A healthy ketogenic diet encourages you to eat high-quality fats, moderate protein, and very few carbohydrates. This macro distribution promotes ketosis, a metabolic state where the body relies on fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose.
Like with any diet, those on keto tend to have breakfast staples that they tend to turn to regularly. One of the most common breakfast staples is oatmeal, and for keto dieters, the question arises: is oatmeal keto-friendly?
In this article, we will address this question in-depth, examining the characteristics of oatmeal, its nutritional profile, and offering alternative options for those adhering to a ketogenic diet.
Oatmeal is often considered a healthy breakfast option due to its fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is made from oats, which are processed in various ways to create different types, such as steel-cut, rolled, and instant oats. However, despite its health benefits, oatmeal is not keto-friendly.
The ketogenic diet focuses on consuming low-carb, high-fat foods to promote ketosis. Oatmeal, being a grain, is naturally high in carbohydrates, making it unsuitable for a strict keto diet. Those looking to maintain ketosis should avoid or strictly limit oatmeal and seek out alternative low-carb breakfast options.
A cup serving of cooked oatmeal contains approximately 27 grams of carbohydrates (*). Only 4 of those grams are fiber, meaning that a cup of oatmeal has 23 grams of net carbs, which is already close to the daily limit for those following a strict keto diet.
Additionally, oatmeal contains protein and a small amount of fat, as well as micronutrients such as magnesium, iron, and B vitamins, which provide various health benefits.
Despite the nutritional advantages of oatmeal, its high carb content makes it unsuitable for a ketogenic diet.
Considering the high carb content of oatmeal, it is challenging to incorporate oatmeal into a keto diet without exceeding daily carb limits. Those following a strict keto diet should avoid oatmeal altogether. However, individuals with more flexible carb allowances may be able to enjoy small amounts of oatmeal on rare occasions, limited to no more than a cup per day.
One advantage of oatmeal is its low glycemic index, due to its high fiber content. This means that oatmeal does not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. If you decide to consume oatmeal on a keto diet, opt for steel-cut oats, as they have a lower glycemic index compared to rolled or instant oats.
To further minimize the impact on your carb intake, pair oatmeal with low-carb or zero-carb foods such as eggs, avocado, or non-starchy vegetables. Additionally, add a source of fat like butter, coconut oil, or nuts to increase satiety and support ketosis.
In this section, we’ll explore some delicious and low-carb alternatives to oatmeal that are perfect for those following a keto diet. Each option offers a low-carb, high-fat, and protein-rich breakfast that can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences.
Flaxseeds are an excellent keto-friendly alternative to oatmeal. For a half-cup serving, they contain approximately 1.4 grams of net carbs, 15.4 grams of protein, and 35.5 grams of fat (*).
Flaxseeds can be used to create a low-carb porridge or incorporated into keto-friendly baked goods for added texture and nutrition.
To make yourself a flaxseed oatmeal alternative, combine half a cup of ground flaxseeds with one cup of unsweetened almond milk, a pinch of salt, and a dash of cinnamon. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Top with your favorite keto-friendly sweetener and enjoy.
Chia seeds are another fantastic keto-friendly substitute for oatmeal. A half-cup serving contains approximately 13.5 grams of net carbs, 13.9 grams of protein, and 25.8 grams of fat (*).
You can use chia seeds to make a tasty chia pudding or add them to smoothies and yogurt for an extra crunch.
For a tasty serving of keto chia pudding, mix half a cup of chia seeds with two cups of unsweetened almond milk and a sweetener of your choice. Refrigerate overnight, and the next morning, you’ll have a delicious and nutritious keto-friendly breakfast.
Keto Smoothie Bowl
Keto smoothie bowls offer a highly customizable and nutrient-dense breakfast option. The nutritional content varies depending on the ingredients, but in general, they are low in net carbs and high in healthy fats and protein.
For a keto Berry Smoothie Bowl, blend half a cup of frozen berries, one cup of spinach, half an avocado, and unsweetened almond milk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes for added texture and flavor.
Coconut flour is a versatile low-carb alternative for keto dieters. 1 serving (15 grams) of coconut flour contains approximately 3.7 grams of net carbs, 2.4 grams of protein, and 2.3 grams of fat.
To prepare a warm and comforting coconut flour ‘oatmeal’, combine half a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, 4 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed, 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired consistency (about 5-7 minutes).
A serving (3 tablespoons) of almond flour contains approximately 1.4 grams of net carbs, 5.5 grams of protein, and 10.5 grams of fat (*).
Almond flour is a delicious keto substitute that you can use to create pancakes, muffins, porridge, and other low-carb baked goods.
To make almond flour porridge or ‘oatmeal’, start by combining 6 tablespoons of almond flour, 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed, 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for about five minutes. Add any low-carb toppings you like and enjoy.
Oatmeal is a comforting breakfast dish, but it’s not the low-carb or keto-friendly food you’re looking for. The good news is that there are oatmeal alternatives that will taste just as good. You could even try blending various oatmeal substitutes to create a unique keto-friendly oatmeal or “noatmeal. What’s more, if you simply can’t resist oatmeal, there are a few tricks to make it work for your keto lifestyle.