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Once you figure out how to start a keto diet and calculate macros, the next hurdle to mastering this lifestyle is determining which low-carb foods work for a ketogenic way of eating. Many people know about avoiding sweets and starchy vegetables and loading up on whole foods like butter, cheese, low carb nuts, leafy greens, and avocados — but what about keto meats? Is every kind of meat the best meat for keto?
Let’s take a closer look at which keto friendly meats are safe to enjoy in abundance, which ones contain hidden carbs, and satisfying keto meat recipes to help you stay in ketosis.
What Meats Can You Eat On Keto?
You can eat any plain, unprocessed meat on a ketogenic diet — the most popular ones are chicken, beef, pork, fish, and seafood. Grass-fed and pasture-raised animals are best to enjoy, because they contain higher-quality fats than conventional meats, and fatty cuts of meat will keep you more satisfied, but any meat will work if it contains nothing added. Meat is high in protein and naturally contains 0 grams of carbohydrates, so it’s easy to enjoy on a low carb lifestyle!
Keto Meats List
Meat is generally safe to enjoy on a ketogenic diet… but which meats for the keto diet are best? Use this comprehensive keto meats list to get started!
- All cuts of steak (both high-fat and lean) – including sirloin steak, flank steak, filet mignon, New York strip, etc.
- Beef – including brisket, chuck, flank steak, ground beef, ribs, round, shank)
- Beef broth (including bone broth)
- Chicken – including parts such as chicken wings, thighs, drumsticks, and chicken breasts
- Chicken broth (including bone broth)
- Game hen
- Baby back ribs
- Bacon (sugar-free)
- Ham (plain with no sugar or glazes added)
- Hot dogs (sugar-free)
- Pork belly
- Pork hocks
- Pork rinds (chicarrones)
- Sausages (sugar-free)
- Pork shoulder
- Pork tenderloin
Game & Specialty Meats
- Organ meats, such as liver
- Wild boar
- Wild duck
- Wild turkey
In addition to protein, many varieties of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids! Try these keto varieties:
- Any cut of fatty fish
- Canned fish (no sugar added)
- Rainbow trout
- Shellfish, including crab and lobster
Many deli meats contain added sugar, so read labels carefully. The best lunch meat for a low carb lifestyle should be sugar-free:
- Corned beef
- Head cheese
- Roast beef
Meats To Avoid On Keto
Many meats can align with a low carb diet, but some are more suspect than others. Look out for any kind that contains added sugar, starch, or fillers that can increase the carb count, and read labels to know for certain whether they fit your macros. The meats below might be okay but are more likely than others to contain added ingredients:
- Cured meats
- Breakfast meats
- Deli meats
- Meat with glazes or sugary sauces
Keto Meats To Buy
It can be tough to find grass-fed, fattier cuts of meat at the corner grocery store, but you can easily find them online! These are my favorite sources for clean low carb meats:
- ButcherBox – Get free meats at your doorstep from my favorite source for grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, and pork raised crate-free
- Wild Alaskan Company – Get $15 off your first box of wild-caught and sustainably harvested seafood, including sockeye salmon and Pacific halibut.
- Paleovalley – Save an automatic 15% on filler-free meat sticks made with grass-fed and grass-finished beef
- Stryve – The best biltong with no sugar, MSG, gluten, or nitrates — and more protein than jerky.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since not all meat is the best for keto, it’s easy to get confused about what to choose. Here are answers to common questions about low carb meats.
Is Lunch Meat Keto?
While plain meats contain 0 grams of carbs, lunch meats often contain a small amount of carbohydrates because they contain added sugar or starch. Read labels to know for certain what went into your lunch meat, and choose less processed varieties if you want to avoid all added sugar on keto.
What Are The Best Cuts Of Meat For Keto?
Any cut of meat (with or without bones) can work for a low carb diet if it contains no added sugars or starch. However, the most keto friendly cuts of meat will contain more fat or marbling, which will help you stay more satisfied.
Can You Eat Processed Meat On The Keto Diet?
Some individuals on keto eat processed meat, while others do not — it depends on whether you follow a clean keto or dirty keto diet. Although ingredients in processed meats can be suspect, they may still fit low carb macros.
How Much Meat Can You Eat On A Keto Diet?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much meat someone should eat on keto — it depends on your personal macros. Use a keto macro calculator to determine your ideal protein intake on keto.
Can You Do Keto Without Meat?
Yes! Although meat is an easy source of protein and fats, you can make keto work with vegetables, dairy products, and plant or animal fats such as lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee. Check these keto vegetarian recipes for inspiration.
Can You Eat Too Much Meat On Keto?
Yes, it’s possible to eat too much meat on a ketogenic diet. Standard keto macros limit protein, because overconsumption can lead to gluconeogenesis, a process by which the amino acids in protein convert to glucose [*].
As a rule of thumb, the number of grams of protein you should eat per day is calculated using a ratio between 0.6 and 1.2 (depending on whether you are sedentary or very active), which represents grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. The easiest way to figure this out is to use the Wholesome Yum macro calculator.
Best Keto Meat Recipes
Prefer plain meats? Need more meaty mains? Try these recipes with keto diet meats that will keep you full and focused.
Air Fryer Whole Chicken
The secret to juicy meat and crispy skin on this chicken? It’s all about mixing creamy butter with herbs and layering it onto the meat!
Bell Pepper Sandwich
A whole new way to use keto lunch meat! Layer halves of bell peppers with condiments like avocado oil mayo, plus your favorite veggies like spinach, cucumber, or tomatoes.
Keto Charcuterie Board
A delicious blend of sweet, savory, and meaty flavor! Learn how to pair low carb meats with berries, crackers, almonds, olives, and other keto friendly ingredients.
Oven Baked Lamb Chops
Nobody has to know that this fancy dish took minimal prep time! Learn the secrets to tender chops every time.
Serve with keto pasta or your favorite tomato or cream sauces — it’s one of the easiest keto recipes with hamburger meat!
Sirloin Steak In The Oven
No grill needed! Learn how to make juicy steak with just the heat of your oven.
Surf And Turf
This meal comes together in minutes! Get lots of ideas for meat and fish pairings to make the perfect surf and turf plate.
Bacon In The Oven
Forget about splatters — this is the ultimate mess-free way to cook bacon.
Broiled Lobster Tails
Fancy meal, easy prep! Use this method to get tender lobster meat in a flash. It pairs particularly well with roasted asparagus.
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken
Double the meat, double the flavor! Pair with a simple side like broccoli or kale for an easy, elegant meal.
No dry meat! Use these tips to get juicy burgers ready to dress up with your favorite toppings — on the stove top or grill!
Conclusion: Can You Eat Meat On The Keto Diet?
Most meats are keto meats! For the best nutrition, choose cuts without any added sugar or fillers, and incorporate them into keto-friendly recipes.
Best Meats For Keto
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