Living a healthier lifestyle is usually the ultimate goal for most people, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do…. especially when you don’t know what you should eat! There are several different diet plans that are on the market right now, but the most popular one that I receive the most questions about is the ketogenic diet. The keto diet has become quite popular and studies have shown that it is effective for weight loss, diabetes and epilepsy.
A ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20–50 grams per day. While this may seem a little challenging for some, there are a variety of nutritious foods can easily fit into this way of eating. The keto diet can be very easy to follow but you have to make sure that you stock up on the right foods. To help you get started, I’ve put together a shopping list of keto diet foods to get you on the right track.
The Ultimate Keto Shopping List
- Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry are considered staple foods on a keto diet because they contain no carbs and are rich in several vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of high-quality protein. It’s recommended to choose grass-fed, lean cuts of meat when possible. That's because animals that eat grass produce meat with a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to improving the risk factors for developing heart disease.
Fish and shellfish are keto-friendly foods that are rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium, and are pretty much carb-free. Depending on the type of fish, the carb amount will vary. Shrimp and crab are good choices because they contain zero carbs. Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish contain a small amount of carbs and are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s recommended to consume at least two servings of seafood weekly.
- Non-Starchy Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, and high in nutrients. Vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts are great, keto-friendly choices. However, consuming one serving of starchy vegetables such as potatoes, yams or beets could put you over your entire carb limit for the day. These vegetables can fit into a low carb diet plan, but you need to be very mindful of portion sizes
Cheese is a popular keto-friendly food because it’s both nutritious and delicious. They are also very low in carbs, which makes them a great fit for a ketogenic diet, but high in fat. One ounce of cheddar cheese provides 1 gram of carbs, 7 grams of protein and 20% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for calcium. When possible, look for reduced fat cheese while shopping.
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most inexpensive foods available, and they are a great option for the keto diet. One large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs and about 6-7 grams of protein. Most of the egg's nutrients are found in the yolk, which includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute to eye health.
- Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are nutritious, high-protein foods. Even though they contain some carbs, they can still be included in a keto meal plan. Both yogurt and cottage cheese have been shown to help decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness. You can enjoy these items as a tasty snack or they can be combined with chopped nuts, and a small serving of fruit for a quick and easy keto treat.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy, low-carb foods that contain a great source of healthy fats. Nuts have been linked to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Nuts and seeds are also high in fiber, which can help you feel full and keep you satisfied throughout the day. Although all nuts and seeds are fairly low in carbs, the amount varies depending on the type. For example, almonds contain 6 grams of carbs while chia seeds contain 12 grams of carb.
Most people think that fruit is restricted on a keto diet, but berries are actually low in carbs and high in fiber. Berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, contain as much fiber as digestible carbs and are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants have been linked to with inflammation and protecting against certain diseases.
Zoodles, which are simply zucchini that has been spiralized into noodles, is a great keto-friendly pasta alternative. They contain about 5 net grams of carbs, zero fat, and about 3 grams of protein per cup. Zoodles are packed with several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, B and potassium. You can purchase pre-made zoodles in the fresh produce section of the grocery store or you can save a little bit of money and make your own at home.
- Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
Can you drink iced tea on a keto diet? Coffee and tea are carb-free drinks that are great beverage options for the keto diet. And if you are looking for a keto-friendly sweet tea option, I would recommend Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. It’s made with black tea leaves and a zero-calorie sweetener already added in the tea bag. It contains zero sugar, zero carbs, and tons of flavor!
Egg Nutrition Facts & Info. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/
Medical information and health advice you can trust. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/keto-diet
PaoliII A. Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe? Intl J Environ Res Pub Health. 2014;11(2):2092-2107.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership. (2020, March 5). Retrieved from https://www.seafoodnutrition.org/
Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LD is an Alabama-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of the healthy food blog, Beautiful Eats & Things. After completing her graduate studies at the University of Alabama, Andrea worked in several different healthcare settings including clinical, public health, and long-term care. Andrea believes in achieving optimal health by incorporating healthier eating habits into your lifestyle and making healthy eating fun! When she’s not running after her two toddlers, she’s going on exciting foodie adventures with her husband!