Do you know any keto lunch ideas? But first off, what is a keto diet?
A ketogenic or keto diet became popular during the 1920s. It was a diet developed for people suffering from epilepsy and diabetes. It limits the carbohydrates to no more than 50 grams a day, which is approximately equivalent to one cup of white rice.
In order to perform our daily activities, we need energy. Our body normally gets this energy from glucose, which is a byproduct of carbohydrates. The rest of it is stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue.
When there is little supply of carbohydrates, the body taps into its glucose reserves. If glucose available is not enough to fuel the body, then it starts to execute plan-B. It breaks down stored fat into fatty acids then converts them into ketones in the liver. Then, the brain and the other organs in the body use ketones as their source of energy. This process is called ketosis.
In order to get into ketosis, a keto diet is necessary. That means you should have a high-fat and low-carb diet. Studies have shown that this kind of diet may promote weight loss and dull hunger. Aside from epilepsy and diabetes, a keto diet may also fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are some keto-friendly food ideas that you can put together for lunch:
- Create a keto omelet by using olive oil, eggs, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.
- Make a keto frittata using fresh spinach and bacon. Aim for that high-fat diet using butter, eggs, whip cream, and cheese.
- If you are a pasta lover, you can also make a keto carbonara. Use zucchini for your noodles instead of the regular pasta. Of course, your carbonara will not be complete without bacon. Butter, heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, parsley, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper need to all be present.
- Still staying low on carbs, create a keto pancake using ground psyllium husk powder, eggs, cottage cheese, and coconut oil. Add raspberries and whip cream to complete it.
- You can never go wrong with fried salmon, broccoli, and grated cheddar cheese.
- Create your own keto Caesar salad using chicken breasts, bacon, Romaine lettuce, grated parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
- Craving for pizza? Create your own using almond flour, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, white wine vinegar, egg, salt, and olive oil. Top it with bacon, butter, unsweetened tomato, oregano, and mozzarella cheese.
- Make a delicious keto salad with avocado, bacon, goat cheese, walnuts, and arugula lettuce. For dressing, use heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice.
- For a much simpler lunch, prepare some smoked salmon, spinach, mayonnaise, olive oil, and lime. Season with salt and pepper and you’re good to go.
- Try having some mackerel and egg salad. You may use a canned mackerel in tomato sauce. Fry some eggs in butter, get some lettuce, and slice some onions. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the salad and your lunch are ready.
Food that is usually present on a keto meal and their benefits:
Eggs are considered as superfoods because of their amazing nutritional content. However, most of the benefits are thought to come from the egg yolk, not the white. Egg yolks not only contain protein, but also other essential minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. They are also high in fat and water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
Egg yolks may be high in cholesterol, but you shouldn’t worry too much about that. Most people do not experience raised blood cholesterol levels from egg consumption. Doctors once recommended people with high cholesterol, blood pressure, or heart conditions to limit their egg yolk consumption. However, a study from China published in The British Medical Journal in 2013 reported that eating an egg is not related to a higher risk of heart disease or stroke. On the contrary, eating an egg per day may even lower the risk of people from having cardiovascular conditions. A study published in 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also suggested that even consumption of 12 eggs per week did not increase cardiovascular risk.
Eggs are also found to increase the feeling of fullness, meaning it will help you lower your calorie intake because you will not easily get hungry after eating. Moreover, one large egg only contains about 1 gram of carbs, a perfect keto go-to food.
It is true that bacon is high in sodium, and generally, people should keep their sodium low. However, for people on a keto diet, an increased amount of sodium is desired. When you are on a keto diet, you eliminate processed foods, meaning your sodium intake will most likely be lower than before.
Sodium is one of the electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are electrical signaling molecules that maintain functions within the body, such as proper nerve and muscle function They also play an important role in keeping you hydrated and regulating your body’s pH levels.
In a keto diet, the body releases more water than it stores. When a person urinates or sweats, they also release electrolytes together with their urine and sweat. Electrolytes need to be replenished to avoid problems such as dehydration and headache. That is why eating bacon, which is high in sodium and fat, is totally okay on a keto diet. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, too. Other important electrolytes to focus on during a keto diet include magnesium and potassium.
This is one of the best keto foods you’ll find out there. This superfood contains fiber, potassium, folate, and copper. It also has a lot of B-vitamins, including vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. Aside from that, it also contains vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese.
It is a very healthy low-carb fruit containing only 2 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. It is also high in healthy fats. As a matter of fact, the consumption of avocados has been proven to increase good cholesterol (HDL), and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
Moreover, as mentioned above, aside from sodium, the electrolyte potassium should also be looked after during the keto diet. Luckily, avocados are extremely high in potassium. As a matter of fact, one-half of avocado (100 g) contains 487 mg of potassium or 10 % of the adequate intake (AI), which is 4, 700 mg of potassium per day. That is actually higher than the potassium content of a medium-sized banana, which is only about 422 mg or 9% of the AI. So, if you eat a whole avocado, you would already get 20 % of your daily potassium needs.
Avocados also contain the electrolyte magnesium. One medium avocado has 58 mg of magnesium or 15 % of the reference daily intake (400 mg).
Low potassium in the body can lead to some problems such as: weakness and fatigue; muscle cramps and spasms; muscle aches and stiffness; and heart palpitations. Avoid having these during your keto diet by consuming enough potassium.
Fruit consumption on a keto diet is very limited because other fruits contain too many carbs. However, berries are low in carbs and high in fiber. They are also filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Berries have also been shown to reduce inflammation and insulin response. They also improve blood sugar and even protect against diseases.
Mayo is actually very helpful when you are on a keto diet because one tablespoon of mayo actually contains around 10 grams of fat. Find brands that do not contain sugar. This way, you would have 0-1 grams of carbs per serving. More fat, fewer carbs.
Keto is a high-fat diet and not high protein. Nevertheless, chicken added with some oils and vegetables make an awesome keto meal. This protein source is also packed with B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
All cheese is low in carbs and high in fat. They contain calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients. You may use cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, goat cheese, or whatever kind of cheese you may like. There are so many types of cheese out there you can choose from. Some studies also suggest that cheese may help protect the body against heart disease. In addition, cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that has been found to promote fat loss in the body.
Butter, of course, is also high in fat and it has no carbs. It also contains a small amount of vitamins A, E, and K. It may be low on micronutrients but adding it to your keto veggies can help your body in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from these foods.
And yes, even whipped cream, is great for the keto diet. It has 0 carbs has over 5 grams of fat per tablespoon of whipped cream. It contains calcium and vitamins A, B5 C, and E.
Fish and shellfish are extremely beneficial food and they are very keto-friendly. Salmon, sardines, anchovy, and mackerel, for example, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and contain zero carbs. Consumption of fish rich in omega-3 has actually been linked to improved cardiovascular health and improved mental health.
Seafood such as shrimp and crabs have no carbs, but some shellfish do. Here is the carb content per 100 gram serving of each:
- Squid: 3 grams
- Oysters: 4 grams
- Octopus: 4 grams
- Clams: 5 grams
- Mussels: 7 grams
What best way to get the fat that you need for your keto diet than to go natural? You may use olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, or sesame oil for that high-fat meal that you aim to make.
- Always choose vegetables with fewer carbs. Here is the carb content of each vegetable per 100 gram of serving.
- Spinach: 1 grams
- Lettuce: 2 grams
- Asparagus: 2 grams
- Tomato: 3 grams
- Kale: 3 grams
- Zucchini: 3 grams
- Cucumber: 3 grams
- Cabbage: 3 grams
- Cauliflower: 3 grams
- Mushroom: 3 grams
- Olives: 3 grams
- Green beans: 4 grams
- Broccoli: 4 grams
- Green beans: 4 grams
Nuts and seeds
Both nuts and seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats. Some great nuts and seeds to incorporate in meals are cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. Other nutrients that can be found in nuts include fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium.
Seeds are also a great source of fiber, protein, and antioxidant polyphenols. You may try sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Of course, even your condiments have to be low in carbs. Use lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, herbs, and spices (e.g. basil, parsley, oregano, garlic, onion).
The keto diet is high in fat and low in carbs. This turns the body into a fat-burning machine by shifting the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones. The standard ketogenic diet or SKD contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs. Remember that you should limit or avoid foods that are high in carbs as they can get you out of ketosis, a natural state of the body when it is completely fueled by fat.