If you're wondering what you can eat on a ketogenic diet, here's a keto diet food list with the common keto foods you'll want to stock in your kitchen.
So you’ve been hearing a lot about keto these days. You’re probably seeing amazing success stories and rave reviews. Well, if you’re wondering how to get started on keto, it’s easy!
You’ll want to stock your pantry, cupboards, and fridge with delicious, healthy, whole foods. Focus on all the wonderful foods you can enjoy following a keto diet (rather than worrying about the foods you should avoid). Here’s the full keto diet food list to help you get started.
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What is the Keto Diet?
Keto is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. It’s similar to paleo in that many of the foods and recipes overlap between the keto diet and the paleo diet. Because the diet is focused on getting your body into ketosis to burn fat, you'll be eating very low carb foods. And focusing on whole, unprocessed foods will keep it healthy. What you won’t see on the keto diet food list? Processed foods, chemicals, gluten and sugars. Watch for these items when you go to the store and be certain to read labels carefully.
Fortunately, there are a ton of great low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free foods out there, ensuring the keto diet is simple to follow and delicious.
The key is to focus on whole foods like leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, organic meats, fish, healthy fats, and low-glycemic berries. Because the keto diet is high in satisfying fats and protein, it’s very filling. As you shift away from processed foods, you’ll feel healthier and more energetic—and you may also lose weight.
When following the keto diet, look for organic options whenever possible. Avoiding pesticide-laden produce is well worth the extra cost associated with these foods. Organic meats are important because most don’t contain antibiotics or hormones (and haven’t been processed). Many organic products are now available at big box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, making it easy to buy organic even on a budget.
When you’re cooking with simple, whole foods, it’s important to buy the highest quality items you can find. These flavors really stand out, so when you use just a few ingredients, quality and freshness make a big difference. Buy foods in-season as well. Often the key ingredients in keto recipes are so delicious at their peak, they hardly require any preparation at all.
Easy Keto Recipes to Try
Getting Started with the Keto Diet
If you’re ready to get started with the keto diet, it’s best to organize your kitchen. Clean out all the high-carb processed “junk food” you might be storing in your fridge and pantry. This will help you create plenty of space for all the healthy keto-friendly foods.
When you clean out your kitchen, you’ll want to read labels carefully. There are many sneaky foods (like salad dressing) that contain gluten and other inflammatory foods. Those with allergies to items like dairy, soy or peanuts are probably familiar with reading labels carefully. If you’re following a paleo diet already, you know to avoid milk, peanuts and refined sugars (as well a gluten). If a low-carb, gluten-free diet is new to you, you may want to watch labels closely for hidden ingredients. Look for items with only a few, recognizable ingredients. This will indicate they’re less processed and more whole.
You’ll also want to organize your kitchen tools to ensure you have exactly what you need on hand for preparing keto recipes. While many keto recipes are easy to follow and cook, some call for items like a spiralizer, food processor or pressure cooker. Having the proper tools on hand can help you really ramp up your cooking game and make keto food preparation an enjoyable experience.
Once your kitchen is cleaned out and prepared, you’re ready to shop for the items on your keto diet food list!
Stocking the Keto Kitchen: Keto Diet Food List
There’s a trick to shopping for a keto diet (or any whole food diet). Shop the perimeter of the store! Most stores stock their whole foods like produce and meat around the edges of the store and stock rows of processed canned and boxed foods in the center. If you concentrate your efforts on the outer edges of the supermarket, you’ll find almost every food you need.
Shop with a list, and if possible, plan out your first few weeks of keto meals. This can help you ensure you have all the ingredients you’ll need on hand. As you become more familiar with the keto diet, you’ll start to store extra, keto-friendly foods in your pantry and cupboards, so you can cook whatever meal you’re craving that day. When you’re starting out though, you’ll probably need to build up your storage and stockpile over time (see more budget tips here).
So are you wondering what to buy? Here’s the comprehensive keto diet food list with all the items you’ll need to get started. This list is also paleo-friendly, so you’ll also have the basic ingredients you’ll need to make many of the great keto and paleo recipes here. The keto diet and the paleo diet overlap in many ways, so it’s easy to find recipes that work for both food plans.
I’ve also listed the tools you’ll need to create keto recipes. Don’t feel like you need every item to get started. Simply use what you have on hand, and then add new kitchen items as you go along.
Keto Pantry Foods
Apple cider vinegar
Chicken and vegetable broths
Chocolate, unsweetened 100% cacao
Collagen protein powder
Coconut milk with no additives or gums (look for paper cartons or BPA-free cans)
Coconut oil, organic virgin
Egg white protein powder
Flavored olive oils
Herbs & spices — avoid pre-mixed spice blends, which contain starch
Macadamia nut oil
Monk fruit sweetener
Organic olive oil
Tuna, canned or packaged with no additives
Wild caught salmon, canned or packaged with no additives
Keto Freezer Foods
Green vegetables (non-starchy)
Shrimp —raw, peeled and deveined
Keto Fridge Foods
Lemons and limes
Seasonal fresh vegetables (non-starchy)
Keto Food Prep Tools
Keto Food Cooking Tools
As you can see, there’s a huge array of foods on this keto diet food list—so you don’t need to feel deprived or like your options are limited! Plus, many of your favorite recipes are easily adapted to fit a low carb lifestyle like keto or paleo. You’ll feel wonderful as you enjoy whole, nourishing foods that energize your body. Because of the high fat and protein content of the keto diet, it’s highly satisfying. So start by stocking up on this keto food list and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the keto diet!
And if you're looking for more info on starting keto, including full 30-day keto meal plans, weekly shopping lists, and everything you need to succeed check out this helpful resource for beginning keto.