Don’t know where to start? The keto diet is everywhere! Health blogs, cookbooks, and more are raving about the powers of the ketogenic lifestyle and the potential transformation it can have on the body.
You read the claimed benefits of this magical diet and you have decided to give it a whirl to see if it works for you. However, there is one problem standing in front of you. You are clueless of which foods to buy to practice the keto diet and experience all its wonders.
If the above scenario describes you, then have no worries. The complete guide for your keto shopping experience awaits.
A Brief Overview of Keto Principles
Before we dive into our keto shopping list, let’s review the basic components of what you should be looking for in the foods you buy. The keto diet is a predominantly fat diet and it nearly 100 percent eliminates carbs from your daily diet.
Protein should be kept to a moderate level, but you must avoid meats with added sugars. Overall, your macronutrient intake should be approximately 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates.
5 percent? Yes, you read that right! The keto diet eliminates nearly all carbohydrates and replaces them with almost exclusively fat. Cutting out carbohydrates from your diet diminishes your body’s need to rely on glucose for energy. Glucose is the favorite energy source of the muscles and the brain, but it is easy to consume carbs in excess and experience numerous health conditions.
The keto diet forces your body to adapt and find a new source of energy to get through the day. That source of energy is fat.
You may be confused since fats have likely been labeled the culprit of poor dietary habits throughout your life. However, fats can have wonderful health benefits when the right ones are chosen.
Therefore, when strolling down the aisles of your favorite grocery store, make sure you know which foods are optimal for the keto diet.
For the first food category, we will scratch off protein. If you love meat and cannot get enough, then you will have a love/hate relationship with the keto diet. While most cuts are acceptable on the keto diet, they must be eaten in moderation.
Unprocessed and grass-fed meats are the way to go when practicing the keto diet. Processed meats will contain added carbohydrates which is a detriment to keeping your body in a state of ketosis.
Eating grass-fed meats will help you avoid nasty chemicals and antibiotics animals might consume in their own diet. If you can find a meat that is rich in fat, then that is an even better choice.
Meats to add to your keto shopping list include:
- Ground Beef
- Pork chops
- Bacon (low-carb)
- Wild Game
Remember, any meat is fair game on the keto diet as long as it contains a low amount of carbohydrates or none at all. Do not go overboard with your meat selection at the grocery store. You likely will not need to eat meat with every meal going keto.
Seafood is highly beneficial for the keto dieter and you can add a variety of foods from under the sea to your plate. Many selections of fish will give you an ample number of vitamins and minerals without the carbs. Fish that are high fat, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can provide you extra health benefits.
Shellfish can be trickier with some types containing a higher number of carbs than others. That is not saying you must scratch them off your shopping list, but they might have to be eaten in lower quantities. Octopus, oysters, clams, and mussels all contain at least 4 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving.
Add these varieties of fish & shellfish to your seafood keto delicacies:
Your seafood options are extremely flexible with the keto diet. Do not be afraid to do some extra research and mix up your seafood recipes. All your fish and shellfish selections are going to be low in carbs but select the fattiest fish for the best keto results.
Unfortunately, many fruit selections are going to be scratched off your shopping list once you start the keto diet. Fruits are excellent sources vital nutrients your body needs, but those same sweet fruits contain carbs. They may be complex carbs that are healthier for you than processed carbs, but they must still be avoided.
Luckily, there are still some fruit selections you can enjoy for a quality keto friendly snack.
Fruits that get a thumbs up for the keto diet:
It may come as a surprise to learn that an avocado is a fruit, but avocados are by far the best selection of any fruit for the keto diet. Avocados have the lowest amount of carbs of any fruit and they are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
If there is one food you definitely want to stockpile when shopping keto, then avocados would be the one to choose.
The health benefits of avocados include improved heart health, higher quality digestive tract, prevent insulin resistance, and stimulate weight loss. Make sure you buy avocados whenever you can get them for a good price when you go shopping.
The other fruits listed must be eaten with caution since they do contain higher amounts of carbs than avocados. You will notice that all the other fruits that are acceptable to eat on the keto diet consist of berries and citrus. Berries provide many antioxidants to fight inflammation and disease such as cancer, and your available citrus foods provide vitamin C.
A small serving of berries or the listed citrus will surely provide great health benefits for your keto diet, but the main purpose is to cut carbs whenever possible. Proceed with caution with all the provided fruits except for avocados.
Fortunately, you have a wider range of options on your shopping list when it comes to vegetables. There are many vegetables you can eat or add to your home-cooked recipes that have limited amount of carbs. Three distinct types of vegetables come to mind when shopping for keto friendly varieties. Those three are your allium vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy-green vegetables.
Allium vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants and can assist in fighting cancer. Cruciferous vegetables can have similar health benefits by giving you a boost of cancer fighting phytochemicals. Leafy-green vegetables are loaded with many vitamins and minerals to help you fight diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
There are other fantastic vegetable options you have at your disposal when attempting to stick to your keto principles.
The list of vegetables you can throw into your shopping cart include:
- Green Bell Peppers
- Green Beans
- Turnip Greens
- Collard Greens
- Bok Choi
There is an abundance of delicious vegetables you can eat individually or throw into a creative dish you are trying to whip up for dinner. If someone ever told you that the keto diet does not offer a wide range of versatile food options, then make sure to show them the dozens of vegetables that are keto friendly.
Just because you are going keto does not mean you have to be dairy free. However, you must wear your carb detectors and pay close attention when attempting to buy dairy products. Many dairy products contain a substantial amount of added carbs which can make you creep up to your daily carb limit quickly if not you are not careful.
When browsing in the dairy aisle, try your best to find organic options that avoid having excess sugar added to them. Always check the nutrition label and select the fattiest options and avoid those fat-free advertisements. You want to consume fat on the keto diet.
Dairy items which are okay on the keto diet include:
- Cream Cheese
- Swiss Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Whipping Cream
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
You will notice that lots of cheeses and creams are acceptable on the keto diet. If one of the acceptable dairy items makes your mouth water, then you can add it to one of your keto dishes to add some extra flavor to your meal.
Be weary if you want to add milk to your diet as many varieties of milk have a tremendous amount of sugar per serving.
Nuts & Seeds
Think of nuts and seeds as the ultimate keto snack to help power you through the day. They contain tons of healthy fats, limited amount of carbs, and lower your risk of disease. The varieties of nuts and seeds you can toss in your bookbag when on the move will provide you lots of fiber so your hunger will be satisfied faster.
Add these nuts and seeds to your shopping list:
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Brazil Nuts
- Chia Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
When deciding on what type of nuts or seeds you want to crunch on for a snack, it is important to know that some will contain more carbs per serving than others. If you enjoy snacking on a nut or seed variety that has higher amount of carbs, then limit the serving size of your snack.
A healthy dose of oils to your meals can add a new dynamic of flavor to your keto recipes. When consuming the right kind of oils, your diet will give you fantastic health benefits and extra fat to keep your body in ketosis. Choose wisely when looking at your selections of oils at the grocery store. The wrong selection can make or break your keto diet.
These oils should be at the top of your list:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Fish Oil
- Almond Oil
- Walnut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
The key thing is to know what type of fats you receive from each type of oil since some fats are much healthier than others. When practicing the keto diet, aim to consume naturally occurring saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid processed polyunsaturated and trans fats at all costs. Always check the nutrition label to identify the type of fats contained in the oil.
Eggs are an extremely important food source and they can be enjoyed with any meal of the day. Not only are they low in carbs and the reference protein out of all foods, eggs are full of antioxidants and can stabilize cholesterol. You cannot go wrong always having eggs in your refrigerator when on the keto diet.
When it comes to beverages on the keto diet, nothing is better for you than water. The keto diet can make you extremely dehydrated, especially in the beginning stages of the diet. It is possible to need upwards of twice the amount of daily water consumption compared to someone not on the keto diet.
Other drinks are acceptable on the keto diet in moderation, but they must be low in carbs or you can drink your way out of ketosis. We have added the most ideal alcoholic beverages you can drink so you are well prepared for any social gatherings.
Add these beverages to your shopping list to go with your meals:
- Hard liquor
- Red & white wine
- Light beer
For tea and coffee, you want to avoid adding sweeteners or anything high in carbs used to flavor the drink. Hard liquor drinks such as vodka, whiskey, or rum contain zero carbs and are keto friendly. You will have some carbs with wine and light beer so it is best to drink them in moderation to avoid going over your daily carb limit.
We hope you now are confident that you have everything you need to get started on your keto diet. Using this expansive keto shopping list, take note of everything that makes your taste buds dance and create many savoy dishes that will make any keto dieter a happy camper.