Grocery shopping can be overwhelming if you are just starting out on a keto diet. Most things in the store are not great for a keto diet. The simplest keto shopping list is made up of items that are usually found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
What’s on a keto shopping list? Eating a low carb or keto diet can cause people to feel restricted in the grocery store. However, there are always options at the store and it is exciting to find new low-carb options in the aisles filled with sugary junk food.
A keto shopping list will keep you on perimeter of the grocery store. Approximately 90% of purchases come from the produce, meat, and dairy sections.
In addition to the basic keto grocery list items in this article, many pantry staples can be purchased online. Low carb flours and sweeteners are typically cheaper when purchased online and they can be more difficult to find in stores.
Keto Shopping List
A typical keto shopping list is broken up into a few categories. Animal products and produce will make up the majority of a grocery trip. Condiments, drinks, and snack foods are not required, but they can help make a keto diet more sustainable and enjoyable.
Along with produce, animal products are the bulk of a keto shopping list. Eggs, meat, seafood, and dairy are all great for a keto diet because they are low in carbs and they have fat-soluble vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy diet.
Below is a list of some animal-based products that are perfect additions to a keto shopping list. Similar to every list in this guide, it is not exhaustive, and depending on the region, there may be meat and dairy options that are more or less available than the ones listed below.
Dairy is not required on the keto diet, but it can be incorporated easily because it is usually very low in carbs. If you are limiting dairy, many of the dairy options can easily be substituted. For example, heavy whipping cream can be swapped out for a low sugar almond milk coffee creamer.
Cheese is a great keto snack, and it also goes well with nearly every keto recipe. However, it is very easy to consume in excess. So if your goal is weight loss, it would be a good idea to limit cheese to avoid consuming too many calories.
When purchasing cheese, avoid pre-shredded cheese because it contains anti-caking agents. If possible, buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. You can purchase electric shredders that make cheese shredding a breeze.
Products like sour cream and cream cheese are common keto shopping list items, especially for baking. There are tons of keto cheesecake recipes that use these ingredients. Cream cheese and sour cream are also easy ways to add extra fat to meals.
Low carb yogurt is available in most grocery stores. The Two Good brand of yogurt only contains two grams of sugar, and they have several flavor varieties. Unsweetened plain yogurt is usually lower in carbs and you can add some berries or stevia to sweeten the yogurt at home.
Meat and Seafood
Meat is the most versatile and open-ended keto shopping list item. Ground beef, chicken, and bacon are listed above, but there are dozens of other animals and cuts that can be purchased. Lamb, bison, goat, turkey, and venison are all also fair game.
Some cuts of meat are leaner, so it can be beneficial to cook with an additional fat source such as ghee, tallow, or butter.
The same principle applies to seafood. Salmon and sardines are two of the dozens of seafood options. When possible, choose wild-caught seafood instead of farmed fish for a more optimal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. You can read more about the importance of these ratios in this article.
Eggs are a staple keto shopping list item. They are perfect for any meal. Fry a few eggs in some grass-fed butter for a filling breakfast. Or, hard boil a couple and make an egg salad with some avocado oil mayo for lunch or dinner.
Eggs are extremely nutrient-dense and filling. Buying pasture-raised eggs will improve the nutrient quality, but this is dependent on budget and not required to be successful on a keto diet.
A standard keto shopping list will usually include vegetables and some fruits. Most non-root vegetables are low in carbs and they are a great way to add variety to a keto diet.
Veggies are versatile. They can be steamed, roasted, or eaten raw.
If you are struggling to add fat to your diet, adding butter to steamed broccoli is one example of an easy and delicious way to boost your fat intake.
Vegetables are also great for bulking up meals. When first starting a keto diet, it can be difficult to feel physically full because you are consuming less volume. Vegetables are high in volume and low in calories, so adding extra veggies to your plate will help you feel more satiated after a meal.
The vegetables listed above are not the only ones low in carbs. A quick Google search will tell you the carb count of any vegetable so you can decide if it will make it onto your keto shopping list.
Most fruit is too high in carbs to be consumed regularly on a keto diet. However, berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are low in sugar.
The avocado is technically a fruit and because of its high-fat content, it is a and a perfect addition to a keto shopping list.
Check out the article here for more information about what fruits are good for a keto diet.
Water, coffee and tea are the standard “keto drinks”. However, there are a few alternatives to the traditional sugary drinks that have a plce on a keto shopping list.
Sparkling water is great for a keto diet because it is unsweetened and therefore does not contain any questionable sweeteners. Flavored sparkling water is a nice way to add variety if you are getting bored with drinking plain water 24/7.
Gatorade and Powerade offer zero sugar versions of their popular sports drinks. They are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which is not optimal. However, they are a great alternative to the traditional sugar-filled versions and can be used as a transition tool, or enjoyed as a treat on occasion.
There are other drink companies that offer zero-sugar drinks such as Ice and Vitamin Water. Similar to Powerade and Gatorade, Ice drinks are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Vitamin Water, on the other hand, is sweetened with erythritol. However, none of these drinks will raise blood glucose in most people, and they can be a good tool to help make the diet sustainable.
Zevia is a sugar-free soda option that is sweetened with stevia. This is a great option if you are trying to avoid artificial sweeteners, but are still craving the taste of soda. Most grocery stores carry Zevia, but it can also be purchased online.
Unsweetened nut milk is an alternative to regular milk on a keto diet because it often only has 1 or 2 grams of carbs per serving. Nut milk can be purchased in many varieties, and any unsweetened version is a good addition to a keto shopping list.
Condiments and sauces add variety to dishes to keep things interesting and delicious. Also, they are an opportunity to add fat to a meal.
Some of the popular condiments and sauces on a keto shopping list are listed below. Almost any sauce that is low in sugar and carbs and free of vegetable oils can also be used.
Ultimately, the condiments on your keto shopping list will depend on personal taste and flavor preferences.
Cooking with oils will boost the fat content of meals, and provide unique flavors, depending on the oils used.
Avoid vegetable oils because these are highly processed and damaging for the body.
Coconut oil and avocado oil are great to cook with because they are stable at high heats.
Olive oil is not stable at high temperatures and will oxidize easily. Do not cook with olive oil. Instead, use it in salad dressings, or anything else that is prepared with no heat.
Mayo and Dressings
Mayonnaise and salad dressings are commonly filled with vegetable oils like canola oil and soybean oil. These are very damaging to the body because they are highly processed.
Companies like Primal Kitchen sell salad dressings and mayonnaise that are made with avocado oil.
Beware of brands that claim to use avocado oil. Always check the ingredients because most will still have vegetable oils listed on the label.
Most condiments like ketchup and BBQ sauce are full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. However, as low carbohydrate diets become more popular, more companies are beginning to offer low sugar alternatives to these popular condiments.
For example, G Hughes makes sugar free ketchup and BBQ sauces in several varieties. These are great keto shopping list additions as an alternative to traditional high-sugar sauces.
A keto shopping list is not limited to meat and vegetables. There are tons of options at the grocery store for snacks and sides that are great for a keto diet.
Some of the options below are cooking staples, while others are great snack foods.
Although it isn’t necessary to have snacks, they are great to have on the go, or in between meals on occasion.
High-fat nuts are a quick and easy keto-friendly snack. This article goes into detail about the best and worst nuts for keto.
Meat sticks and jerky without added sugar are good to have on a keto shopping list. They provide a quick source of protein and fat to keep you satiated between meals.
Check out this article for more keto snack ideas.
Chocolate is not off-limits on a keto diet. There are plenty of low-sugar chocolate bars that always have a place on a keto shopping list.
For an in-depth look at the best chocolate bars for keto, check out this article.
Sometimes meal prep isn’t an option. It’s important to have quick keto meals on hand in the freezer that will allow you to stay on track with your goals, even if you don’t have something prepared.
These are a few options that you can add to your keto shopping list that are great when time is short, or you’re in need of a substitute for a traditionally high carb food.
Real Good Foods
Real Good Foods sells frozen pizzas, enchiladas, breakfast sandwiches and more. All of their products are low carb.
Their products are available in most grocery stores, but they can also be found online.
Real Good Foods products are great to have in the freezer because they are quick to prepare and they are high quality products with delicious flavor.
Pizza, Chips and Ice Cream
Not much else screams “not-keto” other than pizza, chips, and ice cream. Luckily, there are plenty of companies that offer low-carb alternatives to these foods.
Cali’Flour Foods sells low carb cauliflower pizza crusts that get crispy and delicious like the real thing.
Quest Nutrition has protein chips that will replace a traditional tortilla chip and satisfy the crunch craving.
Companies like Rebel Creamery offer low-sugar ice cream that is also high in fat. This is a great option for keto and they are available in several stores across the country. You can use the store locator on their site to find some near you so that you can add it to your keto shopping list.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are tons of questionable ingredients that are put into products these days. Sticking to whole and unprocessed foods is the easiest way to avoid unwanted fillers and additives.
However, some convenience foods are great to have on a keto shopping list. This is a short list of a few of the ingredients to avoid when purchasing low carb foods in stores.