We all love Calamari, right? Its crispy texture and mild flavor are hard to resist. But if you have started your keto journey, you may wonder if Calamari is keto-friendly. The short answer is, yes, you can eat Calamari on keto. Keto diets are often seen as restrictive diets—you can't eat bread or potatoes, for example. But in reality, it's adaptable, and you can eat delicious foods like Calamari.
Calamari is mostly keto-friendly, but there are a few food rules and recipes to follow. Please keep reading to learn more about Calamari, its nutritional value for ketogenic dieters, and how to eat Calamari on a keto diet.
What is Calamari?
Squid are prominent members of the mollusk family renowned for their size and tentacles, which feature sharp suckers capable of pulling food into their mouths. The squid's diet consists primarily of small crustaceans and plankton. This type of seafood from the squid family includes several species and subspecies.
Calamari is a squid that is either breaded and fried or marinated in lemon juice and served with pasta. It can be prepared in many ways and is usually served as a starter or appetizer dish.
The most common types of Calamari are Italian style and ringlets. The Italian-style Calamari has a light batter coating, while the ringlets are lightly breaded and fried. You can also find Calamari with garlic and butter sauce, which makes it a perfect accompaniment for spaghetti bolognese.
Is Calamari Keto Friendly?
The nutritional value of Calamari depends on the type of Calamari you are cooking. Most types of Calamari provide about 15-18 grams of protein per 100 grams, which is an excellent option for a low-carb diet like keto. It also contains many vitamins and minerals essential to maintaining your health on a keto diet. It is also a good source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as B vitamins like folate and vitamin B12.
Is Calamari keto? The answer, of course, is that it depends. There are many different types of Calamari, each of which has its nutritional value. Some types are low in carbs and contain high levels of protein. Others are higher in carbs and may also contain some sugar or starch.
While Calamari is very low in fat overall, it does have a fair amount of saturated fat. The good news is that you don't need to avoid it entirely as long as you take it in moderation. Overeating saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol, which can cause heart conditions in the long run.
Some studies have also shown a link between high amounts of saturated fat consumption and an increased risk of cancer. So make sure you limit your consumption of fried foods and fried Calamari when on keto. Be sure to avoid all deep-fried Calamari, including tempura calamari.
On the other hand, you should consume low-carb foods high in healthy fats if you want to maintain a healthy weight. The recommended daily intake of saturated fatty acids is no more than 10% of your total calorie intake.
Types of Calamari that are low in both carbs and fat include squid rings, tentacles, and Spanish-style calamari rings. Broiled calamari rings are slightly more expensive than baked ones but much lower in carbs. The two main types of Calamari are Italian style and ringlets. Check the carb content of each type and choose the one that is low carb.
Italian-style Calamari has the lowest number of carbs per serving. This type of Calamari is also served in small bite-sized pieces, making it easy to incorporate into your keto diet plan. Italian-style Calamari is gently battered with a wheat flour-based batter and then cooked until it becomes golden brown and crispy.
You can easily find this at your local fish market or grocery store. Italian-style Calamari is prepared with butter or olive oil, which makes this a great ketogenic option.
Ringlets have a slightly higher number of carbs and are not very keto-friendly. You can reduce the carb content by ordering grilled ringlets instead of fried ones. To help keep carbohydrates to a minimum, try eating ringlets with another low-carb seafood item like shrimp or lobster tails.
Ringlets are firmer and chewier than Italian-style Calamari, which is crispier and has a softer texture. They are prepared in a sweet and sour sauce and often served on a bed of french fries, which means they are not very keto-friendly.
The sauce you add to your Calamari can also affect the meal's nutritional value. For example, if you add creamy tomato sauce to your Calamari, then the carbohydrate content of your dish will increase substantially.
Garlic and butter sauce has a higher number of carbs per serving compared to other sauces. Other types may be a little higher in carbs, so you can consume them in moderation if you feel like you need carbs in your diet.
Some unhealthy ingredients are hard to avoid when eating Calamari. These are mainly fat and salt. For instance, frying results in higher amounts of fat and more calories in the dish than baking or grilling.
You should limit the amount of salt you add to your dishes to reduce the sodium content and enhance the natural taste of the food. If you want to stick to the keto diet while eating Calamari, you need to choose wisely and choose healthy recipes.
Alternative Options to Calamari
While on the keto diet, you can also eat other types of seafood like shrimp, salmon, tuna, and shellfish like mussels and clams. These are all excellent options for adding some variety to your diet. Here are a few more low-carb seafood options to try if you want to add some variety to your meal plan.
- Salmon is a type of fish that is a great option for a low-carb meal. It is very healthy for keto dieters because of its high protein and healthy fat. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals.
- Shrimp is a nutritious source of protein and is low in carbs. It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your health.
- Sardines are small fish that are loaded with protein and healthy fats. They are very low in calories and carbs.
- Scallops contain very few carbs. One serving only has 6g of net carbs! Scallops can be prepared in many different ways—fried, baked, or sauteed. However, scallops are high in sodium, so make sure to eat them in moderation or pair them with low-sodium sides.
- Clams are another good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is low carb and low calorie-perfect for anyone on a ketogenic diet.
Are Fried Foods Keto Friendly?
Calamari is commonly prepared in batter, and it's fried. Some preparations use marina sauce instead, which also adds to the carb count. As a general rule. Keto-friendly foods are prepared with little or no seasoning or additives and no high-carb additions like sauces or breading.
Therefore, most foods fried or prepared using batter are not good options for keto. So, if you are on keto and wondering if you can eat Calamari, the answer is yes. However, you should not make fried Calamari the main focus of your diet.
Other than just Calamari, you should avoid eating fried foods on keto. The frying makes food more unhealthy by adding calories and trans fat. Avoid eating at restaurants that serve fried foods like fast food places.
Also, avoid other high-carb foods that are deep fried, such as french fries and funnel cakes. There are many low-carb alternatives to all your favorite foods. Like keto-friendly Calamari, you can prepare keto-friendly alternatives to everything!
Keto-friendly Recipes for Calamari
There are healthy ways to prepare and eat Calamari, including baking or steaming it instead of frying it. You can keep it “naked” and only season it with salt and fresh lemon or lime juice. Try these simple calamari recipes that don't use batter or breadcrumbs, so you can enjoy a crispy and delicious treat without worrying about going over your daily carb limit.
Calamari is everyone's favorite. It contains many vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, and lots of protein. But while Calamari may be healthy and packed with nutrition, it may not be the most keto-friendly option. It all depends on the way you prefer preparing your Calamari. If you choose keto-friendly methods like grilling, baking or steaming, you can add Calamari to your regular keto diet. However, if you only want to eat Calamari fried or battered, then you may have to limit your intake considerably to stay within the keto carb limit.
Click on the links below to learn more about other keto-friendly foods: