Six No-Hassle Ways to Make Healthier Keto Meals
If you want to turn things up a bit for 2018, here's an easy win for you. We've got six no-hassle ways to boost the nutrition profile of any keto meal plan.
If you plan to eat better without all the regular New Year’s diet hoopla, we have a few really good, really simple suggestions for ways you can make healthier keto meals without changing your entire life (and grocery list). This isn’t resolution stuff. This is just you understanding that if you want to feel better, you should probably make a few minor changes. Nothing big. We’re not calling off Super Bowl Sunday or anything. We’re just… you know… cutting back on a thing or two, and maybe adding more salads.
Here are 6 super-easy ways to make healthier keto meals and boost the nutrition profile of any keto meal plan.
#1 Upgrade Your Table Salt
An easy way to get more micronutrients is to switch salts. Let’s first establish one thing: You need salt. The human body functions largely on electrical impulses, and sodium – as you may have learned in science class – is an effective conductor. Your brain and nerves need sodium to send signals to the rest of the body. Without sodium, your cognition slows down. That’s why new ketoers experience brain fog before they re-establish a proper balance of electrolytes during the their first seven days on a keto diet.
You may be used to flavoring your food with a refined table salt like Morton Iodized salt. But refined is a clever way to say demineralized. Why would anyone remove the minerals from salt? One reason – shelf life. Refined salt has a longer shelf life than unrefined salt.
Consider switching to a salt like sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, which have higher trace amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
#2 Add Liquid Aminos
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They work with micronutrients to regulate the vast majority of our physiological processes (Verheesen, Schweitzer) and are crucial for optimal performance. Read our post on amino acids for more info.
Liquid aminos made from soybeans and coconut liquid aminos are marketed as all-purpose seasonings, and are a popular substitution for traditional high-sodium soy sauce, and salad dressings high in fat and sugar. And both products are high in both essential and non-essential amino acids.
According to Bragg, their Organic Coconut Liquid Aminos contain arginine, aspartic, lysine*, glutamic, serine, threonine*, alanine, glycine, proline, isoleucine*, methionine*, valine*, phenylalanine*, tyrosine, and leucine*.
The asterisks are beside essential amino acids.
#3 Sprinkle Chia Seeds on Top
To be so small, chia seeds do pack a punch. They are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as fiber, calcium, and iron. This is super important. The USDA recommends adult men and women getting between 21 and 40 grams of fiber a day to stay healthy and keep the pipes clean.The average American gets between 13 and 17 grams of fiber a day. There is an inverse relationship between consumption of processed food and fiber consumption, meaning the more boxed food you eat, the less likely you are to get enough fiber.
Sprinkling chia seeds on your meals, and even in your drinks is a fast and easy way to remedy your fiber shortage. You can download a copy of the USDA’s report, Fiber Intake of the US Population to get specific numbers by age and ethnicity.
#4 Cook with Grass-Fed Butter
When you think of healthy fats, butter may not immediately come to mind, but butter from the milk of grass-fed cows is a stellar fat source. Whereas grain-fed cows eat mostly corn and soy, grass-fed cows eat grass almost exclusively.
The difference in their diets makes the difference in the fatty acid profiles of the beef we eat. Studies show that compared to grain-fed cattle, the fatty profiles of grass-fed beef are higher in omega-3 fats, CLA, antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, C and E. Grass-fed beef also has a lower fat content compared to grain-fed beef.
The nutrients listed above spill over into the butter vat. You may not think of butter as one of the healthiest fats, but grass-fed butter is indeed a fat source that is nutrient rich.
#5 Add MCT Oil
Okay, Dave Asprey fans probably know about MCT Oil and its use in bulletproof coffee. Medium-chain triglycerides are fatty acids that go straight to the liver to be used for energy and less likely to be stored as fat than long-chain triglycerides. MCT Oil is usually either caprylic acid, capric acid, or a combination of the two. MCT oil is not lauric acid, which makes up nearly two-thirds of coconut oil. The best sources of MCTs are coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products.
Now for the good part. MCT Oils can circumvent the digestion process. YOur stomach doesn’t need to produce bile salt to digest MCTS, making them readily available for use as energy without the risk of the fat being stored in your body. That means they can get right to work boosting your metabolism, improving brain function, and even helping to balance your hormone levels. MCTs also have antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral antibacterial properties, so they help your immune system to maintain optimal performance.
#6 Drizzle Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s the combination of healthy acids in apple cider vinegar that makes it such a great addition to your nutrition plan. Made from fermented apple cider, apple cider vinegar contains
- Acetic acid – Antimicrobial, prevents bacterial growth
- Lactic acid – Boost metabolism, stimulates muscle growth and collagen production, antibacterial, antifungal
- Citric acid – Boosts energy and metabolism, antibacterial, antifungal, builds muscle and brain tissue
- Malic acid – Helps your body convert carbohydrates to usable energy
The standard recommendation is to take one tablespoons of apple cider vinegar two to three times a day, but be careful. It’s strong, and definitely an acquired taste.
Staying on a low-carb nutrition plan offers a growing catalog of health benefits, from weight loss, to sharper mental focus, to better skin. The keto diet is high in fat, which means it’s a great go-to for people who need to develop better health habits and who are also grappling with bad habits like sugar addictions and the tendency to load up on more carbs than they can burn. It’s hard to quit sugar cold turkey. So, a high-fat diet is a great way to sate your sugar and carb cravings without feeling like you’re missing out.
The flip side is, when you’re eating lots of healthy fat and lots of protein, it’s easy to build a meal plan that leaves some key nutrients out of your diet. If you apply these six tips, you will be able to get a lot of nutritional mileage from just a few quick adjustments and make much healthier keto meals.
Image source: Lifesum.com