Here's what's covered:
Do I Really Need a Keto Food List?Use the list if you:
- Are new to keto
- Struggle with shopping
- Use the keto shopping list but want more
- Crave creativity in the kitchen
- Have a tight budget (and want to save money)
Keto Food Principles
Minimize CarbsKeep your carb-count to around 5g or less per meal to make sure you don’t exceed the recommended 25g of carbs per day. Check out our Carb Counter to make sure what you’re eating is keto-appropriate.
Use a Meal PlanPutting together a tasty keto meal plan isn’t difficult if you plan ahead. Need help? Download our 7-Day Keto Meal Plan.
Or just make up your own meal following these simple steps.
Read the IngredientsKeto is more popular than ever, which means there are more and more keto-friendly products on the market every day. Sadly, this also means the word “keto” has become misused as a marketing term for foods that no legitimate keto dieter would ever touch. Even the most keto-friendly looking cauliflower pizza crust can hide ingredients (like regular wheat flour), making it a carb hangover waiting to happen. This is why if it’s not on the Master Keto Food List, you must look for hidden carbs on the ingredients list.
Know Where to ShopKnowing where to shop is going to make the keto lifestyle easier. We’ve had success at:
- Farmer’s markets
- International grocery stores, such as Polish delis and Asian grocers
- Online stores, especially for specialty or hard-to-find items
The Master Keto Foods List
Keto VegetablesDespite the meat-and-cheese reputation, keto can include a ton of vegetables. These should be your main source of carbs, but you still need to be careful. The general rule of thumb is to stick to vegetables that are grown above the ground. Vegetables that grow below the ground, like carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, tend to be high in carbs and should be avoided on keto. Your best bet is to aim for green veggies.
- Green beans
- Lettuce (such as romaine and arugula)
- Asian greens (such as bok choy and napa cabbage)
- Dark leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
- Yellow squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Bean sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
Keto FruitTry to limit fruit to one serving a day to manage carbs. Here are our top keto fruit choices: Enjoy keto fruits with a side of heavy cream or full-fat plain yogurt, put them in your smoothies, or just eat them plain.
Keto ProteinProtein is still important, even though keto is fat-centric. All meat is keto, but many high-fat enthusiasts go for fattier cuts like pork belly, chicken thighs, and high-fat ground beef. Watch out for hidden sugars and starches in processed meat. They can sneak in as marinades and fillers.
As far as food quality goes, buy the best you can afford. This means free-range, pasture-raised eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef, crate-free pork, sustainable and wild-caught fish, and organic everything if possible. Here are our top picks for meats, seafood, and vegan protein:
- Organ meats
- Pork rinds
- Fish (especially trout, mackerel, and salmon)
- Eggs and egg whites (vegetarian only)
- Whey protein powder (vegetarian only)
- Egg white protein powder (vegetarian only)
- Low-carb vegan protein powder
- Protein bars
Dairy and Dairy SubstitutesKeto is your excuse to enjoy dairy with reckless abandon. No wonder people love keto so much. Dairy and keto are a match made in heaven. This delicious, high-fat food group makes the perfect garnish for just about any meal or snack. If you don’t eat dairy, “coconut dairy” is about to become your best friend.
- Hard cheeses (such as Parmesan, cheddar, and gouda)
- Soft cheeses (such as cream cheese, mascarpone, and brie)
- Heavy cream
- Creme fraiche
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Sour cream
Keto Dairy Substitutes
- Coconut cream/milk
- Coconut yogurt
- Almond milk
- Almond yogurt
- Coconut kefir
Nuts and SeedsNuts and seeds are high in fat, protein and, most importantly, taste. They’re a great snack or addition to any keto meal, both savory and sweet.
- Brazil nuts
- Walnuts (these nuts might make you smarter!)
- Pili nuts
- Pine nuts
- Tiger nuts
- Coconut (not technically a nut)
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Tahini (sesame seed paste)
Sauces, Fats, and OilsSauces and oils are a great way to increase the fat content on your plate (not to mention add some serious flavor). Avoid inflammatory oils such as sunflower and soy.
Keto Oils and Fats
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Butter (grass-fed butter is best)
- Garlic butter
- Flax seed oil (not for cooking)
- Hemp oil (not for cooking)
- Duck fat
- Bacon fat
- MCT oil
- Hot sauce
- Coconut aminos
- Creamy dressings
- Low-sugar ketchup
- Béarnaise sauce
- Hollandaise sauce
- Homemade gravy
- Sesame oil
- Chipotle sauce
- Jalapeño sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Creamy salad dressings
- Lemon or lime juice
- Vinegar-based dressings
- Sugar-free tomato-based sauces (such as marinara and salsa)
BeveragesJuice and soda are off the table, but there are plenty of other delicious low-carb options.
- Low-sugar probiotic drinks
- Bone broth
- Miso soup
- Nut milk
- Sugar-free syrups
- Herbal tea
- Iced tea
- Soda water
- Sparkling water
- Dry red wine
- Dry white wine
Cooking and Baking IngredientsIf you enjoy cooking or baking, you’ve bought yourself a world of keto-possibilities. Here are some of our top ingredients. Okay, we’ll share our top recipes, too.
Keto Cooking and Baking Ingredients
- Coconut flour
- Almond flour
- Peanut flour
- Tigernut flour
- Cacao butter
- Psyllium husk
- Celtic or Himalayan pink salt
- Flax meal
- Vanilla extract
- Xanthan gum
- 85% or higher dark chocolate
Budget-Friendly OptionsFancy keto items like avocado oil and almond flour are great. But they’re also a little expensive and unnecessary if you’re on a budget. Here are some of the best value keto foods to help you stay in ketosis without going broke.
- Local produce. Hit up your local market to get a deal on produce. Try haggling over prices. You’ll be amazed at the deals you can walk away with, especially if you go near closing time.
- Frozen fruit and vegetables. You can sometimes snag a deal on frozen items, especially if the store is trying to clear them out.
- Strawberries and kiwi fruit. These are your cheapest fruit options, although this depends on the season.
- Eggs. The holy grail of keto protein options and usually very affordable.
- Ground meat. Probably your most economical meat option, especially for making your own burger patties and meatballs.
- Canned goods. Yes, they even make canned chicken. Just add mayo.
- Butter. One of the most versatile and, thankfully, cheap keto foods you can get. Grass-fed is better, but more expensive.
- Coconut cream. A perfect dairy replacement, especially if cheese is outside your budget. You can even mix it with avocado, cacao, and sweetener for a delicious pudding-like dessert.
- Spices. You can’t go wrong with smoked paprika. Plus, nearly all are low-carb.
- Tahini. This sesame paste is surprisingly affordable and makes a great garnish or salad dressing.
Soda water. Grab a few bottles and add your own flavoring for DIY keto soda.
- Pro tip: Soda water plus KetoLogic BHB is amazing!
Specialty ItemsKeto can get boring if you eat the same things day in and day out. So here’s a list of unusual keto foods if you're feeling adventurous:
- Thickening agents. Experiment with xanthan gum, psyllium husk, and gelatin to create puddings, thickened beverages, and even keto gummy bears.
- Konjac noodles. Also called shirataki or miracle noodles, these are low-carb, high-fiber "noodles" that are a bit slimy and have a texture that might take a few tries to get used to. Not a fan? Try kelp noodles instead.
- Acai berries. Going keto doesn’t mean acai bowls are off the menu. Pure acai berries (either frozen or powdered) are relatively low-carb and can be enjoyed on the keto diet. Just avoid acai bowls from juice and smoothie shops, as these are often loaded with sugar and high-carb toppings.
- Fancy cheese. Visit specialty delicatessens and ask to sample everything. You might just find a new favorite. Expand your charcuterie knowledge with an ash brie, a creamy manchego, or a sharp Old Amsterdam aged gouda.
- Kombucha. Some brands of this fermented tea drink are low-carb. Go for unflavoured varieties and always read the nutrition label to be safe.
- Sambal oelek. Unlike most sugar-loaded chili sauces, this paste is made from nothing but chili and is amazing on eggs.
- Coconut butter / coconut manna. This describes coconut oil and coconut meat mixed together. It’s slightly sweet, so you can eat it straight from the jar or make it into fat bombs.
- Bugs. Bug protein, especially cricket, has been gaining popularity in recent years. Don't knock it until you try it.