By Mark Sisson
If you’ve recently started eating keto, you may be having a hard time figuring out your options when it comes to convenient, easy-to-grab keto foods. On those mornings when you oversleep and go running out of the house, or those nights when work ran late, it’s good to have options on hand so you can make a healthy, keto-compliant meal in minutes.
Here are my top 10 keto foods that will make your keto life easier, including the number one food all keto eaters should have in their pantry.
1. Frozen Riced Cauliflower
Frozen cauliflower rice continues to be a keto diet staple, standing in for rice in recipes like this Sesame Chicken and “Rice” with Fiery Ginger and Chile Sauce (from 2010—I was ahead of my time) or this Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower Rice, Olives and Feta.
2. Frozen Vegetables
I usually have frozen broccoli, green beans, spinach, and kale in my freezer. They cook much faster than fresh, and can be simmered, steamed, or microwaved in a matter of minutes. Add them directly to soups, stews, and stir-fry in the last few minutes of cooking, or add frozen greens to smoothies.
3. Pre-Cooked Meat
Pre-cooked chicken (usually breasts and breast strips, but also chicken sausages), brisket, pulled pork or carnitas, and wild-caught shrimp can make short work of dinner. Just make sure to read the labels: Look for products with only meat, herbs and spices, and keto-approved fats. Some offerings look “clean” from the front only to reveal a laundry list of objectionable ingredients on the back.
4. Canned SMASH
That’s salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring—small, oily fish. If I had to pick one thing that every keto eater should have in their pantry at all times, this is it. I’ll throw canned tuna in here as well, even though it’s not in the “small” category.
Not only are canned fishes convenient, they’re packed with nutrients and oh-so-important omega-3s. Sardines and anchovies also have calcium and micronutrients that come with eating the whole fish, bones and all.
5. Protein Powder
I don’t think shakes and smoothies should be a staple of one’s diet, but there are times when throwing some protein powder in a blender bottle is about all you can manage. I’ve been there.
Whey protein is a great choice in terms of bioavailability and health benefits, which is why it’s the main ingredient in Primal Fuel. Collagen protein is another good source with unique advantages for joint and gut health. Egg white protein is a good choice, too. And if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can go for rice, pea, or hemp protein powders.
6. Jerky, Sticks, and Bars
Beef jerky, beef sticks, and bars are shelf-stable and portable. As always, watch for undesirable oils and excessive added sugar. No surprise, I’m partial to the keto-friendly Primal Kitchen Protein Bars.
7. Bone Broth
A warm mug of bone broth can stand alone as a “snack,” or it can be quickly turned into a delicious soup. There are several high-quality brands available in grocery stores that come in a wide variety of flavors. You can, of course, make your own, but store-bought is much more, well, convenient.
8. Nut Butter Packets
I particularly like these if I’m going to be out on a long stand-up paddle where I might want a quick nosh. They’re convenient in the way that those gels made for runners and cyclists are—easy to stick in your pocket, eat one-handed, and discard. Quite a few brands offer nut butter packets in a variety of flavors, some with added protein and healthy fats. Just avoid those with added sugars.
9. Electrolyte Drink Mixes
It’s pretty easy to stir some LoSalt and Himalayan pink salt into your water and add a squeeze of lemon or lime, but it’s also handy to have electrolyte powders on hand. Ones that come in individual packets are especially convenient for grabbing on your way out the door. We all know how important electrolytes are when you go keto, so don’t neglect them.
Eggs are one of the easiest, quickest foods to prepare. Whether you fry them in butter or scramble them with leftover veggies and meat, you can have a healthy meal in less than five minutes. Hard-boiled eggs are the ultimate portable food: they come in their own disposable, biodegradable containers! You can even level up your fatty “keto coffee” concoction by blending in a raw egg or egg yolks.