Keto Diet for Vegetarians
The keto diet provides many great benefits in the short term, but it’s also quite restrictive. This can be difficult enough to follow, but when you’re a vegetarian it can become even trickier to ensure you’re getting the right level of nutrients.
Having said that, it is possible to follow a vegetarian-inspired keto diet. Read on to find out about the keto diet for vegetarians.
What Foods Should You Eat?
If you’re wanting to follow a vegetarian-based keto diet, there are some foods you’ll want to focus on including. These are:
• Plant-based fats and proteins
• Low-carb vegetables
• Nuts and seeds
With the standard keto diet, you’d get the fats and proteins you need from animal products. However, you’re going to need to focus on plant-based fats and proteins for a vegetarian take on the plan. These include coconuts and avocados. You can eat them naturally or use their oils to gain the healthy fats you’ll need. You can get the protein you need from tofu and even tempeh.
You’ll be able to eat the same vegetables as the standard diet, including cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms and asparagus. You can consume dairy products like hard cheese, plain cottage cheese and full-fat plain yogurt.
Eggs is another way to get the protein you need, while nuts and seeds can add fiber. Seeds are a particularly great source of healthy fats and they’re naturally low in carbs. Then finally, you can add berries to your diet when you crave something sweet.
What Challenges Does It Present?
There are a few challenges the vegetarian keto diet presents. The main issue you’ll have is that the standard vegetarian diet is high in carbs. This is especially true in terms of the beans and lentils you typically consume.
There is also a high chance that you won’t get the nutrients the body needs. This includes zinc, vitamins D and B12, calcium, and protein. If you do develop nutrient deficiencies, it can cause all kinds of problems for your health. So, you’re going to need to ensure you address these challenges if you want to follow a vegetarian keto diet healthily.
Steps for Following a Vegetarian Keto Diet
If you do decide to give the vegetarian keto diet a try, there are some steps you’ll want to take.
The first is to start restricting the carbohydrates you consume. Aim to limit the amount of carbs you’re consuming to 20g per day. The next step is to ensure you’re getting enough protein in each meal. Ideally, you should be consuming around 70g of protein per day.
Twice a day, you’ll also want to ensure you’re having 1-3 servings of vegetables. When cooking, make sure you use healthy oils and finally, add flavor to your food with herbs and spices.
As you can see, it is possible to follow a vegetarian keto diet. However, you do need to be aware of the challenges and how to overcome them if you want to stay healthy. Due to the additional restrictions with a vegetarian keto diet, it’s recommended you talk to your doctor before adopting the diet into your daily life.
How do you do Keto While Vegetarian?
When people talk about low-carb diets like keto and other low-carb high fat (LCHF) diets, they often talk about eating a lot of meat, fish, and cheese. While this is a healthy way to do the diet, it isn’t the only way. You can also be a vegetarian and do the keto diet, there are just some things you need to keep in mind so you are full and healthy in the process.
Enjoy Vegetable Protein
Just like any vegetarian diet, without meat in your diet, you need to find other sources of protein. Some of the current vegetable proteins you enjoy, you can still have on keto, but be careful about some of them. For example, beans and legumes are unfortunately out. To get your vegetable protein, look at the high-fiber and moderate-protein veggies like kale, broccoli, and mushrooms. You can also try meatless substitute products made from vegetables, but always look at the carb amounts and keep it under 20 net carbs a day if you are trying to follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
Try to Find Good Healthy Fats
A lot of people doing the keto diet will get a good portion of their fats from animal protein. On a vegetarian diet this isn’t possible, so you need to get your fat in other ways. Keto is a low-carb high-fat diet, so this is really important. The fat helps you reach ketosis, while also keeping you full and giving you fuel for the day. Healthy fats that are vegetarian-friendly are usually in your oils, like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and butter. You can also get some healthy fats from different types of vinegar.
Fill Up on Keto Coffee
Keto coffee, or Bulletproof coffee, has a lot of benefits. Among them, is that you can replace breakfast with it, which gives you something that is vegetarian-friendly and will fill you up during or in between meals. If you struggle finding a good keto breakfast that doesn’t include meat or eggs (if you don’t eat eggs), try making a cup of keto coffee with brewed coffee, butter, coconut oil, and any cream ingredient. The cream is optional, but there is heavy cream, or you can go dairy-free with almond milk that is unsweetened. The coffee also helps you get in your healthy fats, plus increases your metabolism in the morning.
Consider Eggs in Your Diet
If you don’t eat any meat products, but you do allow eggs, then this opens up a lot of opportunities for you. Eggs are great for breakfast or snacks, to go with your salads, or even to make a lettuce-wrapped egg salad sandwich.
Can You Do Keto Without Veggies?
As you begin meal planning and prepping for your ketogenic diet, it is important that you consider what veggies to add. You want to stay away from the high-carb, starchy vegetables, but there are still plenty of others to choose from. Vegetables are important for maintaining well-balanced meals, getting enough nutrients, and added benefits like extra fiber. Here are some excellent low-carb veggie options to add to your meals.
While avocados are actually a fruit, they are often in the vegetable category. They also happen to be one of the best types of produce you can have while on a keto diet. Avocados are an excellent source of potassium and fiber, two things that tend to be a little harder to get when you switch to the LCHF diet of keto. Avocados also provide those healthy fats you need for heart health, to burn fat, and to fuel your body. A medium avocado usually has about 100 grams, which is approximately 13 total carbs. However, this avocado also has about 10 grams of fiber, so only 3 net carbs.
Dark, Leafy Greens
While most types of lettuce and greens are allowed on the ketogenic diet, you should try to eat the darker, leafy greens as much as you can. These tend to be more nutrient-dense and contain more fiber, which as you know, you need to try to get more of without having grains and oats. Some good dark, leafy greens include kale, spinach, romaine, and collard greens. These are all very low in carbs, especially when you remove the fiber. For example, a serving of 100 grams of spinach is less than 4 carbs, with 2 grams of fiber, so it is less than 2 net carbs for a big plate of spinach.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Both of these veggies should be at the top of your list of vegetables to eat on a low-carb diet. Cauliflower is great because it contains important nutrition, is very low in carbs per serving, and can replace a lot of the things you miss. For example, you can turn cauliflower into rice, mashed potatoes, even hash brown patties. For a serving of cauliflower, it is only about 4 grams of carbs. Broccoli is also 4 grams of carbs, providing a lot of vitamins and minerals, and a filling vegetable for you to enjoy.
While you want to avoid the starchy vegetables like potatoes, and the veggies with a high sugar content, like corn and carrots, there are plenty of other options. Good options include zucchini and spaghetti squash, cabbage, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, and green beans. Just watch your portion sizes and always track the carbs.