This list of foods is a great starting point for anyone new to a low carb lifestyle — everything on this list is safe to eat in moderation on a low carb diet, and most ingredients are commonly found in supermarkets.
Going shopping? Use the bulleted list below as your shopping list. Generally, you’ll want to move along the outer edges of a grocery store where most of the meat, dairy, and produce sections are located. Avoid the bakery section and center aisles, which have carb-dense foods like desserts, breads, chips, cereal, and pasta.
Unsure about a food? For foods not listed below, read the nutrition facts label. Most people limit their daily total of net carbs (net carbs is total carbs minus fiber minus sugar alcohols) and this limit can be anywhere from 20 grams (for ketosis) up to 150 grams daily. Judge how many servings you plan to eat and calculate the carbs to determine if it fits within your daily total.
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Vegetables and Fruit
Many vegetables are low carb when eaten in moderation; avoid starchy ones like potatoes. Avoid most fruit, except for berries.
- Brussels sprouts
- Herbs, such as basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Lettuce, such as romaine
- Chile peppers, such as jalapeños
- Berries, such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
Meats are low carb because they are mainly protein and fat, containing almost no carbs. Watch out for processed meats that may contain extra ingredients like sugar.
- Pork, such as bacon and ham
- Offal, such as liver
- Sausages and ground meat, such as ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, and ground chicken
- Deli-style or lunch meats, such as roast beef, pastrami, and turkey slices
- Cold cured meats, such as pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto
- Fish, such as salmon, cod, halibut, trout, and swordfish
- Other seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, clams, crab, and lobster
- Canned meat, such as tuna, salmon, and sardines
Dairy and Eggs
Most dairy products are low in carbs if you consume unflavored and unsweetened versions. Watch out for hidden carbs and pay attention to serving sizes. Eggs are very low carb.
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Cream, such as heavy whipping cream and half-and-half
- Any variety of cheese – sliced, snack sized, blocks, and shredded
- Greek yogurt
Cooking and Baking
Avoid rice and wheat products like flour, bread, and pasta.
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Ground flaxseed
- Chia seeds
- Low carb sweeteners, such as pure erythritol or erythritol blends like swerve
- Dried spices, such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon
- Flavor extracts, such as vanilla, mint, almond, orange, and lemon
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Cooking oil, such as olive oil and coconut oil
- Vinegar, such as white vinegar and balsamic vinegar
Condiments, Dressings, and Spreads
Many condiments and sauces are acceptable if you can find a sugar-free version. When in doubt, check its ingredients label and nutrition facts.
- Soy sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Buffalo sauce
- Sugar-free barbecue sauce (G Hughes)
- Sugar-free ketchup (Heinz)
- Caesar dressing
- Ranch dressing
- Vinaigrette dressing
- Sugar-free peanut butter
- Sugar-free almond butter
Most nuts and seeds are low carb, but watch out for flavored varieties that may contain too much added sugar.
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pork rinds
- Seaweed snacks
- Cheese crisps
- Sugar-free chocolate bars (Lily’s, Choc Zero)
Drink options are limited because most of them contain too much sugar, especially fruit juices, sodas, and other flavored beverages. For Starbucks options, check out this guide.
- Unsweetened nut milks, such as almond, coconut, cashew, and walnut
- Unsweetened soy milk
- Unsweetened coffee
- Unsweetened tea
- Protein powder
Thanks for the shopping list. My Doctor has put me on a 23 carb diet to help control my diabetes, It has helped a great deal I was even able to come off of two of the insulins I was on. I have lost down to 173 from 194 in about 10 weeks. I don’t exercise a lot I work 12 to 18 hours a day.
Wow that is great. I need to lose over 100lbs. My doctor just said watch your diet. When I asked to see a nutritionist he said my numbers weren’t bad enough.
Anyone who speaks to you like that …. is disregarding your health concerns. You would be wise to find a new doctor.
If you are willing …. Dr. Ken Berry makes excellent videos on youtube and you can also go to his website and do an e-visit with him over the phone. (I’m not affiliated with him, but we are die hard followers of his methods. Anyway the e-visit is less than $100.00 and you can live anywhere. He is board certified and a Keto Promoter!
Good Luck on your journey. 🙂
Wow! Working 12 to 18 hours a day! That’s a lot of work. Is the carb count your Dr. gave you per day or per meal? I am diabetic also, type 2. Sooooo hard to not be able to eat carbs. But I’m going to do it!!!! ~_~*
You can do it. Once you drop your carbs way down, you’d top craving carbs so much. Fill yourself up on healthy food. Intermittent fasting (eating only during an 8, 6, 4, or 1 hour window during 24 hrs is very healing to the body especially for insulin resistance. Pick an eating window that works for you and every few weeks change it up so your body doesn’t get stuck in a routine. Es: for a 6 hr eating window, eat at 1pm and 7pm with no snacks. You need to consume enough healthy fat (avocados, coconut oil, nuts, salmon, etc) and protein (eggs, chicken, Turkey, fish, etc ) or you won’t burn fat. If you like your sweets google keto or low carb recipes. There are lots available.
Thank you for making the food list available without jumping through some registration process!
This is the best website for simple, good tasting sensible low carb/keto recipes. We love the Brazilian fish stew. And the almond flour parm crackers. You are doing a huge service. Thanks!
Very informative and not too much to read. Thanks
I’m grateful to have found this low-carb shopping list. Thanks!
Hi! I was wondering some recipes require Mayonnaise, are we able to have Mayo on Keto or is there another substitute we can buy ! By the way, i love your website so much so helpful that is my bible before i go to bed reading all the comments and looking for new recipes. Thank you so much from creating this website and sharing all your recipes and all of it fur us ! Your an angel! Thank you Julia!
Thanks Julie! Mayo is totally fine on keto because it has essentially zero carbs. Mayo is just eggs, vinegar, oil, etc.
Thanks so much for your info I love all you do for us who don’t know. Just know your loved Godbless 🙏🏽
Hello Everyone. I’m new.ive had Bariactric surgery in 2018.The weight goes away,but you have to change your way of thinking. The weight is coming back slowly. I find this low carb fits me.But I love bread.What is a good fix for this.Also can I have Tortillas.Good luck Everyone.
What about carrots? They are not listed. I love them cooked
Depends on how much of them you eat. To understand net carbohydrates, see this guide: https://www.savorytooth.com/how-to-start-low-carb-diet/
I am wondering where the portion’s are for the food list, like how many veggies can I have at one meal? How much cream is aloud in one day? Thank-you
Hi Susan! You can have any combination of veggies and other foods as long as the total daily net carbs is within your limit. I recommend using a food diary app (like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal) and adding the veggies and other foods to your day’s plan, and tweaking the amounts so that you don’t go over your daily limit. A food scale is very useful so that you can accurately measure your portion size. By logging your foods, you’ll also be able to track your calories and other macros, which is really helpful to see. I go over this in this article: https://www.savorytooth.com/how-to-start-low-carb-diet/
Why aren’t oranges, apples and bananas able to be eaten in a Keto diet?
Because they are dense in carbohydrates. You need to limit your daily intake of carbs in order to be in ketosis. For more info on how keto works, read this guide: https://www.savorytooth.com/how-to-start-low-carb-diet/
What about monkfruit as a sweetener? Is that acceptable on the keto plan?
Definitely. When in doubt, always check the nutrition label of the product you’re considering.
Can I use my avocado oil?
Yes, that’s fine.
Is stevia ok to use in drinks, etc?
Yes, stevia is fine to use. Personally, I’m not a fan of its taste, but I know a lot of people prefer it over other kinds of sweeteners.
can you have chick peas? what kind of salad dressing is recommended, i love Ranch
Hi Kathy. Chickpeas are high in carbs, so I would use them in moderation or for foods that have small serving sizes. Salad dressings like ranch, caesar, or mayo-based ones are usually good. Search my site and you’ll find some recipes that use ranch.
can I have pork crackling also for my snack I love the pork rinds. I notice some are using them for breading and frying meats.
Pork rinds are definitely OK — they have zero carbs.
Hi. I’m thankful to have this information. I wonder if Keto will be effective for me since I cannot tolerate cream cheese, soft cheeses, or most dairy products.
You’ll just have to work harder to find things that you can eat, but everything else should be the same. There are a lot of dairy-free or vegan substitutes for almost everything these days — cream cheese, shredded cheese, yogurt, etc. — that are sold at major U.S. supermarkets.
Are black olives permitted?
Black olives, and olives in general, are usually pretty low in carbs. Check the can or jar of olives you’re considering, and if it’s less than 1 or 2 grams of net carbs per serving, that should be doable for most people.
Can I have 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee?
Hi Kristin! Yes, you can use half and half. I recommend a small amount. For example, 1 tablespoon has 0.7g carbs. Depending on your daily carb limit, you can decide how much you can use. If you’re not counting carbs, I would measure how much you typically use, just to get an idea and develop an awareness of how many carbs are in your foods and drinks.
There is an option to make your own homemade yogurt with whole milk, if you have a pressure cooker. Less carbs, full of protein and yummy too.