What can I eat on a keto diet if I’m trying to lose weight?
Let’s face it—losing weight and keeping it off is hard even for keto dieters. And all the rich, high-calorie keto foods dieters eat don’t make it easier.
You know which ones I’m talking about.
I’m looking at you bacon and butter.
No doubt these foods are nutritious in some ways and support the keto macros. But too often, their high calories far outweigh the benefits.
Since weight loss is directly related to the number of calories that go in and out of your body, what you eat matters.
If you are trying to lose weight on keto, it may be time to take a second look at your keto diet menu.
Some foods on your menu may need to be swapped to healthier, more weight loss driven counterparts.
To help you with your keto food swaps, we compiled a list of 20 healthy and delicious foods that’ll help you lose weight and reach ketosis.
These healthier keto foods will keep you feeling full for longer and eat fewer calories.
They also are also rich in powerful nutrients and antioxidants.
Not only that, they help prevent various diseases and reverse the signs of aging.
Here are 20 best foods to eat when trying to lose weight on a keto diet
Avocados are a superfood—and for good reason. They have all the goodness and nutrients you’d expect from a veggie! They have all the incredible flavor of fruit! Plus the ‘good fat’ that makes your heart healthy and your skin glow.
A typical avocado has 18 grams of carbohydrates. 14 of those grams are fiber. That leaves an avocado with just 4 grams of net carbs altogether—the amount you need to pay attention to on a keto diet.
A serving size is 1/2 an avocado, which leaves just 2 grams of net carbs left over that must be counted. For all the good that they provide, they are definitely a food you’ll want to include frequently in your meals.
Nuts and seeds are naturally high in fat and protein and low in carbs. So, they make excellent food to snack on while following a keto diet.
The fiber they contain can fill you up even in small amounts. All kinds of wonderfully healthy things are associated with their consumption. For instance, a reduction in certain cancers, heart disease, and even depression.
Nuts and seeds can vary in the amount of carbs they contain. Be sure to always check the label in order to know where you stand, carb-wise. Here’s a shortlist of 1 ounce serving sizes to keep on hand, from most to least amount of net carbs:
- cashews—8 net grams (9 total)
- pistachios—5 net grams (8 total)
- pumpkin seeds—4 net grams (5 total)
- almonds—3 net grams (6 total)
- sesame seeds—3 net grams (7 total)
- almonds—3 net grams (6 total)
- walnuts + macadamia nuts—2 net grams (4 total)
- brazil nuts—1 net gram (3 total)
- pecans—1 net gram (4 total)
- chia seeds—1 net gram (12 total)
- flax seeds—0 net gram (8 total)
Fish is a perfect keto option! All varieties contain ZERO carbs. Yet fish has tons of good nutrients like B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium in each serving.
Fattier fish like salmon and sardines are linked to insulin sensitivity. This makes them a great choice for overweight people at risk of diabetes!
Shellfish is another good seafood option. But unlike fish, it DOES have carbs that must be taken into account. Here are a few popular varieties, along with their carb count per 3.5 ounces serving:
- squid—3 grams
- octopus/oysters—4 grams
- clams—5 grams
- mussels—7 grams
Where would we be in our keto journey without cheese? I shudder to think. Nutritious, delicious and oh-so-satisfying because of the high-fat content!
Cheese has virtually no carbs to speak of. For every ounce, most cheeses typically only contain 1 gram of carbs. This makes it an awesome addition to meals and as a snack.
5. Meat + Poultry
Being a carnivore on a keto diet is like being a kid in a candy store. High in protein but with no carbs to worry about, meat is a cornerstone to a keto diet for sure. When making selections at the market, opt for meat that’s grass-fed whenever possible.
Over time, people who consume diets with more meat often show healthier trends in their lipid profiles. This contributes to better heart health overall.
6. Low-Carb Veggies
Vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. They are packed with nutrients and fiber but low in carbs and calories.
However, on a keto diet, it’s imperative to steer clear of the more starchy varieties.
That’s because of all the carbs they can sneak onto your plate.
When assessing your veggies, make sure to subtract their fiber content from the total carb count.
This will show the true impact they’ll have on maintaining ketosis. For example, 1 cup of Brussels Sprouts has 12 grams of carbs, but 4 grams of fiber. That leaves 8 grams of net carbs that must be counted towards your daily total.
The other wonderful thing about veggies is that they can replace starchy grains. Think zoodles! Think cauliflower…everything!
If you haven’t experimented enough to find your Mashed Cauliflower Faux-tato dish yet, trust me, it’s out there!
Here’s a list of the best low carb vegetables for your keto diet menu.
Yes, fruit CAN be eaten on a keto diet—you read that right! However, berries are the lone exception to fruits that don’t have to be avoided for their high sugar content.
Berries are packed with antioxidants and tons of vitamins. Their high fiber content offsets their carb load.
Make sure you get a handful of them in here and there to satisfy any fruit cravings. You can also benefit from their inflammation-busting goodness.
Here’s a quick reference list of keto-safe berries. They’re also great for snacking and sweetness, per 3.5 ounces serving:
- blackberries: 5 net grams of carbs (10 total)
- strawberries: 6 net grams of carbs (8 total)
- raspberries: 6 net grams of carbs (12 total)
- blueberries: 12 net grams of carbs (14 total)
8. Dark Chocolate + Cocoa Powder
Chocolate and cocoa powder both have positive qualities. Besides their obvious yumminess, they are included on this list for this reason!
Dark chocolate contains flavanols.
Flavanol is a compound that has been linked to artery health and lowered blood pressure.
Cocoa powder has gained recent attention for its antioxidant levels!
The trick to enjoying these treats on a keto diet is choosing the ones with the highest amounts of cocoa powder.
This means at least 70% if not more. For example, 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa powder has 10 grams of net carbs. The same amount of chocolate with 100% pure unsweetened cocoa has just 3 net grams!
9. Greek Yogurt + Cottage Cheese
These dairy items deserve a special shout on this list for how filling and nutritious they are.
Also, they help you to avoid a lot of carbs. Choose yogurt that is plain and cottage cheese that is the high-fat varietal. They each have approximately 5 grams of carbs—definitely doable for a keto lifestyle.
They can also be dressed up or down. You can make any number of delicious flavor combinations when nuts, berries.
Even try adding spices to them!
10. Coconut Oil
What diet doesn’t promote coconut oil these days, am I right? All joking aside, there are good reasons you see this particular “super oil” pop up on every trendy diet list.
One reason is because of the particular longer-chain fatty acid it has—lauric acid.
Sustained levels of ketosis have been linked with the ingestion of this ingredient. And since that’s the name of the game with the keto diet, you’ll want to make sure this is the oil you are cooking with at home!
Coconut oil may also help dieters trim belly fat. And its triglyceride chains can be converted into ketones and used for a rapid energy source. Which all sounds super to me.
If you love olives then good news for you—if you’re on a keto diet they will love you right back. Olives are anti-inflammatory. They contain their own version of antioxidants called oleuropeins. And, they are believed to lower blood pressure.
All great stuff! Their carb count can vary, however.
So if you plan to take advantage of olives on keto, be sure you are checking their type and nutritional content.
Typically, a 1 ounce serving of olives will have 1 gram of net carbs (2 carbs total, minus 1 gram of fiber).
12. Shirataki noodles
If I had you at “noodles”, prepare to get excited! Shirataki noodles are a keto-safe way to bulk up your diet in a familiar, cozy fashion.
They are made from a viscous fiber called “glucomannan,”. And these super noodles can absorb up to 50 times their weight in water.
And all that water means their carb count is extremely low—less than 1 gram per serving! If you can’t find them locally, they can be purchased online.
13. Keto Smoothies
Keto smoothies are perfect for when you want a healthy quick meal for breakfast or snack.
Anyone following a keto diet for a while can be sure to tell you their top favorite smoothies.
That’s because smoothies provide a great way to get in enough fiber, healthy fat and protein. But, without the added worry of carbs.
There’s an endless supply of recipes! And adjustments to serving size and supplements can turn them from a meal replacement to a snack.
If you need some ideas or recipes to get your smoothie game on, check out these recipes here.
Trust us, once you get in the smoothie habit, there’s no turning back!
Did you know that people eating the same food in a soup version (as opposed to a solid meal) reported feeling more satisfied with the soup?
And that was after eating the version with fewer calories too? This is a great “hack” to know when trying to make your calories stretch farther.
It has to do with the way your body processes foods with high water content. So keep this in mind as you go forward on your diet, and you may see the pounds come off quickly as a result!
There may be no better dieter’s food than eggs.
They have only 1 gram of carbs and a hefty 6 grams of protein per serving! It’s no surprise that eggs have been shown to promote satiation. This is a great feeling of satisfaction and fullness from small a small amount of food!
Eggs have been associated with stable blood sugar levels. This can lead to even less caloric consumption in the following 24 hours!
Talk about food that sticks with you!
16. Unsweetened Tea + Coffee
Don’t forget about these two beverage staples while following a keto lifestyle.
Yes, you cannot use traditional sweeteners, it’s true. But there’s never been a better time than now to pick out healthy alternatives. Stevia, heavy cream and nut milk all are great ways to enjoy coffee and tea.
And the added caffeine boost will help your metabolism! As well as physical performance, and mood!
There you have it! Just like any change to your lifestyle, a keto diet relies on good planning to be successful. Because we all know that when we’re short on time, or wanting to eat out, it’s all too easy to go back to our old eating habits.
Arming yourself with some basic keto knowledge from the get-go is a true game-changer. It will most certainly serve you well going forward! It will also help you to avoid the dietary merry go round. We hope that this list provided you with some valuable keto know-how!
The Bottom Line
It’s easy to indulge in unhealthy foods on a keto diet. But if you want to lose weight and boost your health, it’s important to keep your eating clean.
And that starts with eliminating the ones that don’t support your health. This means avoid unhealthy and processed foods as much as you can.
What’s also really important is to eat healthier foods like the ones on this list.
In addition to your regular exercise, eat these nutritious keto foods. They’ll help you reach ketosis and lose weight faster.