Ketogenic diet food list – what to buyPrint it here and keep it in your bag. Keto grocery shopping has never been easier! For foods marked with an asterisk (*) below, be sure to check the label for unwanted sugars and starches.
Best: Foods that contain less than 3 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per 100 grams of food.1
Good: Foods that contain 3-6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams of food.
- Lettuce (Boston, butter, endive, field greens, iceberg, matcha, romaine, and watercress)
- Greens (collard, kale, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnip)
- Asparagus, avocados, bok choy, celery, eggplant, herbs, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes, rapini (broccoli raab), tomatoes, and zucchini (find recipes for these veggies in our collection of keto side dishes)
- Artichokes, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, fennel, green beans, jicama, okra, snap peas, snow peas, and turnips (see our visual guide to keto vegetables)
- Blackberries and raspberries (see our visual guide to keto fruits)
- Beef, chicken, game, lamb, pork, and veal2 (see our recipes for keto meals)
- Bacon, hotdogs*, organ meats, and sausage*
- Fatty fish and white fish (see our recipes for keto fish meals)
- Crab, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, shrimp, and squid
- Sliced chicken, corned beef, ham, pancetta, pastrami, prosciutto, roast beef, speck, and turkey
- Sliced chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and soppressata (perfect on our simple keto plates)
- Prepared chicken salad*, egg salad*, and tuna salad*
- Sliced cheese
- Bologna and mortadella
- Butter and ghee3
- Heavy cream
- Softer cheeses (blue, buffalo mozzarella, brie, camembert, colby, goat, gouda) and harder cheeses (cheddar, havarti, mozzarella, parmesan, pepper jack, muenster, provolone, and Swiss)
- Eggs (try our delicious collection of keto egg dishes)4
- Full fat crème fraîche, feta, cream cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt (plain), mascarpone, ricotta, and sour cream
- Whole milk, used sparingly (no more than a couple of tablespoons) in coffee or tea
Check out the cheese lovers section of our keto meals page for recipe ideas.
The rest of the store
- Avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, nut oils, and olive oil5
- Duck fat, lard, schmaltz (chicken fat), and tallow6
- Canned fish or seafood (anchovies, crab, salmon, sardines, and tuna)
- Canned or jarred olives* and sauerkraut
- Hot sauce*, mayonnaise*, mustard*, and vinegar*
- Bouillon cubes and broth
- Dried herbs, psyllium husk powder, and spices
- Pork rinds* and parmesan crisps (for more ideas, visit our keto snacks guide)
- Club soda, coffee, tea, and unsweetened cold brewed coffee or iced tea
- Almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and pili nuts
- Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin)
- Beef jerky* and meat bars*
- Canned coconut milk
- Artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, pickles*, pizza sauce*, tomato sauce*, and soy sauce*
- Cold brewed Bulletproof coffee
* Be sure to check label and avoid brands with unwanted sugars and starches.
Print the keto diet food list here and take to the market.
There are two companion guides with more information about navigating the grocery store and deciphering food labels. They are:
In addition, check out our main keto foods guide below to understand the basics about keto foods:
For all the keto basics, check out our simple but thorough beginner’s guide to the keto diet:
About the author
Jenni Calihan created the non-profit, Eat the Butter, to start a mother-to-mother conversation about diet and health. She advocates for real-food-more-fat eating, and has been feeding her family (four kids) for twenty years.
Practical low-carb guides
Keto diet food list – what to buy - the evidence
This guide is written by Jennifer Calihan and was last updated on June 17, 2022. It was medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Tamber, MD on March 7, 2022.
The guide contains scientific references. You can find these in the notes throughout the text, and click the links to read the peer-reviewed scientific papers. When appropriate we include a grading of the strength of the evidence, with a link to our policy on this. Our evidence-based guides are updated at least once per year to reflect and reference the latest science on the topic.
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Although not universally agreed upon by every expert in the field of ketogenic nutrition, it’s generally accepted that our digestive tracts lack the enzymes necessary to break down the fiber in whole foods and absorb it into the bloodstream. Because this fiber portion of carbs does not raise blood sugar and insulin levels, it is subtracted when calculating carb intake.
Nutrients 2010: Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health [overview article; ungraded]
Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein and other important nutrients. It has been unfairly demonized for increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, based on weak scientific evidence. Guide to red meat – is it healthy?
There is no need to fear foods like butter, ghee, cream, cheese, fatty meat, and other foods high in saturated fat. Although still controversial, several large systematic reviews of clinical trials have not confirmed the longstanding dogma that saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, other health problems, or early death:
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 [strong evidence]
List of studies about saturated fat and heart disease ↩
Eggs are an exceptionally versatile, keto-friendly food. Although they are high in dietary cholesterol, eating them doesn’t seem to raise cholesterol levels much in most people, and may reduce cardiovascular risk by improving the ratio of HDL to triglycerides or HDL to LDL cholesterol:
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2006: Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations [overview article; ungraded]
Lipids 2017: Intake of up to 3 eggs/day increases HDL cholesterol and plasma choline while plasma trimethylamine-n-oxide is unchanged in a healthy population [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
Journal of Nutrition 2008: Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
These natural plant fat sources are much less processed than industrial seed and vegetable oils. Although we do not have direct evidence that they are healthier, they make more sense from an evolutionary perspective. Learn more:
These animal fat sources remain stable during high-heat cooking due to their high saturated fat content. Furthermore, the majority of experimental and observational research has shown that saturated fat may not increase risk of heart disease risk, other diseases, or early death.
Open Heart 2016: Evidence from randomised controlled trials does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]