Keto Diet Foods List For Beginners, Recommended By Dietitians

main menu


Keto Diet Foods List For Beginners, Recommended By Dietitians

 Keto Diet Foods List For Beginners, Recommended By Dietitians

When you follow a specific diet, you generally have to start paying attention to your grocery shopping habits and go into the store with a clear plan if you want to be successful. And with the keto diet, that's definitely the case, given that the nutritional guidelines of the diet are so specific.
For most people who do the keto diet, they eat 75 percent of their daily calories from fat, 20 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs. You also need to take fiber into consideration, as it plays a huge part in the keto diet, because you subtract fiber from carbohydrates to determine your “net” carbs.
But let's be honest: There are a lot of foods on the shelves, and it can be a ton of work just wandering the aisles and produce section reading labels and wondering if you're shopping within your macros, so to speak. So if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of shopping for keto diet foods, print out or pull up on your phone this comprehensive list of keto must-haves, all approved by registered dietitians. Guesswork, gone. (You're welcome!)

Related: Keto on a Budget Tips and Foods to Eat


Keto considerations: As you probably already know if you're ready to hit the grocery store, the keto diet is primarily defined by the fact that it *really* limits your daily carb intake. But you obviously can’t eliminate carbs completely even if you're following a diet (you still need energy, after all). The key is focusing on carb sources that are also high in other nutrients, like protein and good fats.
Simply put, you aren't gonna want to go buy a bunch of simple-carb foods (like sugary cereal and white bread) on the keto diet. Instead, the carbs found in lower-carb fruits, vegetables, and nuts are the main source of carbs in this diet. Because you're carb intake is so limited, make it worth it with nutritious options, like the following ones.

Best keto carbs:

  • Pecans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Pepitas
  • Almond flour/meal for baking
  • Coconut flour/meal for baking


Keto considerations: The other defining factor of the keto diet is that it’s also a plan that’s quite high in fat. At first glance, that idea might sound crazy, as it can be tough to eat, well, a ton of avocado every single day. Tip: Focusing on cooking with good, heart-healthy fats is an easy way to up your fat intake in a way that will leave you feeling satiated rather than deprived.

Best keto fats:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Hemp hearts
  • Chia seeds
  • Sour cream
  • Ground flaxseed


Keto considerations: It’s safe to say that vegetables have a place in all diets and lifestyles, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. Veggies are especially key in the keto diet because they tend to be low in sugar and high in fiber to help you stay full. When it comes to which veggies should be go-to on keto, green leafy vegetables have the lowest amount of carbs, says Scholl.

Best keto veggies:

  • Zucchini
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon or other radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Collards
  • Cabbage


Keto considerations: Believe it or not, fruits can be a tricky keto food because a lot of them actually are high in carbs and sugar, even though it’s “natural” sugar versus added sugar. Fruits are much higher in carbs than vegetables, so it’s key to focus on lower-carb options like berries when following the keto diet.

Best keto fruits:

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Avocado
  • Olives


Keto considerations: Lean proteins like shrimp, salmon, chicken breast, pork loin, and flank steak are all great source of protein without adding a lot of saturated fat.
Filling up on meals that incorporate lots of vegetables and some lean protein, like a stir fry, and adding an unsaturated fat (like olive oil or canola oil) is a great way to kick off your keto diet. The vegetables and protein will help you to feel full, while the healthy fats will start to be used by your body for energy (instead of glucose).

Best keto protein sources:

  • Tuna pouch in olive oil
  • Canned salmon
  • Sardines
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Nitrate-free ham or bacon
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Any other type of fish


Keto considerations: As with most other keto diet foods, the thing you want to avoid with condiments is too much added sugar. Check dressings as many tend to include sugar, so they will have a higher carb count. Try to focus on oil and vinegar dressings for salad.

Best keto condiments:

  • Guacamole
  • Peanut butter (with no added sugar)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce
  • Relish
  • Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pesto
  • Tahini


Keto considerations: Spices and herbs are a pretty easy keto “food” because while many do have carbs in them, you’re likely using such a small amount to avoid over-seasoning your food, so the carb count is likely to be negligible.

Best keto flavor enhancers:

  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Mint

Fast food options

Keto considerations: “Fast” items for work lunches or easy dinners may be the most challenging part of grocery shopping for keto dieters. But it’s not impossible to come up with satisfying meals and snacks that won’t undo your progress.
Knowing how to read the nutrition label can be a huge benefit when trying to determine if something is keto. Additionally, when it comes to fast food options, items such as ready-to-eat salad mixes can be a good option if you make sure to leave out added items like croutons, dried fruits, etc.

Best keto fast food options:

  • Prepared salad mixes
  • Rotisserie chicken (not the breaded type) or pre-cooked/sliced grilled chicken
  • Cheese sticks
  • Tuna pouch in olive oil
  • Canned salmon
  • Sardines
  • Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
  • Frozen zucchini noodles
  • Frozen cauliflower rice
  • Pre-cooked frozen burgers