Vegetarian Options for the Ketogenic Diet

Are you a vegetarian and want to start the ketogenic diet?

Good news, a vegetarian keto diet is both reasonable and possible. Here are a few things to consider when doing so.

Since vegetarians naturally eat more vegetables and grains as a replacement of meats and animal flesh, they must be careful to not to go beyond the typical 35 grams limit of carbohydrates per day on a keto diet.

To assist you here is a guide to carbohydrate options as a keto-vegetarian:

What to Avoid:

  • Grains (pasta, bread, tortillas, rice, cereals, etc.)
  • Legumes (beans, etc.)
  • Sugars (honey, soda, table sugar, syrups, etc.)
  • Fruits (especially juices; eat more whole fruits and limit the number of whole fruits)
  • High-starch root vegetables (potatoes)

What to Eat:

  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Summer or winter squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini

It is also important for vegetarians on keto to ensure that they are getting enough proteins and fats in their diet. An easy way is to incorporate the following oils, fats, and proteins in their daily diets.

It can be noted that eggs and high-fat dairy are a GREAT source of both fats and protein for a vegetarian. To be eco and animal-friendly with these items, you can consider sourcing from local farms. Make sure to research brands at your local supermarkets that pasture-raise their animals (not just marketing terms of cage-free).

Fats and Oils options as a keto-vegetarian:

  • Avocado (whole and in oil form)
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Olives
  • Coconut cream
  • Full-fat cheeses
  • Grass-fed butter

Protein options as a keto-vegetarian:

  • Eggs
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Tempeh (fermented and organic tofu)
  • Tofu
  • Seitan (grain-based so higher in gluten)
  • Miso
  • Nuts and seeds (best= macadamia nuts, walnuts, coconut, almonds, pecans, brazil nuts, pine nuts, chia seed, flax seeds, etc.)

In addition to the above, here is a list of possible substitutes that vegetarians (and vegans) may want to consider using when going keto. Be careful to check the carbohydrate content of these substitutes, as they often have added sugars or more carbs than their meat replacements.

Vegetarian alternatives or substitutes on a keto diet:

  • Replace heavy cream with coconut cream
  • Replace yogurt and sour cream with nut-based yogurt
  • Replace butter with coconut oil or vegan butter
  • Replace animal cheeses with nut-based or vegan cheeses
  • Replace table sugar and honey with stevia or erythritol

All in all, there are many options when going keto as a vegetarian. Make sure to stick to the proper macro ratios of a ketogenic diet. You can do this by using a keto macro calculator to help you keep track of and obtain the proper macro ratios.

– Courtney Assuma