The Ultimate beginner Keto Diet Food List

So you’ve just decided to give the ketogenic diet a go?

What a great decision.

I’m really happy for you. Going on the keto diet was a complete game-changer for me. Doing so has helped me clean my eating habits, improve my energy levels, and become more aware e to what kind of foods works the best for my body.

That said, here’s the tricky part. Shopping for the right keto-approved foods can get tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for.Most processed and packaged items are a no-no, and even some certain foods are off-limit (sorry, carrots).

But fret no more. In today’s post, I’ve listed all the great food you can enjoy on the ketogenic diet.

I’m confident that this list is the only one you’ll ever need. It’s broken down into categories, so it’s easy to navigate and find the food gems you love the most.

I’ve been working on this list for the past year.  In it, I’m covering the full keto-approved gamut of foods, making sure it has the most accurate information. Please let me know If I’m missing anything.

Note – If you have no idea what’s the ketogenic diet, make sure first to read my full guide about how to start the keto diet then deterùine your macros using this keto macro calculator.

The Ketogenic Diet Defined

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low carb eating plan – with carbohydrate intake limited to less than 25 gams a day.

When you cut on your carb intake, your body is forced to switch to burning stored fat as an energy source instead of glycogen. The liver, through a process known as ketogenesis, breaks down and converts fats into ketone bodies that the brain and other cells use as fuel. This is what’s commonly referred to as a state of ketosis.

When you do the keto diet right, you’ll lose weight, reduce inflammation, have more energy, even manage type I diabetes and other chronic diseases. The full list of benefits goes beyond today’s article.

Without further ado, here’s the list of ketogenic foods I promised.

Healthy Oils

Oils are a great source of healthy fats—as long as you pick the right ones.  Whether you’re adding them to your salads, cooking with them, or using them for dips, you can’t go wrong with healthy oils.

Healthy fats are great because they make up the base of the keto diet, helping you reach and stay in ketosis.

They’re also super healthy. For instance, some oils, such as coconut oil and olive oil, have been shown to help in weight loss, reduce blood pressure, and even alleviate symptoms of some common chronic diseases.

Fat is essential to body function, but it can also cause more harm than good if you’re reaching for the wrong type.

I hate to break it to you, but saturated fats, the type found in processed pretzels, potato chips, cookies, and processed foods do not make the cut. Avoid them at all times. You also need to cut hydrogenated fats, such as vegetable oils.

Instead, make sure to consume plenty of the following:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Duck fat
  • Ghee
  • Non-hydrogenated lard
  • MCT oil
  • Red Palm Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Macadamia oil
  • Tallow
  • Palm Shortening

Dairy Products

Dairy is such an integral part of the keto diet that it gets its own category on the food pyramid. It’s also a great source of protein and vitamin D.

Most dairy is keto-approved, but make sure to go for full-fat items. Harder cheeses usually contain fewer carbs. These are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and calcium.

Remember that some dairy has additional carbs in it, so be careful.

Add the following dairy products to your keto menu:

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Nut milk
  • Plain Greek yogurt

Meats

While lean protein takes drastically less space in a keto eating plan than fats, you’d still need to consume enough of it to ensure cellular functioning.

Quality is key. When you choose quality, your body will absorb these healthy fats with minimum dire consequences.

I’d recommend that you go for organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed meats whenever possible.

What’s more?

Consume fattier cuts of meats whenever possible, especially the ribeye, pork belly, etc.

But be warned. Although meats are some of the best keto foods, too much protein can hamper ketosis, so pay attention to your portions.

Add to cart the following lean protein sources:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Alligator
  • Bison
  • Bear
  • Deer
  • Veal
  • Elk
  • Duck
  • Goat
  • Sheep
  • Turkey
  • Goose
  • Wild boar
  • Rabbit
  • pheasant
  • Quail
  • Reindeer
  • Kangaroo
  • Lamb
  • Snake (if that’s your thing)

Check the ingredients for the following cured and premade meats

  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni
  • Deli meat

Organ Meats

Usually regarded as a second-grade type of meat in the western world, organ meats have an amazing nutritional profile.

Also known as offal, organ meats are the organs of the animals raised mostly for their meat, eggs, and milk. The most common types include the heart, kidneys, livers, tongue, brain, tripe, and gizzards.

Organ meat is incredibly nutritious and boasts a host array of health benefits. These meats used to be a significant part of our ancestor’s diets, providing a substantial nutritional advantage to groups of people who rarely had access to nutrient-dense foods.

It also happens to be super keto-friendly. However, some types contain varying amounts of carbs, so pay attention.

Add to cart the following items:

  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Gizzards
  • Bone marrow
  • Tripe
  • Tongue

Seafood

Besides organ meats, seafood might be the most nutrient-dense food you can eat.

Seafood options such as tuna, shrimp, crab, and scallops are low carb options that work very well on the keto diet. They are also leaner than red meats, boasting less saturated fat and cholesterol.

What’s more?

Seafood is also a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for heart and brain health as well as other vital nutrients like protein and selenium.

Try to consume fatty fish, wild-caught, if possible.

Add to cart the following:

  • Sardines
  • Wild salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna crab
  • Cod
  • Mussels
  • Caviar
  • Crab
  • Abalone
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Lobster
  • Clams
  • Scallop
  • Anchovies
  • Oysters
  • Haddock
  • Bass
  • Eel
  • Herring
  • Flounder
  • Rockfish
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Halibut
  • Perch
  • Red snapper
  • Turbot
  • Tilapia
  • Grouper
  • Sole

Vegetables

A great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, vegetables are the foundation of healthy eating—the ketogenic diet is no exception.

But not all veggies are keto-friendly. As a rule, starchy, high-carb, choices are off-limits. These include all veggies grown below ground such as beets, yams, carrots, turnips, sweet and regular potatoes.

Instead, opt for non-starchy veggies. These score high on vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and so much more.

The only non-starchy veggies to avoid are ones that you’re allergic to or those that upset your digestive tract.

Here is the list of veggies listed from the lowest to the high carb content per serving.

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Artichokes
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Chicory Greens
  • Endives
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Fennel
  • Kohlrabi
  • Parsley
  • Jicama
  • Mustard Greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Radicchio
  • Scallion
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnip Greens
  • Pumpkin
  • Rhubarb
  • Seaweed (all sea vegetables)
  • Shallots
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli

Fermented vegetables

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Fruits

Although fruits pack a lot of nutrients, their carb content makes them a no-no on the keto diet.

You don’t have to give up fruit on the ketogenic diet, but go for lower-carb options, and there is plenty of low-sugar, and thus low carb fruits worth including in your diet.

Some of these options are full choke of antioxidants, help stabilize blood sugar levels, etc.

Also, pay attention to portion sizes to avoid going overboard on carbs.

Add to cart the following:

  • Avocadoes (yes, it’s a fruit!)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Lemon
  • Limes
  • Coconut

Drinks

If you’re a coffee addict—just like me—then rest assured that you don’t have to give up your morning expresso on the keto diet.

There’s a thing known as keto coffee. This tutorial shows you how to make it the right way.

For more taste without the carbs, try blending your coffee with MCT oil or coconut oil.

My best recommendation is to keep it simple and stick to mostly water. You can add some flavor if you want to with lemon/lime juice or stevia-based flavorings.

Add to cart the following drinks to your diet:

  • Unsweetened Coffee
  • Keto coffee
  • Almond coffee
  • Broth (vegetables, chicken, beef, bone)
  • Herbal Teas
  • Sparkling Mineral Water
  • Water
  • Coconut Milk
  • Seltzer Water

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of healthy fats and protein on the keto diet. They’re also great for a snack on the go as well as a tasty and crunchy addition to any meal, especially salads.

Stick to fattier nuts like almonds and macadamias. Roast them to get the most out of them.

Be careful of their calorie content.

They can rack up quite fast. If you’re trying to lose weight, too much of the stuff may derail and compromise your efforts.  These also may contain various amounts of carbs so watch out.

I hate to break it to you, but peanuts are not from this family. They’re legumes and should be avoided on the keto diet.

Grab the following at the store:

  • Almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Psyllium seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Hemp seed

Keto-Friendly Condiments

Finding ketogenic approved condiments for some extra flavor can be tricky.

Not all condiments make the keto cut. BBQ sauce, ketchup, and many salad dressings have lots of extra sugar. So pay attention to labels and choose sugar-free options. Or, better yet, make your own low-carb condiments.

Add some flavor to your meals using the following:

  • Olive oil mayonnaise
  • Unsweetened ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Oil-based salad dressings
  • Vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Mao
  • Guacamole
  • Aioli
  • Hot sauce
  • Sugar-free dry rubs

Conclusion

There you have it

The above list covers the full gamut when it comes to the foods you should be eating on the keto diet. I hope I didn’t miss anything. And if I did, I’d like to invite you to add it to the comment section below.

That’s how we’ll all get to learn. Learning from each other is important.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep Eating Healthy.

David D.

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