As you might know, the ketogenic diet consists of reducing your net carbs considerably, having moderate protein, and high fat. This diet is often touted as one where you can eat high amounts of meat, cheese, and eggs, but what about vegetarians?
If you don’t eat meat or fish, then there are still many great options for you. Here are some tips for being on Keto as a vegetarian.
Vegetarian? And Keto? Yes You Can!
When people talk about low-carb diets like keto and other low-carb high fat (LCHF) diets, they often talk about eating a lot of meat, fish, and cheese. While this is a healthy way to do the diet, it isn’t the only way. You can also be a vegetarian and do the keto diet, there are just some things you need to keep in mind so you are full and healthy in the process.
Start with Your Healthy Fats
A lot of people doing the keto diet will get a good portion of their fats from animal protein. On a vegetarian diet this isn’t possible, so you need to get your fat in other ways. Keto is a low-carb high-fat diet, so this is really important. The fat helps you reach ketosis, while also keeping you full and giving you fuel for the day. Healthy fats that are vegetarian-friendly are usually in your oils, like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and butter. You can also get some healthy fats from different types of vinegar.
Add in Vegetable Protein
Just like any vegetarian diet, without meat in your diet, you need to find other sources of protein. Some of the current vegetable proteins you enjoy, you can still have on keto, but be careful about some of them. For example, beans and legumes are unfortunately out. To get your vegetable protein, look at the high-fiber and moderate-protein veggies like kale, broccoli, and mushrooms. You can also try meatless substitute products made from vegetables, but always look at the carb amounts and keep it under 20 net carbs a day if you are trying to follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
Fill Up on Keto Coffee
Keto coffee, or Bulletproof coffee, has a lot of benefits. Among them, is that you can replace breakfast with it, which gives you something that is vegetarian-friendly and will fill you up during or in between meals. If you struggle finding a good keto breakfast that doesn’t include meat or eggs (if you don’t eat eggs), try making a cup of keto coffee with brewed coffee, butter, coconut oil, and any cream ingredient. The cream is optional, but there is heavy cream, or you can go dairy-free with almond milk that is unsweetened. The coffee also helps you get in your healthy fats, plus increases your metabolism in the morning.
Choosing Your Low-Carb Fruits
As you know, the ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet, consisting mostly of meat and seafood, cheese, veggies, nuts and seeds, and lots of healthy fats. While fruit is not at the top of the approved list, there are some that you can have as long as you stay under your required macros for the day. Here are some of the low-carb fruits you can eat when you are on the keto diet.
Berries are among the best low-carb fruits you can have while you are on the keto diet. They are going to be the lowest in carbs, plus are filled with nutrients to help you have well-balanced meals and snacks. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all have 6 grams of carbs for a single serving, which is about a handful of berries. They are great to add to your summer salads, have as a snack, or eat when you want something sweet without added sugars. Blueberries are also relatively low, but at about 12 grams of carbs per serving, aren’t the best option unless you are having less than a full serving of them.
Some low-carb fruits with 10 or less net grams per day are:
Other fruits tend to be too high in sugars, which then causes them to be higher in carbs. These include watermelon, bananas, apples, grapes, and cherries.
Attempting Keto without Veggies
As you begin meal planning and prepping for your ketogenic diet, it is important that you consider what veggies to add. You want to stay away from the high-carb, starchy vegetables, but there are still plenty of others to choose from. Vegetables are important for maintaining well-balanced meals, getting enough nutrients, and added benefits like extra fiber. Here are some excellent low-carb veggie options to add to your meals.
While avocados are actually a fruit, they are often in the vegetable category. They also happen to be one of the best types of produce you can have while on a keto diet. Avocados are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, two things that tend to be a little harder to get when you switch to the LCHF diet of keto.
Avocados also provide those healthy fats you need for heart health, to burn fat, and to fuel your body. A medium avocado usually has about 100 grams, which is approximately 13 total carbs. However, this avocado also has about 10 grams of fiber, so only 3 net carbs.
Dark, Leafy Greens
While most types of lettuce and greens are allowed on the ketogenic diet, you should try to eat the darker, leafy greens as much as you can. These tend to be more nutrient-dense and contain more fiber, which as you know, you need to try to get more of without having grains and oats. Some good dark, leafy greens include kale, spinach, romaine, and collard greens. These are all very low in carbs, especially when you remove the fiber. For example, a serving of 100 grams of spinach is less than 4 carbs, with 2 grams of fiber, so it is less than 2 net carbs for a big plate of spinach.