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The most difficult part of starting the Keto Diet is learning which foods you should enjoy and those you should limit. This Keto Diet Food List should make that a little easier. Print out a copy and stick it on your refrigerator or take it with you to the grocery store.
What food can you eat on a Keto Diet?
When creating Keto recipes and preparing your meals, try to stick to the following foods.
* has a minor carb count and needs to be moderated
Enjoy animal fat and the following high-quality, healthy fats for optimal health benefits:
- coconut oil
- bacon fat
- duck fat
- olive oil
- red palm oil
- avocado oil
- macadamia nut oil
- MCT oil
You will notice that some fats contain PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acid), such as soybean and canola. In very limited quantities, these are fine. However, for optimal health, these are not the best choice.
Meats & Proteins
When buying meats, you can opt for the fattier cuts if you prefer. If you are eating lean meat, you can up the fat with butter or coconut oil if needed.
Some argue that you should only consume grass-fed and pastured-raised animal products on Keto. If you have the financial means to do so, it is better for you and the animal. However, you can be just as successful with conventionally raised meats if the budget doesn't allow it.
Enjoy various cuts of meat including:
- ground beef
- ribs (pork/beef/lamb)
- roasts (pork/beef/lamb)
- pork loin, chops & steaks
- chicken (skin-on breasts, thighs, wings, drumsticks)
- poultry (turkey, quail, pheasant)
- offal and organ meats (liver, brain, tongue, oxtail)
- deli meats (double check nutrition for certain brands that use carb fillers)
- cured meats (pepperoni, salami, prosciutto)
Most seafood is fairly low in carbohydrates and fits easily into a Keto diet. However, some shellfish and fatty fish actually have a small amount of carbohydrates, so be sure to read up on the nutrition information before consuming.
The key to finding Keto-friendly dairy products is to look at the carb and sugar content. Regular cows milk is generally out as it's loaded with lactose (milk sugar), but heavy cream can be a great and tasty substitute.
Personally, I love to explore and try new cheeses. You can enjoy cheese pretty freely eating this way.
Enjoy the following dairy products:
- cheddar cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- heavy whipping cream
- full-fat sour cream
- full-fat cream cheese
- ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- greek yogurt with low sugar *
- cottage cheese *
- brie cheese
- asiago cheese
If you find that you're stalling when trying to lose weight, limiting your dairy consumption can help. I find that I am essentially bloat-free when I take a break from cheese and heavy whipping cream.
Most of your carbohydrates will come from vegetables. Stick primarily to those that are green and grow above ground.
- squash (spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin, etc.) *
- peppers (jalapeno, bell, banana, etc.) *
- hearts of palm
- Brussels sprouts
- various leafy greens (spinach, romaine, arugula, bib lettuce, etc.)
- artichoke hearts
- garlic *
- onion *
Remember, if you are counting net carbs, you can subtract the fiber from the total carbohydrate count.
Most fruits aren't super Keto-friendly, but you can still enjoy the following:
- blueberries *
- raspberries *
- blackberries *
- strawberries *
- cranberries *
Nuts & Seeds
Be careful when consuming nuts. They are extremely easy to overeat and the carbs can add up quickly. This includes nut butters.
- almonds *
- hazelnuts *
- macadamia nuts *
- pistachios *
- walnuts *
- pecans *
- sesame seeds *
- sunflowers seeds *
- pumpkin seeds *
- flax seeds *
- chia seeds
The following condiments are generally safe for Keto:
- soy sauce (tamari or coconut aminos if you're eating gluten-free)
- hot sauce
- salad dressings (full-fat Ranch, Caesar, Bleu Cheese, Italian) *
- lemon/lime juice
- salsa *
As always, check the nutrition information for all of your foods if possible. Some products are very sneaky with their ingredients lists.
- cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- almond milk (unsweetened)
- coconut milk/cream (unsweetened)
- almond meal/flour
- stock or bone broth
- pork rinds
- beef jerky * (I like Keto Carne)
- dark chocolate (85% cocao+)
- shirataki noodles (made from konjac flour)
Sweeteners are a great way to cut carbohydrates and still enjoy your favorite treats. Of all that I've tried and researched, the following are the best options:
- erythritol - the quintessential Keto sweetener that tastes sweet like sugar but has a slight cooling effect.
- stevia - natural sweetener derived from plant leaves. Has bitter taste to some people.
- monkfruit - natural sweetener with no aftertaste. Has a mouth feel to some people.
- allulose - a rare type of sugar that caramelizes, bakes and cooks just like sugar. It is a bit pricey, however.
- The cooling effect of erythritol can be minimized but combining with other sweeteners.
- Too much of any sweetener can cause a stomach ache or digestive upset.
- Sweeteners can sometimes cause cravings for more sugary foods
Foods to Avoid
The following foods are not all unhealthy, but they contain too many carbs for the Keto diet.
If you eat too much of the following foods, your blood sugar will rise and there is a risk of falling out of ketosis. It can take anywhere from 1-3 days to get back into ketosis, and there's a good chance you'll experience some negative side effects.
Avoid the following:
- starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes)
- grains & flours (wheat, corn, rye, rice, oats)
- processed grains (bread, pasta, naan, pita, tortillas)
- sugar (white table sugar, honey, maple syrup)
- sweeteners (maltitol, sucralose, maltodextrin,
Benefits of a Keto Diet
There are a host of benefits of a ketogenic diet including:
- increased energy
- burning fat and weight loss
- mental clarity
- improved digestion
- reduced inflammation
For more detailed, step-by-step information, be sure to check out the Keto Diet Simplified Guide.
Is <insert food> Keto?
Foods are not inherently Keto and non-Keto. Ketosis is a metabolic state that the body can use to burn ketones and fat for fuel.
If you keep your carbs between 20 - 50g per day, you are essentially ensuring a state of ketosis.
Therefore, if a food fits within your carb and calorie limits, enjoy!