We know, we know: keeping up with a keto diet can be challenging. It’s not always easy or simple to find healthy, satisfying meal options that fit the mold. That’s why incorporating seafood into your diet can be a tremendously helpful tool if you’re looking to add a little extra variety to mealtime.
Most fishes are super heart-healthy, immune-strengthening, anti-inflammatory, and jam-packed with essential micronutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. That makes seafood a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins and minerals that will nourish and fuel your body. Plus, seafood is typically low in carbohydrates, meaning it’s simple to fit right in—especially for us keto dieters.
Seafoods like fish and shellfish are also excellent alternatives to repetitive meat and poultry meals. They can spice up your meal prep routine while reinforcing your diet with critical vitamins and nutrients. But as with any food, some types of seafood are more healthful, versatile, and satisfying than others.
When following a keto diet, it’s important to be strategic about your food choices, preparing meals that will fuel and sustain your body—not just fit into your daily macronutrient breakdown.
So the question remains: what are the best types of fish for you?
Best Fishes For Keto Diet
When it comes to seafood, you’ll definitely want to start eating more fish.
Fish is usually ultra-quick and easy to cook, not to mention incredibly varied when it comes to flavor and form. Just check out all the varieties at your local supermarket!
Having a range of options will help keep things interesting if you’re hitting a brick wall in terms of meal ideas. But when it comes to sustaining yourself as a keto dieter, choosing fish that is rich in healthy fats is most important of all.
Your body needs healthy fats to absorb certain vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants and to help make your food more satiating and flavorful. When your body is satiated quicker, you won’t need as much food to feel satisfied.
That makes fat your secret weapon when choosing foods that will help fuel you on your keto journey. So, while most fish are going to fit well into a keto diet, there are a few superstar high-fat fishes that deserve to be highlighted:
Salmon is one of the best choices out there for keto dieters.
With an excellent macronutrient breakdown—at around 20 grams of protein per serving, zero carbs, and anywhere from 6 to 13 grams of fat per serving—cooking up a filet of salmon is the perfect easy alternative to basic keto meals like baked chicken.
It’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which will help your body absorb the other healthful vitamins and minerals that salmon provides, like antioxidants (take selenium, for example, which supports immune system function), potassium and magnesium. You can leverage those healthy fats to help keep you full and satisfied, all day long.
Start out with a simple meal, like this Maple Dijon Salmon dish. Painless recipes like these are easy to cook anytime, so they’re sustainable everyday options on your journey to creating a healthy lifestyle. This one might even become a staple in your meal prep routine!
Tuna is a macronutrient powerhouse, with a whopping 20 to 38 grams of protein, 2 to 5 grams of fat, and zero carbohydrates per serving. That makes tuna a great option for those who are training to build muscle or in need of protein to aid in workout recovery.
Additionally, like other varieties of fish and shellfish, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins. These vitamins will help sustain your health in both mind and body as you adjust to maintaining ketosis.
Recipes like this Pan Seared Ahi Tuna can be a great way to add a little excitement to dinner—and stay healthy while you do it. But if you’re feeling lazy, try whipping up a simple healthy tuna salad instead. Both are great ways to introduce tuna into your diet.
Mackerel is a fattier fish, with about 14 grams of fat and 18.6 grams of protein per serving. Like many fish, it’s an incredible source of omega-3s. While mackerel falls on the higher end of the calorie spectrum, it boasts an outstanding catalog of vitamins and minerals, making it one of the healthiest fishes out there.
A great source of magnesium, potassium, and B-complex vitamins, mackerel also is one of the few food sources of vitamin D, an essential vitamin for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
Basically, mackerel has one of the best nutritional profiles of any fish on the market. It’s popular and widely available in many forms—canned, fileted, or otherwise. Try out a unique recipe like these Mackerel Patties, which uses canned mackerel in brine, found in many large grocery stores. It’s simple, tasty, different, and nutritious.
Any and all of these fishes will help keep you nourished and sustained on a keto diet. Fish is a fantastic option for those looking to switch it up and stay healthy, bolstering your meals with essential nutrients.
But what if you’re not as much of a fan of fish—or you’re simply looking for something else?
If that’s the case, we should talk a little more about shellfish.
Best Shellfishes for Keto Diet
Shellfish offer a lot of the same health benefits as fish. While they’re not as rich in omega-3s as many fish, they’re quite high in protein and low in calories. That means they have all the essential amino acids that help maintain proper cellular function and muscle health.
Shellfish are also great sources of healthy minerals like zinc, copper, and iron, which can be difficult to squeeze into your diet.
So, yes, you should also think about including shellfish into your keto diet. Here are some of the shellfishes with the best nutritional profiles out there:
Mussels are one of your most nutrient-dense shellfish choices.
Low in calories at around 146 calories per serving, mussels are very rich in protein—containing about 20 grams per serving—and provide many micronutrients, like manganese, which is involved in bone and metabolism health. Mussels are also rich in B and C vitamins, as well as iron, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Although they are fairly low in total fat, mussels contain reasonable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them heart-healthy like most fish. They outshine many other types of shellfish when it comes to Vitamin B-12 content, which is difficult to find in foods other than red meat.
A close relative to clams and scallops, oysters are known as the “aphrodisiac” of food! But indulgent nickname aside, oysters are an incredibly healthy choice, running at about 45 calories per serving with 5 grams of protein.
Oysters contain all 9 essential amino acids, which help keep your muscles strong and healthy. They are also rich in zinc and iron, as well as copper, which plays an essential role in making red blood cells, maintaining nerve cells, and bolstering the immune system.
Eating oysters raw, steamed, or smoked will keep your meals low-calorie and lean. But if you’re looking to spice it up a little, try something a little more adventurous, like these Broiled Oysters or a unique and delicious Oyster Stew. You’ll reap the nutritional benefits either way!
Crab is one of the best sources of protein in the seafood world.
Per serving, you can reliably get about 20 grams of protein from crab. Although it’s lower in fat, it’s also one of the shellfishes that contains crucial long-chain omega-3s. These long-chain omega-3 acids can be used immediately by our bodies, making them super important to incorporate into mealtime.
Crab also contains selenium and vitamin B-12 levels that play important roles in immune system function, cell growth, brain health, and energy expenditure. Most remarkably, crab meat contains an exceptional amount of copper—nearly 30 times that of cod and 56 times that of salmon, chicken, or beef. Copper helps metabolize iron, which keeps your bones and blood vessels healthy. It’s an essential part of a healthy seafood diet.
When it comes down to it, seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
It’s loaded with protein, critical omega-3 fatty acids, and important vitamins and nutrients like selenium, magnesium, and vitamin B-12. Along with its incredible impact on heart health, bone health, and the immune system, seafood will help strengthen and nourish your body with satiating proteins and fats, so you’re both happy and healthy.
Seafood is also incredibly varied. So while we’ve outlined some amazing types of fish and shellfish—some of the healthiest and most readily available—there are tons of other varieties that you should check out if you’re looking to try something new in your keto diet.
What’s your favorite fish or shellfish? Try adding it in little by little to reap all the benefits of nutritious, tasty and versatile foods that remain within your keto diet. The results will be worth it!
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