Keto Essentials: The Best 3 Superfoods to Boost Flavor and Nutrition
By Nia Rennix
In this article:
The beauty of the keto diet is that by consuming foods low in carbohydrates and high in fat, your body will enter a metabolic state called ketosis. This will ultimately make you a fat-burning machine.
The only catch is that you have to drastically reduce your overall total carbohydrate intake. This part is extremely important because exceeding the prescribed limit of carbohydrates even by a small margin will place your body out of ketosis, which is the foundation of the keto diet. Thus, although a keto diet is highly effective, to some, it can seem restrictive.
But keto-compliant meals don’t have to be less enjoyable! By adding in the right spices and superfoods, following the keto diet can be satisfying and nutritious.
If you are on a keto diet, then you can consider chia seeds to be one of your best friends. These seeds are very low in calories and packed with nutrients. Since the carbohydrate content of chia seeds is negligible, it is an ideal ingredient for keto cooking. They can add body to your meals without piling on unwanted calories and carbohydrates. Also, there are a number of health benefits associated with chia seeds.
- Rich in antioxidants: You will get a high proportion of antioxidants by eating chia seeds, which in turn will take care of the free radicals trying to wreak havoc in your system.
- High protein content: Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Consequently, eating chia seeds may give you high energy as well as stronger muscles.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Though fish remains the best animal source for omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds too can supply a good portion of it for you. For someone who prefers to eat plant-based food, chia seeds can be a life-saver.
- Prevents constipation: Chia seeds contain a large amount of fiber, which can effectively take care of the one problem that a keto diet can cause: constipation.
- Improved heart health: The nutrients that you get from chia seeds may help your heart muscle to stay robust, which could help to prevent cardiac diseases and ailments.
- Stronger bones: Chia seeds contain calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, so consuming them can help you to fortify your bones and help to guard against diseases like osteoporosis.
Chia seeds are highly flexible as a meal ingredient and can be incorporated into your snacks in various ways. Here are some quick-fix ideas for you.
Crunchy salad: You can simply roast chia seeds on low heat in a dry skillet and eat them flavored with a pinch of salt. Or, if you are feeling a little adventurous, you can dice up onions and tomatoes, and mix them with a handful of dry-roasted chia seeds for a light yet tasty snack. Add a dash of lemon juice and some chopped herbs as a topping to enhance the flavor.
Superfood smoothie: Another easy way to consume chia seeds would be to soak them in water overnight. These seeds will turn into a gel-like substance which you can blend with lime juice and salt to turn into an unconventional smoothie. If you are someone who prefers their smoothie to be sweet then you can add strawberries and heavy cream to prepare a glassful of deliciousness.
Gravies and soups: Also, soaked chia seeds can be used to thicken gravies and soups. You can cook a simple vegetable soup and throw in soaked chia seeds to achieve the desired consistency. Garnish with salt and pepper and you’ll end up with a bowl to soothe your soul.
Energy bars: Although most energy bars are packed with carbs, there are some keto-compliant varieties available on the market. For example, some bars may use keto-friendly nut butter as the binding agent. Keep a few chia bars with you on the go, so that you can treat yourself whenever you feel yourself getting “hangry!”
Coconut is another blessing for the keto diet. It has a high nutritional value and yet is very low in its carbohydrate content. You can use it in various forms to make innovative meals. From the unprocessed coconut meat to the milk of coconut, coconut oil, and even coconut flour, all are extremely tasty. Extra virgin coconut oil is unique in flavor; coconut milk can act as a substitute for real milk, making it a great option for vegans; and coconut flour is quite similar to regular flour in texture and has a very mild and creamy flavor. All of these ingredients come with a host of health benefits.
- Helps to maintain blood sugar levels: Coconut contains a high percentage of fiber and hence it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. The natural sweetness of coconut also helps to curb cravings for sweets.
- Fights off germs: Coconut contains lauric acid which is a type of fat that can fight against certain types of infections. Thus, it may help to boost your immunity and improve your overall well-being.
- Gluten-free: Coconut is a gluten-free food, so it acts as a lifesaver if you suffer from gluten intolerance.
- Glowing skin: The healthy fat content of coconut is very high and it’s a type of natural beauty-enhancer.
Coconut oil is also an item that can actually help your body to stay in keto mode. There are a number of delicious snacks that you can prepare from coconut.
Crunchy coconut wedges: Break a coconut and take out the wedges of white coconut meat. You can add a sprinkling of sugar substitute to make yourself a wonderful snack. Or, you can fry them lightly in butter to add a heavenly aroma.
Coconut fat bomb: Coconut fat bombs have a very special creamy taste and no sane person can say no to them. Here are some recipes for keto-friendly fat bombs.
Toasted apples: Slice up an apple and brush it liberally with coconut oil. Bake it to a light golden color and you have a perfectly healthy snack ready.
Muffins and cakes: You can bake yummy muffins with coconut flour and top them with a dollop of flavored coconut cream to indulge in some healthy dessert time.
Ice creams: Coconut milk can be manipulated to make ice cream. Now, who wouldn’t want to enjoy ice cream while on a diet?
Broth: Coconut flour can also be used to thicken a soup. A delicious broth prepared from coconut flour can be a savory snack without adding an extra inch to your waistline. Coconut milk is an excellent ingredient that can act as the base of a healthy soup. Throw in some chopped garlic and vegetables and make yourself a bowl of yumminess.
Cookies: If you’re in the mood for cookies, then you can certainly bake a batch of keto-friendly cookies using coconut flour. Have it with a glass of unsweetened almond milk and enjoy the heavenly taste without any guilt.
Grated coconut balls: Grate coconut meat into super-thin shreds. Then, cook it in two spoonfuls of butter until the whole mixture turns sticky. Turn off the heat and sprinkle a sugar substitute to sweeten the mixture. Roll them into small balls. Have a few right away and store the rest for later.
Who doesn’t like a little beef in their lives? Jerky gets a lot of negative attention for the ways in which it can negatively impact one’s health. But you must keep in mind that this depends largely on the quality of beef you are eating.
Always check the labels when you are buying beef jerky. It must be grass-fed, organic jerky that’s nitrate-free, MSG-free and low on sugar content. As long as you are going for the high-quality beef jerky, there is not much you have to worry about.
Does beef jerky have any health benefits? The answer is yes!
- Good source of lean protein: Jerky is a very good source of lean protein and adds practically no carbohydrate to your diet. It is satiating to the tongue and to the stomach, making you feel full for longer.
- Rich in iron and zinc: All kinds of red meat are usually rich in iron. Beef jerky is a great source of both iron and zinc.
When you are longing for a scrumptious snack, high-quality beef jerky can easily come to your rescue. And it’s versatile—you can incorporate it into snack time in multiple ways. Here are some ideas.
Omelette: You can revamp a regular omelette with chunks of beef jerky and shredded cheese. The end result is yummy and perfectly in compliance with keto rules.
Jazzed-up veggies: Add a few pieces of high-quality beef jerky to a bowl of steamed broccoli and brussels sprouts. And voila! A bland meal will turn into a tasty snack.
Broth: A thick broth containing vegetables is always a bit hit. And when you throw in some shredded beef jerky into it, you give it an instant makeover.
So, stay healthy and enjoy your meals as well as the snacks while you are on the keto diet. Be confident and you will soon be rewarded with a healthier, leaner version of yourself.