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Pescatarian Keto: Complete Guide with Meal Plan and Food List

By Liam McAuliffe M.T.S. Updated on

There’s no denying that meat eaters have it easy when it comes to the ketogenic diet. But pescatrians aren’t far behind.

Pescatarian keto is a healthy and sustainable option for people who choose to avoid all land-dwelling meat. It provides incredibly nutrient dense foods that align with an ancestral way of eating, while eliminating a reliance on plant foods that can be high in toxins and antinurients.

In this article we’ll offer some helpful tips for beginning a pescatarian keto diet, explore the best foods to eat on a pescatarian keto diet, along with a 7 day pescatarian keto meal plan.

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic (keto) diet entails eating high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-to-no carbohydrates.

When you cut carbs and get most of your calories from fat, your body switches from relying on carbohydrates for fuel, to breaking down the fat you eat, and the fat you store on your body, into energy molecules called ketones.

When ketone levels become elevated, you are in the metabolic state called ketosis–that’s where “keto diet” comes from.

The macronutrient profile of a typical ketogenic diet looks like:

  • 70-80% of calories from fat

  • 15-30% calories from protein

  • 0-10% calories from carbohydrates

Ketones offer more energy per unit than carbs, and can fuel most of the cells in your body. For the few cell types that require carbs, your body will synthesize carbs from protein in a natural process called gluconeogenesis.

What is Pescatarian Keto?

Pescatarian keto is a type of keto diet that sources most of its calories from fatty seafood, full-fat dairy, and eggs, while avoiding pork, poultry, and red meat.

Benefits of the Pescatarian Keto Diet

With 25.4 million searches on google in 2020, keto is by far the most searched diet. With it’s soaring popularity, research is trying to keep up, with recent studies showing that the keto diet can offer numerous benefits including:

  • Improved blood lipid levels.

  • Improved insulin sensitivity.

  • Reductions in the the severity of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease

  • Reduces and reverse symptoms of PCOS

  • Treatment for numerous types of cancer

  • Reduces and slows the progression of neurological disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Significant weight loss

  • Make meals more satiating, reducing cravings for processed and high-carb foods

  • Regulates inflammation and increases immunity

  • Helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (K, D, E, etc).

  • Protects the glycocalyx –the membrane that covers the surface of every cell, responsible for overall health, and is easily damaged by sugar intake.

5-Step Plan For Starting Your Pescatarian Keto Diet

Now that you know a bit about keto, let’s take a look at five steps to implementing, maintaining, and thriving on a pescatarian keto diet.

Step 1: Calculate Your Macronutrient Needs

To figure out the quantity of fats and proteins you need to sustain your body and activity, use this keto calculator. Once you know your macronutrient requirements, you’re to reduce carbs and add foods accordingly.

Step 2: Reduce Carbs

To get into ketosis you’ll need to dramatically limit your carb intake. For most people, this means a maximum of 20 grams of carbs per day.

To cut carbs means eliminating nearly all of the most popular and carbohydrate sources in a Standard American Diet, including:

  • Wheat

  • Alternative wheat flours like spelt and rice flour

  • Quinoa

  • Buckwheat

  • Legumes, including beans, soy, peas, and lentils

  • Reduced fat dairy

  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes

  • Fruits (except for small amounts of low carb varieties like berries)

Step 3: Add Healthy Fats and Proteins

pescatarian keto

Fat is where it’s at!

As the cornerstone of every version of the ketogenic diet, fats will account for between 70% and 80% of your calories.

This means that the type of fats you choose are the most important part of your pescatarian keto diet.

And because everybody has different activity levels and body composition, we recommend aiming for 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

This averages out to around 70 grams of protein per day accounting for roughly 25% of your total calorie intake.

The following is a list of the most nutrient dense and healthy protein and keto fat sources to focus on.

Fish

No surprise here, fatty fish are a main component of the pescatarian keto diet. But the “fatty” element deserves highlighting.

Most fish are relatively lean. Having lean protein as the center of your diet without adding more fat from other sources can lead to fat shortages and even protein poisoning.

Fortunately the fattiest fish are also the richest in various vitamins and minerals. For instance, salmon, herring, and sardines provide substantial amounts of vitamin D, which is critical for immune function and bone health.

Here’s a list of some of the most popular types of fish in order of their fat-to-protein ratios:

Nutrition info per 100g

Type of FishCaloriesFatProteinCarbs% Calories from fat% Calories from protein
Salmon Belly298301008713
Mackerel29020.32706337
Anchovies25615.92805644
Farmed Salmon234142505644
Wild King Salmon195132205446
Sardines1397.51804952
Arctic Char208102904356
Halibut1553.530.702079
Seabass13532702080
Cod1131260892
Tuna (Yellowfin)1501.5340991
Tuna (canned)123.827.51.5689

Seafood

Seafood is an excellent way to add variety to your pescatarian keto meal plan. Both in terms of taste and nutrients.

Oysters provide a great source of zinc. While salmon roe is one of the few significant sources of vitamin C in animal foods.

Seafood with orange pigment like shrimp, lobster, and roe (caviar), are packed with Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant compound. Astaxanthin may be 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C, and has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and protect the liver.

Nutrition info per 100g

Type of Seafood

Calories

Fat

Protein

Carbs

% Calories from fat

% Calories from protein

% Calories from carbs

Salmon Caviar (Roe)

260

14

29

2.9

45

52

3%

Oysters

58

1.9

6.5

3.1

29

33

28

Mussels

97

2.8

13.5

4.5

26

56

19

Shrimp

135

2.0

25.8

1.7

18

78

4

Crab

107

2.0

22

0

17

82

0

Lobster

116

1.8

25

0

14

86

0

Clams

82

1.1

15

3

12

73

15

Scallops

97

1.0

19

3

9

78

12

You’ll notice that none of the seafood options on this list meet the 70-20% fat-to-protein target. Not to worry!

You can easily boost your fat intake by adding pure fats like butter, cream, olive oil, and coconut oil to your seafood.

For instance adding just 2.3 tablespoons of butter to 100g of scallops turns a protein-heavy 9/78% fat-to-protein ratio, into a keto-ideal 75/20% ratio.

Type of Seafood

Calories

Fat

Protein

Carbs

% Calories from fat

% Calories from protein

% Calories from carbs

Scallops

(with 2.3 tablespoons of butter)

336

27.5g

19.2

3g

76%

21%

3%

Whole Eggs

For people without egg allergies, eggs can make a key addition to the pescatarian keto diet. They offer fantastic nutrition, and pair well with various seafood options. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs anyone!

One 56-gram egg is loaded with 5 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein.  But only when you eat the whole egg!

The yolk is rich in fat, B vitamins, and powerful antioxidants including lutein and zeaxanthin.

Butter

Getting enough fat can be a challenge on any keto diet, and even harder for pescatarians. This makes Butter the perfect carb-free fat-boosting pescatarian keto staple.

A victim to decades of bogus anti-fat misinformation, when part of a keto diet where your body burns fat for fuel, butter is likely very healthy.

It’s also a good source of the fatty acid butyrate, which fuels the cells of your GI tract. This can be especially important when on a keto diet that eliminates most fiber–butyrate is produced when fiber ferments in your gut. Research also suggests that butyrate may play a significant role in supporting brain health.

When possible choose organic butter from grass-fed cows. Research shows it may have healthier fats than conventional butter.

Ghee

Ghee is a clarified butter, which means it’s free of lactose and other milk sugars. This makes it neutral for most people who have dairy allergies.

Ghee also has one of the highest smoke points of any cooking oil, so it’s a good way to avoid toxic acrylamide or ALE’s that occur when oil is burned.

The healthy saturated fat content in ghee has been shown to push unhealthy fats out of your cells, leading to a healthier overall metabolic state.It’s also a robust source of  CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA has been shown to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat for obese people. And it’s also been identified as an anti-fatigue factor for distance runners.

Cheese

For pescatarians who can tolerate dairy, cheese can be another excellent high-fat, low-carb staple.

There are many types of cheese that offer optimal ratios of fat and protein. Fermented cheeses like creme fraiche, cheddar, and gouda can provide the added benefit of probiotics.

Avocados

Avocados are loaded with healthy fats while offering a decent rundown of essential vitamins and minerals.

A single avocado gives you 30% of your daily potassium intake. Potassium can be hard to get enough of on a keto diet.

Clinical studies have also shown Avocados balance blood sugar, support heart health along with healthy aging.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural source of fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are easily absorbed and converted into energy. You may have heard of consuming MCT’s as a way to ease and accelerate the body’s transition into ketosis. 82-92% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, making it highly stable and therefore less likely to oxidize and become inflammatory.

Olives and Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Olives and olive oil are one of the most researched fats. They’ve been shown to contain numerous compounds that reduce inflammation. This makes them effective in preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.

A note when cooking with oils: Most vegetable oils, including olive oil, contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS). Olive oil is 73% monounsaturated, 11% polyunsaturated and 14% saturated.

PUFAs are an issue because they become “oxidized” when exposed to high heat. Oxidized PUFAs can form toxic compounds like lipid peroxides and aldehydes that increase your risk of certain cancers.

Though olive oil is relatively heat stable compared to other vegetable oils, it’s best to avoid heating it.

What about Vegetables?

Plants contain plant toxins and antinutrients, so for many people part of the benefit of a keto diet is eliminating these substances. However, a small amount of low-carb, low-toxicity fruits and veggies are likely fine for most people on a pescatarian keto diet.

Keto Friendly Veggies

keto veggies

Keto Friendly Fruits

keto friendly fruitsPescatarian Keto Shopping List

We recommend sourcing sustainably harvested, wild-caught seafood, as well as grass-fed and pasture raised eggs and dairy whenever available. This will ensure you’re giving your body the most nutritious foods possible.

Food

# of Meals

Amount per Meal

Amount to buy

Salmon Belly

4

.5lb

2lb

Smoked Salmon

3

.3lb

1lb

Arctic Char

2

.5

1lb

Prawns

2

.5lb

1lb

1 can tuna

1

1 can

1 can

Oysters

2 meals (Part of)

6 oysters per meal

12 oysters

Scallops

2

.5lb

1lb

Ghee

4 (part of)

2 tbl

1lb

Butter

4 (part of)

2 tbl

1lb

Eggs

6 (part of)

(2-3 eggs per meal)

16 eggs total

Creme Fraiche

4

2- tbl

2 containers

Olive oil (cold pressed)

3

2tbl

1 container

Sardines

2

125g

2 125g tins

Avocado

4

½ per meal

2

Asparagus

3

.3lb

1lb

Parmesan Cheese

3

.13lb

¾ lb

Blackberries

3

.1

.3lb

Pescatarian Keto 7-day Meal Plan

Now that you know how to shop for pescatarian keto diet, here’s an example how you can spread that list over 7 super-satiating days

Note that when on a keto diet your meals will be far more filling and you will likely only want to eat twice a day. This plan also allows for a seamless integration of pescatarian keto with intermittent fasting methods. Combining IF and keto can enhance the benefits of both. One easy place to start is by aligning when you eat with the optimal time of day, known as circadian rhythm fasting.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Lunch

Lox and, 3 eggs, creme fraiche and avocado

3 Eggs with ghee, and 1 tin anchovies

Salmon Belly and 2 Eggs with creme fraiche

Tuna Salad with mayonnaise, creme fraiche, and olive oil

Lox and 2 egg scramble with creme fraiche and avocado

Arctic Char with butter

Blackberries with creme fraiche

3 eggs with avocado and creme fraiche  and 1 tin sardines

Dinner

Halibut with ghee

and raw oysters (3)

Prawns and ghee

w/asparagus with olive oil and parmesan cheese

Arctic Char with ghee

Blackberries with creme fraiche

Halibut with ghee

Asparagus with olive oil and parmesan cheese

Salmon Belly with creme fraiche

Scallops w/ ghee and 6 raw oysters

Salmon belly with creme fraiche and olive oil

Pescatarian Keto Diet Risks

For the vast majority of people, keto diets appear to be safe.

But there are a few factors to be aware of:

  • If you take blood pressure and psychiatric medications, a keto diet can positively alter underlying conditions. In these cases medications will need to be adjusted or discontinued.

  • It’s important that you and your prescriber monitor your progress as you embark on your keto lifestyle.

  • All fish and most seafood contain some level of environmental toxins. It’s crucial that you select seafood with the lowest levels of toxins.

lowest mercury fish and seafood

Pescatarian Keto: The Outlook

For people who want to experience the benefits of keto without relying on the meat of land-dwelling animals, The pescatarian keto diet offers a sustainable and delicious solution.

By eliminating most sugars, unhealthy fats, and all processed foods, you can reset your microbiome, reduce inflammation, and feed your cells with energy rich ketones.

High-fat low-carb eating isn’t a one-size-fits all lifestyle, and there’s numerous options to explore like the carnivore diet, Mediterranean keto, and even vegetarian and vegan keto options. But for many people who are coming from vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, pescatarian keto proves the easiest and most sustainable approach.

 

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