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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!
You mentioned if you are within the range of 20-50gram of carbs per day you are or will be within ketosis. What's the big difference in terms of digestion and burning fat if you eat closer to 50g vs 20g? Does it take a while longer to empty the glucose each day and then burn fat if you have eaten more carbs? I'm basically trying to understand how big impact and what sort of difference it has.
Planning on going keto together with alternate day fasting.
Thanks for a wonderful site, very useful.
Generally speaking, the lower your carbohydrates, the more fat burning will take place. The body does need a small amount of glucose daily to function, which surprisingly can also be created from protein if you eat a very low carb diet. Anything after 50g seems to be a recipe for falling out of ketosis. Going in and out of ketosis isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can disrupt the positive effects of Keto.
I would reserve the 50g side more for people that may struggle with keeping their carbohydrates very low, especially those that are just beginning or are very athletic.
So glad you found it helpful and thank you for the kind compliments!
Thank you for your article. You are an inspiration to us all.
I eat green apples as a low carb snack. I thought they we low carb. Are they?
They're lower than most apples, but not especially low carb. I would still avoid on Keto unless you had a small serving.
Hi Dominic thanks for the great easy read information.
A question about tomatoes, there is mixed information. These are classified as a fruit and many say they are keto friendly, but I didnt see any information on your site
Please advise your opinion.
They do contain more sugar than other low carb options, but I still eat them. As long as they fit within your daily carb allotment, you should be just fine.
I’ve heard that I can have bread fruit on KETO what are your thoughts on bread fruit!
According to Google, the nutrition for bread fruit works out to around 12g net carbs for about a cup. In small quantities I would say it's okay, but definitely keep track in your daily carb count!
In small amounts, it should be just fine! There is about half of a gram of carbs per teaspoon.
I didn’t see beans addressed anywhere. Specifically black beans. Are they keto-friendly?
Beans aren't super Keto-friendly, unfortunately. However, if you have a small enough serving, you might be able to squeeze some into your daily carb count! I do something similar with potatoes every so often!
Love all your information. Thank you for taking the time to share all your useful information. I do have a question about my recent start on my keto program. According to what I believe I am doing. I feel as though I am doing everything right. I keep track of my macros which come in under my allotted measurements. I drink my keto coffee, have meats eggs and fish that are allowed, have made certain snacks and keto bombs to keep in the freezer for those sweet attacks. However, I keep testing urin on the test strips and it is yet to show where I am in ketosis. I have literally not had one unhealthy carb in 2 weeks. The scale does show a 7 lb drop. But let's be truthful that is water weight. I most of all I'm looking for indicators that I am in ketosis. I should also mention that I have not had any symptoms of ketosis flu either. I have read all your suggestions along with scouring the internet with hours and hours and hours of time spent reading. I do take my MCT oil a tablespoon a day in my Bulletproof Coffee. I do have to have my heavy cream and Splenda in my coffee in order for me to drink it. That is the only thing that I can think of. But I can't see where that would completely not allow my body to get into ketosis. You are opinion would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
Nice info. Best and most reasonable explanation. Look forward to recipies!
Hi. What do the * mean in your list above? Did I miss this somewhere?
Thank you for the list and website!
Hi there! This means that this food has a decent carb count and will need to be moderated. I should probably make that more clear. Thanks!
Thank you, thank you for your Keto Diet Foods List. I need to lose 30 pounds via doctor's orders, and I could not find a portable list to use shopping. This will help me in my early stages when I question whether this or that is allowed.
This is one of the best summaries I have seen! Great resource. Thank you.
Great info. I'll be starting again Jan 1, started before but barely got into it when I ended up in the hospital for respiratory failure, didn't want to start a program like this on hospital food. Anyway, after doctors and oxygen, etc., I'm back in the right frame of mind, cleared out all my cupboards, fridge, etc., just have enough to get me to Jan 1. It's been a horrible year, so gonna make 2019 MY year, all ways around. This list will help a lot, since I keep forgetting whats what, and was eating honey, thinking it was OK since it was natural, etc.....wrong! I think I kind of have the rest OK, but thanks for the reference sheet, this will help a lot.
Maureen E McNamara
Hoping 2019 will be a blessed and prosperious year! <3
What is your opinion on the “low carb” tortillas?
I love them and eat them when I’m craving bread. The ones I buy say they are 5g net carbs
I get them every so often and have done just fine. Just make sure you count the carbs in your daily allotment! Also, if you notice that you're stalling at all, this would be one of the first things I'd try to remove.
Just discovered your site and just want to say thank you. I am just starting Keto and am on my way to the grocery store to shop for supplies. My biggest issue no matter what diet I'm on is always snacking so any advice you can give about snacking I am very happy to read.
Is that Taco Bell taco sauce from the supermarket Keto friendly?
I'm on the Keto diet and I'm diabetic I like to maintain a healthy blood sugar level without it dropping to low then I would have eat sugar to bring up my insulin level, what are my best options?
I would try something with a little bit of natural sugar. Go for some berries, avocado or nut butter!