Stocking a Keto Pantry: Essentials for a Low Carb Diet
New Year's Resolutions: Get Healthy With the Keto Diet
Ushering in a new year often means a renewed commitment to health and wellness. Many people vow to eat healthier and lose weight. Enter you desire to try the keto diet and your need to learn about essential items for a keto pantry.
As you can see from this Google Trends graph, even just three years ago there was not nearly as much interest in the keto diet as there is now. Since there are so many people new to the keto diet in 2019, we thought it would be useful to provide some information on essential items for a keto pantry.
If you're new to the ketogenic diet, you may find it useful to read our Complete Beginner's Guide to the Ketogenic Diet. Our guide explains the science and why of living a keto lifestyle. It also gives you practical information to get started with the keto diet.
While it can be challenging to eat keto when there are others in your house who don't, having some essential keto ingredients around can set you up for success. This is where it is very helpful to have a keto friendly pantry full of the right staples. Avoiding carbs is a lot easier if your pantry is full of things you can eat and still be in ketosis.
Some items are an obvious choice for a keto pantry, while others are more subtle. Especially if you're a beginner and totally new to a low carb lifestyle, you may be wondering “what can I eat on the keto diet?” It's important to note that there aren't really any “keto foods.” Ketosis is a metabolic state that is reached by keeping carb intake very low. The threshold of carbs to for ketosis is typically 20-50 grams per day, depending on your personal metabolism.
Food is food. However, there are definitely foods that are more keto friendly than others. Technically, any food can fit your ketogenic diet if you can eat it and remain in ketosis. Want a donut? You may be able to have a single bite without affecting ketosis. Or maybe even a whole donut depending on your personal metabolism. But, there are many reasons you may choose to forego eating a donut. Donuts are a highly processed food, may be inflammatory, have lots of carbs, contain gluten, etc.
For better health and to remain in ketosis, there are many better food choices than a donut.
That being said, occasional indulgences may be useful on a keto diet if it helps make keto sustainable for you! A small amount of extra carbs even help reset hormone levels, but more on that another time.
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Essential Items for a Keto Pantry
Now that your goal is to become a fat burner by eating in a way that allows your body to be in ketosis, you may still wonder what you should eat on a keto diet. The short answer is foods that are low in carbs, of course! But if you haven't been a label reader all of your life, you may not know what those are off the top of your head. It's also important to distinguish between what's in your refrigerator and what are essential items for a keto pantry.
The things you should avoid for a keto pantry are pretty obvious. Straight sugar, sugar-filled drinks, pasta, noodles and bread in anything but the smallest quantity will kick you out of ketosis. Fortunately, there are keto friendly substitutes for all of these items. If you live alone or with a partner that also wants to improve their health, get rid of all of these types of foods from your pantry all together.
If you have kids or others living in your household that still eat carbs, a keto pantry can be a bit more of a challenge but it's not impossible! Having keto friendly items around will at least give you good alternatives when you start to crave sugar and it's right there in your pantry.
If you're particularly tempted by the sugary, carby foods you still have in the house, try putting these in a tall cabinet that requires a step ladder to reach, or in the furthermost corner of your pantry. Or store these items somewhere outside of the kitchen that is less accessible. Or you could try one of these crazy snack lock contraptions! Making carb-filled items hard to access is better for everyone anyway. Anything that makes it a little more difficult to choose a carb item over a keto friendly one will generally allow you to make better food choices.
A keto friendly frig is important too and has loads of great stuff! Meat, cheese, leafy green vegetables and more. But keto staples in the pantry are what allow you to make refrigerator ingredients into entire meals and are an absolute necessity for keto desserts and keto baking.
These are the main food areas to consider for any well-stocked keto pantry:
- Spices. Most spices have a negligible amount of carbs and are what takes food from average to awesome! Experiment with spices by flavor profile or cuisine, but be sure to occasionally try something new. You never know what spice can take your food to the next level. My favorite “unusual” spice is cardamom. I don't think it's used often enough and adds a great flavor to baked goods. It also has a great smell.
- Flours. Traditional flour is highly processed and is full of gluten. There are several options for keto flour, but by far the most prevalent are almond and coconut.
- Oils. Because most processed items and restaurants use cheaper oils that are full of Omega 6 and most of us get way too much of that, it's best to focus on oils that are high in Omega 3. Great choices are avocado, coconut and olive oils. Consumption of Omega 6 has skyrocketed over the last 50 years and much like the rest of the standard American diet, that is not a good thing. Oils to absolutely avoid include corn and soybean, two of the higher Omega 6 profile oils and usually full of GMO vegetables.
- Condiments. These are sneaky. There is typically such a small serving size listed con condiments, such as a teaspoon or tablespoon, that they can appear to be very low carb. However, people tend to use way more than that amount of any given condiment. Especially watch out for salad dressings, which are notorious for added sugar. Go for either no or very low sugar and/or watch your portion size.
Specific Keto Pantry Items
We've tried a lot of different keto friendly products and are happy to share them with you. Everything on this list has been used by us personally and chosen for a variety of reasons including no sugar, no fillers, no soy, low Omega 6 and of course low to no carbs.
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Be sure to let us know about anything we may have left off! This is a list of what we use most often, but there are certainly other items that may be useful as well.