The most difficult part of starting the Keto diet is learning which foods you should enjoy and those you should limit. My Keto Diet Food List should help make that a little easier. Print out a copy and stick it on your refrigerator or take it with you to your favorite grocery store.
Remember, as long as you keep your daily carb limit to 20g of carbs, you’ll maintain a metabolic state of ketosis. This will ensure that you burn fat for fuel in place of sugar and should help with weight loss, inflammation, mental health and a variety of other issues.
* items marked with an asterisk have a carb content and need to be moderated.
Remember, the Keto is a low carb, high fat diet. Aside from animal fat on your meats, you can enjoy the following healthy fats for optimal health benefits.
- coconut oil
- duck fat
- olive oil
- red palm oil
- avocado oil
- macadamia nut oil
- MCT oil
You will notice that some products contain PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acid), such as soybean and canola. In limited quantities, these are likely fine. However, for optimal health, these are not a great choice. They tend damage easily and are inflammatory in the body.
When buying meats, you want to try and choose options with a good fat content. If you are using lean meat, you can add fat to it if you like, such as butter or coconut oil.
You may see some argue that only grassfed, pastured meat is required. This is not true at all. We all have difference resources and food budgets, you can be just as successful with conventionally raised food.
- 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)
There are many people who insist that organic and grass-fed meat is the only option on the Keto diet. This is simply not true. If you have the means and desire to purchase all grass-fed and organic, go for it.
It isn’t, however, a requirement to be successful with this way of eating. Conventionally raised meat is fine.
Most seafood is fairly low in carbohydrates and fits easily its 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.
- full-fat cheeses
- heavy whipping cream
- full-fat sour cream
- butter (avoid margarines, they’re inflammatory)
- full-fat cream cheese
If you find that you’re stalling when trying to lose weight, I would try to limit dairy. 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 — primarily those that are green and grow above ground.
- squash (spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin, etc.) *
- peppers (jalapeno, bell, banana, etc.) *
- 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 in small amounts:
- blueberries *
- raspberries *
- blackberries *
- strawberries *
- cranberries *
Nuts & Seeds
Be careful when consuming nuts. They are extremely easy to overeat and they do have a carb content. This includes nut butters.
- almonds *
- hazelnuts *
- macadamia nuts *
- pistachios *
- walnuts *
- pecans *
- sesame seeds *
- sunflowers seeds *
- pumpkin seeds *
- flax seeds *
- chia seeds
While there are plenty of low carb versions of our favorite condiments with added sugar, some of the naturally Keto-friendly options include:
- 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 on all of your condiments. Some companies are really sneaky about adding additional sugar to things that shouldn’t need it.
- 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 — zero carbs!)
- 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:
Foods to Avoid
The following foods are not all unhealthy, but they contain too many carbs for the Keto diet. If you can work tiny servings of them into your daily 20g carb limit, you are welcome to.
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 you will likely feel horrible during that time.
- 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)
Yes, you’re going to have to read labels if you consume foods like this. It’s the only way to truly know what you’re eating (as opposed to a bunless burger or steak).
Is <insert food> Keto?
Food are not inherently keto and non-Keto. Ketosis is a metabolic state triggered in the absence of carbohydrates.
If you keep your carbs to 20g net per day, you will essentially ensure you are always in ketosis.
Therefore, if a food fits within your carb limit, enjoy! Read more about it here.
Keto Food List PDF
Looking for a printable Keto Diet Food List PDF to share with your friends and family? I’ve got you covered!
To save or print this list, click the two arrows at the top right corner of the document above. It will give you the options to do either.
I hope this helped give you an idea of the low carb foods we eat on this way of living. I will be working on some meal plans in the future, so stay tuned!
Ready to get started? Try some of my favorite Keto recipes.