Keto Diet Food List For Beginners: Everything You Need to Know
Take a look at your social media or speak to anyone on a diet these days and you’re probably going to hear about this fabulous new way of eating called the keto diet.
So you’ve decided to try the ketogenic diet. Now what? Do you know exactly what to eat?
If you’re still scratching your head, or perhaps just need a little refresher, not to worry. This list of ketogenic (keto) diet foods includes everything you can eat for ketogenic diet success. The good news is that keto is probably the simplest diet you will find.
Being on a diet isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially when you don’t know what you should eat. We’ve put together this ketogenic diet food list to help people out there making decisions on what they are eating and shopping for.
The bad news? It can feel pretty strict at times, and it’s easy to miss the foods you used to eat if you focus on what’s lacking. So let’s start with all the delicious whole foods you can eat.
- Fats & Oils – Try to get your fat from natural sources like meat and nuts. Supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.
- Protein – Try to stick with organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat where possible. Most meats don’t have added sugar in them, so they can be consumed in moderate quantity. Remember that too much protein on a ketogenic diet is not a good thing.
- Vegetables – Fresh or frozen doesn’t matter. Stick with above-ground vegetables, leaning toward leafy/green items.
- Dairy – Most dairy is fine, but make sure to buy full-fat dairy items. Harder cheeses typically have fewer carbs.
- Nuts and Seeds – In moderation, nuts and seeds can be used to create some fantastic textures. Try to use fattier nuts like macadamias and almonds.
- Beverages. There are many other drink options besides just water that you can enjoy on a ketogenic diet. You can even enjoy some alcoholic beverages that are low to zero carbs. Just make sure you don’t overdo it and remember what your goals are or just stay simple and stick to mostly water. You can flavor it if needed with stevia-based flavorings or lemon/lime juice.
- Fruit – Fruit on the ketogenic diet must be limited and eaten in very small amounts, as they have a high sugar content (besides avocados, which can be enjoyed frequently). For fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen is fine, and organic is best but not required.
Get more specifics on what you can and can’t eat on keto below:
What You Can Eat on a Keto Diet
- Meat – chicken, pork, steak, ground beef, lamb, bacon, ham, turkey, sausage, low-carb fish and seafood (in limited amounts and fattier cuts)
- Most Fats and Oils – butter, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, lard, avocado oil, mayonnaise
- Some Vegetables – cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber, onion, mushroom, spinach, lettuce, green beans, olives
- High-Fat Dairy – heavy cream, cheese (soft and hard), cream cheese, sour cream
- Nuts – almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, almond butter, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts
- Unsweetened Coffee and Tea
- Spices – just make sure they don’t contain any sugars and are purely the herb or spice itself. Examples include: Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Cilantro, Cayenne pepper, Chili powder, Cumin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Lemon or lime juice, Salt and pepper
While giving up soda may sound not so hard, the rest of the banned list might. Bread, rice, pasta, fruit, corn, potatoes, beans, baked goods, sweets, juice, and beer all get the ax. Basically, you have to avoid most sugars and starches. Whole grains like oatmeal don’t even make the cut!
What You Can’t Eat on a Keto Diet
- Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, watermelon, peaches, melon, pineapple, cherries, pears, lemons, limes, grapefruits, plums, mango, etc.
- Grains and Starches – wheat, rice, rye, oats, corn, quinoa, barley, millet, bulgur, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains
- Root Vegetables – potatoes (both sweet and regular), carrots, yams, parsnips, yuca, beets, turnips
- Grain Products – cereal, bread, pasta, rice, corn, oatmeal, crackers, pizza, popcorn, granola, bagels, muesli, flour
- Legumes – black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, lentils
- Sweeteners – cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, Splenda, aspartame, saccharin, corn syrup
- Sweets – candy, chocolate, cakes, buns, pastries, tarts, pies, ice cream, cookies, pudding, custard
- Some Oils – canola oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil
- Alcohol – beer, cider, sweet wines, sweetened alcoholic drinks
- Sweetened Drinks – juice, smoothies, soda, sweetened tea, and coffee
- Low-Fat Dairy – skim milk, skim mozzarella, fat-free yogurt, low cheese, and cream cheese
- Sweetened Sauces and Dips – ketchup, BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, some salad dressings, and hot sauces
We want a high-quality ketogenic diet, which means quality fat, which means the source matters. Stick to the outside ring of the grocery store, buy foods that don’t make health claims, and buy foods that have a maximum of two or three ingredients (preferably just one) and you will be well on your way to a successful keto diet.
If you’re still tempted to try keto, consult with your doctor before embarking on any extreme weight loss plan.