Phone: 03 8822 3723

Top 10 Keto Friendly Foods and Recipes to get in Shape Fast

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 19 March 2020
Hits: 4872

Over the last year the Ketogenic diet has attracted a lot of attention and the article by Melissa from June last year (how to use the keto diet to improve your health) provided some great information as to how this diet works and the pros and cons of following this eating method. Since publishing that article we constantly receive emails asking what foods are the best to use and if we have any recipe ideas. So to help you out we asked Mel to put together her top 10 list of foods she likes to use along with some of her best recipes for each food so you have a stack of ideas to use. 

How the Keto Diet Works

When following the Keto diet your daily food intake would be made up of approximately 70% fat, 15-25% protein and the remaining 5% in low energy carbohydrates. Make sure you watch the videos above as they quickly explain how this eating method works.

The Keto diet is not zero carbohydrates which is a mistake many people make. The goal of following the Keto diet is to get your body into Ketosis. This occurs when the body runs out of glycogen as a source of fuel to burn and must find another fuel source to burn, this fuel source is fat. When starting the Keto diet, the length of time it takes to reach Ketosis will differ from person to person, but in most cases it will take around a week. This transition can be a bit tricky for some so be patient as it will get easier as your body finally adapts and changes fuel sources for energy.

Okay, let’s have a look at the best foods.

1: Avocado

Avocado is my number one go-to Keto food as it is so versatile and can be used in all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can also be used in Keto friendly desserts. The avocado is very low in carbohydrates, high in good healthy fats, and contains potassium and fibre.  I also use avocado oil on my salads as well.

Below is my quick and easy recipe for Avocado Dip, this is a great snack idea, I’d eat this with cucumber.

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Avocados, Chopped
  • 1 Tomato, Deseeded, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed
  • 2 tbs Lime Juice

Method

  • Place avocado in a bowl
  • Using a fork, mash until smooth
  • Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine.

2: Eggs

Not only do eggs provide high quality protein, they also contain 11 vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and eating these regularly are a great way to get your most of your daily nutrient requirements. Most of the protein in an egg can be found in the egg white, while the yolk contains healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are one of the ultimate super-foods. You can read more about eggs in the article – The truth about the value of eggs to our health

Once again another food that is very versatile and can be used in many different ways throughout the Keto Diet. I like to hard boil some to keep in the fridge for an easy ready to go snack or they could be added to a salad for lunch. Omelettes are great and I also enjoy them poached. 

Below is a quick and easy Frittata recipe for you, this is great for dinner and then to have leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day:

Base Ingredients

  • 6 Eggs
  • Dash of Cream
  • Sprinkle of Grated Cheese

Additional Ingredients

  • Smoked salmon, broccoli, tomato and spinach
  • Ham, corn, broccoli, red capsicum
  • Chicken, broccoli, asparagus and spinach
  • Chicken, pumpkin, peas and asparagus
  • Mixture of veggies

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Beat together the Base Ingredients
  • Place all the Additional Ingredients at the bottom of an oven proof dish ( I use a small rectangular dish or the pan in the picture which can go in the oven )
  • Top with the egg mixture and bake in the oven until set, approximately 20 - 30 min, depending on the size of your dish

This will give you 3 - 4 servings, add a salad on the side and some avocado, take left overs for lunch the next day or a quick left over breakfast or afternoon tea snack.  Use your imagination when it comes to the Additional Ingredients.

3: Green Vegetables or Above Ground Vegetables

Below ground vegetables, for example potato and carrot are not included in Keto diet as below ground vegetables are generally higher in carbohydrates. These vegetables will range from 7 to 17 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, compared to above ground vegetables which are all under 5 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.

Green vegetables tend to be the lowest in carbohydrates, all types of green vegetables are included in the Keto diet, for example spinach, lettuce, zucchini & broccoli. These foods are loaded with an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plus they taste great and complete the dish with colours and flavours.

See article – Why green vegetables are so good for your health

Below is a quick and easy recipe for Broccoli Pesto, this can be used on top of grilled chicken or salmon, as a dip with some cucumber or on a salad:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2/3 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup spinach
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  • Steam the broccoli florets for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Place in the fridge to cool
  • In a food processor combine all of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.
  • If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add a splash more water.
  • Taste and add more salt, perhaps lemon juice or basil as desired.
  • Store in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week

4: High Fat Dairy

Normally when people are dieting they think that low fat is the better choice. What they fail to understand is that these low fat products are normally very high in sugar making them very unhealthy for us to consume and more likely to add excessive fat to our bodies. Eating fat does not make you fat, but eating sugar is a guaranteed way to pack on the kilos. With full fat dairy you won’t need to consume as much for it so rich and it will fill you up quickly leaving feeling satisfied for longer periods.

Read our article – Why saturated fat is a good thing to see more detail as to why this is the case.

Full fat dairy options that I include are butter, cream, and cheese. You will find that all these options are low in carbohydrates and sugar, but very high in fat, which is the perfect Keto combination.

If you are trying to lose weight you may want to not over do the quantity of these foods, be mindful.  I tend to include a small amount of cheese in a salad, or as a snack in the afternoon, I’ll use cream to make a creamy zucchini noodle carbonara.

Interestingly you need to avoid drinking milk, as milk contains sugar and quickly adds up (one glass = 15 grams of carbs). However, I do use it sparingly in my coffee as I have one long macchiato a day.

Below is a quick and easy recipe with ricotta cheese to make Baked Ricotta:

Ingredients

  • 1 Wedge of Ricotta
  • 1 - 2 TBS Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Chilli Flakes - to taste
  • Rock Salt and Pepper - to taste
  • Thyme - sprinkle

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Place a piece of baking paper on an oven tray and place ricotta cheese on top
  • Mix together all the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the ricotta cheese
  • Bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes

5: Meat & Poultry

When it comes to meat or poultry we need to remember to avoid processed meats and be mindful of the quantity that we consume. We need to remember that the Keto diet is high fat, not high protein and this is one thing I had to watch in the beginning. People wanting weight loss will need to remember this for it is very important to get the fuel ration correct as the body cannot use protein effectively for energy.

I tend to cook my meat in butter or coconut oil and serve with a large amount of salad or green vegetables.

Below is a quick and tasty chicken recipe, Chicken Drumsticks with Garlic:

Ingredients

  • 50 g Butter
  • 800g Chicken Drumsticks
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Crushed Garlic
  • Dry Herbs

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • Place the chicken pieces in a lightly oiled baking pan.
  • Salt and pepper generously.
  • Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the chicken pieces.
  • Sprinkle the garlic and parsley on top and toss all ingredients together.
  • Bake the chicken until golden brown, about 40 - 45 minutes. The time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces, ensure that chicken is cooked through before serving.

6: Seafood

I love seafood, especially salmon, and I include seafood in my meals at least two times per week. Seafood adds an extra protein option for you other than chicken and meat and has the added bonus of providing us with essential fatty acids and omega 3 that the meats lack.  Many types of seafood are carb-free or very low in carbs.

Below is a quick and easy Scallop Stir Fry, I also substitute the scallops for prawns:

Ingredients

  • Scallops
  • Olive Oil and Garlic
  • Mixed Green Vegetables eg celery, capsicum, snow peas, broccoli, zucchini
  • Optional: Cauliflower Rice

Method

  • Heat a wok or fry pan to high
  • Add olive oil and garlic
  • Add mixed veggies and stir fry for a couple of minutes ( I like to keep them crunchy ), remove from wok
  • Add scallops to wok and stir fry for a minute ( these won't take long )
  • Add mixed veggies back to the wok and toss with scallops
  • Serve in a bowl with optional cauliflower rice.

7: Bone Broth

Even though this is a liquid drink I would still include bone broth in my Top 10 foods for it is very unique. Bone broth contains a variety of valuable nutrients of which many people are lacking in and in a form your body can easily absorb and use. These include things like;

  • Calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals
  • Components of collagen and cartilage
  • Essential amino acids proline, glycine, and glutamine
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

These nutrients account for many of the healing benefits of bone broth and there is tons of science that now supports the use of cartilage, gelatin, and other components found in homemade bone broth to prevent and sometimes even reverse osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, digestive distress, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer.

We rate is so highly we include it as one of our best foods for boosting your immune system against the coronavirus that is hitting the world right now.

I like to have a cup of bone broth with lunch or for an afternoon tea snack and for an extra boost of energy I sometimes add some butter or apple cider vinegar. 

8: Berries

As part of the Keto diet, most fruits are eliminated being too high in sugar and carbohydrates, berries however make the cut. The best options to choose are strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. We classified blueberries as one of our best post workout foods as they are loaded with important antioxidants that assist the liver in detoxification.

Berries provide us with vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fibre, help to fight inflammation and can lower cholesterol levels, but we should keep our consumption of berries to a moderate amount when following the Keto diet.

So, if you are feeling like a sweet treat berries can provide you with this option.  I would even whip up a small amount of cream and add some berries to the cream for a quick and easy dessert.

9: Nuts

Nuts in moderation especially when trying to lose weight are a great snack option when following the Keto diet. Nuts can be quite high in carbohydrates, but also provide us with good fat. Remember, you cannot get fat by eating fat. You get fat from eating sugar and large quantities of carbohydrate foods.

I stick to Brazil, pecans, walnuts, almonds & macadamias, nuts are a great portable snack when you are on the go.

Last But Not Least, Number 9…..

10: Dark Chocolate

Luckily for me I don’t have a sweet tooth, cheese is my go-to food! But for those of you who do have a sweet tooth this dark chocolate recipe is on the Keto menu. Just remember the darker the chocolate the better. You can't go crazy and eat a whole block as you do still have to be mindful of the sugar levels, even with dark chocolate. But it can be a nice little treat every now and then.

For me the best I have found is the 90%, 95% and 99% Dark Chocolate Lindt, one square of this chocolate is more than enough. It is quite bitter and may take some getting used to if you are still used to eating sugar laden chocolate.

85% dark chocolate would be the minimum I would start with and remember moderation is important.

Nutrition Manual

And for tons more ideas about nutrition, stacks of recipes, and everything you need to know about eating healthy make sure you grab a copy of our special report shown below.

Summary

The keto diet is not for everyone and you must seek some advice from a health professional before deciding to use this eating method. The thing that really stands out to me is just how good the quality of the foods you eat with this type of diet are. Your body is constantly flooded with an array of nutrients and the best part is you get full quickly from eating these foods which stops you over-eating. As opposed to carbohydrates like bread and pasta which people very easily eat too much and cannot stop eating these foods to not have this problem for they are so rich and filling.

The key to any diet is being well planned and having your meals and recipes all mapped out to make the transition to eating healthy as easy as possible. Once you have stuck to your plan for 2-3 months you will begin to find your sweet spot and find eating like this easy to stick to for the rest of your life. Healthy eating is not about restrictions, eating boiled chicken with broccoli and lettuce leaves. We should enjoy eating and be able to eat the foods that are full of flavour and taste without fear of gaining weight or compromising our health. I hope this article has inspired you to see that many of the foods people avoid they could be eating if they have the right plan.

If you would like to know more about our Nutrition coaching or Personal Training programs click the image below and I will be in touch within 24 hours to schedule a time for a free health diagnostic consultation.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 14 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specialises in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

References:

  • Precision Nutrition 
  • Nutrition & Physical Degeneration - By Weston A Price
  • Big Fat Lies - By David Gillespie
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek