Following the keto diet has many health benefits, including weight loss, appetite reduction, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and improved levels of “good” cholesterol.
Then again, the reason many people find it hard to follow diets such as this is that it involves a rather strict, low-carb intake.
Reducing your carbohydrate intake doesn’t just mean cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. It also means you have to lay off processed foods and sugary foods.
This means avoiding fruit, and potentially, many of your favorite sugar-laden sauces and condiments.
Are you wondering what sauces can I have on keto diet? We share our top 10 favorites below.
Why Avoid Carbohydrates on Keto?
Let’s quickly remind ourselves why it’s important to avoid carbs in the first place.
The reason we want to avoid eating carbohydrates in the ketogenic diet is that we want to switch our bodies into a state of ketosis, in which it burns fat for energy.
A huge number of people follow the keto diet to burn fat and lose weight as a result of it.
There are three types of carbohydrates that can be found in food: sugar, starch, and fiber.
Carbohydrates are found in many foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk products. They are your body’s go-to source for energy production.
If you eat too many carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will rise, and your body will produce more insulin.
The insulin then instructs your cells to convert the extra glucose into fat storage to save it for another time when there might be a shortage.
This can be really unhealthy if you’re already overweight and can even lead to the onset of diabetes, also known as Type 2 diabetes.
By reducing your carb intake, the keto diet will force your body into a state of ketosis in as little as one to three days.
In ketosis, your body is forced to switch over to using your fat stores for energy production, as it no longer has access to enough carbohydrates to function well.
Many people feel extremely tired and lackluster during this time as their glycogen stores deplete, and they wait for their body to switch over to fat-burning mode.
When you’re in a state of ketosis, your liver turns your fat into ketones, which is a type of acid, and sends them out into your bloodstream for energy.
What Sauces Can I Have on Keto Diet?
Unfortunately, carbohydrates are in many popular foods, including the number one most popular condiment, tomato ketchup.
Upon learning that even regular ketchup is off-limits, you aren’t the first person to ask themselves what sauces can I have on keto diet, and you won’t be the last either!
In fact, you may even be wondering if you can follow this diet at all if it means sacrificing ketchup!
For many people, sauces are a sure-fire way to turn just about any meal from drab to fab, so what do you do when your diet doesn’t allow them anymore?
Fear not as we’re here to help!
Top 10 Sauces for Keto Success
There are loads of sauces that can be enjoyed on a keto diet, although some of them in smaller amounts than others.
Here, we’ve listed our favorite sauces that can help lube up your food while still following the strict rules of a ketogenic diet.
1. Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Regular ketchup contains added sugar, and because people tend to eat a lot of ketchup with their meals, the carbs can stack up fast.
Look for brands that contain less than one gram of carbs per serving to satisfy your ketchup cravings with zero guilt.
You would never normally eat full-fat mayo on a weight-loss diet, but when you’re following the keto diet, it’s positively encouraged!
Always buy the full-fat version, and if you can, choose one that is made with olive or avocado oil to get more monounsaturated fatty acids.
Full-fat mayo should have almost no carbs, so it also makes a great base to be mixed with other flavors (we recommend sriracha to make sriracha mayo or add garlic to make aioli).
Make your own mayo at home by whisking together one egg yolk and one tablespoon of mustard.
Mix the egg and mustard consistently while slowly adding 250ml of light-tasting olive oil.
There is just one trick to making your own mayonnaise, and that is to add the oil very slowly indeed.
Mix in the juice of a whole lemon and ¼ tablespoon of salt and, voila, you’ve just made your own mayo.
3. Hollandaise Sauce
Hollandaise is a classic, smooth, creamy sauce that is really easy to make. It pairs really well with steamed or boiled vegetables, fish, and eggs.
This sauce is a vital ingredient that you will need for making (muffinless) eggs benedict and eggs florentine.
Make your own hollandaise sauce by slowly adding 10 ounces of melted butter to four egg yolks while whisking continuously.
Again, it very important that you go slowly, as the sauce won’t emulsify properly if you add it too fast.
Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and it’s ready for serving!
4. Alfredo Sauce
Traditionally a pasta sauce, alfredo sauce is also really tasty on veggies and makes a great option for saucing up dryer proteins, such as chicken and turkey.
With less than one gram of sugar and two grams of carbs, it’s a fabulous low-carb option for keto dieters.
Pesto is another one of those sauces that are traditionally paired with pasta, but it will work just as well as a light dip or as a salad dressing.
Use it sparingly, though, as it contains three grams of carbs and one gram of sugar, so it has slightly higher carbs than many other options on this list.
6. Yellow or Dijon Mustard
Both of these varieties of mustard are naturally keto-friendly. However, you do have to keep an eye out on the nutritional information, as some brands will try to sneak sugar into them.
With zero carbs, they’re a guilt-free sauce that adds a lot of flavor to meat, such as burgers and deli meats.
7. Hot Sauce
Hot sauce lovers will be very pleased to learn that hot sauce has the green light on keto!
Tons of hot sauces have zero carbs, including sriracha, Tabasco, and hot and spicy buffalo sauce.
If you’re a hot sauce lover, then you’ll agree that it pretty much goes with everything. However, we think it works especially well on meats like chicken and ribs.
If you’ve not heard of tzatziki before, you’re in for a treat.
It’s fresh and tasty and works really well on sharing and dipping platters, perfectly complimenting your hot sauce while cooling down your tongue.
9. Nacho Cheese Sauce
Nacho cheese sauce is a spicy, creamy, and ultra-tasty sauce that can change just about any plate of food to full-on fantastic.
There isn’t much that this sauce doesn’t pair well with, and you can use it as a sauce or a dip.
With just one gram of sugar and one and a half grams of carbs, you could eat it every day without worrying about falling out of ketosis.
10. Sour Cream
Sour cream is also a really versatile sauce that contains less than half a gram of carbs and sugar per serving.
You can serve it with eggs or veggies or use it as a dip.
More Keto-Friendly Sauces
As if the above 10 options aren’t enough, check out 10 more below!
- Worcestershire sauce
- Sambal oelek
- Coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative)
- Low-sugar barbecue sauce
- Reduced sugar steak sauce
- Salsa (check the contents for added sugar)
- Herbed butter
Always ensure you opt for the full-fat, reduced sugar, or unsweetened versions of these sauces to minimize the carbs contained within them.
Top Five Dressings for Keto Success
You’ll probably be surprised to find out that you’re eating a lot more fresh salads as well as raw vegetables these days.
There are lots of keto-friendly options for dressings, so why not dress your salad and veggies with a different dressing every day to keep it tasting fresh?
Here are salad dressings you can have without ruining your keto diet journey:
1. Ranch dressing
2. Caesar dressing
3. Thousand island dressing
4. Blue cheese dressing
5. Italian vinaigrette (make sure it is unsweetened)
Again, remember to always go for the full-fat versions of dressings, and check the label of any new brand or flavor you come across.
Low-Carb Sauce Ingredients
There are probably a huge number of other ingredients in your pantry right now that you can use as a sauce in their own right.
Alternatively, you can also combine them with a couple of other ingredients to make your own delicious sauces at home.
Saucy Base Ideas
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Creme fraiche
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
- Coconut cream
- Broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, beef, or fish)
- Tomato paste (you only need small amounts as it’s packed with flavor)
Ingredients to Add Flavor
- Spices (cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon)
- Herbs (dill, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro)
- Cheese (hard cheese contains fewer carbs)
- Pickles (avoid sweetened varieties)
- Blended veggies (above-ground veggies generally have fewer carbs than root veggies)
Most of the above ingredients will contain some carbohydrates, so be sure to keep track of what you’re using and the amounts you use.
If you’re worried about it getting too complicated, stick to recipes where it’s worked out for you.
Then again, you can also use a keto food diary app, which is designed to keep track of what you’ve eaten and making the calculations for you.
1. What condiments can I have on keto?
While at first glance there may be many products that are off-limits on the keto diet, there are still tons of options out there.
Look for sugar-free alternatives to ketchup and barbecue sauce. You’ll be really surprised at how good they can taste!
If you’re not overly impressed with the first brand you try, don’t be disheartened and just try another brand next time.
Most people have their preferred brands for condiments, and you’ll probably find that it’s the same with keto-friendly condiments, so shop around until you’re happy.
Condiments that you can have on keto include reduced-sugar varieties of ketchup, barbecue, and steak sauce.
If you can’t find reduced-sugar options at your local supermarket, you can try looking for it in health food shops or just buy them online.
Mayonnaise, vinegar, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, aioli, and yellow mustard are all safe bets, too.
2. What store bought dressings are keto friendly?
There are plenty of options when it comes to store-bought dressings, too.
There is one trick to shopping on keto that applies across all of the food groups, and that is to read the label.
Just because the last jar of mayonnaise you bought had zero carbohydrates doesn't mean that the next one will.
Many brands add sugar to their products unnecessarily. While you're following the keto diet, you need to avoid them like the plague.
If you prefer vinaigrette style dressings, after checking that it is unsweetened, you should also check what type of oil was used to make it.
Check the ingredients list and only buy brands that use good fats such as avocado, refined coconut, MCT, or extra virgin olive oil.
High-oleic sunflower oil and high-oleic safflower oil are also great, but make sure they are specifically labeled “high oleic.”
Regular sunflower and safflower oil are chock-full of delicate fatty acids that oxidize quickly and can cause inflammation.
You should also avoid corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean, vegetable, and grapeseed oils.
Good-quality store-bought dressings can be a lot more expensive than making you're own at home, but they certainly are more convenient.
Any other diet would have you buying low-fat dressings and probably keep any creamy sauces and dressings as a once-in-a-while treat.
Thankfully, this cannot be said about keto.
With this diet, you can take full-fat ranch, blue cheese, Caesar, and more.
Indeed, you won’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite sauces, dressings, and dips just so you can follow this diet.
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