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- Meat, Fish & Poultry
- Vegan Proteins
- Dairy Products
- Dairy-Free Alternatives
- Nuts & Seeds
- Low-Carb Vegetables
- Low-Sugar Fruits
- Oils & Condiments
- Natural Sweeteners & Baking Supplies
Beginner Keto Shopping List
Deciding to start on the ketogenic diet is exciting, but you may find your head spinning when it comes to where to begin. In order to maintain a successful diet, you’ll want to first make sure you have the right ingredients for your meals. What better place to start than figuring out what you need at the grocery store? Whether you’ll be cooking all your meals from scratch or just want to keep keto-friendly snacks at home, keeping a stocked pantry will make embarking on your diet that much easier.
Since everyone has different tastes and eating habits, the foods you keep at home will likely shift depending on your needs and preferences. However, to begin, there are certain staples you can keep in your kitchen that serve as a starting point for putting together keto-friendly meals. You can always adjust your grocery list as needed once you find your routine, but use our free, beginner keto grocery shopping list as your cheat sheet to help you navigate the aisles!
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For a more comprehensive look at all the different groceries you can add to your list as well as what things you should be taking into consideration while you're shopping, keep scrolling. We've broken down what to look out for and how to make sure you're picking the best quality groceries to stick to your keto diet.
Meat, Fish & Poultry
Although the focus is on fat when it comes to the ketogenic diet, you still need to eat moderate amounts of protein, and choosing the type of proteins is important. Since much of your protein will likely come from animals, you want to make sure you are buying high-quality products and veering away from processed meats that have additives such as carrageenan, BHT/BHA, sodium nitrate and added flavors and sugars. This includes looking for seafood that is wild or sustainably-farmed, beef cuts that are grass-fed and organic whenever possible, poultry that is organic and antibiotic-free, and deli meat, sausages, and bacon that are free of additives. Typical keto diets don’t discriminate between leaner sources of protein and sources higher in saturated fat.
- Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, Trout, Mahi-Mahi, Cod)
- Seafood (Oysters, Clams, Lobster, Crab, Scallops)
- Beef (steak, veal, ground beef)
- Chicken (chicken thighs, ground chicken, whole chicken)
- Pork (pork loin, pork chops, pork tenderloin)
- Deli and cured meats (bacon, salami, prosciutto, roast beef)
If you're choosing to live a vegan lifestyle, you can still get protein in your diet from plant-based sources. Stick to organic, non-GMO options when possible! With nut butters, the ingredients list should be short and avoid any added sugar.
- Seitan (contains gluten)
- Nuts and nut butters
- Hempseed and Pea-based Protein Powders
Dairy products are not only a good source of fat, but they contain protein and other nutrients as well. They can be used to supplement your dishes with flavor, or you can pair them with veggies, nuts, or a protein-source as a snack. As with meats look for high-quality dairy products, from grass-fed cows, that are organic and hormone-free, and steer clear of low and nonfat products which generally contain added-carbs to boost flavor and consistency. For cheese, watch out for foods that may be labeled as a cheese “product” but are over-processed and often include refined oils, artificial flavors, colors, and even added sugars.
- Full Fat Greek Yogurt (plain)
- Soft cheeses (whole milk mozzarella, brie, cottage cheese, cream cheese, Monterey jack)
- Hard Cheeses (blue cheese, parmesan, Swiss, provolone)
- Full Fat Butter
- Heavy Whipping Cream
If you’re lactose-intolerant, vegan or just trying to cut down on your dairy-intake, there are some great substitutes you can use in your diet that are still keto-friendly. With any store-bought nut milks, be sure to read the labels and make sure that they are unsweetened and low in carbs.
- Ghee (clarified butter with the milk solids removed)
- Cashew Cheese
- Nutritional Yeast
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Unsweetened Cashew Milk
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds come in handy when doing the ketogenic diet. They not only make a great snack, but they are loaded with fat and protein, which can help keep you full between meals. Add them to your breakfast, sprinkle them into salads, or eat them simply on their own. As for nut butters, look for options that have a short ingredients list and no added sugar.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Hemp Seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Almond Butter
- Cashew Butter
- Macadamia Butter
To maintain a balanced diet, you’ll still want to eat your fair share of vegetables. Since some vegetables, such as potatoes, are high in carbohydrates, you’ll want to stick to lower-carb veggies that are also high in fiber. Safe bets include vegetables that grow above ground, such as leafy greens, rather than the more starchy vegetables that grow underground.
- Lettuce (Romaine or Iceberg)
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Snow peas
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
Cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates is crucial if you want to achieve ketosis, but there are still some fruits you can enjoy. The important thing to remember when enjoying nature’s candy is to be mindful of portion size….unless of course you’re eating keto’s favorite, fatty fruit: avocado (yes, it really is considered a fruit!)
Oils & Condiments
There are plenty of oils and condiments that you can use in your cooking that are keto-friendly and a good source of healthy fats. Keeping these on hand can help with your food preparation and also add some flavor and variety to your food. When buying condiments, the most important thing is to make sure they don’t contain added sugar.
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- MCT Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Avocado Oil Mayo
- Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- Unsweetened Ketchup
- Soy Sauce
- Sugar-free Barbecue Sauce
- Sugar-free Maple Syrup
- Tamari (Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)
- Fish Sauce
- Hot Sauce
Natural Sweeteners & Baking Supplies
You probably know by now that sugar is a no-go when you’re trying to reach ketosis, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy sweet treats. There are a lot of options in the grocery store baking aisles these days that are all-natural and sugar-free. You can use these sweeteners in your morning coffee or to make keto-friendly versions of your favorite desserts.
- Stevia Extract
- Monk Fruit Extract
- Cacao or Carob Powder
- Almond Meal/Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Flaxseed Meal
- Xanthan gum
- Vanilla Extract
- Sugar-free or unsweetened chocolate (e.g. Cacao Nibs)
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
Water is great, but sometimes you want something different. The good news is you can still get enjoy flavor, caffeine and carbonation on keto as long as you’re mindful of the ingredients and avoid sugar.
- Sugar-free sodas
- Seltzer and sparkling water
- Bone broth
- Black Tea
- Green Tea
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
- Unsweetened Cashew Milk
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a great place to start. You don’t need to get everything on here to start keto. Just stick with the basics and build out from there. Keeping these foods at home can help you mix and match your meals so you don’t get bored and frustrated. They key to a healthy experience with the ketogenic diet is to ensure your meals are not only high in fat and low in carbohydrates, but balanced with a wide variety of nutrients.
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