In case you’ve somehow missed it, the keto diet is the latest fad taking over the weight loss world. Followers (including Kourtney Kardashian and Halle Berry) claim the high-fat, low-carb eating plan has helped them shed pounds almost immediately — all while chowing down on bacon and cheese.
Keto For Carb Lovers: 100+ Amazing Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes amazon.com $24.95
Nutritionists, including the Good Housekeeping Institute’s own Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, remain more skeptical. The diet’s aim of inducing ketosis — a metabolic process where the body uses fat instead of carbs for energy — can backfire because this plan takes a lot of willpower. Plus, any weight you may lose while on it can return when you stop. RDs and other experts like U.S. News and World Report agree that Mediterranean-style eating plans have more research behind them and produce better, more long-lasting results.
But if your friends have gone #keto and you’re curious about what that exactly entails, the basic premise is fairly simple. The diet focuses on eating mostly fat, limited amounts of protein, and almost no carbs at all. The “do” list includes: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables that grow above ground, nuts and seeds, fats and oils, and some dairy products. In terms of drinks, most keto diet guides advise people to stick to water and skip diet soda, even though it’s artificially sweetened. (No Diet Coke — sorry!)
Get more specifics on what you can and can’t eat on keto below:
- What You Can Eat on a Keto Diet
- What You Can’t Eat on a Keto Diet
- 100+ Keto Foods List: A Comprehensive Guide to Eating Keto
- Do I Really Need a Keto Food List?
- Keto Food Principles
- The Master Keto Foods List
- Keto Vegetables
- Keto Fruit
- Keto Protein
- Dairy and Dairy Substitutes
- Nuts and Seeds
- Sauces, Fats, and Oils
- Cooking and Baking Ingredients
- Budget-Friendly Options
- Specialty Items
- What Else?
- 14-day ketogenic diet meal plan
- Which Version of Keto Should You Follow?
- Calculate Your Macronutrients
- Plan Your Meals
- Start Cooking
- The 7-Day Keto Meal Plan
- Ketogenic Diet Foods Cheat Sheet
- Supplements for the Keto Meal Plan
- Now You’re Ready to Start a Keto Meal Plan
- The IBIH Keys to Success on Keto…
- EAT. ENOUGH. SALT.
- 4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. THEN DRINK MORE WATER. THINK YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH? I DON’T CARE, GO DRINK EVEN MORE WATER.
- Just kidding. DRINK MORE WATER.
- DON’T PANIC.
- 20g net carbs or less a day on a Keto Diet. LEARN IT!
- SIMPLIFY FOR SUCCESS.
- Keto is a Low Carb / Moderate Protein / High Fat Plan.
- EMBRACE THE FAT!
- READ LABELS!!! Don’t assume anything is a free food!
- If you are not, or never have been, the proud owner of your very own uterus, then I suggest you skip over this one. You’ve been warned.
- 3 Day Keto Kickstart Menu Plan (eat until satisfied)
- Day One
- Day Two
- Day Three
- Finished with the kickstart? Continue on your keto journey with the Week One Keto 7 Day Meal Plan and Shopping List!!!
- What to Eat on Keto: Your Complete Keto Food List
- Keto food list: What can I eat on the keto diet?
- Starting a Keto Diet? Get 3 Handy Guides for FREE
- Keto Diet Food List: 221 Keto Diet Foods (+ Printable Cheat Sheet)
- 3 Things You Might Be Looking For + A “Short-List” of Keto Diet Foods
- Did You Know All of This?:
- Free! (Printable) “Cheat-Sheet” of Keto Diet Foods
- There’s Only One Reason to Use This Keto Foods List…
- Basics of a Keto Diet to Help You Feel & Look Better
- 4 Crazy-Important Things to Do While On a Keto Diet…
- What You’ve Been Waiting For – The Complete Ketogenic Diet Food List!
- FOODS TO AVOID ON A KETO DIET
- FINAL THOUGHTS
- KETOGENIC DIET FOOD LIST INFOGRAPHIC
- To see all the tasty Keto meals you can make from these ingredients check out our Keto recipes page.
- 150+ keto diet foods
- Keto diet oils
- Keto diet veggies
- List of Foods You Can Eat on Keto
- Keto-Friendly Carbs
- Keto-friendly protein
- Keto-friendly fats
- Keto-friendly beverages
- 49 Keto Diet Foods to Change Your Weight Loss Goals
- What are Ketogenic Diet Foods?
- Low Carb Food List – What You Can Eat & Drink on Keto
- Low Carb Foods and Drinks!
What You Can Eat on a Keto Diet
chicken, pork, steak, ground beef, lamb, bacon, ham, turkey, sausage (in limited amounts and fattier cuts)
Most Fats and Oils
butter, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, lard, avocado oil, mayonnaise
Some Vegetables High-Fat Dairy
heavy cream, cheese (soft and hard), cream cheese, sour cream
almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts
salmon, snapper, trout, tuna, cod, catfish, halibut, clams, oysters, lobster, crab, scallops, mussels
blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Artificial Sweeteners (Sparingly)
hard liquor, dry wine, champagne
Eggs Unsweetened Coffee and Tea Spices
While giving up soda may sound not so hard, the rest of the banned list might. Bread, rice, pasta, fruit, corn, potatoes, beans, baked goods, sweets, juice, and beer all get the axe. Basically, you have to avoid most sugars and starches. Whole grains like oatmeal don’t even make the cut!
What You Can’t Eat on a Keto Diet
Fruit Grains and Starches
wheat, rice, rye, oats, corn, quinoa, barley, millet, bulgur, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains
potatoes (both sweet and regular), carrots, yams, parsnips, yuca, beets, turnips
cereal, bread, pasta, rice, corn, oatmeal, crackers, pizza, popcorn, granola, bagels, muesli, flour
black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, lentils
cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, Splenda, aspartame, saccharin, corn syrup
candy, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, tarts, pies, ice cream, cookies, pudding, custard
canola oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil
beer, cider, sweet wines, sweetened alcoholic drinks
juice, smoothies, soda, sweetened tea and coffee
skim milk, skim mozzarella, fat-free yogurt, low cheese and cream cheese
Sweetened Sauces and Dips
ketchup, BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, some salad dressings and hot sauces
If you’re still tempted to try keto, consult with your doctor before embarking on any extreme weight loss plan. While the ketogenic diet can include some healthful foods (we’re all about broccoli), many others get nixed (bye, bananas and sweet potatoes).
Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.
100+ Keto Foods List: A Comprehensive Guide to Eating Keto
Whether you’re new to keto or a veteran, putting together your keto shopping list can be a challenge. We’ve made this easier by creating the Master Keto Food List. It lists 100+ keto foods so you can reduce your lap time at the grocery store. Beware, this article is long because it covers so much.
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
Keep 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 Plan
Putting 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 Ingredients
Keto 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 Shop
Knowing 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
Now that you know what your meals should look like and where to buy the ingredients, all that’s left is to buy them. Enter our Master Keto Food List…
The Master Keto Foods List
Despite 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
Pro Tip: Try zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice to replace pasta. Ever tried jicama fries?
Try to limit fruit to one serving a day to manage carbs. Here are our top keto fruit choices:
- Kiwi fruit
- Acai berries
Pro Tip: Enjoy keto fruits with a side of heavy cream or full-fat plain yogurt, put them in your smoothies, or just eat them straight from the grocery store display (we won’t tell on you).
Protein 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)
Vegan and Vegetarian Keto Protein
- Eggs and egg whites (vegetarian only)
- Whey protein powder (vegetarian only)
- Egg white protein powder (vegetarian only)
- Low-carb vegan protein powder
- Protein bars
Pro Tip: Cook your meat differently to keep things fresh. Try keto soups, stews, salads, or roasts. Or browse KetoLogic’s recipe archives for some delicious ideas.
Dairy and Dairy Substitutes
Keto 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
- Half and half (note: this has more carbs than heavy cream)
Keto Dairy Substitutes
- Coconut cream
- Coconut yogurt
- Almond yogurt
- Coconut kefir
Pro Tip: Add some heavy cream (dairy or coconut) to your morning coffee, prepare a beautiful charcuterie board with your favorite cheeses, or just enjoy a nice wedge of brie as a snack.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts 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 Oils
Sauces 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
- Bernaise 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)
Pro Tip: Put butter in your morning coffee or over your vegetables, add a creamy dressing to your salads, or be liberal with the cooking oil while making dinner.
Juice 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
Pro Tip: Drinking on keto? Yes, it’s allowed…
Cooking and Baking Ingredients
If 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
Pro Tip: You can make delicious keto pancakes and waffles using simple keto ingredients.
Fancy 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!
Keto 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.
While this list is extensive, it’s by no means exhaustive. Keto foodies are discovering new ingredients every single day that are low-carb and keto-friendly. At the same time, more and more products are coming out with “keto” on the label so while it’s great to explore and try new foods, always be vigilant about reading nutrition labels! Happy shopping!
14-day ketogenic diet meal plan
Do you worry about eating saturated fats or cholesterol? There’s no good reason to do so. While still a bit controversial, repeated modern systematic reviews find no benefit from avoiding saturated fats, or replacing them with unsaturated fats:
- Open Heart 2016: Evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Nutrition Journal 2017: The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Here’s a study investigating if eating eggs for breakfast every day has any negative effects on cholesterol levels. They found none, but the egg-eating group reported greater satiety:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study-a 3-mo randomized controlled trial ↩
It’s often claimed that eating breakfast is good for weight control. That appears to be false:
British Medical Journal 2019: Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009: The effectiveness of breakfast recommendations on weight loss: a randomized controlled trial
Furthermore, reduced hunger is common on a keto diet, so many people find it easy to skip one meal:
Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩
The “keto flu” is a set of common early side effects like headache, feeling tired, nausea, lack of concentration, brain fog etc. Learn more ↩
This is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced clinicians . But there’s also some support from this study that found only minor increases in side effects, while advising participants to drink bouillon:
Nutrition & Metabolism 2008: The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus ↩
The main fear about lower-carb and higher-fat diets have always been a concern about potential increase in the risk of heart disease. However, interventional studies so far indicate that if anything the risk appears to decrease:
- British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
- PLOS ONE 2015: Dietary intervention for overweight and obese adults: comparison of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. A meta-analysis.
- Obesity reviews 2012: Systematic review and meta‐analysis of clinical trials of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors
- Circulation 2010: Dietary intervention to reverse carotid atherosclerosis
For more health controversies regarding a keto diet, have a look at this page:
Low-carb controversies ↩
While calories count, you probably don’t have to count them for good results. Low-carb diets tend to result in more weight loss, even though most studies of it do not advocate counting calories:
British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
New England Journal of Medicine 2008: Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low-fat diet
Learn more here: Should you count calories on a low-carb or keto diet? ↩
Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis ↩
Learn more about eating when hungry
What is “real” keto foods? This is a fairly complicated question to answer. But basically, focus on eating good quality, minimally processed real food. Ideally the food you buy shouldn’t even have a list of ingredients (or it should be very short). And to be keto, it has to be very low in carbs:
Keto foods guide ↩
When eating very few carbohydrates, the body turns primarily to burning fat for energy – i.e. fewer carbs and more fat is burned for energy. But that’s not necessarily the whole reason. In fact, under some circumstances people tend to also burn more calories overall on a low-carb diet:
British Medical Journal 2018: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial ↩
Learn more in these guides:
Healthy fats on a keto or low-carb diet
Vegetable oils: What we know and what we don’t
A user guide to saturated fat ↩
Using exactly the level of 20 grams of net carbs is mainly based on convention, and that it’s often been used in scientific studies of strict low-carb diets (like this one).
According to consistent experience this level tends to be quite effective for most people in getting them into ketosis. This is based on clinical experience of low-carb practitioners and was unanimously agreed upon by our low-carb expert panel. You can learn more about our panel here .
One study compared a 20gm carb diet to a 50 and 100gram carb diet in healthy volunteers. The 50- and 20- gram subjects consistently stayed in ketosis. But it is not known if the same applies for those with insulin resistance or diabetes. Plus, there is not yet any RCT comparing longer term health benefits between two low-carb diets of varying strictness. But RCTs of strict low-carb diets appear to often show better results, compared to RCTs of more moderate or liberal low-carb diets:
Obesity Reviews 2016: Impact of low‐carbohydrate diet on body composition: meta‐analysis of randomized controlled studies
RCTs of low-carb interventions for weight loss ↩
This is mainly based on clinical experience. ↩
- Which Version of Keto Should You Follow?
- Calculate Your Macronutrients
- Plan Your Meals
- Start Cooking
- The 7-Day Keto Meal Plan
Ready to jump into keto but not sure where to start? A keto meal plan is your key to success on the ketogenic diet. Knowing which foods to eat (and which to avoid), meal prepping, and following a ketogenic guidelines will help you reach your macro goals and stay in ketosis.
This guide offers a sample one-week keto meal plan — perfect for your first week on keto. Feel free to follow it to the letter or tailor it to your individual goals.
Before you dive into the meals, review how to calculate your macros and which foods are keto-friendly. This will set you set you up for success after your initial week on the keto diet.
Birthday Cake Keto Bars are here!
The answer to your sweet tooth. 17g of fat, 3g of net carbs, incredibly delicious.
Which Version of Keto Should You Follow?
Why do you want to start a ketogenic diet and follow a keto meal plan? Do you want to finally lose the stubborn excess body weight you’ve been lugging around? Are you looking for better mental clarity and more energy? Or will you be using a ketogenic diet for more specific health benefits, such as lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure, or decreasing your risk of type 2 diabetes?
Your approach to keto will differ depending upon your individual goals. Below are a few common keto objectives, and the keto diet type best suited for accomplishing each.
For Fat Loss and Overall Health: Standard Ketogenic Diet
The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is the most common approach to keto, and the most highly recommended method for beginners. Those who follow SKD are typically looking to achieve weight loss or fat loss. You might also be looking to improve certain symptoms related to depression and mental health, inflammation, and cholesterol levels.
The basic rules for SKD are:
- Limit your carb intake to 20-50 grams of net carbs per day
- Consume moderate amounts of protein
- Consume high amounts of fat
An intake of 30 grams of net carbohydrates or less will typically induce ketosis.
For Improved Workout Performance: Targeted Ketogenic Diet
The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is ideal for maintaining exercise performance, and therefore best for athletes or those who maintain a high activity level. How does it work? TKD allows for glycogen resynthesis without interrupting ketosis for extended periods of time.
To follow TKD, use these guidelines:
- Consume 25-50 grams of carbs per day
- Consume highly digestible carbs 30 minutes to one hour prior to exercise
- Consume high amounts of fats and moderate amounts of protein
For Bodybuilders or Athletes: Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) involves alternating days of strict keto and high-carb consumption. For example, a week on CKD would involve eating 20-50 grams of carbs for five consecutive days, then eating a high-carb diet (over 100 grams per day) for two days.
Athletes who follow a high-intensity, high-volume training schedule would be best suited for this approach. The goal of CKD is to completely deplete muscle glycogen between the carb loads while the TKD has a goal of maintaining muscle glycogen at a moderate level.
To follow the SKD, try this schedule:
- For five days: Consume 20-50 grams of carbs per day
- For two days: Consume over 100 grams of carbs per day
- Following your two days of “carb loading,” return to restricting carbs to 20-50 grams
For Those Who Need More Protein: High-Protein Ketogenic Diet
If you lift four times or more per week, you might require more protein in your keto meal plan. While the standard ketogenic diet typically limits protein intake to 20% of total calories, the high protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) allows 35% of total calories come from protein.
To follow HPKD, try this:
- Consume 35% of total calories from protein
- Consume 60% of total calories from fat
- Consume 5% of total calories from net carbs
Calculate Your Macronutrients
Macronutrient ratios are very important on a ketogenic diet. You’ll eat plenty of healthy fats and protein, while your total carb intake will be kept to a minimum. The macro ratios on a low-carb, high-fat diet typically look like this (for simplicity’s sake, the following percentages are based on the standard ketogenic diet approach):
- High fat: 70-80% of your calories
- Moderate protein: 20-25%
- Low carb: 5-10%
Start by using our keto macro calculator here to help you determine what and how much of each category to eat based on your specific body composition and lifestyle.
You’ll have a rough estimate of how many grams of fat, protein and carbs your meals need to cover over the course of one day.
Plan Your Meals
Now that you’ve calculated your macros, pick one day each week to sit down and and create your keto meal plan for the next seven days.
Your first week on the keto diet is covered below, but after that you’ll want to check the recipes on the Perfect Keto website and add them to your repertoire so you’re never bored.
All the recipes on this list include the macro breakdown so you don’t have to calculate it.
If you stumble on a recipe without a macro count, you can enter the ingredients in a diet app like KetoDietApp or MyFitnessPal to get the macros and calorie count of any meal without any complicated math equation.
If you come across other recipes you’d like to use, follow the keto diet cheat sheet at the end of this guide or use the keto diet foods list to map out your keto meal plan. Before you go grocery shopping, consider downloading the Perfect Keto grocery list.
When organizing your keto meal plan for the week, consider the following:
- How many people in your home will be eating the meals? (This will determine how many servings you need to make.)
- Do you want to make enough for leftovers the next day?
- How do you want to structure each day? Do you plan to eat breakfast every morning? Or will you fast through breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner?
Once your meals are planned out, make a shopping list with the ingredients you’ll need for each meal and head out to the store.
You have your keto meals planned. You have your ingredients. Now everything comes down to the specifics.
Maybe you’ll want to prep and cook most of your meals on your day off and store them for easy grab-and-go during the week. Consider what fits your schedule and lifestyle most. That’s the easiest way to stick with it.
Making any new change can seem overwhelming, but having a plan in place will set you up for success. View recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks and dessert on this site, or download the Perfect Keto recipes ebook.
The 7-Day Keto Meal Plan
Below, you’ll find a week of meal planning for inspiration to start your new ketogenic diet.
The example macros are set for a person who is eating 1,600 calories per day and sticking to 100 grams or less of protein, 25 grams or less of carbs, and about 125 grams of fat.
Feel free to mix and match meals from different days and adjust your daily macros according to how your body feels. In the recipes below, consume one serving unless otherwise noted.
Day 1 Meals
|Breakfast||A Southwest omelet with bell peppers and chorizo||28g||17g||3g||426|
|Lunch||Crispy Skin Salmon with Pesto Cauliflower Rice||51g||24g||10g||647|
|Dinner||Superfood Meatballs and Keto Creamed Spinach||36g||36g||7g||485|
Total macros for the day: 125 grams of fat, 87 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs and 1,558 total calories.
Day 2 Meals
|Breakfast||Chocolate Pancakes with Blueberry Butter||50g||27g||11.5g||611|
|Lunch||Zesty Chili Lime Keto Tuna Salad||37g||17g||1g||406|
|Dinner||Lemon Herb Low Carb Keto Meatloaf||29g||33g||2g||344|
Total macros for the day: 116 grams of fat, 77 grams of protein, 14.5 grams of carbs and 1,361 calories.
Day 3 Meals
|Breakfast||Three Quick n’ Easy Keto Egg Muffins||12g||12.9g||4.5g||174|
|Lunch||White Turkey Chili with 2 cups mixed leafy greens with 1 tbsp olive oil||44.5g||28.8g||5.5g||568|
|Dinner||Portobello Bun Cheeseburger with Celeriac Everything Oven Fries and Homemade Keto Mayo||40g||31g||13g||539|
|Dessert||1 Mocha Chip Cookie||13g||3g||2g||127|
Total macros for the day: 109.5 grams of fat, 75.7 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs and 1,408 total calories.
Day 4 Meals
|Breakfast||Keto Power Breakfast Bowl||27g||10.5g||7g||305|
|Lunch||Crispy Cheesy Chicken Salad||36.5g||55g||8g||575|
|Dinner||4 oz grilled ribeye steak, 2 tbsp grass-fed butter and 2 cups of mixed leafy greens with 1 tbsp avocado oil||62g||20g||1g||286|
|Dessert||MCT Fat Bomb||8g||1g||2g||81|
Total macros for the day: 133.5 grams of fat, 86.5 grams of protein, 1,247 total calories.
Day 5 Meals
|Breakfast||Avocado Breakfast Bowl||40g||25g||3g||500|
|Lunch||Roasted Chicken Stacks||25g||34g||5.5g||369|
|Dinner||Cheesy Broccoli Meatza||24g||32g||7g||375|
|Dessert||Easy No-Churn Keto Ice Cream||46.05g||7.45g||4.3g||440|
Totalmacros for the day: 135.05 grams of fat, 98.45 grams of protein, 19.9 grams of carbs and 1,684 total calories.
Day 6 Meals
|Breakfast||Acai Almond Butter Smoothie||20g||15g||6g||345|
|Lunch||Keto Beef Bulgogi||18g||25g||3g||242|
|Snack||Cucumber roll-ups with smoked salmon pate||40g||18g||5g||450|
|Dinner||Creamy Mushroom Chicken||27g||24g||3g||334|
|Dessert||Keto Chocolate Mousse||14g||17.5g||6g||248|
Totalmacros for the day: 119 grams of fat, 99.5 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbs and 1,619 total calories.
Day 7 Meals
|Breakfast||Keto Boosted Coffee||31g||1g||0.5g||280|
|Lunch||Low Carb Crispy Keto “Fried” Chicken and one cup steamed broccoli||27g||33.5g||6.5g||494|
|Dinner||Low Carb Keto Lasagna||21g||32g||12g||364|
|Dessert||Collagen Mug Cake||43.5g||27g||4g||535|
Total macros for the day: 122.5 grams of fat, 93.5 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbs and 1,673 total calories.
Ketogenic Diet Foods Cheat Sheet
Below is a quick list of the best ketogenic diet foods by category:
- Grass-fed dairy products like butter or ghee
- Coconut oil and MCT oil
- Olive oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Egg yolks
- Almonds and almond butter
- Seeds such as chia, hemp, and flaxseed
- Nuts such as pecans, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts
- Alternative flours made with healthy fats, including almond flour and coconut flour
- Fatty fish including mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon
Fats to Avoid
Avoid unhealthy fats such as seed oils and vegetable oils, which can become rancid when heated. Unhealthy fats and oils to avoid on keto include canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and grapeseed oil. You should also avoid reduced-fat or grain-fed dairy products as they can have added carbs and sugar.
- Grass-fed beef: Choose fattier cuts like steak, veal, roast, ground beef, and stew meat
- Poultry: Chicken breasts, quail, duck and turkey; focus on the darker, fattier sections
- Pork: Pork loin, tenderloin, pork chops, ham, bacon, and ground
- Fish: Halibut, cod, catfish, and mahi-mahi
- Shellfish: Oysters, clams, crab, mussels, shrimp, and lobster
- Organ meats: Heart, liver, tongue, kidney, and offal
- Eggs: Scrambled, omelets, over-easy, take your pick — just use the whole egg
- Lamb and goat
Proteins to Avoid
Stay away from processed meat (salami, hot dogs, and charcuterie) that contain suspect ingredients, sauces, or added sugars. These can unknowingly increase your carb and sugar intake and derail your efforts. Always purchase the highest-quality meat you can reasonably afford.
Consume low-glycemic, low-carb, non-starchy vegetables including:
- Leafy greens: Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, and romaine lettuce
- Other low-carb vegetables: Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, asparagus, celery, cucumber, radish, zucchini, cauliflower, and mushrooms
Vegetables to Avoid
Avoid high-carb and starchy vegetables, also known as tubers. These are typically root vegetables grown underground, such as carrots, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips.
Limit the amount of fruits you eat as they have sugar. Fruits can be consumed either fresh or frozen. When you do eat fruit, choose lower-sugar options including:
- Avocados: This is the one fruit that can be consumed in abundance
- Berries: Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries
Fruits to Avoid
Most fruits, unless listed above, should be completely eliminated due to the high quantities of sugar and carbohydrates. Apples, pineapple, watermelon, mango, oranges, and most other fruits should be avoided. Dried fruits and fruit juice are also not permitted on keto.
Most dairy products get the green light on a keto diet plan, on a few conditions. Opt for the full-fat dairy products (low-fat versions remove fat and add sugar) and preferably organic and raw, if possible.
- Full-fat yogurts
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Hard cheeses like parmesan, blue cheese, Swiss, feta, and cheddar cheese
- Soft cheese like brie, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and blue cheese
Condiments, Spices, and Sweeteners
When it comes to toppings on the keto diet, homemade is always best. That way you can control the sugar count.
Since life is hectic, here are some sugar-free condiments you can purchase in stores or on Amazon.
Sauces and Condiments
- Yellow mustard
- Ketchup without added sugars (or sugar alcohols)
- One-minute mayo
- Soy sauce
- Sauerkraut without added sugars
- High-fat salad dressings with low or no added sugars
You’ll need to toss most of your prepared spice mixes as many contain sugar or carbs as fillers. As long as you stick to dried herbs and spices only, you should be in safe.
A few examples include:
- Basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
- Cilantro, cayenne, chili powder, cumin
- Cinnamon and nutmeg
- Garlic and turmeric
- Lemon or lime juice
- Salt and pepper
Sweeteners can be tricky on keto, but they do exist. Stick to low-glycemic sweeteners that won’t affect your blood sugar levels, and avoid sugar alcohols. These include maltitol, dextrose, and maltodextrin.
The safest, low-glycemic sweetener options on keto include:
- Stevia: Preferably in liquid form as the powder can sometimes have dextrose or maltodextrin as a binding agent.
- Erythritol: This is not digested by the body and doesn’t have any carbs or glycemic load when digested.
- Monk fruit: Extracts from this fruit are 300 to 400 times sweeter than cane sugar, but it doesn’t have any effect on your blood sugar.
These are the basics of your keto meal plan grocery list. If you want to take your fat burning to the next level, you’ll need to get on board the supplement train.
Supplements for the Keto Meal Plan
Supplements can help you get into ketosis and help you reach your goals on your keto meal plan. However, it’s important to use only safe, keto-friendly supplements.
The purpose of exogenous ketone supplements is to provide your body with extra ketones (energy). Ketone supplements can be a huge help when you’re transitioning into a state of ketosis or entering a fasted state.
Exogenous ketones help you get back into ketosis at any time, instead of having to wait a couple of days. You can take them between meals for a quick punch of ketones or before a workout.
MCT Oil and Powders
MCT is short for medium chain triglyceride. MCTs are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs. They’re beneficial for weight loss, energy, and digestion because they can be readily used for energy by your body and don’t have to be shuttled around your digestive system first.
You can try MCT oil powder, liquid C8 MCT oil, and even MCT oil capsules to see what you like most.
There are over 10,000 types of proteins in your body, yet collagen is the most abundant one. Accounting for 25-35% of all your body’s protein, it’s considered the glue holding your body together.
While most other animal-based protein powders contain casein and whey, which can be inflammatory and hard to digest for some people, collagen protein from grass-fed beef is made low and slow to preserve the nutrition.
For more info on collagen, check out the guide on When and How to Use Keto Collagen Protein.
Since you have to cut out several starchy fruits and veggies when you’re on keto, you miss out on certain vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients.
Keto Micro Greens is the solution to getting enough nutrition from produce while staying in ketosis. Learn more on how to supplement with greens powder.
Keto Micro Greens contains:
- A greens and veggie blend of raw, organic greens and vegetables from 12 different sources.
- A berry and fruit blend of raw, organic berries and fruits from 10 different sources.
- MCT powder, which is made from coconut oil. MCTs helps you absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the greens and fruits and give you a boost of energy.
- Liver support and digestive enzymes to help you get the most out of this micronutrient blend.
Now You’re Ready to Start a Keto Meal Plan
Whatever your reasons for wanting to start a low-carb diet, you’re more than prepared to crush your new keto life with today’s guide in your back pocket.
Once you figure out your macros, it’s all about finding low-carb foods you like to meet your goals. Use this keto meal plan to get started and then use the cheat list of approved keto foods to create your own winning meal plan.
Toss in a few supplements to boost your health and your body’s fat burning potential and you’ll be well on your way to feeling and looking better.
Love this recipe? Shout it from the rooftops!
The IBIH Keys to Success on Keto…
1. Eat less than 20g net carbs per day if you want to get into ketosis. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the fiber grams (or sugar alcohols in some cases) from the total carb grams. Don’t guess – you’d be surprised how many grams of carbs there are in things you might have considered “free” like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and kale, just to name a few. If you follow this 3 day Keto Kickstart plan you’ll get into ketosis easily within 3 days.
2. Purchase some ketostix – they aren’t expensive and you can even cut them in half to get double the strips. Some people say they don’t matter, but when you are suffering as much as you will be in the first few days, it’s nice to get the validation that it’s working.
On average it takes most people about three days to get into ketosis on this Keto Quickstart Plan. The sticks will confirm that ketones are being excreted through your urine. That’s all. They won’t change color at all for no ketones, then there is trace (light pink) and it goes up from there to dark purple. The darkness of the stick doesn’t matter. As long as you are showing even trace amounts, then you are in ketosis and good to go. In fact, if you are showing really dark on the stick, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water (see #4.)
3. Eat enough salt! I’m going to say that again so pay attention.
EAT. ENOUGH. SALT.
When you eat keto your body doesn’t retain water the same way, so sodium and other important electrolytes get flushed out quickly. You need to replenish these or you will feel awful – it can even lead to heart palpitations, panic attacks, and other scary things.
Salted bone broth or stock is a great way to replenish your electrolytes while on the ketogenic diet. In addition, you should supplement potassium (I use a light salt which is half sodium and half potassium – works great and you can find it in your spice aisle) and magnesium to avoid lightheadedness, cramps, headaches, etc. Vitamin C is also good.
4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. THEN DRINK MORE WATER. THINK YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH? I DON’T CARE, GO DRINK EVEN MORE WATER.
You should slosh when you walk and be pee-ing every 10 minutes like you’re 9 months pregnant with an 11 pound baby bouncing on your bladder like a pogo stick (you moms know what I’m talking about).
This is important. I don’t want to hear any whining about how you don’t like the taste of water, etc. You can throw of few drops of mio in there if you need to, but put your big girl pants on and drink it.
Aim for at least 100 ounces a day – especially in the first couple of weeks until your body adjusts. Then you can lower it to 99 ounces a day if you’re feeling confident.
Just kidding. DRINK MORE WATER.
6. If this is your first time doing keto you may be blindsided by the detox symptoms. I’m not going to lie, depending on how carb heavy your diet is when you start, you may wish you were dead by day three of this Keto Kickstart Plan.
Headaches, bone deep fatigue, irritability, dizziness, and more, depending on your body. Hang in there, it’s worth it! The first three days on the Keto Diet are the hardest. Some of you have done it before and know to just ride it out and it will all get better soon.
Those of you who may be new to what they call “keto flu” might panic, thinking your death is imminent. I can assure you that it is highly unlikely that you will die from sugar/carb withdrawal – but just to be sure it’s always wise to consult your doctor before you embark on any new eating plan, or if something feels truly off it’s better to be safe than sorry – seek medical attention if you feel it’s necessary. Most symptoms of keto flu can be alleviated by supplementing and drinking enough water (see #3 and >4.)
Your body is going to be like an angry child having a tantrum – IT WANTS SUGAR AND CARBS NOW, but you aren’t going to give it any are you? ARE YOU??? Just like with children, the key is to distract, distract, distract (oooh shiny!). Give it something else desirable, (bacon, cheese, etc.) even if it isn’t what it really wants. Don’t give in thinking you’ll feel better if you just eat a little bit of carbs – there is no compromising!
20g net carbs or less a day on a Keto Diet. LEARN IT!
It’s tough love time people, trust me on this.
6. Don’t obsessively plan everything and overwhelm yourself so it feels harder than it has to. This may be controversial for some, but I’m here to tell you not to worry about calories, or nitrates, or Omega 3 vs Omega 6, or if the meat you’re eating skipped about on acres of lush pastureland, while being hand fed organic vegan feed by the tiny perfect hands of 1000 virgin milkmaids.
SIMPLIFY FOR SUCCESS.
Get into ketosis. Give your body time to adapt to it so you can function. THEN you can worry about fine tuning and all the other stuff. Seriously.
Along the same vein, some of my recipes on the blog include hemp seeds, coconut flour, almond flour, and other not so easy to find ingredients – IGNORE THOSE RECIPES (for now). The focus here is, again, simplicity. You will likely be irritable, fatigued, and not feeling awesome during the first three days to a week. Trust me on this – the last thing you are going to want to do is make complicated meals.
The basic strategy on this 3 Day Keto Kickstart Menu Plan is to a) never get too hungry, and b) to stuff your face full of delicious, high fat, very low carb foods often. Once you open the door to hunger, your resolve can fly right out the window and you’re back to square one (sadly, I speak from experience on this.)
7. WARNING! This is not a high protein diet! Your body can convert excess protein into glucose and we don’t want that. You want your body to learn to use fat for energy – that is the secret to unlocking your fat stores and losing weight almost effortlessly on a low carb plan.
Keto is a Low Carb / Moderate Protein / High Fat Plan.
Don’t think you’re going to cheat the system and lose faster by restricting carbs AND fat – you will feel (even more) awful, and after the intial water weight drop your weight loss can be inhibited by eating a lot of protein.
To find out how much fat/protein you should be getting for your body, try this handy keto calculator.
If you’re going to do this thing you have to commit to eating fat – throw your old ideas about fat = bad out the window and embrace it.
EMBRACE THE FAT!
If you have anxiety about that, here is a list of links to some great resources on the science of the Keto Diet, how and why it works, testimonials & success stories, etc.
Cholesterol Clarity (Book)
Everything about Keto (Reddit Forum)
Keto FAQ (r/keto)
Living La Vida Low Carb (Website)
Keto Video Compilation (collection of free videos from around the web)
Low Carb High Fat for Beginners (website)
Guide to Ketosis (website)
8. All brands are not created equal. Sometimes (but not always) you have to pony up for the name brand over the generic because the carbs are less – this is generally true with cream cheese for example. When buying heavy cream, go organic if you can find it because some brands use thickeners that add carbs. Buy your cheese in blocks or slices rather than in shreds – the shredded cheese is coated with food starch to avoid clumping and that adds carbs.
READ LABELS!!! Don’t assume anything is a free food!
Garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar – all contain carbs that add up. If you aren’t getting into ketosis there is a reason – it’s usually hidden carbs that you aren’t counting. When in doubt, look it up on sites like Calorie King or My Fitness Pal to be sure.
9. This one is strictly for the ladies out there.
If you are not, or never have been, the proud owner of your very own uterus, then I suggest you skip over this one. You’ve been warned.
The first month or two on keto you may experience some strange periods (aka. Shark Week.) Don’t be alarmed. When you lose weight and your body detoxes from sugar and excess carbs, all kinds of hormonal changes (for the better) occur. Initially though, you may experience heavier periods than normal, more extreme PMS symptoms, etc. This is normal, and while it’s inconvenient it shouldn’t last more than a few months at the most.If your weight loss is rapid on keto (let’s hope), you may also lose more hair than normal for a month or two. It can be disconcerting, but it’s not permanent and will stop when your hormones regulate.
I have experienced all of these things on keto since I started, and I can promise you that the increased energy, weight loss, better skin, and other pros far outweigh these few temporary issues. Stay the course unless something seems really wrong, in which case you should see your doctor just to be on the safe side.
- 3 Day Keto Kickstart Menu Plan in Summary:
Consume 20g or less of net carbs per day, not too much protein, lots of fat, drink at least 100 ounces of water per day, get plenty of salt and supplement with potassium and magnesium. Boom, three days later you’re in ketosis (which you can measure with your ketostix,) and on your way!
Now, what should you eat? There are endless combinations of food and it really depends on your personal preference. I put together a simple 3 day keto menu plan to get you started. This is what works for me, and because my body knows the drill, I can actually get back into ketosis in less than 2 days on this plan. If you are new to low carb, it may take you as long as 4 to 5 days. Don’t despair, it will happen.
I don’t really concern myself with portion size for the first few days – it’s about eating until you’re full and satisfied, and that will differ for everyone. Remember, we’re not concerned about calories right now – it’s just about getting into ketosis – lots of satiating fat, not a lot of carbs. That is all.
3 Day Keto Kickstart Menu Plan (eat until satisfied)
Cream Cheese Pancakes with butter and sugar free syrup (if desired)
coffee with heavy cream (& no carb sweetener if desired)
bacon or sugar free breakfast sausage
2-3 String Cheese
Ham and Cheese rolled in Cream Cheese Pancakes with mayonnaise and arugula or spinach
Half an avocado with lite salt and pepper
Classic Buffalo Wings
sugar free blue cheese dressing
1 serving Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate Truffles (optional)
Eggs (any style)
bacon or sugar free sausage
coffee with heavy cream (& no carb sweetener if desired)
Half an avocado with lite (potassium) salt and pepper
Simple tuna salad (tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) boats
romaine lettuce leaves (just spoon it in and eat like a taco)
1 cup chicken broth
12 almonds and/or 2 string cheese
10 minute no-chop chili
cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pork rinds for dipping (optional)
1 serving Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate Truffles (optional)
Cream Cheese Pancakes
coffee with heavy cream (& no carb sweetener if desired)
bacon or sugar free breakfast sausage
12 almonds and/or 2 string cheese
Leftover 10 minute chili, tuna salad, or ham and cheese/pancake rollups
1 cup chicken broth
half an avocado with lite salt and pepper
Easy Cajun Chicken
Cheesy Cauliflower Puree
2 cups baby spinach with carb free dressing
1 serving Chocolate Mousse or Chocolate Truffles (optional)
Feel free to mix and match or eat the same thing every day if you want to – as long as you stay under 20g net carbs. I hope that you will let us know how it works for you in the comments – I’m curious to see how you guys fare on it.
Finished with the kickstart? Continue on your keto journey with the Week One Keto 7 Day Meal Plan and Shopping List!!!
Love this recipe? Shout it from the rooftops!
What to Eat on Keto: Your Complete Keto Food List
- Need help figuring out what to eat on the ketogenic diet? Use this keto diet food list to guide your food choices.
- The keto diet is a higher in fat, lower in carbs plan that deprives your body of carbs and forces the body to burn fat as fuel.
- This keto food list shows you the best foods to eat in every category — plus, you’ll learn how to stay Bulletproof in ketosis and possibly experience more energy and mental clarity.
- Download this printable keto food list to make grocery shopping easier.
Not sure what foods people eat on the keto diet? This keto food list will get you started. By scaling back on glucose, the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet may shift your body into ketosis, a state of burning fat instead of sugar for energy. Take the guesswork out of eating keto, and use this complete keto diet food list to get started.
Keto diets do not line up with the US recommended daily allowances (RDA) of macronutrients, so run your diet plans by your doctor to see if keto is right for you.
Note: Items in the red-zone on this keto food list are technically keto-friendly, but not recommended on the Bulletproof Diet (an ultra-clean version of keto).
Related: Ketogenic Diet for Beginners – A Complete Keto Guide
Keto food list: What can I eat on the keto diet?
Keep reading for a high-level guide to keto diet foods and then download our Free Keto Food List.
Show me the Keto Food List
Want the list (and 3 other Keto Resources) for Free?
Starting a Keto Diet? Get 3 Handy Guides for FREE
Get our keto-friendly foods guide and 3 other Keto Guidebooks for FREE when you join our Keto newsletter, The Fat Bomb!
Oils & Fats
Keto and Bulletproof Diet approved
Avocado oil, Brain Octane Oil, cacao butter, cod liver oil, butter and ghee from grass-fed cows, krill oil, MCT oil, bacon fat from pasture-raised pork, egg yolk from pasture-raised chickens, lard from pasture-raised pork, marrow and tallow from pasture-raised beef, sunflower lecithin, virgin expeller-pressed coconut oil
Keto and Bulletproof Diet approved to enjoy occasionally, for people who can tolerate these foods
Chicken fat, duck and goose fat, grain-fed butter/ghee, olive oil, nut oils
Ketogenic, but kryptonite (dirty keto)
Canola, cottonseed, corn, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils; commercial lard; low-carb commercial dressings; margarine
Fat makes up the bulk of a keto diet, to the tune of 70 – 80 percent of your daily calories, so smart fats are a must. This keto food list loads you up on saturated and monounsaturated fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee, and lard, plus coconut oil, fish oil, and MCT oil.
Avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated fats and other processed vegetable oils. Limit your intake of inflammatory omega-6s, which can hide in chicken skin, grain-fed meats and farmed seafood. Take note that olive oil, and chicken, duck and goose fat oxidize more readily than other fats, which changes the way they act in the body.
Collagen peptides, colostrum, dark meats, eggs, fish, gelatin, offal/organ meats, pork, shellfish, whey protein concentrate
Pastured chicken and turkey, factory-farmed eggs, heated whey/whey protein isolate
Factory-farmed meat, farmed seafood, protein powders from grain-fed animals, soy protein
Make no mistake: Steak and bacon alone are not the keys to ketosis. If you get more protein than your body can use, your body will begin converting protein to sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis — and kick you out of ketosis. If you stick to fatty cuts of grass-fed or wild proteins, there aren’t too many keto rules here.
If you can’t get your day’s protein from animal sources, opt for whey protein concentrate (not isolate), which helps to boost glutathione production. Avoid packaged, factory-farmed or heavily processed meats, which can contain trace antibiotics or heavy metals. Plus, watch out for additives or curing agents in items like bacon or sausages.
Raw cruciferous veggies, canned low-carb veggies, mushrooms
Veggies can add sneaky carbohydrates to your diet. Your keto food list sticks to nutrient-dense, lower-carb veggies, with smaller amounts of those in the moderate zone. Root veggies are higher in carbs, so limit your use of moderately starchy vegetables like leeks, parsnips, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga, and avoid all other potatoes.
Be aware of the effects of nightshades on your body; while they are permitted in ketosis, they cause inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis in sensitive people. Nightshades include tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, okra, and eggplant. For a Bulletproof ketosis, also limit onions and garlic, which tend to be moldy. Plus, lightly cook any oxalate-heavy cruciferous and leafy greens.
Mushrooms, though low-carb, contain many unstudied compounds and can encourage yeast growth.
Nuts, Seeds & Legumes
Raw almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts; almond flour, coconut flour; tigernut flour
Black soybeans, brazil nuts, chia seed, edamame, flaxseed, hemp seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios
Although excellent sources of fat, nuts add up quickly in protein and carbs, and are often inflammatory. Snack on fattier nuts such as macadamia nuts and pecans, but limit those high in inflammatory omega-6s, like peanuts and sunflower seeds. Only use nut flours (almond, coconut) in moderation, as they are packed with protein. To stay in ketosis, limit high-carb nuts like cashews, pistachios and chestnuts, and avoid most beans.
This is one area where full keto and Bulletproof differ. Except for coconut, all nuts and legumes are suspect on the Bulletproof Diet and should be limited. All expose you to high amounts of omega-6s, inflammatory oxidized fats, mold toxins, and phytates (plant anti-nutrients). Peanuts are one of the main sources of mold toxins in our diets, and often trigger allergic responses with inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, lectins and histamines. The Bulletproof Diet also excludes all soy products due to their phytoestrogen content, which messes with your hormones and may promote cancer.
Butter, ghee, and colostrum from grass-fed cows
Organic cream from grass-fed cows, non-organic grass-fed ghee or butter
Fake butter, all cheese, pasteurized low-carb dairy products
For both keto and Bulletproof diets, opt for full-fat, grass-fed, raw, and organic dairy to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s and CLA. Dairy is a source of fat on a ketogenic diet, but be mindful not over-do the protein. Although milk (yep, even raw, full-fat, or goat milk) contans lactose sugars, you can stay in ketosis with foods like butter, ghee, and colostrum. Avoid sweetened or low-fat dairy, evaporated and condensed milk if you want to keep your fat intake high.
For Bulletproof ketosis, cheese is not on your plate. The unique flavors in cheese are actually courtesy of mold toxins, both from mold in animal feed, and the molds used in fermentation. Cheeses cause inflammation, which can lead to weight gain.
Additionally, unless you are immunocompromised, opt for raw, unpasteurized dairy. Processed dairy is highly allergenic, difficult to digest, and associated with a wide range of diseases. Plus, pasteurization destroys nutrients and oxidizes fats.
If you want keto and Bulletproof choices, opt for organic, raw, grass-fed dairy.
Bone broth, diluted coconut milk, Bulletproof Coffee and coffee made from mold-free beans, filtered water with lemon/lime, high-quality green tea, mineral water bottled in glass
Bottled nut beverages, herbal tea, yerba mate
One common side effect of a keto diet is dehydration. When your insulin levels drop on a low-carb diet, your body retains less sodium and water, making a keto diet slightly diuretic. Stay hydrated with plenty of water, and reload on electrolytes with bone broths, especially during the “keto flu” in the first few weeks of your diet.
Related: How to Conquer the Keto Flu
Tea and coffee, including Bulletproof Coffee, are completely ketogenic, with bonus points for jump-starting weight loss and focusing your mental clarity. Watch out for sweeteners, fillers, or artificial flavors. While you can drink unsweetened, plant-based milk alternatives in moderation without going out of ketosis, they are not Bulletproof, and are usually loaded with toxic molds — the exception being full-fat coconut milk. If you plan to include them in your diet, beware of carrageenan and BPA-lined containers.
Alcohol is not Bulletproof or ketogenic, but if you’re going to drink, stick to hard liquors in moderation. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are bombs of hidden carbohydrates.
Avocado, low-fructose berries, coconut, cranberries, lemon, lime
Non-organic low-carb fruits
In general, the sugar content in fruits can quickly take you out of ketosis. Coconut and avocado are the exceptions, plus antioxidant-packed fresh berries in limited quantities. For a more Bulletproof approach to fruit, enjoy it at night.
For a fruity refresher without the high sugar content, try a keto green smoothie.
Spices & Seasonings
Black pepper, garlic, nutmeg, onion, paprika, table salt
Artificial flavors; bouillon; commercial low-carb dressings, spice mixes, and extracts; fermented tamari; MSG; nutritional yeast; soy products; all vinegars except apple cider vinegar
Beware of added sugars or high-glycemic sweeteners in spice blends or condiments, but other than that, it’s fair game for keto. In spice-heavy dishes, carbs can add up, but don’t drive yourself crazy worrying about your teaspoon of turmeric. Check labels for additives like sugars, milk solids, potato starch, corn starch, or MSG, or make your own blends at home. Table salt often contains undisclosed fillers and anti-caking agents, so it’s best to opt for sea salt or Himalayan pink salt instead.
Even after irradiation (the industry standard sterilization process that also destroys any antioxidants and health benefits), spices and herbs can spoil in your home, and often harbor aggressive mold toxins. To spice up your dishes the Bulletproof way, use high-quality, fresh or recently opened herbs and spices. Spices with especially high mold toxin risk include black pepper, powdered garlic, nutmeg, and paprika. Apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar permitted in the Bulletproof diet, as other vinegars and yeasts introduce toxins, and promote yeast growth in your gut.
Allulose, non-GMO erythritol, maltitol, monk fruit, sorbitol, stevia, birch xylitol
Aspartame (NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda), tagatose
Sugar has no place in a ketogenic diet, but that doesn’t mean entirely cutting out desserts. It’s easy to get a sweet fix using safe sweetener alternatives — just keep it in moderation to reduce temptation.
On your keto food list, stick to low-glycemic sweeteners to avoid spikes in blood sugar, and avoid fillers and binders such as maltodextrin and dextrose, which can spike blood sugar and contain sneaky carbs. Sugar alcohols such as maltitol or xylitol may read as no sugar on a label, but be aware that they will still cause moderate glycemic response when digested.
Stay away from aspartame (NutraSweet), acesulfame, Splenda, sorbitol, saccharin, fructose, agave, honey, and maple syrup. Lastly, although pure, liquid sucralose won’t kick you out of ketosis, it will bioaccumulate in your body, and wreak havoc on your gut bacteria.
Get our keto-friendly foods guide and 3 other Keto Guidebooks for FREE when you join our Keto newsletter, The Fat Bomb!
Keto Diet Food List: 221 Keto Diet Foods (+ Printable Cheat Sheet)
Hendon Jeremy | October 24
I bet you sometimes feel like it’s tough to both eat delicious food and also stay keto, right?
Well, I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I can promise that it’s easier than you might think.
In this article, I’m going to show you exactly what to eat on a keto diet and what to avoid.
Below are over 200 keto foods – the same foods that I’ve eaten to lose weight and feel better.
3 Things You Might Be Looking For + A “Short-List” of Keto Diet Foods
The full list of 221 Keto Diet foods is below, but here are 2 helpful notes, plus a shorter list of keto foods.
- If you’re looking for recipes, then .
- If you want to learn more about the keto diet and how it can help you, then .
- If you want the printable “cheat-sheet” of keto diet foods, then .
The “Short & Essential” Keto Diet Food List
Basically, keto friendly foods include most meats, most vegetables, most seafood, and healthy fats.
More specifically, you can eat all the foods listed below. In fact, you could probably use this as a short and easy keto shopping list…
- Non-Starchy Vegetables
- Limes and lemons
- Nut butters and nut milks
- Bone broth
- Organ Meats
- Peas and green beans
- Shellfish and other seafood
- Nuts and Seeds
- Herbs and Spices
- Healthy Fats (e.g., ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
Ok – now that you have the short list of keto foods, let’s go a little more in depth…
Did You Know All of This?:
- Free Cheat-Sheet
- Why & How to Use This List
- Basics of a Ketogenic Diet
- What is Ketosis?
- How does a Keto Diet Work?
- Benefits of a Keto Diet
- Suggested Macronutrient Ratios
- Amount of Carbohydrates to Eat
- Amount of Protein to Eat
- Amount of Fat to Eat
- 5 Important Things to Remember on a Keto Diet
- The Complete Ketogenic Diet Food List – 221 Keto Foods
- Organ Meats
- Shellfish and Other Seafood
- Nuts and Seeds
- Herbs and Spices
- Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet
- Final Thoughts
- Keto Flu
- Modified Keto
- Ketogenic Diet Food List Infographic
Free! (Printable) “Cheat-Sheet” of Keto Diet Foods
To make things easy for you at the grocery store and in the kitchen, I also put together a printable “cheat sheet” of keto foods. To get my cheat-sheet, just click the button below:
Just click the button, print it out, and you have a keto grocery list for next time you go to the store. 🙂
There’s Only One Reason to Use This Keto Foods List…
There’s really only 1 reason to use this food list – because you want to look and feel better.
If you stick to eating just the foods below, then you’ll almost definitely get into ketosis and you’ll likely lose weight. Most importantly, you’ll certainly feel better.
In some studies, only 38% of people can stick to a keto diet — that means that 62% of people on Keto fall off the wagon.
Basically, if you’re not prepared, a keto diet can be hard, and you won’t get the results you’ve hear about.
So in the keto diet food list below, I’ll show you 221 foods that will help you burn fat and boost your energy. Most of the 221 foods are very common and easy-to-find. With them, you can create thousands of meals that you’ll love.
Basics of a Keto Diet to Help You Feel & Look Better
What is Ketosis?
‘Ketosis’ is a state where your body relies primarily on ‘ketone bodies’ for energy, rather than on sugar.
That sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty simple. And here’s why it should matter to you…
Your body has 2 primary sources of energy – fat and sugar (aka glucose).
A ketogenic diet (AKA, a keto or ketosis diet) is designed to help your body burn more fat for energy rather than glucose.
Ketones (or ketone bodies) are produced by your liver when your body breaks down fats. And the increased levels of ketone bodies in your blood puts you into the metabolic state called ketosis.
How does a Keto Diet Really Work?
Here’s a VERY simple infographic explaining what you need to do on a keto diet…
Please pin this infographic! And here’s the embed code for your blog or website:
The basics of what you eat on a ketogenic diet are pretty simple:
- Eat Very Little Carbohydrates or Sugar
- Eat Lots of Healthy Fats.
- Eat a Moderate Amount of Protein.
In other words, you eat only low-‘glycemic’ foods. Low-glycemic foods are foods that don’t cause your blood sugar to rise very much.
When you eat this way, it forces your body to start relying on fat for energy, rather than just sugar.
And when that happens, you gain ‘metabolic flexibility’, which is a complicated way of saying that your body regains the ability to get energy from multiple sources.
The result is that you feel increased energy, greater mental clarity, and weight loss.
The ketogenic diet has been used for a very long time. It was originally developed to treat epilepsy in kids. (2) Today, though, the benefits are often much greater…
7 Proven (But Surprising) Benefits of a Keto Diet
There is a lot of emerging research on the keto diet. Some of the most exciting research is around cancer and neurological diseases, but most people use a keto diet for much more common issues (weight loss, diabetes, etc.).
Here’s a brief list of the potential benefits of a keto diet:
- Decreased Hunger. (3, 4) Most diets rely on counting calories, restricting portions, or maintaining willpower. But all of that can be hard. Because a keto diet changes the way your body fuels itself, the most common result is that your hunger decreases and you automatically start eating less.
- Weight Loss. (5, 6) It’s not a magic solution, but by-and-large, weight loss happens more quickly and easily on a keto diet. This is particularly true because a keto diet helps to decrease hunger. However, you must be prepared, because the biggest downfall for most folks is not being able to stick to the diet.
- Healthy Blood Sugar Levels. (7) This benefit should be obvious. If you have high blood sugar or are diabetic, then dramatically reducing the amount of sugar in your blood by removing most of the sugar from your diet is an obvious and quick benefit.
- Reduced Risk of High Cholesterol and Triglycerides. (8) Many doctors originally thought that a diet high in fat might increase cholesterol and triglycerides. However, the opposite has turned out to be the case. Most people see a significant drop in their LDL and triglycerides when on a keto diet, although a small percentage of people do see the opposite effect.
- Neurological Disorders. (9) The ketogenic diet was originally used to treat epilepsy – a neurological disorder. In addition to epilepsy, though, some practitioners and researchers are using a keto diet to effectively treat other neurological disorders – particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
- Certain Forms of Cancer. (10) A lot of researchers are currently working on using a keto diet as a ‘complementary’ cancer treatment. And for certain forms of cancer – particularly brain cancer – the keto diet is showing a lot of benefit when used with other traditional treatments.
- Possible Other Benefits. (11) The research is not conclusive yet, but several studies have observed other possible benefits of a keto diet, including treatment of acne, PCOS, respiratory conditions, and others.
The Truth About Suggested Macronutrient Ratios
The exact amounts of fat, carbs, and protein (also known as ‘macros’) you need to eat in order to get into ketosis will vary from person-to-person. But to help you get into the general ballpark, here are some recommendations.
Just remember that the bulk of your calories need to come from healthy, high-fat foods, and very few of your calories should come from carbs.
(Use our Keto Calculator to figure our your exact macronutrient needs.)
Carbohydrate Amount For Ketosis
We suggest you eat under 20-25 grams of net carbohydrates per day if you’re trying keto for weight loss.
A ‘net carb’ is the total amount of total carbs minus the fiber content. Since most fiber doesn’t get digested and turned into sugar, you don’t need to count fiber toward your net carbs count.
If you’re an athlete or do a lot of CrossFit, then you may need to add in more carbohydrates. Just make sure to use clean starches like sweet potatoes and extra vegetables
Jimmy Moore suggests in his book Keto Clarity that total amount of net carbs must be at least under 100g per day for you to get into ketosis, and for most people under 50g. For people with insulin sensitivities or looking to lose weight, you probably need to consume under 30g or 20g net carbs per day.
Protein Amount For Ketosis
Jeff Volek, PhD and Stephen Phinney, M.D., PhD. suggest that to calculate your minimum and maximum protein intake for staying in ketosis, you should multiply your weight (measured in lbs) by 0.6 and 1.0 to get the minimum and maximum amount of protein in grams you should eat each day.
On the Virta Health blog, Dr. Phinney, adds, “Too little or too much protein can negatively impact the many benefits of being in a state of nutritional ketosis.” He notes that too little dietary protein can compromise lean muscle tissue, while high protein intakes can reduce ketone production.
I weigh 115 lbs, so for ketosis, my minimum protein intake per day is 115 x 0.6 = 69 grams, and my maximum protein intake per day is 115 x 1 = 115 grams.
Jimmy writes in his book that Dr. Donald Layman suggests limiting protein amounts to 30g per meal and no more than 140g per day.
Fats Amount For Ketosis
After limiting carbohydrates and eating a moderate amount of protein, the rest of what you eat should be healthy fats like ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and animal fats.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you may find it easier to increase the amount of protein you eat. This may especially help you if you’re not used to eating a lot of fats.
4 Crazy-Important Things to Do While On a Keto Diet…
A keto diet is pretty simple, and most people see results fairly quickly.
But there are a few things to remember that can help make sure you get the most out of your keto diet. (These tips will also help you avoid ‘keto flu’ – the lack of energy that some people experience in the first 3-5 days of a keto diet.)
- Drink Plenty of Water. When you eat fewer carbs, your body retains less water. That’s normal, but if you’re not drinking enough, you can get dehydrated. Also, water will help you feel less hungry and more energetic.
- Get Plenty of Sodium. This might sound counter to what you’ve been told before, but your body really needs sodium. It’s one of the ways that your cells transport nutrients in and out of cells. And when you stop eating processed grains and sugar, you often get much less sodium. So when you go keto, just be sure that you’re eating salt or sodium-rich foods. If not, you will often experience fatigue.
- Eat Enough. Normally, this probably isn’t a problem for you. But when you go on a keto diet, it’s actually easy to start under-eating. So every few days, just check in that you’ve been eating enough food.
- Eat Enough Fat. Remember, most of your calories (70-85%) should be from fat. So don’t skimp on the fat. If you’re feeling hungry or like you need to snack, then eating more fat at meals will normally solve that problem. In general, choose the fattier cuts of meat.
With all of that in mind, here is the complete ketogenic diet food list…
What You’ve Been Waiting For – The Complete Ketogenic Diet Food List!
Below is a full list of foods to eat on a keto diet.
To make it easier for you, we’ve arranged the foods into 12 groups (vegetables, meats, etc.).
In general, you can just not worry about how much of a particular food you’re eating. However, some foods on this list are a bit higher in carbs – such as carrots or tomatoes.
It would have made this list way too long to list the # of carbs in each food, so just be aware that if a food tastes a bit sweet (like a carrot or tomato can), then it likely has more carbs than foods that don’t taste sweet (meats, olives, avocados, limes, etc.).
Vegetables that Taste Delicious and Will Fuel Your Body…
Veggies should be a big part of your diet. In fact, they should be the bulk of what you eat.
Try to stick to green leafy vegetables and avoid root vegetables to keep your daily carbohydrate intake low.
- Arugula (Rocket)
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Butterhead Lettuce
- Chicory Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Eggplant (Aubergine)
- Leafy Greens (Various)
- Mushrooms (all kinds)
- Mustard Greens
- Peppers (all kinds)
- Romaine Lettuce
- Seaweed (all sea vegetables)
- Spaghetti Squash
- Swiss Chard
- Turnip Greens
Fruits? Yep…You Can Eat These Fruits on a Keto Diet…
Most fruits are off limits on a ketogenic diet.
However, some small amounts of berries and citrus fruits are ok – just watch how much you eat!
Olives and Avocados are great. (Yes avocado is a fruit!) Heart surgeon Steven Gundry, M.D. speaks highly of them. “Avocados are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also full of dietary fiber and high in vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C. And did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas?”
Meats are Some of the Best Keto Foods
All cuts of the animal are good to eat, but too much protein can hamper ketosis, so watch how much you eat. Also, choose fattier cuts of meat whenever possible (pork belly, ribeye, etc.)
- Wild Boar
- Wild Turkey
CURED AND PREMADE MEATS (check ingredients)
- Deli Meat
- Hot Dogs
In the United States, organ meats have fallen out of favor. But there is no other category of food that is as nutritious. Organ meats are also fattier than other meats, which works well on a keto diet.
Registered Dietitian Natalie Olsen, RD notes, “Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat, and it is a powerful source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health and for reducing diseases that cause inflammation, including everything from Alzheimer’s disease to arthritis.”
Eat any of the following organ meats from pretty much any animal.
- Bone Marrow
Almost all legumes are off limits, but small amounts of green beans and peas are ok.
- Green Beans
Fats play a huge part in the ketogenic diet (they make up the majority of your calorie intake), so make sure you’re taking in plenty of healthy fats.
- Avocado Oil
- Cocoa Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Duck Fat
- Lard (non-hydrogenated)
- Macadamia Oil
- MCT Oil
- Olive Oil
- Palm Shortening
- Red Palm Oil
- Sesame Oil (small amounts)
- Walnut Oil (small amounts)
Fish is highly nutritious, but buy wild-caught fish whenever possible.
- Mahi Mahi
- Orange Roughy
- Red Snapper
- Tuna (including Albacore)
- Other Fatty Fish
Shellfish and Other Seafood
Apart from organ meats, shellfish is the most nutrient-dense food you can eat. Often expensive, but worth it. Try to focus on fatty fish, if possible.
Watch out for hidden sugar in drinks!
- Almond Milk
- Broth (chicken, beef, vegetable, bone)
- Cashew Milk
- Club Soda
- Coconut Milk
- Unsweetened Coffee
- Herbal Teas
- Lemon and Lime Juice (small amounts)
- Seltzer Water
- Sparkling Mineral Water
- Unsweetened Tea
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., “The latest scientific word on the health benefits of nuts comes from researchers at California’s Loma Linda University who found that eating nuts on a regular basis strengthens the brainwave frequencies seen on electroencephalograms (EEGs) that are linked to cognition, healing, learning, and memory.”
But don’t go wild on nuts and seed, because they’re easy to overeat and high in omega-6 fats. These also add to your carbohydrate intake, so watch out. Lastly, note that peanut is a legume, not a nut, and is not recommended.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Psyllium Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Various Nut Butters
- Hemp Seeds
Herbs and Spices
Experiment with these herbs and spices as they’ll make your food really delicious! Make sure the check the ingredients of any herb or spice blends to avoid added sugar or MSG.
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- White Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Curry Powder
- Garam Masala
Not everyone can tolerate dairy – you should eliminate dairy except for ghee to reduce your inflammation. Many people consider full-fat cheese, yogurt, and cream to be ketogenic. And while these foods may be low carb, they can be easy to overeat (in great excess) as well as cause inflammation and digestive issues for many people.
Other Foods to Eat on a Keto Diet
These foods are some foods that don’t fall neatly into other categories.
Although we listed a couple below, I encourage you – as much as possible – to avoid ‘keto’ processed foods. This could include ‘keto’ sauces, condiments, nut flours, and other ‘keto’ foods that attempt to replace traditionally non-keto foods.
- Mayonnaise (made with good oils – see list of fats)
- Coconut Butter
- Pork Rinds
- Beef Jerky
- Cod Liver Oil (Fish Oil)
- Cacao Nibs
- Cacao Powder (unsweetened)
- Vinegars (but check the ingredients – many have added sugar or wheat)
- Eggs (of any animal)
- Shredded Coconut
- Hot Sauce (check ingredients)
- Vanilla Extract
- Coconut Flour
- Gluten-Free Tamari Sauce
- Coconut Aminos
- Fish Sauce (check ingredients)
- Gelatin (as powder or from bone broth)
- 100% Dark Chocolate
- Stevia (only small amounts)
- Monk Fruit / Lo Han Guo
- Almond Flour/Meal
FOODS TO AVOID ON A KETO DIET
Knowing what NOT to eat on a keto diet is at least as important as knowing what to eat. So this keto diet food list wouldn’t be complete without a list of non-keto foods.
Here is a list of all foods to definitely avoid:
All Sugars (Avoid)
Sugar of every type is completely off limit. Here are some of the many forms of sugar:
- White Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
- Brown Sugar
All Grains (Avoid)
Grains are all high in carbs and should be avoided completely. Here is a list of the most common grains (a few of these are ‘pseudo-grains’, but they should also be avoided):
- White Flour
- Most flours
- Wheat Flour
- Rice Flour
Processed Foods (Avoid)
Processed foods are pretty much anything you can buy in a box or in a bag. It’s a ‘catch-all’ term, but if it comes in box or bag, then it’s probably not keto-friendly and is off-limits.
- Potato Chips
- Ice Cream
- Tortilla Chips
- Most Condiments (Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, Dressing, etc.)
- Baked Goods
- Snack Bars
- Most Sauces
Most Fruit (Avoid)
Fruit can be healthy in an abstract sense, but when you’re trying to stay in ketosis, most fruit is not keto-friendly.
- Canned Fruit
Grains are all high in net carbs and should be avoided completely. Here is a list of the most common grains (a few of these are ‘pseudo-grains’, but they should also be avoided):
- Sports Drinks
- All Alcohol
- Sweetened Tea or Coffee
- All beans
Low Carb Foods To Avoid
Just because a food is low in carbohydrates or high in fats doesn’t make it keto! So try to avoid these foods even though they are low carb.
Dairy Products (e.g., kefir, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, cream, sour cream, butter)
- Sugar Alcohols
- Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
- Canola, Sunflower Seed, and other seed or vegetable oils
- Artificial Sweeteners (splenda, sucralose, etc.)
- Low carb gluten-containing foods
- Peanut butter
- Diet sodas
- Soy products (e.g., soy milk, tofu)
Note: Artificial sweeteners won’t necessarily throw you out of ketosis, so many people consider them ‘ok.’ However, artificial sweeteners can adversely affect your gut bacteria and can also stop you from getting over sugar cravings. They also have a slight insulinogenic effect.
I hope that you find this keto food list useful. But there are a few more things you should keep in mind…
Sometimes, when you start a keto diet, you can experience what’s called ‘keto-flu‘. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Feeling moody or ‘hangry’
- Weakness or muscle aches
- Lack of mental clarity
To avoid or treat these symptoms, here are 4 tips that commonly help:
- Eat More Sodium & Potassium. This is the most common cause of keto flu – not getting enough electrolytes. These minerals are necessary for energy production, and if you get low, you’ll feel tired. Try eating more bone broth, more salt, and more avocados.
- Eat More Fat. Another common cause of keto flu is not eating enough. The simplest solution is to eat more fat. And the best ways to do that are to eat more fatty meats or to add more healthy fats (like olive oil) to your veggies and other foods.
- Drink Plenty of Water. Dehydration is common and can cause all of the keto-flu symptoms. It’s also the easiest thing to fix – just drink water regularly throughout the day.
- Rest More and Exercise a Bit Less. Exercise is great, but you must make sure you’re sleeping and resting enough. Changing how you fuel your body (by relying more on fat) can be a bit stressful at first. So you might need more rest when you first start out.
Modified Keto Diet
One other thing worth mentioning is that there are different ‘types’ of keto diets.
The ‘traditional’ keto diet is usually called the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD). This is the diet that was originally created for epileptic children.
The SKD version of the keto diet typically requires that you eat less than 20-30 grams of carbohydrates. It also requires that you closely monitor how much protein you eat, so that you don’t go over 12-15% of your calories from protein.
This is a great version of keto, and if you’re using the diet for therapeutic purposes, it’s the best way to go. But if you’re more interested in weight loss and boosting your energy, then you might also want to consider what’s commonly called the “Modified Atkins Diet.”
The primary difference for this diet is the amount of different ‘macros’ that you can eat. Your net carbs can be a bit higher (50-75 grams per day), and your protein intake can also be a bit higher (up to 20% or so of calories).
This “modified” version of keto can be very useful to try if either (a) you find that the stricter version isn’t working for your or (b) you want a slightly more lenient diet to use after you’ve achieved your goals.
DOWNLOAD OUR KETO FOOD LIST
If you want an easy-to-print version of the keto food list, just click the button below. It’s perfect to use or modify as a keto diet grocery list.
Images: Copyright (c) joanna wnuk, grafnata, snyfer, Nitr, arinahabich from Fotolia
KETOGENIC DIET FOOD LIST INFOGRAPHIC
Please pin this detailed Ketogenic diet food list infographic on Pinterest. If you have a blog or website and would like to embed the infographic, please credit us for our work or use this embed code:
To see all the tasty Keto meals you can make from these ingredients check out our Keto recipes page.
There’s everything from breakfast, to dinner, lunch, appetizers, condiments, smoothies, desserts, snacks, and more! Just
Thinking about making the keto diet your new solution to shedding some pounds? Then it’s time to find out what foods you can eat on keto—and we’ve got you covered!
According to the Cleveland Clinic, a keto high-fat eating plan aims to change your metabolism from carbohydrate to fat; the theory is that you’ll then burn fat using ketones as energy as opposed to glucose. A fat-based diet like keto will stop your insulin levels from spiking when you eat, so you don’t store fat.
Then, your liver will make ketones, so your energy is compensated for. Within a couple if days on a keto plan (eating between 70-80% fat, 15-25% protein, and around 5-10% carbohydrate), your metabolism will most likely get faster and you’ll start losing weight. You want to focus on eating “good” fats on keto, which are unsaturated and monounsaturated.
Related: What Is the Keto Diet and How Does It Work? The Ultimate Guide for Keto Beginners
So what foods can you eat exactly on keto? Focus on your favorites, but don’t be afraid to try new things, too—being on keto can truly open up your taste buds, in addition to shrinking your waistline.
150+ keto diet foods
Keto dairy foods
1. Butter. Cooking with it on Keto is OK.
2. Heavy cream. Add it to recipes rather than the low-fat variety.
3. Plain yogurt. Make it high-fat, but avoid any sugary varieties.
4. Mayonnaise. Top a cheeseburger with it instead of ketchup.
5. Sour cream. Use as a dip with veggies, avoid reduced-fat.
6. Cottage cheese. High in protein and calcium, cottage cheese can be a great mid-day snack.
7. Cream cheese. Surprisingly delicious with berries! Give it a try.
8. Parmesan cheese. Tasty with veggies for a quick lunch.
9. Swiss cheese. Packs a protein punch, with 27 grams per serving.
10. Feta cheese. Make a Greek salad with feta, bell peppers, olives and onion—so good!
11. Cheddar cheese. The ideal addition to a Chef’s salad with egg, ham, chicken, lettuce, onion and dressing.
12. Brie cheese. Protein-rich and rich-tasting, too.
13. Monterey jack cheese. Mix with scrambled eggs for a different spin on breakfast.
14. Mozzarella cheese. Go Caprese by adding tomato and dressing, and season to taste.
15. Bleu cheese. Add to ground beef burgers with fresh onion and lettuce.
16. Plain Greek yogurt. No need to give up your favorite breakfast on keto!
Related: 18 Keto Breakfasts That Will Warm You Up
Keto protein sources
17. Eggs. The perfect solution for breakfast, lunch or dinner? A cheesy, veggie-filled omelet.
18. Salmon. Heart-healthy and packed with Vitamin D.
19. Tuna. Tuna salad for lunch on the go is perfectly keto.
20. Mackerel. Try this tasty fish if you haven’t—it may become a go-to.
21. Clams. Steamers with drawn butter seem like a luxury, not diet food.
22. Mussels. Another real treat when you serve them steamed.
23. Squid. Sautée with butter, garlic, onion, parmesan and lime juice.
24. Chicken. Avoid breaded varieties, but baked or stir-fry chicken with a big salad is perfect for dinner.
25. Turkey. From roast turkey to deep-fried to deli meat, turkey is a great keto option.
26. Bacon. Have it with eggs to get your day off to a substantial start.
27. Sausage. Any kind is fine—delicious with bell pepper and onion.
28. Goat. If you’re a meat eater, you can give it a try if you’re curious.
29 Liver. If you think you don’t like liver, reconsider—this iron-rich organ meat is great with onions.
30. Trout. Rich in Vitamin B12.
31. Halibut. An excellent source of Vitamin V12, too, as well as Vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium.
33. Cod. Delicious when sautéed with olive oil and pepper.
34. Catfish. Try baking it with oil, cayenne pepper and lemon juice.
35. Mahi-mahi. Delicious when prepared with lemon juice, basil and pepper.
36. Quail. It can be roasted like chicken.
37. Duck. Duck can be as well.
38. Heart. If you’re up for the challenge … organ meats are A-OK on keto!
39. Tongue. Again … if you’re up for it …
40. Kidney. Don’t let us stop you!
41. Hen. Can be roasted like chicken as well, as can …
42. Goose. As can …
43. Pheasant. A good source of phosphorus and selenium.
44. Venison. Low in saturated fat.
45. Steak. Enjoy your favorite cut along with a salad and/or sautéed veggies.
46. Veal. Make a keto-friendly veal parm by baking with fresh tomato and cheese.
47. Roast beef. Enjoy with cheddar cheese and salad.
48. Ground beef. A burger on keto can be topped with any number of cheeses or veggies, plus condiments.
49. Oysters. Try baking them with cream and cheddar cheeses, plus bacon … a new taste sensation.
50. Shrimp. Mix with mayo and celery for a simple but delicious shrimp salad.
51. Crab. High in folate.
52. Snapper. A good source of niacin.
53. Lobster. Enjoy it with butter—a great benefit of keto!
54. Roast pork. Serve it with seasoned sautéed veggies for a weekend meal.
55. Pork tenderloin. Makes delicious leftovers for lunch when you pair it with high-fat cheese.
56. Pork chops. Sauté in olive oil and season to taste.
57. Beef ribs. Skip the high-sugar barbecue sauce—you may find the taste of the meat itself is much more satisfying.
58. Lamb. Roast it with garlic, olive oil and rosemary.
59. Flounder. A great source of Vitamin D.
60. Scallops. Sautéed in butter—simple and delicious.
61. Ham. Fry up ham slices for a quick and easy dinner, served with seasoned summer squash—a great combo.
62. Ground pork. You can use it to make burgers in a fresh way.
63. Sardines. You can take them on the go and snack from the can—convenient if you like the taste.
Healthy Now Tip
Frozen may be healthier than fresh. Frozen fruits and veggies are picked at the peak of their season, so their quality is less likely to degrade and their nutrient levels are higher. Another plus: Frozen fruits and veggies are sometimes cheaper than their fresh counterparts. From Our Partners at the Cleveland Clinic
Keto diet oils
In addition to butter, you can cook with any of these on keto:
64. Extra virgin olive oil
65. Coconut oil
66. Avocado oil
67. Palm oil
68. Cocoa butter
70. Poultry fat
Keto diet veggies
Any of the vegetables below can be used in any combination to make a keto salad with high-fat dressing. Keep in mind that avocado is especially useful on keto because it’s rich in good fat, so enjoy it often.
78. Swiss chard
81. Bok choy
85. Brussels sprouts
87. Bell peppers
90. Summer squash
92. Black olives
93. Green olives
94. Red olives
Keto diet fruits
Because you want to limit sugar on the keto diet, most fruits are off-limits. However, the fruits below, especially berries, are OK to consume in moderation. Mix a fruit salad of three of the fruits below to eat as a yummy breakfast, snack or dessert. Top with heavy whipped cream if you want as well.
Keto diet nuts and seeds
The perfect snack to carry with you at all times? A bag of nuts and seeds mixed from the list below. Choose any of the listed ones you love, and mix with a few berries, such as cranberries, for a keto-friendly trail mix.
106. Chia seeds
107. Sesame seeds
108. Pumpkin seeds
109. Hemp seeds
110. Flax seeds
111. Macadamia nuts
113. Brazil nuts
Keto diet herbs and spices
Feel free to add any of the following to recipes on keto, or use them to season meals.
122. Cayenne pepper
123. Chili powder
127. Lemon juice
128. Lime juice
More keto diet foods
131. Dark chocolate. A piece after dinner can feel like a decadent treat—but it’s allowed.
132. Cocoa. Drink the unsweetened kind.
133. Coffee. Don’t add sugar and you’re good to go.
134. Tea. You also want to skip sugar here as well.
135. Yellow mustard. Use as sauce to compliment fish dishes; it’s a surprisingly tasty combination.
136. Red wine vinegar. Feel free to add it to recipes as you cook.
137. Ketchup. Read the label to make sure you’re choosing the reduced-sugar variety.
138. Mayonnaise-based salad dressing. Mix with raw veggies and season to taste for a side dish.
139. Horseradish. If you love the taste, go for it!
140. Hot sauce. You can enjoy it as hot as you can stand!
141. Worcestershire sauce. Can add flair to almost any meat dish.
142. Sauerkraut. Make sure the one you pick has no added sugars.
143. High-fat Thousand Island salad dressing
144. High-fat ranch salad dressing
145. High-fat French salad dressing
146. High-fat Russian salad dressing
147. High-fat Bleu Cheese salad dressing
148. High-fat creamy Italian salad dressing
149. Stevia sweetener. A natural choice.
150. Erythritol sweetener. Another way to indulge your sweet tooth naturally.
151. Monk fruit sweetener. Another healthy natural sweetener.
152. Xylitol sweetener. Yet another great non-sugar option.
153. Shirataki noodles. They’re water-based and can powerfully curb hunger—give them a try!
Follow these tips to avoid the dreaded keto flu.
List of Foods You Can Eat on Keto
Atkins is a type of ketogenic diet—a nutrition plan that’s high in fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. The goal of a low carb diet is to help you lose weight more efficiently by reaching ketosis, which is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. Consuming a balanced keto diet like Atkins 20® and Atkins 40® has shown to be safe and effective.
So, what foods can you eat on a keto diet? The following list of keto-friendly foods is based on the first phase of Atkins 20®, which reduces your carb intake to an average of 20g net carbs per day to guarantee ketosis is achieved. After the first two weeks of this induction phase, you will gradually add more net carbs and a wider variety of foods back into your diet. No matter the phase you’re in, try to eat three meals and two snacks a day, never starve yourself or go more than 4 waking hours without eating, and stay hydrated.
The main component of a keto diet is to lower your carb intake to 20–40 net grams per day to achieve ketosis. To ensure you’re still getting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body requires, it is important that the carbs you do eat come from nutrient-rich, non-starchy sources. Eating plenty of whole foods also helps you stay fuller longer and prevents sugar cravings.
Low carb vegetables
Aim to eat 12–15g of net carbs from a variety of vegetables per day. Refer to your Atkins plan and phase for a full list of acceptable foundation vegetables, but the following are some of our favorite keto friendly low carb veggies.
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Peppers (red and green)
Low carb fruits
When it comes time to adding low carb fruits into your diet, reach for low glycemic varieties like blackberries, blueberries, coconut, lemons and limes, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. Olives and avocados, which are also technically a fruit, are also a great source of healthy fat.
Protein should make up 20-30% of your diet. Eating the right balance of protein while on a low carb diet is important in protecting muscle mass and supplying the liver with enough amino acids to make new glucose for the cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel.
Meat, poultry, and eggs
Meat and poultry are excellent no-net-carb sources of protein and some of the most keto-friendly foods. Make sure to get your protein from a variety of different sources and aim for three 4-6 ounce servings of protein each day. Eggs are also packed with protein as well as vitamin A and antioxidants. Enjoy your eggs any style, especially with some foundation vegetables mixed in for a filling, balanced meal.
Remember that some processed meats, bacon, and ham are cured with sugar, which will add to the carb count. If possible, avoid cold cuts and other meats with added nitrates.
Fish and shellfish
Fish and shellfish are rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats as well as a great source of vitamins D and B2, calcium, and minerals like zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Aim for 4–6 ounce servings of fish or shellfish a couple times a week, and try to avoid products that are higher in carbs like imitation crab.
- Salmon (wild)
Cheese and other dairy
Because cheese contains about 1 gram of carbs per ounce, try to consume no more than 4 ounces per day (an ounce is about the size of a 1-inch cube). We recommend choosing the full-fat varieties when possible.
- Bleu cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Goat cheese
- Greek yogurt (plain)
- Mozzarella (whole milk)
Low carb keto diets replace your reduction of carbs with an increase in fat, typically accounting for at least 60% of your daily calories. But not just any fat; make sure to choose healthy fats from high-quality plant and animal sources, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and nuts, as well as cheese, eggs, meat, and fish, which are also protein sources.
Oils and other healthy fats
While these oils are free of carbs, the recommended daily intake for added fats is 2–4 tablespoons. Steer clear of unhealthy fats —i.e. trans fats typically found in packaged and fried foods—like partially hydrogenated oils. When cooking with the following healthy options, avoid heating oils above their smoke point.
- Avocado oil
- Coconut butter
- Coconut oil
- Mayonnaise (with no added sugar)
- MCT oil
- Olive oil
- Safflower oil
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil
Nuts and seeds
Low in carbs and high in fat, nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and make for a healthy snack or salad topping. Seeds are also a great source of fiber. Try to avoid nuts coated in extra sugar or “flavored” nuts, as the flavoring typically adds extra carbs. Consume almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios in moderation, as they have a higher carb count than the nuts and seeds listed below.
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
Low carb diets like keto have a diuretic effect, so make sure to drink a minimum of 6 to 8 glasses of water daily—especially during the induction phase—to support your metabolism and regular body functions. Not consuming enough water can lead to constipation, dizziness, and cravings. Also make sure to add extra salt to your diet in order to make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. Try sipping on full-sodium broth or adding a little extra salt to your food.
Zero-calorie seltzers and club soda, up to two cups of decaffeinated or regular coffee and tea, herbal tea (without added barley or fruit sugar added), and unsweetened soy and almond milks are also permitted. Pay close attention to your beverages, as they are often a major source of hidden sugars and carbs without you knowing!
Explore different Atkins plans personalized to your lifestyle, and easily keep track of your daily net carbs with the Atkins app or this carb counter guide.
49 Keto Diet Foods to Change Your Weight Loss Goals
Many people forgo the idea of dieting because it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do. More often than not, the tastiest foods are the ones forbidden and most of us would try to find a wiggle room, resulting in poor choices and unachieved goals. To help you achieve your goals in health and nutrition, we’ve compiled a ketogenic diet food list that should serve as your guide.
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, is a kind of diet that focuses on low-carb, high-fat consumption, which in turn offers many health benefits.
In fact, several studies show that the keto diet not only helps you lose weight but also improves your health. Ketogenic diets are also found to have benefits against several diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, and diabetes.
What are Ketogenic Diet Foods?
The keto diet is quite similar to the Atkins and other low-carb diets, which promotes eating food that’s low in carbohydrate content and consuming more fat instead. With low-carb consumption, the body undergoes a metabolic process called ketosis.
In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates, which is very effective when you want to lose weight, have more mental clarity, and energy. When ketosis is achieved, the body will undergo changes, such as decreased appetite, carbs changes in the urine or breath, and improved focus and energy. Usually, it will take approximately 3 days for the body to enter ketosis after starting a keto diet, but it will take several weeks before your body adapts to burning fat instead of carbs efficiently.
In general, the benefits of a keto diet plan are quite the same with other low carb diets, but the results are usually amplified. For example, not a lot of diet plans actually improve your mental focus the way keto diet does.
With the keto diet, you should expect a decrease in insulin and blood sugar levels and an increase in ketones. Among the keto diet foods you can eat belong to the food groups enumerated below:
- Fat and Oils. Fats consumed in the keto diet should come from natural sources such as nuts and meat, and paired with saturated and monounsaturated fats like olive oil, butter, and coconut oil.
- As much as possible, get your protein from grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic meat. Since meats mostly don’t have sugar content, they can be eaten in moderation. However, make sure not to consume too much or the keto diet won’t work.
- Fruits and Veggies. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer fresh or frozen, but prioritize aboveground veggies that mostly have green or leafy items.
- Choose dairy foods that are low in carb and high in fat, like harder cheeses. Always choose food items that have full-fat content.
- Seeds and Nuts. To make meals more interesting, you can incorporate seeds and nuts on your food. Choose nuts with high-fat content such as almonds and macadamias.
- Drink lots and lots of water. If you want more flavor, try some lime or lemon juice.
Full List of Ketogenic Diet Foods
Fats and Oils
Most of your calories should be sourced from fats while on a ketogenic diet. That said, you always have the choice of what you find palatable and what you don’t want to eat. You can mix and come up with many different ways to make your food more scrumptious, such as adding dressings, sauces, or using more butter than you did before.
While the body needs fats, too much of it can be dangerous especially if you get them from the wrong sources. In a ketogenic diet, there are several types you should consume, but this shouldn’t make things hard since most foods are usually a combination of different kinds of fats. Below is a brief overview to give you a better idea.
- Trans Fats. Avoid this as much as possible. These are hydrogenated fats that have been chemically processed in order to prolong the shelf life of many foods. An example of a food high in trans fats is margarine, which if consumed too much can cause heart problems.
- Polyunsaturated Fats. There are two types of these: the processed and the natural. Processed polyunsaturated fats are found in margarine spreads, while natural polyunsaturated fats are sourced from fatty fish and animal protein.
- Monounsaturated Fats. You can find these in macadamia nuts, avocado, and olives.
- Saturated Fats. You can find these in lard, coconut oil, ghee, and butter.
Below are some food choices rich in oils and fats that are beneficial to the ketogenic diet:
- MCT oil
- Macadamia oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Cocoa butter
- Coconut butter
- Ghee/ Butter
- Brazil/Macadamia nuts
- Egg yolks
- Non-hydrogenated animal fat
- Fatty fish
When it comes to vegetable oils, always go for the cold-pressed ones such as safflower, flax, soybean, or olive. If you love frying, only use coconut oil, ghee, beef tallow, or non-hydrogenated lards since their smoke points are higher compared to other oils. This means that there is little oxidation happening, enabling you to get the essential fatty acids crucial to your diet.
Keto Protein Foods List
Always go for a protein that’s sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals in order to avoid steroid hormone or bacteria intake. With poultry, always choose the darker meat when you can because there contain more fats than white meat. To get essential omega 3’s include fatty fish in your diet.
Below are some food choices rich in protein beneficial to the ketogenic diet:
- Poultry. Pheasant, quail, duck, chicken, and other wild game.
- Pork. Choose fattier cuts when buying ham, tenderloin, pork chops, pork loin, and ground pork. Be careful with added sugars.
- Beef. Again, choose fattier cuts when buying stew meat, roasts, steak, and ground beef.
- Whole Eggs. Your local market should have free-range eggs. Prepare them in any way you can, be it scrambled, poached, boiled, deviled, or fried.
- Shellfish. Squid, mussels, scallops, crab, lobster, oysters, and clams.
- Fish. The fattier the fish, the better for the keto diet. Your choices include tuna, trout, snapper, salmon, mahi-mahi, mackerel, halibut, flounder, cod, catfish, and other fish that are caught wild.
- Organ/Offal. Offal is rich in nutrients and vitamins, as well as tongue, kidney, liver, and heart.
- Other Meat. Fattier cuts still apply. Your choices include turkey, lamb, goat, and veal.
- Sausage and Bacon. Avoid anything with extra fillers and those cured in sugar. Nitrates shouldn’t be a problem.
- Nut Butter. Be wary of legumes since they are rich in omega 6’s, but feast on unsweetened fats that are high in fat like macadamia nut butter and almond butter.
Keto Friendly Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an essential aspect of the keto diet, but be wary of certain kinds that are high in sugar. You should be able to identify them in order not to make the mistake of destroying your diet.
Always go for low-carb veggies but are high in nutrients. They’re pretty easy to identify since most of them are leafy and dark. In fact, if you can find a vegetable that looks similar to kale or spinach, include them immediately in your diet.
Make sure you get the adequate amount of:
- Citrus Fruits. These include orange, lime, and lemon.
- Berries. Whether it’s blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, they’re all good.
- Nightshades. Eat a healthy amount of peppers, eggplant, and tomato.
You can still eat vegetables that are high in carbohydrates, but make sure to limit your intake. Your options are squash, mushrooms, garlic, parsnip, and onion. Meanwhile, you should stay away from huge fruits and starchy vegetables like bananas and potatoes.
Dairy products should be consumed along with the other food groups included in the keto diet, but as always, moderation is key. Make sure most of your meals consist of oils and fats, protein, and vegetables.
For people having trouble consuming dairy products, go for long-aged and very hard dairy products since they contain less lactose. Some examples are:
- Mayonnaise and mayo alternatives
- Hard cheese such as Swiss, feta, parmesan, and aged cheddar
- Soft cheese such as Monterey Jack, Colby, blue, brie, and mozzarella
- Spreadables such as creme fraiche, mascarpone, sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese
- Heavy whipped cream
- Greek yogurt.
Keto Seeds and Nuts
To get rid of the anti-nutrients, seeds and nuts should be roasted first before eaten. Try to avoid peanuts at all cuts, since they belong to the legume family and do not comply with the ketogenic concept.
A lot of people use raw nuts to add texture or improve the flavor of their meals. Some even love to snack on them, which can be satisfying but don’t exactly contribute to your weight loss goals. In fact, snacking will only raise the levels of insulin in your body, which slows down the pace of weight loss.
If you’re craving nuts, at least choose those that are beneficial to the keto diet, such as:
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Remember to eat in moderation, as nuts have carbohydrates. In fact, some nuts are high in them, including cashews and pistachios. If you are allergic to nuts, you can instead consume sunflower seed flour as a replacement for almond flour, and remember to keep a lookout for omega 6 fatty acids.
It should be noted that drinking water is essential and not just for those on a keto diet. However, this kind of diet can be diuretic, so drinking lots of water is important to keep the body hydrated, especially if you’re prone to bladder pain or urinary tract infections.
Remember how we’re always reminded to drink eight glasses of water each day? Continue doing that, but add some more — lots of it, in fact. If you can drink a gallon of water every day, the better. This is to make sure that you don’t experience the “keto flu,” which is due to the lack of electrolytes and dehydration especially in the first few days of the keto diet. Drink plenty of fluids in order to replenish your electrolytes, which should be easy since these aren’t limited to water alone. You can also drink sports drinks and bone broth once in a while.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to keto diet-friendly drinks, such as:
- Water. Your primary source for hydration. Always keep a bottle beside you and always refill, refill, and refill.
- Tea. Not just any tea. Choose green tea or black tea.
- Coffee. Coffee is rich in antioxidants, has some weight loss benefits, and enhances your mental focus.
- Broth. Broth easily replenishes your electrolytes. It’s also rich in vitamins and nutrients and tastes great to boot.
- Almond or Coconut Milk. Replace your favorite dairy drink with almond milk or coconut milk, but make sure to get the unsweetened version from the store.
If you’re craving for soda, choose the diet version. If you can, it’s best to avoid it before you lose complete control of yourself. Sodas are high in sugar, which causes a spike in insulin and not good for your weight loss goals.
You can also drink alcohol once in a while, but maybe get rid of wine and beer and choose hard liquor. Beer and wine are both high in carbs, so if you don’t want to gain more weight, avoid them at all cost.
Other Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
How the keto diet came to be is actually interesting. Back in the 1920s, it was known as a treatment for epilepsy and other neurological disorders. With that fact, it’s not surprising why the keto diet has valuable contributions to health.
Studies have revealed that this kind of diet has benefits for many health conditions:
- Acne: Eating less processed foods, sugary foods, and lower insulin levels may help inhibit the growth of acne.
- Brain injuries: The keto diet can make recovery faster after brain surgery, as well as reduce concussions.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: With reduced insulin levels in the body, the risk of getting polycystic ovary syndrome can be reduced.
- Parkinson’s disease: Research has shown that keto can help keep Parkinson’s disease at bay.
- Epilepsy: As mentioned, this disorder was the reason why the keto diet was developed.
- Alzheimer’s disease. The keto diet may prevent Alzheimer’s disease from progressing.
- Cancer: There are studies indicating that the keto diet might be able to slow the growth of tumors, and treat several types of cancer.
- Heart disease: Risk factors are eliminated in the keto diet, which includes blood sugar, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol levels, and body fat.
It’s important to note that research into many of these areas is far from conclusive.
Since we have already discussed what food groups you should dig into while on a keto diet, it’s time to layout those that you should avoid. Before we proceed, make sure to go over the list above again in order to build a mental image around the type of meals you should prepare to allow the ketogenic diet to do its wonders.
Obviously, not all food items are good for you. To make sure you succeed in your weight loss goals, avoid the food items below or keep them in moderation.
- Low-fat foods. When doing your groceries, develop the habit of reading the labels of everything you buy. Avoid buying items high in sugar and carbs as they tend to be low in fat. Always go for full-fat versions.
- Large fruits. Unfortunately, you may want to say goodbye to bananas and apples. These fruits are extremely high in sugar, which is not good for your keto diet. Berries are fine but don’t overeat as well.
- Trans fat. Hydrogenated fats are bad, so avoid giving into your margarine cravings or any spreadable other than butter.
- Starch. You might want to get rid of the muesli and oats in your cupboard and say goodbye to yams and potatoes. You can eat some root crops, but keep it light.
- Grains. Whole grains and wheat products should not be a part of your diet. These include quinoa, buckwheat, barley, rye, wheat, which in food items translate to corn, rice, pastries, cakes, cereal, pasta, bread, and beer.
- Sugar. Basically, anything sweet you can think of should be avoided. It’s a little sad, but you won’t be able to eat ice cream, chocolate, candy, juice, and soda. You can take a tiny bit, just to taste, and nothing more.
An Important Keto Diet Advice
The ketogenic diet has become extremely popular in recent years. While it’s a good thing, this has also resulted in many companies wanting to cash in by labeling their products “low carb” or “ketogenic.” For this reason, you should always read all labels and be familiar with ingredients that are naturally low carb. A tip: the fewer ingredients, the better.
Not everyone metabolizes fats efficiently enough to experience the benefits of the ketogenic diet. A DNA health test can tell you how efficiently you metabolize fats and if the ketogenic diet is right for you.
Some packaged products found are in no way beneficial in terms of correcting metabolic issues. If you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t fall so easily with anything that’s labeled “ketogenic.” More often than not, these products are high in carbohydrates, and the worst thing is, some companies don’t even declare this on the label.
To be safe, simply go for “real food.” Stop buying “instant foods” or anything that’s processed, and cook your own meals from scratch if you can. Remember that your goal is to lose weight. If you want to achieve that, make sure that your food choices fit within the ketogenic diet.
Low Carb Food List – What You Can Eat & Drink on Keto
Low Carb Foods and Drinks!
Eating on a keto or low carb diet may feel limited at first but as most long-term low carb-ers would agree, it gets better! You get more creative and discover a new world of interesting and delicious foods. A diet full of bacon and butter is a diet you can easily adapt to!
Every Day Basics
At A Glance: You want to make sure to eat the following on a daily and weekly basis: healthy fats and oils, meat, fish, veggies, eggs and unsweetened dairy. Definitely avoid: sugar, grains, vegetable oils, trans fats, fast foods, margarine, low-fat/diet products and processed foods in general.
Subscribe for a FREE copy of our
14-Day Keto Meal Plan
- 2 Full Weeks of Delicious Recipes!
- Leftovers and Bulk Preps Included
- Maximize Your Keto Diet’s Success
Low Carb Food List – An In-depth Breakdown
- Healthy Fats & Oils: Coconut oil, butter, lard & bacon fat, olive oil, avocados, fish oil, flaxseed, chia seed. Stay away from bad fats like vegetable oils. Read more about good fats and bad fats.
- Meats: All are fine. Chicken, beef, lamb, pork, venison, etc. Grass-fed is the healthiest.
- Fish & Seafood: All are fine. Salmon, cod, shrimp, octopus, tuna, tilapia, bass and others. Wild-caught is the healthiest.
- Vegetables: All non-starchy veggies are fine. Spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, spaghetti squash, etc. Vegetables other than potatoes, corn and large tomatoes are low in carbs and should be consumed multiple times daily.
- Eggs: Omega-3 enriched, pasture-raised organic are best. Check out our full Egg Buying Guide!
- Full-fat Dairy: Cheeses, unsweetened almond milk, heavy cream, yogurt, butter. Any dairy low in carbs and high in saturated and/or monounsaturated is generally good.
- Nuts and Seeds (in small amounts): Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds.
- Flour Replacements: Almond flour, almond meal and coconut flour.
- Berries (in small amounts): Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, lemons, limes.
- Sweeteners & Sugar Alcohols: Erythritol, stevia, Truvia, xylitol. It’s recommended to consume sweeteners with minimal calories, no carbs and a low Glycemix Index (GI) because they won’t count toward your net carbs or spike your blood sugar levels. Every body is different though, so try these sweeteners and see how you feel!
* Berries, nuts and seeds should be eaten in small quantities. Berries do contain sugar and can easily take you over your carb limit if you don’t track your portion sizes; however, they are packed with vitamins and can be a good treat from time to time. Nuts are calorie dense and the serving size is generally extremely small.
Low Carb Indulgence Food List
Now that you have your low carb food list of safe and delicious low carb foods, you’re probably asking: “What about treats? Can I cheat a little but still be somewhat healthy?” Great question! We know what that’s like and it’s important to be flexible. Here’s a few foods you can indulge in from time to time:
- Dark Chocolate: 70% cocoa or higher has about 10 carbs per ounce. Check out some awesome benefits and a recipe for Chocolate Truffles!
- Low Carb Ice Cream: Breyers CarbSmart is only 4 net carbs per 1/2 cup and tastes great! Enlightened is also a great brand that is sweetened with erythritol!
- Sugar-free Jello w/ Whipped Cream: Simple but sweet and keeps you low in carbs.
- Quest Bars: These aren’t too high in carbs but may spike blood sugar according to some people. Try putting them in a toaster oven for a few minutes on each side (until lightly browned). You’ll love them!
- Peanut Butter: Always good but in small doses. Buy an all-natural brand with only two ingredients: peanuts, salt.
- Pizza (toppings only): If you can’t live without pizza (and don’t want to make a keto pizza), just eat the toppings and sauce. Those are the best parts anyway! Or make your own Low Carb Pizza!
- Breaded foods: Calamari, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings and anything else breaded is okay in small doses.
- Pork rinds: Zero carbs with fat and protein, exactly the kind of keto snack you’re looking for.
- Jerky: A great source of protein, just be careful with sweeter flavors that can be loaded with sugar.
Need more ideas? Check out 30 Low Carb Snacks that require little to no prep time!
Low Carb Drinks (non-alcoholic)
Water, water, water! You need to drink more water on keto, or any healthy lifestyle, for that matter. Staying hydrated is extremely important. Here are a few options you can enjoy while keeping your carbs and sugar in check:
- Protein shakes
- Vegetable Juices (fresh squeezed and unsweetened)
- Carbonated water or soda
- Bai5 or other erythritol/stevia sweetened beverages
Low Carb Alcoholic Drinks
You can have alcohol on keto! The stronger liquors are 0 carbs. They will add to your caloric intake but keep your carb count low. Below is a list of liquors and lower carb beers and wines for easy reference when picking your poison! Check out our full Guide to Keto Alcohol to learn how and why alcohol affects us and more so on a low carb diet!
Losing Weight or Simply Eating Right
Regardless of the reason you switched to a low carb diet, it’s important to be mindful of your daily macros and caloric intake. Watch alcohol intake because it is additional, and empty, calories and will hinder you reaching your goals. Alcohol metabolization stalls fat burning until it’s out of your system. Something we expand on further in our Guide to Keto Alcohol.
Being healthy is all about getting the right nutrients and vitamins from your food so always include variety in your diet. Have plenty of meat (or fish), dairy and veggies on a daily basis based on this low carb food list. Use coconut oil and olive oil when you cook and in your salads (respectively) and have a handful of nuts or berries from time to time.
Going Shopping? Take Our Keto Foods List With You!
We’ve developed a printable list of keto foods that you can take with you on your grocery shopping trips.
Got any more questions or thought of something we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
You’ll Love Our Keto in Five Cookbooks!
We believe that the key to success is simplicity and satisfaction with your diet. That’s why we created our Keto in Five ecookbook series which includes Breakfast in Five, Lunch in Five, Dinner in Five & Dessert in Five.
Each ebook contains 30 recipes. Every recipe is made with just 5 ingredients and has up to 5 grams of net carbs. That means you can have seconds of any meal and you’ll still be within your daily carb limit!