Following a Ketogenic Diet
If you have followed our blog or social media for a bit, you’ll know that both Bill and I are following a ketogenic diet. I have been doing keto since March 17, 2018, and Bill has recently started. I wanted to give you a peek into what this looks like with our 10 must-have grocery items for keto.
One of the questions that we see most often is “What can I eat on keto??”. There are lots of different thoughts about this, people argue over strict keto, dirty keto, and lazy keto. We focus on achieving ketosis by restricting carbohydrates to less than 20 g a day for me and around 30 for Bill, that’s what we’ve found works best for us.
To help us stay on track I have some go-to foods that are always in my fridge. I thought I’d put together a list of my 10 must-have grocery items for Keto and hopefully they’ll be helpful for others.
Dairy or No?
Ultimately, the choice to include dairy in your ketogenic diet is completely yours. For those who follow a keto diet to reduce inflammation may cut it out completely or restrict it. If you are following keto for weight loss, you can definitely include it and if you have a stall, cutting it back or restricting it all together may help you break through.
I love cheese so very much, seriously, I would almost classify it as an obsession. It’s included in my diet and in Bill’s. I track my carbs so I don’t overdo it but I definitely enjoy cheese. Also, I have personally been able to reduce the inflammation in my body completely while still enjoying low-carb, full-fat dairy.
10 Must-Have Grocery Items for Keto
- Sharp Cheddar cheese block – If you don’t choose to include dairy, then you won’t want this but it’s a necessity for me! I buy the largest block the store carries from a local dairy.
- Cauliflower – This is seriously one of my favorite keto foods, although I didn’t commit to loving it until about a year in when I got my Instant Pot. I buy fresh cauliflower and use it to make cauliflower rice almost always. I tried cauliflower “mashed potatoes” but wasn’t in love with the texture. Because a lot of keto dishes come with thin sauces, cauliflower rice is the perfect thing to soak up all of the yumminess. Cauliflower also really absorbs seasoning well and you can make it taste like almost any cuisine.
- Zucchini – This is another veggie that is low-carb and a great way to make keto recipes both more filling and soak up sauces. I use a spiralizer to make zoodles and, honestly, I really love them. One of my favorite quick meals is zoodles sauteed in butter with some fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, yum!
- Butter – We have replaced oil in our house (except some occasional olive oil) with butter. It does have a lower burn point than vegetable oils so you need to adjust your temps and cook times accordingly.
- Eggs – We are fortunate to have a friend locally who supplies us with farm-fresh eggs. Even so, we go through so many eggs that I still buy them from the store. Eggs are fairly low in calories and I love them for any meal. Bill, on the other hand, really doesn’t like them unless I can hide them in a recipe.
- Fresh Spinach – Dark, leafy greens are a wonderful way to get fiber and nutrients on any diet, and are especially helpful for keto. I use spinach in scrambled eggs, in lunch wraps with turkey and cheese, and in salads.
- Lettuce – Another leafy green that’s also a great vehicle for many keto meals. We live in New Mexico and we love the local cuisine. If you don’t know about New Mexican food, trust me, it’s unique and delicious. Much like Mexican cuisine, tortillas, sopapillas, and taco shells are often used. I substitute lettuce and still get to enjoy my favorite foods.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – I use a splash in my coffee and it’s a great thickener for sauces since flour is out. You do have to be careful though, heavy whipping cream is high in calories.
- Lots of Lean Meats – I typically look at the weekly ads and buy whatever lean meats are on sale that week. This includes chicken breast, pork roast, and deli-sliced turkey.
- Fresh Herbs – It was a surprise to me, but many dry spice mixes and blends contain quite a few carbs. To keep from having to count all of those, I use fresh herbs as much as possible. If it’s not something I can get fresh, I try and use single dry herbs. There are also some very tasty, keto-friendly spice mixes that are more widely available.
Bonus Meal Prep Tips
- Create a weekly meal plan/shopping list. Each week, I sit down and create a meal plan and a shopping list to go with it. When I go to the store, I work really hard to stick to the list. Not only does this make sure that I have everything I need,
itsaves money. When I am prepared, eating at home becomes the default and it’s much easier to stay on track.
- Process your groceries as soon as you bring them home. When I get home I use my food processor to shred half of my cheese block and to slice the rest. I separate the meats, trim them if necessary, and put them immediately in the fridge or freezer, depending on when we will eat them. I also wash and dry my leafy greens and transfer them to an air-tight bag with a paper towel inside to absorb moisture.
- The best cauliflower rice method. I’m including this because I genuinely love it.
- Remove the stem and leaves from a head of cauliflower.
- Cut into large chunks.
- Pour 3/4 c of water or broth (I usually use chicken broth I make) into the Instant Pot and place the trivet into the pot.
- Set the cauliflower chunks on the trivet and close the lid. Make sure the vent is set to Sealing.
- Select Pressure Cook for 1 minute. When the timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the vent.
- Remove the lid and lift the trivet with cauliflower carefully and put it into a dish. Empty the liquid from the Instant Pot and wipe dry with a towel.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. of butter, bacon grease, or cooking oil in the Instant Pot using the Saute setting. Add the cauliflower chunks carefully to the pan.
- Using a potato masher, mash the cauliflower until it’s the size of rice. Add whatever seasoning you’d like to match your main dish. My favorite is salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika.
- Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!