10 Keto Essentials I ALWAYS Have in My Fridge/Freezer

Over the years, I’ve become an expert at ketofying things. Seriously, I can find a way to make a keto version of anything. A large part of that is my imagination, and, of course, google. But, I owe my keto success in large part to the items I keep on hand at all times. These are those items *Law & Order voice*

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(This is part 1 of 4 of the Candace's Keto Essentials series. Check out the other posts to find out the items I deem essential in the Pantry, Kitchen, and Office.)

By this point in your life, you probably have a good idea or what you like to eat. But, if you were like me, keto (or paleo, or some lifestyle-related condition such as diabetes or GERD, or maybe just your ever-expanding waistline) came along and smacked those favorite foods right out of your grubby little hands. All of a sudden, you didn’t know what to eat anymore.

  You, after realizing your diet of pizza, cereal, and french fries was doing you no favors.

You, after realizing your diet of pizza, cereal, and french fries was doing you no favors.

So now, you eat more healthfully. You’ve learned that a vegetable is, in fact, not a dirty word. (I say that with no judgment, as I didn’t learn this lesson until I was 28.) But what you’ve also learned is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not as easy as hitting the drive-thru every night on your way home from work. Sometimes you actually have to *gasp* cook.

I feel you. Sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that. For these times, if you’ve stocked them properly, your fridge and freezer have your back. If you keep these items, I guarantee you can have a great keto meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. Can pizza delivery do that?

Fridge

1 // Eggs

They don’t call it the incredible egg for no reason. Eggs can be a complement to a dish or an entire meal. I will never go without eggs in my life. From frittatas and omelets to a topping on a (bunless) burger, what can’t eggs do? Also, as far as proteins go, they’re super cheap per serving. 

2 // Kerrygold Grass-fed Butter

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Listen guys, everything is better with butter. And everything is especially great with grass-fed butter, which is anti-inflammatory and high in Vitamin A, among other things. There are a few brands that sell grass-fed butter, but Kerrygold is the one I rely on. Adding butter to steamed or sauteed veggie, or dropping it into a sauce to make it more unctuous helps you get that extra dose of good fat to keep your diet ketogenic.

3 // Better than Bouillon

In a perfect world, I would always have homemade bone broth on hand. But this is not a perfect world, this is real life, and besides—sometimes you don’t need a bunch of liquid. Better than Bouillon is a stock concentrate that you add to water to make stock, and it comes in different flavor varieties (I usually have chicken and beef on hand). Sipping a cup of stock (broth) is a great way to keep your electrolytes up as you stave off keto flu, and super comforting. Electrolytes aside, as a bonus, a small amount of this paste added to dishes adds a wallop of flavor, and for that reason, is a fixture in many of my recipes, such as my parmesan mashed faux-tatoes.

4 // Miracle Noodles

For those who are missing noodles in any form and for whom veggie noodles are just not cutting it, let me introduce you to Miracle Noodles, a zero carb alternative to pasta. Made from the konjac plant, by some magic, these noodles contain no actual carbs...but also contain no flavor, meaning they will soak up whatever you add to them. Honestly, I don’t use them often, as the texture is slightly rubbery and can be off-putting at times. However, when I’m really craving a noodle, such as a pasta salad or a ramen, I whip out my miracle noodles. Important note: Miracle Noodle is just one brand, and I use it to refer to the whole group because it’s fun to say. They type of noodle is actually “shiritaki,” and you’re in luck—with the rise of la vida low carb has come the rise of shiritaki variations, and now you can get everything from rice to macaroni style shiritaki. I haven’t tried the new styles yet, but if you do, come back and let me know!

Freezer

1 // Raw Meats

I am not trying to be vague here—I have a lot of meats in my freezer at all times. I actually bulk shop my meats about once a month or so and separate and freeze into individual portions. This ensures that I’ll ALWAYS have a protein at the ready. And when it comes to meats, I don’t discriminate; my freezer, at any time, will always have bone-in and boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, ground pork, Italian sausage, pork chops, and shrimp. I feel that there is no craving I can’t hit with these in my arsenal. In addition, if I see something on sale at the grocery store, I’ll buy that and freeze it too. For example, once I saw grass-fed ribeye steaks on sale for $5/lb...I bought three! Can’t pass up a deal like that. Buy whatever meats you and/or your family like to eat most often and plan your meals around that for the month to minimize the dreaded “What’s for dinner?”

2 // Frozen veggies

Similar to the meats above, there are a few veggies you’ll find at all times in my freezer. Namely, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower florets, and riced cauliflower. There is almost nothing I can’t do with those veggies, and having a meal without a vegetable is not an option for me. Not only are veggies great for you (Mom voice), steaming any of the above and tossing them in some butter or olive oil and seasoning of your choice is a great way to get some good healthy fats in your diet and can be on the plate in 5-10 minutes.

3 // Cooked meats

This is one of my favorite items to have on hand of all time, as it’s such a great timesaver and it often allows me to savor the flavors of something I’ve already cooked. Here’s the gist: One day a month (or week, or whatever), make a big batch of proteins, store them in individual portions, and freeze them til you’re ready to use them. That’s it! The main cooked meats I keep on hand are ground beef, carnitas, and shredded or cubed chicken. With the exception of the carnitas, I generally don’t flavor them much, which allows me more freedom to use them as I’d like when I defrost. For instance, the ground beef may go into a chili, or it may go into spaghetti. The chicken may be part of an omelette, or it may top a salad. Endless possibilities! Combined with one of the frozen veggies from above, you have a quick meal, just like that.

4 // Pre-cooked meals

I’m not talking TV dinners here. Similar to above, this is another timesaver for when you just don’t have the energy to even slap something together. At this point, my freezer gets a little full, so I usually only keep one or two of these on hand. However, there is nothing better than being able to pop a serving dish into the oven when you get home and have it be ready for you without having to actually put a meal together. 

5 // A Ziploc Bag Full of Food Scraps

Hear me out. You guys already know how beneficial bone broth is for you. Besides being a comforting health tonic, it can be the basis for many soups and sauces. What you probably didn’t know, based on the prices in the store, is that it’s ridiculously cheap to make. In traditional settings, a good stock is made simply from the leftover bones of the meat you eat and the scraps of vegetables you used in cooking: onion ends, garlic cores, celery tips, etc. So, I keep a bone broth bag in my freezer: Every time I take the bones out of chicken, I throw them in the freezer bag. Cut up an onion? Scraps go into the bag. When the bag is full, I make a fresh pot of broth. Easy peasy...and cheap!

6 // Halo Top

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If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love Halo Top. This low carb ice cream has been a Godsend to me when I’m craving sweets, especially around that time of the month. I like to keep a couple flavors on hand at all times...you know, for emergencies. ;)

(Pssst...Want to know all the keto foods you should be eating? Download the free Ultimate Keto Foods Guide for a comprehensive list!)

Well, there you have it folks...a peek into my fridge and freezer! Anything surprising here? Anything you also keep on hand? Let me know in the comments!