Keto Kitchen Staples: Top 15 Healthy Keto Fats (And 5 to Avoid)
Considering that the keto diet is primarily a high-fat diet, it is important to know which fats are beneficial and which ones are not. There is no need to fear the fat. The right choice of fats can help improve your cardiovascular risk markers.
From butter to avocadoes, fatty fish, eggs, and nuts, there is a diverse array of healthy keto fats for you to choose from.
Here are 15 healthy keto fats that can support your nutritional goals and make your keto journey a lot more enjoyable. You can also get a quick look at the 5 fats that are better left out of your keto kitchen.
Avocado is a nutrient-dense food that’s rich in healthy fats and low in carbs. So it comes as no surprise that this fruit is a keto superstar! Avocados are a good source of dietary fiber. Avocados contain minerals such as potassium and magnesium, as well as, several vitamins including B vitamins, Vitamin C, E, and K.
The monounsaturated fats found in avocado, ‘ especially oleic acid, offer heart health benefits. They help reduce your LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels while maintaining or even increasing HDL cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) levels. They also help boost insulin sensitivity and support your overall metabolic health.
Mashed avocados have a creamy texture making them perfect for dips, salad dressings, and sandwich mixes. They are perfect for making rich, thick keto smoothies.
2. Olive oil
Olive oil is another popular source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. This keto-friendly fat has antioxidant properties too.
It can be used as a cooking oil, although you should be careful not to let the oil overheat. Olive oil is best used in dips, salad dressings or simply drizzled over roasted vegetables. You can use it to make mayonnaise.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is especially prized for its high content of saturated fats. It is a staple in many keto kitchens as it is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Lauric acid is another type of healthy fat found in coconut oil which helps boost your good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Coconut oil has a rich, tropical flavor. You can use it to make both sweet and savory dishes. It can be used in grilling, frying, and baking.
4. MCT Oil
A concentrated dose of MCT oil can help jumpstart ketosis. MCT oil is extracted from coconut or palm oil. This type of fat is easily absorbed by your liver and quickly converted into ketones.
You can add MCT oil or coconut oil to bullet coffee for a creamy and rich texture. You can also add MCT oil to smoothies to reach your fat intake target for the day.
Butter is another keto kitchen staple that is used in cooking and baking. With its creamy texture and delicious taste, you can simply slather on some butter on keto bread or roasted veggies. Flavor with garlic and some herbs to create gourmet flavors.
It's always best to opt for butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows. Butter is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). It is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K2.
Ghee is a clarified form of butter with a rich nutty flavor. It has a high smoke point, making it an ideal choice for cooking and frying without the risk of oxidation.
To make ghee, butter is melted and simmered till its water evaporates. Those with dairy sensitivities are usually able to tolerate this delicious alternative to traditional butter since the milk solids are strained out to create a pure and shelf-stable fat.
7. Full-Fat Cheese
Cheese is high in both fat and protein, making it a great addition to the keto diet. Opt for varieties such as cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese to keep carbohydrate intake low. When choosing cheese for a keto diet, make sure to go for the full-fat ones. Avoid cheese made from low-fat or skimmed milk. Full-fat cheese also has a creamier texture and bolder flavors.
Cheese can be enjoyed on its own or melted over vegetables. They can be incorporated into numerous keto-friendly recipes with ease.
8. Full-fat Greek Yogurt
Full-fat Greek yogurt is lower in carbs compared to traditional yogurt. It is a versatile and nutrient-dense option for increasing your fat intake on the keto diet.
With its creamy texture and tangy flavor, Greek yogurt can be used for making both sweet and savory dishes. The probiotics in Greek yogurt are great for boosting your gut health. You can top your Greek yogurt with nuts and berries and enjoy it as a cold dessert.
9. Fatty Fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines)
You can have plenty of fish on your keto diet. But do make sure, they are the fatty types of fish such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, these fish serve as nutritional powerhouses for those on the keto diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for supporting heart health and reducing inflammation.
You can also get high-quality protein from fatty fish. Their high fat-protein combination promotes satiety and promotes weight loss by keeping you feeling full and satisfied for longer. You can fry, grill, or bake them. You can also use the canned variety to whip up some keto sandwiches or wraps.
10. Grass-fed Beef
If you are a non-vegetarian, then look no further than Grass-fed beef. It is nutrient-dense and high in fat as well as protein. source suitable for the ketogenic diet. Grass-fed beef contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) when compared to conventionally raised beef.
From ribeye steaks to ground beef and meatballs, you can incorporate beef regularly into your keto meals. If the grocery shopping and prep work seems too much for you, then try out keto meal delivery services. They make this task much easier for you with their prepped and frozen or ready-to-eat meal kits. Warm them up and your delicious meal is ready!
11. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are jam-packed with nutrients and healthy fats. With zero carbs, eggs are among the most keto-friendly foods on the planet. While egg whites are rich in protein, the yolks hold the egg's fat content. The richness of egg yolks not only adds flavor to dishes but also contributes to the overall fat intake crucial for a successful keto journey.
Eggs are rich in several vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, B12, B2, and B9. From scrambled eggs for breakfast to hard-boiled eggs as a snack or topping salads with poached eggs, make sure to incorporate whole eggs into your keto diet.
Nuts make a great snack on a keto diet. However, make sure to choose high-fat, low-carb ones such as walnuts and macadamia nuts. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s and offer anti-inflammatory benefits while macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, making them a heart-healthy choice. You can also have other types of nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts. But go easy on cashews as these have more carbs.
Whichever type you choose, keep in mind that portion control is key, as nuts are calorie-dense and can drastically ramp up your overall daily caloric intake. You can sprinkle them on salads or blend them into smoothies or gravies.
13. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a delicious and convenient source of healthy fats on the keto diet. Use them to make delicious dips and smoothies or simply spread them on a slice of keto bread.
Peanuts are legumes rather than nuts and they do contain some amount of carbs. However, the majority of calories in peanut butter come from fats. Check the ingredient label when buying peanut butter to make sure it has no added sugars or hydrogenated oils.
Seeds may be tiny in size, but they do pack some punch when it comes to just how nutrient-dense they are. Seeds, such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are good sources of healthy fats. They provide essential minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Add a variety of seeds into your diet to diversify your nutrient intake and also enhance your keto dining experiences. Flaxseeds can be ground and used in keto-friendly baked goods. Pumpkin seeds can be used as crunchy salad toppers. Chia seeds, when soaked, create a gel-like consistency. This makes them ideal for making puddings or adding texture to smoothies.
15. Dark Chocolate
Craving for chocolates? No worries, you can indulge in keto-friendly chocolate desserts. You should choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa in it. The cocoa solids that give the dark chocolate its rich flavor are made up of healthy fats. Dark chocolate also contains beneficial antioxidants.
So if you have a sweet tooth, a piece of dark chocolate is a guilt-free indulgence you can enjoy on your keto journey. Again, don’t forget that moderation is the key to ensuring you stay on track with your nutritional and fitness goals.
5 Fats to Limit/Avoid on the Keto Diet
- Trans fats and hydrogenated oils should be avoided as these not only raise your bad cholesterol levels, they also lower your good cholesterol levels. This increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Margarine is commonly used as a butter substitute. It can be found in many processed foods and commercially baked goods. Margarine tends to be high in trans fats and is best avoided.
- Vegetable oils: It’s advisable to limit the use of vegetable oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil as these are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Using too much of these can cause an imbalance in the omega-3 to omega-6 balance which in turn contributes to inflammation.
- Fried Foods: Limiting your intake of deep-fried foods promotes a more health-conscious approach to meal preparation. Many restaurants and fast-food establishments fry foods using oils high in omega-6 fatty acids. Also, the breading or batter used in frying may contain carbs, which can interfere with ketosis. Grilling, baking, or sautéing with healthier fats such as olive oil or butter will allow you to enjoy the flavor and texture of your favorite foods without compromising your keto goals.
- Processed meats, including sausages, bacon, and deli meats, may contain additives, preservatives, and hidden carbohydrates that may hinder ketosis. So check the labels carefully and look for nitrate-free and low-carb options.
To ensure long-term success and your overall well-being on this keto journey, master the art of incorporating the right fats into your keto diet. It’s vital to choose the right fats that are beneficial to your health and to avoid the ones that can very well lead to a fat-laden heart attack. If you do it the right way, the keto diet is a powerful tool for achieving your health and fitness goals.