A Guide to Keto Food Substitutions
So what is the keto diet? In contrast to other low-carb diets such as Atkins that are centred around protein, the keto diet is a high fat, low-carbohydrate diet with moderate amounts of protein, which forces the body into ‘ketosis’ – the process by which ketone bodies are produced by the liver and are used to fuel the body’s cells and brain instead of glucose.
To follow this diet involves consuming food with a high fat content at every meal, paired with little carbohydrates or protein. But, it’s not all about spooning on the cream. There are two very different ways to approach what you eat when following the keto, so it’s important to know exactly which fats to choose. Saturated fats such as those from coconut oil, butter, full-fat cheese and whole milk are encouraged on this diet. So, if you were wondering whether you can have cow’s milk on the keto diet, the answer is yes. However, it’s important to balance saturated fats with unsaturated fats, such as those found in almonds, seeds and avocados, as well as olive oil.
Not all fruit and vegetables are equal on the keto diet. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and squash are not encouraged due to their high carbohydrate content, while celery, spinach and mushrooms play key roles. Most fruits are also too high in carbohydrates to be included on the keto diet but berries such as strawberries and blueberries are an exception.
Cutting out carbs means skipping pasta, bread and rice, including wholewheat products such as brown rice. Shirataki rice, though, can be a good choice due to its carb and calorie content, as well as being gluten-free. Or cauliflower rice, nicknamed cauli rice, is a fantastic keto rice substitute as it’s low in carbs. Pulse raw cauliflower florets in a food processor and either microwave or toast in a frying pan until cooked through for an alternative to rice that takes minutes to make. Cooking in the microwave will result in a cauli rice that’s similar to basmati or white rice, while toasting in a frying pan will give the nuttiness associated with brown rice.
Cauliflower rice is also delicious as a substitute for rice in a burrito using low-carb tortillas. Replace black beans with mushrooms and serve with soured cream for a mid-week dinner that’s also keto-friendly. Or, pair cauli rice with a healthy stir fry featuring peppers, mushrooms and broccoli with soy sauce and ginger.
On the keto diet, a state of ‘ketosis’ is achieved by consuming fat. A moderate amount of protein, however, can be consumed as part of this diet.
Snack on boiled eggs, low-carb nuts such as brazil nuts, or full-fat cream cheese with a handful of carrot sticks. Or, if you love chips and are wondering what to replace potatoes with on keto, then root vegetables such as turnips or celeriac can be a great option. Slice into fingers, toss in olive oil and roast in the oven for chips, or for a mashed potato alternative, boil and blitz in the blender until smooth with a dash of dairy milk.
If you’re craving a burger, you can swap bread for two portobello mushrooms, which make a fantastic alternative to the classic burger bun. Choose a beef pattie and a mild cheddar cheese for a home-made cheeseburger that’s easy to make.
For dessert, cooking with nut butters can be a fantastic way to add healthy, unsaturated fats to your diet. Smooth peanut butter makes a buttery icing, is delicious added to cheesecake or fantastic in these Meridian nut butter chocolate cups. Dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa solids is also a great choice for dessert.
Combine melted dark chocolate with ground almonds to make fudgy chocolate brownies. Cheesecake is also a keto-friendly dessert that’s delicious paired with a handful of seasonal berries.
Finally, if you can’t imagine missing out on an English fry-up, pair sausages and bacon with these hash browns using cauliflower and replace bread with pan-fried mushrooms and spinach or slices of avocado.
Head over to our site and try some of our favourites…
With a range of delicious keto-friendly recipes, there’s always an exciting dish to cook, whether it’s a quick midweek meal or weekend treat. So head on over to the Keto aisle on the Ocado website or find your new favourite recipe here.
Before dramatically changing your diet, it’s always worth speaking to a healthcare professional such as your local GP or Dietitian.