It can be daunting when you’re just starting out on a low carb diet, such as a ketogenic diet (“keto”) or the Atkins induction phase. You’re unsure of what you can eat, and you don’t yet have a good handle on the carbohydrate content (“carbs”) of common ingredients.
This keto food list is a great starting point for anyone new to a low carb lifestyle — everything on this list is safe to eat on a keto diet and most ingredients can be found in large supermarkets. 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.
You might also be interested in:
- a beginner guide on starting a keto diet
- low carb recipes for mains, appetizers, sides, and desserts
- a list of 100 low carb chicken recipes
- low carb pantry stuffers that you can buy online
- common low carb substitutions for food cravings
Keto Diet Food List:
Click here to download a printable PDF copy of this grocery shopping list.
- Brussels sprouts
- Guacamole in snack sizes
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Lemons and limes
- Ground meat
- Roast beef
- Chicken – rotisserie, raw
- Fish – salmon, cod, trout
- Other seafood – shrimp, scallops
- Canned meat – tuna, salmon, sardines
Dairy & Eggs
- Heavy whipping cream (watch out for hidden carbs)
- Plain cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Any variety of cheese – sliced, snack sized, blocks, shredded
- Almond & coconut based drinks
- Roasted almonds
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Olives – kalamata, pimiento stuffed
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Low carb sweetener – erythritol
- Spices – garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cinnamon, taco seasoning
- Flavor extracts – vanilla, mint, orange, lemon
- Condiments – soy sauce, sriracha, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard
- Vinegar – white, balsamic, apple cider
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Pork rinds
- Coffee, tea, sparkling water
- >90% dark chocolate
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what I’m allowed to eat?
Use the list above to figure out what is safe to eat.
For foods or products not listed above, just remember to read the nutrition facts label before purchasing. Also, the amount of carbs can vary wildly from brand to brand, so you will need to decide what is doable and what isn’t based on your daily allowed carb total.
Most people on a keto diet try to stay under 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day, but for you, that may be a different amount. Note that net carbs refers to the amount of digestible carbohydrates, which is typically total carbohydrates minus fiber.
What should I avoid on the keto diet?
The keto diet restricts carbs, so you should generally avoid foods that are dense in carbs. This usually means no baked goods, desserts, chocolate, grains like rice or wheat, breads, pasta, and processed foods like cereal or oatmeal. Most liquids including milk, hot chocolate, and fruity drinks are also restricted.
This is a general guideline and there are exceptions, of course. For example, you can eat keto friendly desserts like keto chocolate chip cookies or keto biscuits. You can even eat carb dense foods if you only eat a tiny quantity of it. And remember, not all processed foods are high in carbs.
Also, the keto diet is not like the paleo diet which prohibits particular foods. Keto only restricts carbs, so technically anything is allowed as long as it fits into your daily carb limit. The reason people usually recommend avoiding certain foods is because it’s hard to eat a sizeable quantity of them without going over your carb limit.
What fruits are allowed on ketogenic diet?
Fruits are generally not consumed on a keto diet because they contain a lot of sugar. However, some fruits have less sugar than others and so you can eat a small quantity of them.
For example, a 100g serving of blackberries has 4.3g net carbs, so it’s only about 4% carbs by weight. You can easily have a 100g serving and be under a 20g net carbs daily limit.
However, you might find it hard to restrict yourself to only 100g, and that’s where the problem comes in; such a small serving is unsatisfying for most people and they will want more. So that’s why most people just avoid fruit altogether.
Is Greek yogurt OK on a keto diet?
One cup of 2% fat plain Greek yogurt has about 10g net carbs. If you plan to restrict yourself to 20g net carbs a day, that will already be half of your allowance. So most people avoid yogurt or only eat a small amount of it. For example, I use 1 cup of Greek yogurt to make slow cooker chicken tikka masala, but since it’s spread out among 4 servings, its carb impact per serving is low.
On the other hand, if you love Greek yogurt and are willing to spend half of your daily net carb allotment on 1 cup for yourself, then by all means go ahead. You’ll just have to be stricter with the rest of your meals.
Can you have peanut butter on a keto diet?
You can have a small quantity of peanut butter on a keto diet. Each 1 tablespoon serving of peanut butter has about 2g net carbs, so you can use a small amount per serving (e.g., making dessert like keto peanut butter cookies) to quench your peanut butter cravings.
Why are keto groceries so expensive?
Low carb groceries are often more expensive than high carb ones, since they tend to be more pricey items like meats and cheeses. High carb junk food, candy, and pasta items are always going to be cheaper.
Especially in the first month, prepare to spend more than usual on groceries when you’re stocking up on pantry staples and trying different low carb foods to see what you like. After the first month, your grocery cost will stabilize and your grocery runs will become more routine.