The great aspect of being in ketosis is all the delicious food you get to eat, but if you’re just starting, putting together this list of foods could be daunting.
At Konscious Keto, we’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and show you some of our favorite keto-approved foods you get to enjoy and have been shown to help support ketosis.
Protein is eaten in moderate amounts on the keto diet, with a focus on flavorful, high-fat animal protein and seafood.
Grass-fed fatty red meats like beef are ideal because they provide higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats, and, as the name suggests, the animals eat grass - not grain, which can transfer to your dinner plate.
Wild-caught salmon also provides high levels of healthy omega-3 fats and is another fantastic grain-free option.
Healthy fats are what the keto diet is all about.
Adding grass-fed meat and wild seafood to your keto diet grocery shopping list is one way to make sure your body is getting the healthy fat it needs to thrive.
Omega-3 fats are essential because they’ve been found to lower insulin levels and assist in weight loss.
Quick Tip: When buying meat, choose grass-fed beef, lamb or pork that is marbled with fat.
Buy chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of breasts, and choose ground meat with higher fat content.
Buy wild salmon, sardines, shrimp, and shellfish.Best Meats to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Beef (fatty steaks and roasts, higher fat ground beef)
- Lamb (fatty roasts, ground meat)
- Pork (fatty roasts and chops, ground meat)
- Chicken and duck (dark meat, thighs, and legs)
- Turkey (dark meat, thighs, and legs)
Best Seafood to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Halibut, cod, flounder
- Shrimp and scallops
- Shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters)
What Meat Should I Avoid?
Lean meat that is lower in fat, like chicken breast or pork loin, doesn’t have to be avoided entirely on the keto diet but should be eaten less often than fattier cuts of meat (like juicy, marbled steaks).
Meats to avoid entirely on the keto diet include processed and cured meats like sausage, deli meat, and bacon, which are often higher in added carbs.
Some brands of cured meat and sausage are made without added sugar or nitrates, but you have to read labels carefully.
Avoid processed, frozen meat and seafood products that usually contain added sugar, wheat, corn, and artificial ingredients.
Canned fish, like sardines, can also have unhealthy oils, sugar, starch and other ingredients added for flavor.
Seafood coated with batter or a breadcrumb coating also has extra carbs.
Why Avoid Sugar and Starch?
Sugar and starch add carbohydrates to food, and your body turns these carbs into sugar (insulin and glucose).
When too much glucose is stored in your body, it becomes the main energy source.
By eliminating extra carbs, your body stops running on glucose for energy and starts burning stored fat.
Burning fat doesn’t just help with weight loss. It also helps control the release of insulin, which plays a role in diabetes and other health problems.
Quick Tip: In general, stay away from meat or seafood that’s been processed in any way.
Buy meat from the butcher’s counter, and avoid the deli section.
Meat to Avoid on the Keto Diet:
- Deli meat with added sugar and nitrates
- Processed meat with added sugar and nitrates (sausage, bacon, ham)
- Frozen, processed meat and seafood with added ingredients (like batter, breadcrumbs, flour, corn, sugar)
- Sardines canned with added artificial ingredients (like sugar or unhealthy oils such as canola oil)
How to Find Hidden Carbs in Meat
Processed meat often contains extra carbs because of sugar or starch that’s been added. But it’s not just what’s in meat that matters.
It’s also what you put on it.
Condiments like ketchup, Cool Whip, salad dressing, and sauces are often the equivalent of pouring carbs on your food.
Most condiments contain ingredients like sugar, flour, corn by-products, unhealthy oils, and artificial thickeners.
Using store-bought condiments can add carbs to otherwise healthy and keto-friendly proteins.
The same goes for marinades and rubs, which often flavor meat with sugar.
Many salad dressings and sauces are keto-friendly, as long as sugar isn’t added and they’re made with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil.
- Ranch dressing
- Blue Cheese dressing
- Caesar dressing
Healthy fats are an essential part of how ketosis works.
When you eat mostly healthy fats, with a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs, your body starts using fat as its main fuel source.
Once your body is burning fat and producing ketones, you enter ketosis.
This leads to increased weight loss and other health benefits.
So, what does “mostly healthy fats” mean?
It means that 70 to 80 percent of total daily calories should come from healthy fats. Luckily, healthy fats are easy to find at the grocery store.
Include things on your keto diet shopping lists like butter, olive oil, and coconut oil.
In lesser amounts, healthy fats on the keto diet can also come from grass-fed meat, wild seafood, full-fat dairy products, and some nuts and seeds.
Healthy fats provide a delicious and satiating form of energy. Healthy fats can be saturated fats, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), and select types of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).
A combination of these fat types in your diet can help improve cholesterol levels, reduce belly fat and insulin resistance, support essential hormones, maintain bone density and enhance immune system health.
Quick Tip: Start in the oil aisle of the grocery store to find the most healthy fats; you can see these as you walk past the fresh veggies (don’t forget to grab an avocado or five!).
Next, make quick visits to the bulk nut aisle and dairy section.
Best Keto Fats to Eat Regularly:
- Butter and ghee
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil
- Red palm oil (sustainably sourced)
- Avocado oil
- Lard, tallow, chicken or duck fat
Best Keto Fats to Eat in Smaller Amounts:
- Hemp oil (cold pressed)
- Flax seeds and flax oil (cold pressed)
- Chia oil (cold pressed)
- Nuts (avoid nuts like cashews, which are the highest in carbs)
- Nut oils (macadamia oil is the lowest in PUFAs and the best choice)
- Full-fat dairy products, ideally grass-fed (cream, high-fat cheese)
What are Bad Fats to Eat in Ketosis?
Bad fats to eat in ketosis are any types of fat that are artificially processed.
Highly processed and hydrogenated fats are pro-inflammatory, increase the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, and are bad for overall health.
Quick Tip: Unhealthy processed and hydrogenated fats are often found in store-bought cookies and desserts, crackers, fast food, salad dressings and marinades, condiments, and vegetable oils like sunflower, safflower, soybean and canola oils.
Worst Fats to Eat in Ketosis
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil or fat
- Industrial and processed seed oils
- Industrial and processed vegetable oils
- Conventional dairy products
Can I Eat Dairy Foods on the Keto Diet?
Dairy can be eaten in moderation on the keto diet, but the type of dairy foods you eat matters.
First of all, dairy has natural sugars, so it’s important not to overdo it. Dairy products with added sugars, like sweetened yogurt and kefir, should be avoided entirely.
Choose pastured or grass-fed dairy products, raw dairy products when possible, and always choose full fat.
Full-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows have higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acids).
Unlike low-fat or non-fat conventional dairy products, which can increase inflammation, full-fat grass-fed dairy products don’t have an inflammatory effect.
When eaten in moderation, full-fat dairy products can help keep weight off.
Goodbye non-fat milk, hello cream!
Best Dairy Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Full-fat cheese
- Whole cream
- Full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt and kefir
Ketogenic Fruits & Vegetables
Vegetables are an essential part of any diet for the nutrients and fiber they provide.
Low-carb, non-starchy, nutrient-dense vegetables are the best veggies to eat on the keto diet.
Your keto diet shopping list can include both fresh and frozen vegetables.
Best Vegetables to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Leafy greens and lettuce (Swiss chard, kale, arugula, spinach, bok choy)
- Cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts)
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
What Vegetables Should I Avoid?
Simply put, vegetables to avoid on the keto diet are those that are higher in carbohydrates.
Remember, limiting carbs is how ketosis works. Although vegetables are generally a healthy food, some plants have more natural sugars, which adds carbs.
Quick Tip: Most vegetables that grow above ground are less starchy and lower in carbs (like greens and broccoli).
Most vegetables that grow underground (like potatoes and root vegetables) are higher in carbs.
Vegetables to Avoid on the Keto Diet:
- Sweet potatoes and yams
- Green peas
Are Fruits Allowed on the Keto Diet?
Fruits are generally avoided on the keto diet, because of the high sugar content of fruit.
Too much fructose from fruit or other foods can kick your body out of ketosis.
One delicious exception is berries, which are antioxidant rich and lower in carbs (but should still be eaten in moderation).
Quick Fact: Technically, avocados and tomatoes are fruits. Don’t avoid avocados, which are an ideal low-carb, high fat keto food.
Tomatoes, on the other hand, should be eaten in moderation because of their higher carb content.
We prefer to eat Roma tomatoes as these ofter lots of nutrients with fewer carbs compared to cherry tomatoes.
When hunger strikes between meals, there are plenty of healthy keto snacks to choose from, including ready-to-eat snacks that can be added to your keto diet shopping list.
Ready-to-eat snacks require little or no cooking and make staying on a keto diet convenient and easy.
Ready-to-Eat Grocery Friendly Keto Snacks:
- Full-fat cheese
- Nuts and natural nut butter
- Coconut flakes and coconut butter
- Sardines with keto-friendly oils
- Sliced vegetables
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Beef or turkey jerky (watch for added sugar)
- Gluten-free crackers made with healthy fats
Snacks to Avoid on the Keto Diet
The snack aisle in a grocery store isn’t a great place to shop for keto snacks.
Many snack foods are made with grains (like corn, white flour, rice, and oats), sugar, and industrial or hydrogenated oils.
Packaged snack foods are processed foods that provide empty calories with little nutritional value.
- Most crackers, chips and other similar snack foods
- Desserts made from grains and sugar (including cookies, cakes, ice cream)
- Sweetened smoothies, yogurt drinks, and sports drinks
- Sweetened coffee drinks
- Snack bars and protein bars with high sugar and carbs
- Ingredients like natural sugars, dried fruits, and sweetened chocolate
The trick to finding the best condiments to eat on the keto diet is to read labels and avoid those made with unhealthy oils and sugar.
It’s not easy.
In many cases, you’re better off whisking together salad dressing, mayonnaise and other condiments at home.
The Best Condiments to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Mayonnaise made with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, with no sugar added
- Herb butter
- Bearnaise and Hollandaise sauce
- Homemade ketchup
- Tabasco, and other hot sauces made without sugar
- Tahini (sesame paste)
Condiments to Avoid on the Keto Diet
Avoid store-bought condiments that contain unhealthy oils, sugar, and artificial thickeners.
- Salad dressing made from canola, safflower, sunflower or soybean oil
- Salad dressing with added sugar and artificial thickeners
- Mayonnaise made from canola, safflower, sunflower or soybean oil and with added sugar
- Store bought ketchup (high in sugar)
- Store-bought BBQ sauce (high in sugar)
Where to Find Flavor in the Grocery Store
Flavor doesn’t only come from condiments.
Fresh herbs, spices, hot peppers, fresh lemon juice and sea salt, are all flavor-enhancing ingredients.
Spice blends are an easy way to add lots of flavors, especially to meat and seafood.
Skip store-bought spice blends that have sugar and additives, and blend your spices and sauces at home.
Some of our favorite recipes include spices like ras el hanout and za'atar seasonings which can both be made at home.
Healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, and nut oils can also add flavor to food.
The best keto desserts aren’t just low carb; they’re also a source of healthy fat and nutrients.
Keto ingredients like coconut oil and coconut butter, nut butter, and whole cream can lead to really delicious keto desserts.
Low carb sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, and erythritol can sweeten up desserts if needed, on occasion.
Unlike sugar, these sweeteners don’t affect insulin.
Quick Tip: The longer you follow the keto diet, the fewer sugar cravings you’ll have.
Try to stick with desserts made from just a few healthy ingredients, like full-fat cream drizzled over berries or a spoonful of coconut butter.
Best Desserts to Eat on the Keto Diet:
- Whole cream and berries
- Desserts sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, xylitol and erythritol
- Fat bombs
- Dark chocolate with a high cacao percentage (at least 80%)
- Gluten-free, sugar-free baked goods (that don’t contain artificial sweeteners)
What Desserts Should I Avoid?
Avoid desserts made with grains or sugar (including honey and maple syrup).
Also avoid sweets made from artificial ingredients, including artificial sweeteners like sucralose and saccharin.
This often means that traditional ice cream, pastries, cakes, cookies, and candy are off limits. Don’t worry!
There are many yummy gluten-free and sugar-free keto desserts that are amazing substitutes; you can check out our free recipe book for lots of inspiring ideas.
What Sugar Alternatives Can I Buy at the Grocery Store?
Several low-glycemic sweeteners are either zero-calorie or low calorie and can be bought at the grocery store.
Stevia and monk fruit are natural sweeteners, and xylitol and erythritol are sugar alcohols.
These types of sweeteners won’t raise your blood sugar.
- Monk fruit
Ketogenic Minerals & Vitamins
Even on the keto diet, which provides an abundance of nutrients, it might be necessary to supplement. Keto supplements can support your journey to ketosis by supplementing fat or protein.
High-quality fish oil and protein powder without added sugar are two common keto supplements.
What Keto Minerals Should I include?
Exogenous ketones are a supplement that provides an immediate hit of ketones for your body, making it easier to burn fat and stay in ketosis.
Whether you’re just starting the keto diet or are already in ketosis, exogenous ketones will provide a helpful boost of minerals and electrolytes.
Magnesium and calcium are two essential minerals to be mindful of on the keto diet.
Magnesium is a common deficiency, and we need it to control hundreds of cell processes.
Calcium is also essential, and if you’re cutting back on dairy, then it can be found in leafy greens, unsweetened almond milk, and fish.
Sodium and potassium are electrolytes that can be flushed out, especially during the first weeks of ketosis when water weight is lost.
Make sure to drink lots of water, and also add back sodium and potassium.
Where to Find Keto Supplements in the Grocery Store
Keto supplements can be found in the vitamin and nutrition aisle of grocery stores.
Supplementation can also occur naturally by eating foods rich in the minerals and vitamins that might be deficient.
Keto Supplements to Include:
- Fish oil
- Magnesium (nuts and leafy greens)
- Calcium (high-fat dairy, unsweetened almond milk, leafy greens, fish)
- Sodium (sea salt, sea vegetables like kelp and nori)
- Potassium (avocados, salmon, nuts, leafy greens)
- BHB (electrolytes and minerals)
Keto Grocery Foods to Avoid
The Freezer Section
- Frozen breakfast foods, like waffles, pancakes, and muffins
- Frozen vegetables with added sauces
- Frozen high-carb vegetables like corn, peas, sweet potatoes and potatoes (fries and hash browns)
- Frozen high-carb fruit
- Frozen meat with sauces or seasonings that contain sugar, gluten, and artificial ingredients
- Breaded fish
- Frozen pizza and pasta
- Frozen burritos
The Deli (Look Out for Hidden Carbs in Meats)
- Sliced deli meats with sugar or nitrates
- Salami, hot dogs, bacon and other cured meats with sugar and nitrates added
- Low-fat deli meat
- Low-fat or processed sliced cheese
- Side dishes like potato salad, coleslaw, and macaroni salad
- Cooked meat with BBQ sauce
Canned or Processed Foods
- Canned fruit
- Jams and jellies
- Nut butter with added oil or sugar
- Canned soups and pasta
- Canned beans
- Canned high-carb vegetables (corn, peas, pumpkin puree)
- Energy and protein bars
- Sodas, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened coffee drinks
- Condiments and sauces with sugar, gluten, and artificial ingredients
An Example Keto Grocery List
In the beginning, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what you can and can’t eat on the keto diet.
Use this sample keto diet grocery shopping list as a guide for your first few trips to the grocery store.
Before you know it, you’ll be shopping like a keto pro.
- Spinach or Swiss chard
- Arugula, mixed greens, or other salad greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Fresh herbs
Meat and Seafood
- Wild caught salmon
- Chicken thighs
- Ground lamb
- Grass-fed steak
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Cage-free eggs
- Whole cream
- Whole fat milk, or unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- Cultured dairy products, like full-fat sour cream or unsweetened full-fat kefir
- Canned sardines in water or olive oil
- Mayonnaise (only mayo made from olive oil or avocado oil, and without added sugar)
- Nut butter (preferably natural)
- Macadamia nuts, almonds, or walnuts
- Coconut butter
Does Ketosis Work?
If you want to lose weight and boost your energy without depriving yourself of delicious, satisfying meals, then the keto diet is a great way to go.
As we said, nothing beats the keto diet when it comes to all the delicious food you can enjoy. Just make sure to look out for those carbohydrates, especially the hidden ones, and you’ll be alright.