Craving fatty, rich foods but don’t want the carbs?
The ketogenic diet opens a new world of delicious high-fat and low-carb options. You can transform your body and satisfy your cravings with the right keto grocery list.
Everything you need to start burning through fat stores like never before is in this essential Keto Foods List with 149+ Options. Learn how to stock your pantry and fridge to make keto meals easy, affordable, and, most importantly, enjoyable.
The complex carbs and sugar are out. Get ready to embrace healthy fats. Your keto journey starts now.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Keto Diet
As mentioned above, the diet consists of low net carbs, high fat, and moderate protein. The low net carb counts are what really makes the keto diet work.
If you’re new to keto, you will want to read the beginner’s guide to keto.
Remember that the net carb count is the total carbs minus fiber, the most important metric on keto diets.
It puts your body into ketosis, which starts using fat for energy instead of sugar. This is a way to supercharge the fat-burning process of the body. This also helps to keep your blood sugar regulated.
Can you get into ketosis without eating fat? No, it would be extremely hard.
To stay in ketosis, you must keep your diet low-carb, but sometimes it’s hard to identify keto-friendly foods. This is why using a keto calculator to determine your exact dietary needs is crucial.
To help you, we compiled a list of over 149 keto-approved foods for the ketogenic diet. These are some of the best foods to eat that are low in total carbs.
What Are the Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet?
With its high-fat approach, the ketogenic diet offers notable benefits for blood sugar control and the production of ketone bodies.
By inducing ketosis, the diet promotes stable blood sugar levels and utilizes ketones as an alternative energy source.
You may already know how the keto diet works for weight loss.
Here are some of the biggest benefits that keto dies have:
- Heart health – Keto has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This may be due to the high amount of healthy fats that most people consume on the low-carb diet. (read more)
- Blood sugar control – The low-carb foods you eat on the keto diet also help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, which can cause an insulin response that will store your food as fat. The keto diet is great for people with insulin sensitivity and blood sugar issues, such as diabetics. (read more)
- Lowering blood pressure – Maintaining a keto diet for some time has helped many people lower their blood pressure. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer.” (read more)
- Weight loss – The main benefit of the keto diet is that it has been shown to cause dramatic weight loss in most people. A low-carb diet can help induce ketosis and burn body fat. (read more)
There are many other benefits of keto besides weight loss.
Keto Food List – What Can You Eat on Keto?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of eating keto, let’s look at the keto food list. I’ve done my best to make the list as comprehensive as possible.
I’ve broken down each type of food into categories to make it even easier to read.
Please note that I have included the typical net carb count with each food but that this can vary between different brands and recipes, especially for processed foods.
If you’re in doubt, always check the label to calculate the net carbohydrates in our keto foods section, where we determine if a food is safe to eat on keto.
Meat and Protein Sources for a Keto Diet
- Beef – Beef items like ground beef and steak have protein that helps your body build muscle. They also have B vitamins that give you energy. Grass-fed beef has good fats called Omega-3s to keep your heart healthy.
- Poultry – Chicken and turkey have protein to help grow muscle. Dark meat like thighs and wings have iron to bring oxygen in your blood. Eating poultry can give you energy from B vitamins.
- Pork – Pork chops and bacon have a B vitamin called thiamin to help your body get energy from food. They also contain selenium to boost your immune system against germs.
- Lamb – Lamb has iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 for healthy blood cells. It also has anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s to keep your body working properly. The fat in lamb can raise good cholesterol.
- Fish and Seafood – Fish like salmon and tuna are full of omega-3 fats that lower inflammation and the risk of heart disease. Shellfish, like shrimp, have zinc and B12 for immune health.
- Eggs – Eggs provide lutein and zeaxanthin to keep your eyes healthy and work properly. The yolks also give choline to help your liver and brain.
- Deli Meats – Deli meats like turkey, ham, and roast beef have protein for building muscle. They also provide B vitamins for turning food into energy. Choose low-sodium kinds.
- Game Meats – Game meats like venison and bison have iron for healthy blood cells and zinc for immunity. They are lower in fat than beef, too.
Eating healthy fats, such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and even some saturated fat, is important on the keto diet.
These fats provide essential energy and support your body’s transition into ketosis, a special metabolic state where fats become the primary fuel source.
Incorporating foods rich in healthy fats can provide the energy you need while promoting heart health and overall well-being.
Choosing the right kinds of fats is key to maintaining a balanced and effective keto diet.
- Fat Sources – Avocados are a yummy fruit with lots of healthy fat. Adding avocado to sandwiches or salads helps us get the good fats we need. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have a type of fat called Omega-3 that is good for our brain and heart. Eating fish twice a week gives us these healthy fats.
Oils – Olive and canola oil are healthy oils we can cook with or use in salads. They give us good fats our body needs.
Including certain high-fat dairy products can benefit the keto diet, as they provide a good source of healthy fats and essential nutrients. Recent studies have shown that a high-fat diet can also be healthy (see here).
Full-fat dairy options like cheese, Cream, and yogurt can be enjoyed in moderation on ketogenic diets.
These dairy products contain saturated fats that have been shown to support the body’s energy needs and contribute to overall health when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Additionally, they can provide a creamy and satisfying texture to keto meals and snacks. It’s important to be mindful of portion sizes to ensure they fit within your daily calorie and carbohydrate limits.
Opting for high-quality, full-fat dairy products can be a nutritious addition to your keto lifestyle.
- Yogurt and Cream – Yogurts and creams made from dairy milk offer a smooth, creamy texture and can be great sources of calcium and probiotics. Opt for plain, unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars.
- Cheeses – The wide range of cheeses available offers unique flavors, textures, and melting properties for cooking. Harder, aged cheeses like parmesan tend to be lower in moisture and fat than soft, fresh cheeses like mozzarella.
Don’t go overboard on dairy. However, you can enjoy things like a little sour Cream on a keto taco. After all, sour Cream is keto-friendly.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts, seeds, and nut butter are excellent choices when following a keto diet, as they are packed with essential nutrients and contribute to overall health.
These nutritious foods play a crucial role in the ketogenic lifestyle, helping to maintain a state of ketosis while providing satiety and promoting weight loss.
By carefully selecting the right varieties, you can enjoy the benefits of their healthy fats, protein, and fiber while keeping your total carb intake in check.
- Nuts – Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans have good fats that help our hearts stay healthy. Just a small handful of nuts each day gives us these healthy fats.
- Seeds – Seeds like chia, flax, and hemp have healthy fats that are good for our bodies. Adding just a spoonful to yogurt or cereal gives us these good fats.
I almost put pistachios on this list, but they are not keto-friendly.
Low Carb Vegetables
Incorporating low-carb veggies into your keto cooking is essential for maintaining a successful ketogenic diet and managing your calorie intake.
These keto vegetables are delicious and offer valuable nutrients that support overall health.
By selecting the right vegetables, you can enjoy various flavors, textures, and colors while keeping your total carb intake in check.
These vegetables will enhance the nutritional value of your meals and add a vibrant touch to your keto cooking, ensuring a satisfying and well-rounded approach to your weight loss journey.
If you have the choice, always get organic vegetables, which are slightly healthier for keto diets.
- Leafy Greens – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, and arugula are very low in carbs and provide nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K. You can eat them raw in salads or cooked in various dishes.
- Above-Ground Vegetables – This group includes low-carb vegetables that grow above ground, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peppers, and others. They provide fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms offer a unique umami flavor and meaty texture to dishes while being very low in carbs. Common varieties like white, cremini, and portobello are all keto-friendly.
- Other Vegetables for the Ketogenic Diet – Some other low-carb veggie options for keto diets include onions, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and avocado. Use them to add color and nutrients.
For more information, we compiled another list of the best keto vegetables.
Fruit for the Keto Diet
Including keto-friendly fruit in your diet can be a smart choice to avoid high-carb foods and maintain a ketogenic lifestyle.
While many fruits are known for their natural sugars and higher carbohydrate content, some specific fruits offer a lower carb count, making them suitable for the keto diet.
By carefully considering how many carbs you consume from fruit, you can still enjoy their flavors and benefit from their nutritional value without compromising your dietary goals.
The fruits listed below can be enjoyed as part of a well-balanced approach to the foods on the keto diet, allowing you to savor their natural sweetness while staying on track with your keto lifestyle. Plus, you get the added benefits of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C and B vitamins.
- Berries – Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are lower in sugar and carbs than other fruits, making them popular keto options. They provide antioxidants and fiber.
- Other Fruit – Some other fruits that can be enjoyed in moderation on keto diets include starfruit, lemons, limes, tomatoes, avocados, olives, and coconut. Focus on small portions.
Sweeteners and Baking Supplies
Finding suitable sweeteners and baking supplies for a keto lifestyle is crucial, especially when avoiding excessive carbohydrates and losing weight.
Traditional sweeteners and baking supplies often contain high amounts of sugar, hindering progress on a ketogenic diet.
By opting for keto-friendly alternatives, you can still enjoy the flavors and indulgence of baked goods without compromising your dietary goals.
Even dark chocolate, known for its rich taste and lower sugar content, can be a satisfying option for those on a keto journey.
These options will allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth while supporting your weight loss efforts and promoting a successful keto diet.
- Sweeteners – Good keto-friendly sweetener options include stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and small amounts of xylitol. These provide sweetness without spiking blood sugar.
- Baking Ingredients – Helpful baking ingredients for keto recipes include almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal, psyllium husk, and xanthan gum. These can be used to replace wheat flour and binders. Here is a good list of keto flour alternatives.
Beverages for a Ketogenic Diet
Choosing keto-friendly beverages is essential when following a restrictive diet like keto, as many traditional drinks are loaded with added sugars that can derail your progress.
By opting for beverages free from added sugar, you can support your goals of maintaining a state of ketosis and promoting the production of ketone bodies.
Keto-friendly beverages keep your carbohydrate intake in check and provide hydration and variety to your daily routine.
- Water (0g net carbs)
- Unsweetened tea (0g net carbs)
- Coffee (0g net carbs)
- Herbal tea (0g net carbs)
- Sparkling water (0g net carbs)
- Club soda (0g net carbs)
- Plain, unsweetened almond milk (1g net carb per cup)
- Coconut milk (2g net carbs per cup)
- Bone broth (1g net carb per cup)
- Unsweetened nut-based milk alternatives (check labels for net carbs)
- Diet soda (0g net carbs)
- Sugar-free energy drinks (0g net carbs)
It would be best to focus on getting as much water into your diet as possible. However, my vice is a nice keto Diet Coke.
You can’t go wrong with unsweetened coffee for a caffeine boost.
Alcohol for the Keto Diet
Choosing the right alcoholic beverages while following a keto diet is important, as many traditional drinks can be high in sugar and carbs.
However, options like a low-carb beer can fit into a keto food list and support your dietary goals. Be mindful of the total carbs in alcoholic beverages to ensure they align with your carb intake.
By selecting keto-friendly options, you can still enjoy social occasions without compromising your ketogenic lifestyle.
This subsection will explore a range of alcoholic beverages considered more compatible with the keto diet.
These options will help you make informed decisions about your drink selection while staying on track with your low-carb goals.
- Liquor – Clear liquors like vodka, gin, rum, and tequila contain no carbs and can be enjoyed on a keto diet when consumed in moderate volumes. Avoid sugary mixers like juice or soda.
- Wine – Dry red and white wines are generally low in carbs, around 3-5g per glass. Go for types like Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Beer – Light, low-carb beer options like Michelob Ultra or Bud Light have around 2-3g net carbs per can. These can be worked into a keto diet in moderation.
If you are into something more fancy, try our keto cocktails list.
Tips for Eating Out On the Keto Diet
Remember, flexibility is key when dining out on keto. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request modifications to fit your dietary goals.
Successfully navigating dining out while following a keto diet requires careful planning and informed choices.
Adhering to certain strategies allows you to enjoy meals outside your home without compromising your dietary goals.
When eating out on the keto diet, it’s beneficial to prioritize frequent fish intake and opt for poultry meat as they provide excellent sources of moderate protein and healthy fats.
Additionally, choosing keto-friendly vegetables as side dishes can enhance the nutritional value of your meal while keeping your carbohydrate intake in check.
These tips will empower you to enjoy restaurant meals while adhering to your keto lifestyle, making your dining experiences enjoyable and aligned with your dietary goals.
- Be a planner: Look up the menu online before going to the restaurant to find keto-friendly options or to see if they offer modifications.
- Choose protein-rich foods: Opt for dishes centered around meat, fish, poultry, or eggs. Avoid breading or sugary glazes on meats.
- Select non-starchy vegetables: Include low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus as side dishes. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn.
- Request modifications: Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications to make dishes keto-friendly. For example, ask for sauces, dressings, or marinades on the side or substitute high-carb sides with salad or extra vegetables.
- Be cautious with sauces and dressings: Many sauces and dressings contain added sugars or thickeners. Ask for them on the side, or choose olive oil, vinegar, or ranch dressing (check for added sugars).
- Avoid high-carb sides: Skip bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Instead, ask for steamed or sautéed vegetables or a side salad.
- Be mindful of hidden carbs: Watch out for hidden carbs in condiments, marinades, and toppings like ketchup, barbecue sauce, or caramelized onions. Ask for them to be excluded or served on the side.
- Stay hydrated: Choose water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee to avoid hidden sugars and carbs.
- Look for keto-friendly options: Some restaurants offer specific keto or low-carb menu items. Inquire about these options or ask for recommendations from the staff.
- Use portion control: Restaurants often serve larger portions, so consider sharing a meal or saving leftovers for later to avoid overeating.
- Don’t be a cheater: There will come a time when you cheat on your diet. That’s ok. It happens to all of us. Here is what to do if you cheat on the keto diet.
- Eat Fiber: One thing people lack on keto is fiber. You need fiber for healthy digestion, or you’ll get keto constipation or diarrhea. One way to do this is by incorporating a fiber supplement for keto.
We also have an entire section dedicated to keto restaurants to help you pick the right meals when eating out.
Keto Food List to Avoid
When you start to evaluate keto foods, you’ll start to find that carbs are hidden everywhere. You’ll need to read labels to make sure that you keep your carb counts low.
Knowing the foods to avoid is crucial to staying in ketosis and effectively managing your carbohydrate intake.
By understanding which foods to exclude from your diet, you can make informed choices and create a comprehensive food list of what to eat on the keto diet.
To maintain ketosis, being mindful of the total carbs in the foods you consume is important.
In this section, we will explore a range of foods that are typically incompatible with the ketogenic diet.
By being aware of these foods to avoid, you can stay on track with your keto journey, optimize your carbohydrate intake, and fully embrace the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle.
- Rice (try keto rice alternatives)
- Cereal (try keto-friendly cereal)
- Sugary breakfast cereals (try Catalina Crunch)
- Pancake syrup
- Tortillas (keto tortillas)
- Crackers (keto crackers)
- Chips (crunchy keto snacks)
- Cookies (try keto cookies)
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
- Chocolate bars (try the best keto chocolate)
- Fruit juices
- Energy drinks (try keto-friendly energy drinks)
- Sweetened coffee beverages
- Maple syrup (try keto syrup)
- Agave nectar
- Jams and jellies
- Most fruits (e.g., bananas, grapes, apples, oranges)
- Legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- Most root vegetables (e.g., carrots, parsnips, beets)
- High-sugar condiments (e.g., ketchup, barbecue sauce, sweet chili sauce)
- Sweetened yogurt
- Flavored milk
- Regular milk (high in lactose)
- Sweetened almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk
- Regular beer
- Sweet wines
- Cocktails with sugary mixers
- Fruit smoothies
- Instant noodles
- Processed deli meats with added sugars
- Breaded or battered fried foods (try this keto alternative for breadcrumbs)
- High-sugar salad dressings (try keto salad dressing)
- Fruit juice
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole grains
We could make an entire list of foods not to eat on the keto diet. We already did.
Other Low-Carb Diet Food Tips
In addition to choosing the right foods, other keto-friendly tips can enhance your experience on the ketogenic diet. Here are some key recommendations:
Limit Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is often high in sugar and carbs, making it unsuitable for a keto diet. Opt for water infused with fresh lemon or lime for a refreshing and keto-friendly alternative.
Embrace Saturated Fat
Saturated fats in foods like butter, coconut oil, and animal fats are staples of the keto diet. They provide a reliable source of energy and contribute to satiety. You can safely include some saturated fat in your diet.
Incorporate Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats and provide essential nutrients. Enjoy options like macadamia nuts, particularly low carbs, and incorporate them as a satisfying snack.
Choose Monounsaturated Fats
Foods such as avocados and olive oil are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats. These heart-healthy fats can be used in cooking or as dressings to add flavor and increase fat intake.
Focus on Vitamin C
While fruits are generally high in carbs, you can still obtain vitamin C from low-carb sources such as bell peppers and leafy greens. These options fit well within the keto diet. B vitamins are also beneficial on keto.
Avoid Added Sugar
Watch for hidden sugars in processed foods, as they can disrupt ketosis. Read labels carefully to ensure you’re not unknowingly consuming added sugars.
Enjoy Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is suitable for the keto diet. Look for varieties with minimal added sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Include Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is keto because it is low in carbs and provides good protein. Incorporate it into your meals or enjoy it as a snack to add variety to your diet. Another good option here is cream cheese.
Be Mindful of Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is high in sugar and should be avoided on the keto diet. Instead, use sugar-free or low-carb sweeteners as alternatives.
Opt for Plain Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats while being low in carbs. Add some berries or a sprinkle of nuts for extra flavor and texture.
By following these keto-friendly tips, you can enhance your diet while maintaining the desired state of ketosis and reaping the benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle.
One of the easiest pitfalls is not to have food prepared. If you’re hungry with nothing readily available, you’ll often go for the quick high-carb snack. Fortunately, there are tons of keto recipes that you can’t try.
If you’re lazy like me, try a keto meal delivery service. I wrote a Factor 75 Keto Meal review. It’s a great service.
Final Thoughts on the Ultimate Keto Food List
Adopting a ketogenic diet and following the ultimate keto foods list can benefit overall health and well-being.
Individuals can regulate blood sugar levels, support weight loss, and promote metabolic flexibility by focusing on foods that are low in carbs and high in healthy fats.
Including fatty fish as a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and supports brain health.
Choosing beverages without added sugars, such as unsweetened coffee, and prioritizing water and herbal tea helps avoid unnecessary carbs.
Emphasizing healthy fats like coconut, olive, and avocado oil provides satiety and energy.
Incorporating moderate amounts of protein from lean meats, poultry, fish, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt helps maintain muscle mass while limiting carbohydrate intake.
Adding low-carb veggies to meals increases nutrient intake and provides fiber, while dark chocolate, consumed in moderation, satisfies sweet cravings without jeopardizing ketosis.
In keto-friendly cooking, heavy Cream can enhance flavors and add richness.
Incorporating these foods and unsweetened coffee into a ketogenic lifestyle allows many delicious options while staying within the desired carbohydrate limits.
By being mindful of total carbs and adhering to the principles of the ketogenic diet, individuals can enjoy the benefits of this eating approach and create a sustainable and satisfying way of nourishing their bodies.
Bonus: Calculate the Exact Macronutrients that You Need on Keto
Are you ready to kickstart your keto journey? Look no further than our completely customized Keto Calculator tool.
This powerful tool is key to personalizing your macronutrient intake and reaching your keto goals precisely.
With just a few clicks, the Keto Calculator considers your unique information and generates tailored carbs, protein, and fat recommendations.
It’s like having your virtual keto nutritionist!
Plus, it doesn’t stop there. This handy tool also provides the exact calorie range you should aim for, ensuring you stay on track toward success.
Best of all, the Keto Calculator is completely free to use. It’s a game-changer for anyone following the ketogenic diet, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro.
Try the Keto Calculator now and unlock the power of personalized nutrition to achieve your keto goals.