or Yikes, talk about a mouthful. This is a newcomer that’s been sneaking into foods like protein bars and “lo-carb” baked goods. It’s resistant to digestion, and so it is known as a dietary fiber instead of a net carb and listed like so on the nutrition facts. But it was recently discovered that human subjects who ate IMO absorbed the ingredient as a sugar in their small intestine, which renders this a net carb, not a dietary fiber.
- Dextrose and Maltodextrin: These look pretty friendly, but they are broken down into glucose or sugar and gradually absorbed. The end result is that insulin and blood sugar levels go up, which brings ketone levels down. Keep your eyes peeled for these sneaky guys on your nutrition labels.
- Artificial Sweeteners: These things might seem like a blessing, but they are really something to look out for. People react differently to these things, but they can lead you to feel cravings, impact your gut health, or affect your blood sugar levels. They can also affect your ketosis, including disruption. Look out for acesulfame, saccharin, sucralose, Equal, and Splenda.
You will also want to avoid stuff with a “Low fat” label, condiments with added sugar like ketchup and sauces, or salad dressings that are crafted with oils not keto-friendly.
There are absolutely ways you can make your own condiments to enjoy that fabulous taste. Alternatively, if you don’t have time or the desire to cook your own sauces, check out our entry on these keto-friendly sauces!
Grains are definitely something we have to avoid while on keto. After all, it is the basis of the diet- to limit your intake of carbs and achieve most of your energy from fats.
However, grains are loaded with carbohydrates, and this can really put a damper on your progress. So, you should do your best to avoid grains altogether.
Here are some foods to avoid buying or consuming when you shop or dine:
- Sandwich wraps
- Flour & corn tortillas
Remember, even consuming cookies, pizza crust, crackers, or pasta/bread is also high in carbs and will hinder your progress.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways around this. Online, you can find lots of recipes that help you create keto-friendly versions of foods you love. I know how to make keto-friendly pizza crusts, and there are even cauliflower ready-made versions for sale at some stores.
Easy Keto Bread
Here is a recipe for some quick keto bread I love to use for sandwiches:
Supplies: 8×4 Loaf Pan, food processor
- 5C almond flour
- 6 drops of liquid stevia (optional)
- Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt
- .25 tsp Cream of Tartar (You don’t NEED this, but it helps)
- .25 C of butter (melted)
- 6 large eggs (separated)
- 3 tsp of baking powder
- Begin by preheating your oven to 375F
- Now separate egg whites from yolks. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until you see soft peaks.
- Now in a food processor, put in egg yolks, a third of the egg whites, almond flour, baking powder, melted butter, and salt. I use about 7 drops of liquid stevia to bring down the egg taste.
- Mix this up until it is combined well. This is going to look lumpy and thick until you actually add the egg whites.
- Now add the remainder of the egg whites and process it gently until you fully incorporate it. Don’t overmix- you want that bread to have volume!
- Now put the mixture into the loaf pan. Be sure to butter the loaf pan first. Bake for 30 minutes and use a toothpick to ensure it is baked through. One loaf will yield 20 pieces of bread (I cut mine thin).
Fruits to Avoid
Fruits are also to be avoided while following a keto diet, as they are naturally high in carbs and sugar. You will want to get your fruit fix by reaching for low glycemic choices like blueberries, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries. You can get healthy fats from avocados and olives.
Here is a list of fruit you should avoid:
- Dried fruits like dates, dried mango, and raisins
- Fruit smoothies
- All fruit juices (except lime and lemon juice)
- Fruit Juices
Want to know about a delicious keto fruit smoothie? Here’s one I rely on when I just want that great taste.
- 1-pound frozen strawberries
- 1 large avocado
- 1/4c powdered sweetener (I use Monk Fruit)
- 5C Unsweetened almond milk
Now add all those ingredients to your blender, mix it until smooth, and then pour it into glasses and serve. I love this on the weekend as a fun treat, and the avocado makes it so smooth and wonderful in terms of texture.
Most of the time, dairy is low carb when eaten in moderation. But since dairy does contain carbs, you want to keep your intake to about 3 oz a day.
These are foods you should avoid while following the keto diet:
- Cottage cheese (Creamed variety)
- Low-fat/fat-free yogurt
- Condensed milk
One great thing is that on keto, we can enjoy cheese in moderation. I love cheese, so this is a massive win for me. Cheese has zero carbs and is packed with fat, so it is a perfect fit for us keto folks. This is also loaded with calcium and protein.
Be mindful, however: a one oz slice of cheese will bring us 30% of our daily value for saturated fats. If a heart disease is a concern for you, be sure you are wary of your portion sizes when eating your cheese.
Also, plain Greek yogurt is a winning choice. It is high in protein and loaded with calcium. Just 5 oz of plain Greek yogurt gets you 12g of protein and 5g carbs. The same serving size of cottage cheese gets you 18g protein and 5g carbs.
These are nutrients that help keep us satiated and promote a feeling of fullness. Put a little black pepper on cottage cheese, and you have an interesting but simple snack.
Peas and beans are typically revered as nutritional powerhouses as they are loaded with nutrients. But some are high in carbs, so you want to avoid them as a means of staying in ketosis.
Here is a list of legumes to stay away from:
- Cannellini beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Lima beans
- Green peas
- Baked beans
- Lima beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Great Northern beans
- Navy beans
When it comes to veggies you are to avoid, it’s best to stay away from anything that grows underground. These have high carbs and high starch. Ideally, we want to consume about 15g of net carbs from our veggies each day.
These are the veggies you want to avoid:
- Cassava (Yuca)
- Sweet potatoes
- Baked potatoes
Make sure you watch out for pre-made foods that contain these sorts of veggies, like casseroles, for example. You could inadvertently go over your carbs and not even know it.
We must make sure we get adequate protein on the ketogenic diet. Otherwise, we may not be able to maintain adequate muscle mass. Poultry and fish are great ways of getting the protein that does not rank highly in terms of the carb count.
You want to choose fatty cuts of beef and meat like chicken thighs, ribeye steaks, and salmon (this is a fatty fish) on a keto diet.
Be sure you limit or avoid processed meat, especially:
- Breaded meats
- Bacon that has added sugar
- Be mindful that processed meats could contain hidden carbs.
Newcomers to the keto diet might feel like they can’t eat anything anymore. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is plenty to enjoy on keto as long as those following it are willing to work hard and have a little patience.
Learning a new lifestyle takes time, and so does learning new recipes. But when you realize you can have anything you want with just a bit of hard work; it tastes that much more delicious. And you get to stay in ketosis and work toward your goals.
How exciting! Keep it keto, and we will see you in the next post.