It can be easy to tell from a glance which foods are Keto-friendly. Avocados are in and bread is out. But it isn’t that easy for all foods, and some may be such an ingrained part of our routine that we don’t think twice about how many carbs they contain.
If you’re used to slathering your morning bread in jam then you probably realise the bread is out, but what about the jam? The following article will explain why jam is not usually Keto-friendly as well as some great Keto jam substitutes.
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Fruit on the Keto diet
The number one ingredient in jam is fruit. In order to understand if jam is Keto-friendly you first have to understand the rules surrounding fruit and the Keto diet. Although most fruit is healthy, not every fruit works with your Keto. There are some fruits that are way to high in sugar to be allowed on Keto. A medium size banana, for example, contains a whopping 25g of net carbs! That’s the entire carb budget for an adult female.
Some fruit can get away with being a little higher in total carbs because they’re also higher in fibre. Since fibre can’t be digested by your body in order to create glucose, any fibre in a food gets subtracted from the total carbs to give you the net carbs in the fruit.
Some of the best fruits on Keto are lemons, limes, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Blueberries are okay to have, but be sure that you don’t eat too many of them because they’re higher in carbs than the rest of the berry family. Peaches and cantaloupe are also lower in net carbs; however, like blueberries, their carbs can add up so they’re best eaten in smaller portion sizes.
Is Jam Keto?
The short answer is, no, jam in the traditional sense is not Keto friendly. Jam is a simple food that usually contains only a handful of ingredients, especially when it’s homemade. However, when you consider what’s in jam it makes sense that it would contain too many carbs to be Keto-friendly.
A good rule of thumb on Keto is that if something tastes sweet, chances are, it’s too high in sugar and carbs to be safely eaten. Jam contains sugar, fruit and pectin. Any foods that contain sugar should be avoided on Keto. If your jam contains fruit such as apples then the fruit itself is probably too high in sugar to be eaten on Keto.
Other jams such a blackberry, raspberry and strawberry contain fruits that have a lower natural sugar content and are allowed in moderation on Keto. This doesn’t mean that the jam is Keto-friendly since they often contain added sugars.
There are some jams that are available in stores that are labelled as sugar-free or Keto-friendly. If the jam is made using low-sugar fruits such as berries and it contains no hidden sources of sugar or carbs on the nutrition label then it might be okay to eat in moderation on Keto. However, it’s probably best to either make your own jam or choose from one of the Keto jam substitutes listed in this article.
Is Pectin Keto-friendly?
Pectin is another issue. Pectin is used as a thickener in a variety of foods including soups, stews, jams and jellies. Natural pectin is found in a lot of fruits, especially citrus fruits and apples. Packaged pectin is often made from the skins of fruits that have a high level of natural pectin. Store bought pectin comes in either a powdered or liquid form
Some people consider pectin a sugar while others consider it a fibre. Regardless of which way you look at it, pectin cannot be digested by your body and turned into glucose. It contains little or no nutrients or calories. Plain, unaltered pectin shouldn’t impact your Keto.
However, a lot of pectin dry mixes have sugars added into them to help this thickener to add sweeteners to jams and jellies. If you’re going to make a Keto-friendly jam using pectin it’s important to read the ingredients carefully and make sure that there are no sneaky hidden sugars.
The other downside to pectin is that it’s a processed food. Clean Keto asks that you stay away from any processed and packaged foods because they contain little nutritional value and many contain hidden preservatives and chemicals that may hurt your body.
Keto jam substitutes
There are two main ways to substitute for jam on the Keto diet. The first is to make your own Keto-friendly jam while the other is to completely swap it out for a different food. Which method you choose will depend on your comfort level in the kitchen, your available time as well as what you plan on using the jam substitute for.
Making your own jam on Keto is simple and it’s a great way to keep the same flavor and texture as traditional jams. Most recipes use only a few ingredients such as berries, sugar-free powdered sweeteners and lemon juice. Try one of the following Keto jam recipes for a delicious sugar-free take on an old favorite.
Chia Seed Strawberry Jam-this 15-minute recipe from Sweet as Honey couldn’t be simpler! By using chia seeds and frozen raspberries you mimic the seedy texture of real raspberries while keeping the carbs to 1g of net carbs per serving. You also get a dose of healthy fats and fibre with the chia seeds. An added bonus is that this recipe doesn’t involve any cooking!
Low Carb Sugar Free Jam- if you’re craving a strawberry flavoured jam, this one from the Low Carb Maven is a great choice! With 5 simple ingredients, and gelatin instead of pectin, this recipe is both delicious and Keto-friendly! A serving of this jam contains less than 1g of net carbs so it’s simple to fit into your Keto.
Sugar Free Blackberry Jam: If you’re in the mood for blackberry jam, this recipe from the Keto diet app is a great one! It uses blackberries (fresh or frozen) alongside chia seeds, a Keto-friendly sweetener and some lemon juice. Although this recipe does involve a little bit of cooking, it’s super simple and should only take you 10 minutes of active cooking time to make. The best part is that this yummy recipe contains only 1g of net carbs per serving.
Other alternatives to jam on Keto
Making your own jam from scratch is not your only option when you’re on Keto. There are plenty of other foods that you can eat that fill a similar void. Which one you choose will depend a lot on personal preference and how you used to use jam in your cooking. For the most part, whole fruit is a great substitution for jam since it contains all of the same, familiar flavors with none of the added sugar.
If you’re looking to replace jam on toast: First off, be sure that your toast is Keto-friendly. Once you’ve got your slice of cloud bread or coconut flour bread then it’s time for toppings. The traditional PB&J sandwich can be replaced with plain peanut butter. If you’re missing the sweetness of jam then try slicing up some strawberries and layering them on top of the peanut butter. Your taste buds won’t know the difference.
If you want to add flavor to a cake: Some people use jam in between their layers of cake to add a burst of juicy flavor. Jam is perfect for this because it’s spreadable; however, you won’t miss any of the flavor if you use real fruit. Strawberries can be sliced while blueberries, blackberries and raspberries can be mashed for the same effect. In fact, you could try adding some whole berries to your cake batter and mixing it in for a burst of berry goodness in every bite. You won’t even miss the added sugar, I promise you.
If you like adding jam to your yogurt or cottage cheese: There’s nothing wrong with wanting to add a bit of flavor to your plain yogurt or cottage cheese. In order to make the snack more Keto friendly why not try nuts? Nuts are a great addition to yogurt. They offer plenty of the healthy fats that you need on Keto without the carbs of jam. You could also try seeds, such as chia seeds which will help fill your body with healthy fibre. If you’re missing the sweetness you can always add whole berries in place of jam.
Jam that’s on store shelves is not a Keto friendly option and chances are, your grandmother’s jam recipe isn’t Keto-friendly either! That doesn’t mean that you can’t eat jam on Keto. As long as you read the ingredient label you might be able to get away with some sugar-free store-bought jam. There are also plenty of super simple recipes for making your own Keto jam and in most cases, anywhere you’d use jam you can substitute the whole fruit.