Eat and Avoid – Keto Diet Food List

The ketogenic diet might seem restrictive but there are hundreds of food variations you can eat once you’re low-carb. All your favorite flavors — from Indian food to Mexican, savory to sweet — are on the approved keto food list.

The first few weeks on keto might be a little rough, but once you’re fat-adapted, those cravings will subside and you’ll have plenty of go-to keto meals on your roster.

Use this list so you can easily refer back to it when you’re first starting keto. Remember: try to eat real food and avoid processed food.

How to Shop for Healthy Keto Foods

  1. Buy food that was once alive. Foods like fresh pastured meat, wild-caught seafood, organic, low-carb vegetables, and nuts.
  2. Stick to the outside ring of the grocery store. The perimeter of the store usually has the fresh, unpackaged foods like meat and vegetables. Avoid those middle shelves to avoid more processed, packaged foods.
  3. Look for ingredients you recognize. If you do opt for packaged foods, read the labels. And if you don’t recognize more than 2-3 ingredients, put it back on the shelf.Check both the nutrition label and ingredients to make sure there aren’t any sneaky carbs, sugars, or fake ingredients that may mess up your hard work and compromise your health.

Fats

When it comes to the keto food list, healthy fats form the cornerstone of the diet. To keep your body in a state of ketosis — breaking down fat instead of carbs for fuel — you have to eat enough fat.

But the quality of your dietary fat matters. There are four categories of fat allowed on the keto diet:

  • Saturated fats
  • Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs)
  • Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), which includes omega-3s

Keep in mind that you want a good balance of omega-3s and omega-6s to support overall health, including proper nerve and brain function, and reduce the risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Too much omega-6 fatty acids can be inflammatory, so avoid sources of high omega-6s, such as grains and vegetable oils like corn oil or sunflower oil. Focus mostly on omega-3s from fish like trout, salmon, and sardines or take a high-quality fish oil supplement like krill oil. Also, be mindful of nuts and seeds because they do contain some carbs, especially pistachios and almonds.

Fats and Oils

The quality of your dietary fat on keto makes a huge difference in the results you’ll see. It’s essential to learn which sources of fat are really considered healthy and safe to eat on keto. We covered this in great detail in this guide.

Saturated fat has been shown to improve HDL and LDL cholesterol levels — both the good and bad cholesterol markers — and it can also fortify bone density and support your immune system and hormones.

Saturated fats include:

When you whip up a few keto recipes, you’ll probably be cooking with one of the items listed above. These fats are solid at room temperature while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids remain a liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to improve insulin resistance and cholesterol, as well as reduce abdominal fat and your risk for heart disease.

The best sources of monounsaturated fats include:

Polyunsaturated fats are also found in similar sources like:

Check out the chart for a visual of the healthy fats and oils on the keto food list:

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbTotal CarbNet Carb
Butter or ghee1 tablespoon (14.2g)1020.12g11.5g0g0g0g
Lard/Dripping1 tablespoon (12.8g)1150g12.8g0g0g0g
Mayonnaise1 tablespoon (13.8g)940.13g10.33g0.08g0g0.08g
Coconut Oil1 tablespoon (13.6g)1210g13.47g0g0g0g
Coconut butter1 tablespoon (16g)1051g10.5g4g2.5g1.5g
Flaxseed oil1 tablespoon (13.6g)1200.01g13.6g0g0g0g
Olive oil1 tablespoon (13.5g)1190g 13.5g0g0g0g
Sesame seed oil1 tablespoon (13.6g)1200g 13.6g0g0g0g
MCT oil1 tablespoon/15 mL1300g 14g0g0g0g
MCT powder1 scoop (10g)700.5g7g1g1g0g
Walnut oil1 tablespoon (13.6g)1200g13.60g0g0g

Fats and Oils to Avoid

Just because you’re following a ketogenic diet doesn’t mean you should indulge in every fat you come across. All fats are not created equal.

Steer clear of these unhealthy fats:

1. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. These fats are found in packaged foods. They increase inflammation and your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol.

If you’re relying on packaged foods to get you through keto, check the label and ditch any foods with these.

2. Highly processed vegetable oils. Corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower, and grapeseed oil are all fats that sound healthier than they actually are. These veggie oils are detrimental to your health and could be to blame for your keto plateau, because they:

  • Are usually made with genetically modified seeds that are potential allergens.
  • Are cooked well above their smoke point, which makes the oils go rancid. This puts you at risk of developing certain cancers, obesity, and depression.
  • Leave fatty deposits in your body which can lead to heart attacks and premature death.
  • Contain higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and contribute to chronic inflammation in your body.

These oils should be removed entirely from your diet, not just eaten in moderation.

Nuts and Seeds

Another easy and satisfying way to sneak more healthy fats into your diet is to reach for raw nuts and seeds. As mentioned in this guide, these nutritional powerhouses are loaded with essential nutrients like magnesium, selenium, and manganese. Nuts and seeds can improve your brain health, fortify your immune system, and aid with digestion and blood glucose management. They’re also high in healthy fats, have a moderate amount of protein, and are generally low in carbohydrates, depending on the type you choose. Nuts are also portable, making them one of the best keto-friendly snacks. However, before you run out and stock up enough nuts to last you through winter, you should know that some nuts are better for you than others. In the context of a keto diet, this means they have more fat and fewer carbs. These are the top keto nuts and seeds to include on your keto food list:
FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbFiberNet Carb
Almonds23 nuts (28g)1646g14g6g3.5g2.5
Almond butter (w/o salt)1 tablespoon (16g)983.5g9g3g1.51.5
Almond meal/flour1/4 cup (25g)1506g11g6g3g3g
Brazil nuts5 nuts (25g)1653.5g17g3g2g1g
Cashews1/4 cup (28g)1504g12g10g1g9g
Cashew butter (w/o salt)1 tablespoon (16g)943g8g4.5g0.5g4g
Coconut (shredded unsweetened)1/4 cup (20g)711g7g3g2g1g
Macadamias6 kernels (14g)1021g11g2g2g0.8g
Macadamia butter1 tablespoon (14g)972g10g2g1g1g
Hazelnuts12 nuts (17g)1062.5g10g3g1.5g1.5g
Pecans10 halves (14g)981.3g10g2g1.5g0.5g
Pili nuts1/4 cup (30g)2103g24g1g1g0g
Pine nuts2 tablespoons (20g)1482.7g14g2g1.3g0.7g
Pistachios25 nuts (17.5g)983.5g8g5g2g3g
Pumpkin seeds (hulled)1/4 cup (30g)1809g14g4g3g1g
Sesame seeds2 tablespoons (18g)1033.2g9g4g2g2g
Sunflower seeds (hulled)1/4 cup (30g)1606g15g6g3g3g
Sunflower seed butter1 tablespoon (16g)992.8g9g4g1g3g
Tahini (sesame paste)1 tablespoon (15g)892.6g8g3g1g2g
Walnuts7 halves (14g)932g9g2g1g1g

Nuts and Seeds to Avoid

Wondering why peanuts and peanut butter didn’t make the approved keto food list? Many people don’t realize peanut butter is not actually made with nuts. Peanuts are technically a legume, which is in the same family as peas, soybeans, and lentils.

While the macro breakdown and monounsaturated fat amount of a serving of peanuts may be similar to other nuts, that’s where their healthy comparison stops.

Most peanut butters are:

  • Packed with unnecessary sugars
  • Loaded with hydrogenated oils (harmful fats)
  • Low in fat and filled with junk as a replacement
  • Hard to digest
  • Covered in pesticides
  • High in oxalates (which prevent proper nutrient absorption and can lead to kidney stones)
  • High in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids

Rather than getting a dose of fat from this unhealthy nut imposter, try one of these nut butters instead.

Keto Diet Foods: Dairy

Most dairy products get the green light on the keto food list, as they typically contain high doses of fat and protein with very few carbs. Just opt for the full-fat version and organic and raw, if possible.

If you don’t have any issues digesting dairy, try these keto-friendly options:

  1. Greek yogurt, fermented yogurt, and kefir
  2. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream
  3. Hard cheeses like blue cheese, gouda, cheddar, and parmesan
  4. Semi-hard cheese such as colby, provolone, and Swiss cheese
  5. Softer cheeses like mozzarella, brie, muenster, and Monterey Jack
  6. Cream cheese, sour cream, mascarpone, creme fraiche, and cottage cheese, which are also fine on a high-fat diet

But for some people, dairy causes stomach bloating and abdominal pain, a condition referred to as lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance comes from the sugar found in milk.

If you are sensitive to dairy products, try following these tips:

  • Find hard and long-aged dairy
  • Use ghee, a butter alternative without the irritating milk solids
  • Get checked for a casein sensitivity to rule out the other common irritant found in dairy
  • If you really can’t tolerate dairy, try a non-dairy alternative like unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbFiberNet Carb
Blue cheese1 oz. (28g)1006g8g0.7g0g0.7g
Brie1 oz. (28g)956g8g0g0.1g0g
Cheddar or colby1 oz. (28g)1156.5g9.5g1g0g1g
Cream cheese2 tablespoons (29g)1002g10g1.6g0g0.6g
Feta1 oz. (28g)754g6g1g0g1g
Goat cheese (soft)1 oz. (28g)755g6g0g0g0g
Gouda1 oz. (28g)1007g8g0.6g0g0.6g
Mozzarella (whole milk)1 oz. (28g)856.3g6.3g0.6g0g0.6g
Parmesan1 oz. (28g)11110g7.3g1g0g1g
Swiss1 oz. (28g)1117.6g9g0.4g0g0.4g
Cottage cheese (2% fat)1/2 cup (113g)9212g2.5g5g0g5g
Cottage cheese (creamed)1/2 cup (105g)10311.7g4.5g3.5g0g3.5g
Ricotta (whole milk)1/2 cup (124g21614g16g4g0g4g
Sour cream1 tablespoon (12g)240.3g2.3g0.6g0g0.6g
Yogurt (plain unsweetened/whole milk)4 oz. (113g)694g3.7g5.30g5.3
Heavy whipping cream or double cream (fluid)1 tablespoon (15g)510.4g5.4g0.4g0g0.4g
Heavy whipping cream or double cream (whipped)1/2 cup (60g)2041.7g22g1.6g0g1.6g

Dairy to Avoid

A few dairy products should be avoided due to their high sugar and carb content. For example, a glass of whole milk (which doesn’t have any fat removed) contains 12.8g of carbs per glass.

Other dairy you should avoid include:

  1. Low-fat, reduced fat, and fat free milk
  2. Half and half
  3. Evaporated and condensed milk

Keto Diet Foods: Proteins

Protein is a vital component of any diet. Protein fuels your body with essential amino acids, helps regulate organs, and builds muscle and connective tissue.

Ideally, you should consume 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass (at least). This will prevent muscle loss and help you build essential neurotransmitters and hormones. Some people consume up to 20% of total calories from protein and stay in ketosis.

As with fats, make sure these calories come from healthy sources:

  • Choose the highest-quality meat and eggs you can afford
  • Pick grass-fed, organic, and pasture-raised options whenever possible
  • Look for wild-caught seafood sources
  • When it comes to cut, select a fattier cut whenever possible

Here are the best proteins to eat on keto:

  • Beef, preferably fattier cuts like steak, veal, roast, and ground beef
  • Poultry, including chicken, quail, duck, turkey and wild game — try to focus on the darker, fattier meats
  • Pork, including pork loin, tenderloin, chops, ham, bacon, and ground
  • Fish, including mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, trout, halibut, cod, catfish, and mahi-mahi
  • Shellfish, including oysters, clams, crab, mussels, and lobster
  • Organ meats, including heart, liver, tongue, kidney, and offal
  • Eggs, including deviled, fried, scrambled, and boiled — use the whole egg
  • Lamb meat
  • Goat meat

Whether it’s 100% grass-fed and finished beef, wild-caught salmon, or boneless skinless chicken breasts raised without antibiotics, they got you covered! Have it all delivered right to your door.

Visit the store:

Proteins to Avoid

To really excel at keto, it’s not just about adding more fat to your diet; it’s also about removing the junk. Many meats contain additives, artificial ingredients, and unnecessary sugars so you’ll need to eliminate those to improve your health. They include processed and cured meats like pepperoni, salami, hot dogs, and certain jerky.

Keto Diet Foods: Carbohydrates

When following keto, you want to get the majority of your carbohydrates from vegetables such as leafy greens (which contain almost no carbs), asparagus, and broccoli, and most other vegetables that grow above ground. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and parsnips.

The rest of your carbohydrate intake should come from the carbs in nuts and seeds, the small amount in dairy and on occasion, from fruits like berries.

Raw vegetables

Most vegetables, including leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, are encouraged on keto.

The best options include eating vegetables that grow above the ground, such as:

  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Arugula
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Green and white cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Radishes
  • Okra
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbFiberNet Carb
Alfalfa sprouts1/2 cup (43g)151.5g0g2g1g1g
Artichoke hearts, marinated4 pieces (64g)600g6g4g2g2g
Artichoke hearts, canned1 heart (16g)150g1.5g1g0.5g0.5g
Arugula1 cup (20g)50.5g0g0.5g0g0.5g
Beans, green, snap, string, wax1/2 cup (50g)161g0g3.5g1.5g2g
Bok choy (pak choi)1 cup (70g)91g0g1.5g1g0.5g
Boston/bibb lettuce1 cup (55g)71g0g1g1g0g
Broccoli florets 1/2 cup (36g) 101g0g 2g1g1g
Cabbage, green, red, savoy1/2 cup (60g 80.40g2g0.9g1.1g
Cauliflower florets 1/2 cup (54g) 131g0g3g1g2g
Celery1 stalk (40g) 60g 0g1g0.5g0.5g
Chicory greens1/2 30g0g1g0.5g 0.5g
Chinese cabbage (pak-choi)1/2 cup, shredded (35g) 5 0.5g 0g 1g0.5g 0.5g
Chives1 tablespoon (3g) 1 0.1g 0g 0.1g0.1g 0g
Cucumber (with peel) 1/2 cup, sliced (52g) 8 0.3g 0g 2g 0.3g 1.7g
Daikon radish 1/2 cup (58g) 9 0.4g 0g 2g 1g1g
Endive1/2 cup (25g) 4 0.3g 0g 1g 1g 0g
Escarole1/2 cup (75g) 14 1g 0g 2.3g 2g 0.3g
Fennel, bulb 1/2 cup (44g) 13 0.5g0g 3g1g2g
Greens, mixed 1 cup (36g) 5 0.5g 0g 1g 0.5g 0.5g
Iceberg lettuce 1 cup (72g) 10 0.7g 0g 2g 1g 1g
Jicama1/2 cup (60g) 23 0.5g 0g5g 3g2g
Loose-leaf lettuce 1 cup (57g) 8 0.5g 0g 3g 1g 2g
Mung bean sprouts 1/2 cup (52g) 16 1.5g 0g 3g 1g 2g
Mushrooms, button, fresh 1/2 cup (35g) 8 1g 0g 1g 0.3g0.7g
Olives, black 5 (19g) 30 0g3g 1g 0g 1g
Olives, green 5 (14g) 20 0g 2g 0.5g 0.4g 0.1g
Onion 2 tablespoons, chopped (20g) 8 0.2g 0g 2g 0.5g 1.5g
Parsley 1 tablespoon (4g) 1 0.1g 0g 0.2g 0.1g 0.1g
Peppers, green bell 1/2 cup (75g) 15 1g 0g 3.5g 1.5g2g
Peppers, red bell 1/2 cup (75g) 23 1g 0g 4.5g 1.5g 3g
Radicchio1/2 cup (20g) 5 0.3g 0g1g 0.2g 0.8g
Radishes 6 (12g) 2 0g 0g 0.4g0.2g0.2g
Romaine lettuce 1 cup (47g) 8 0.5g 0g 1.5g 1g 0.5g
Scallion/green onion 1/4 cup (25g) 8 0.5g 0g 2g 1g 1g
Spinach 1 cup (30g) 7 1g 0g 1g 0.7g 0.3g
Tomato 1 small (90g) 16 1g 0g 3.5g 1g 2.5g
Tomato1 medium (123g) 22 1g 0.25g5g 1.5g 3.5g
Tomato, cherry 5 (85g) 151g 0.2g3.3g 1g 2.3g
Watercress1/2 cup (17g) 20.4g0g 0.2g0.1g0.1g

Cooked Vegetables

Cooking your vegetables helps break down the plant matter so their nutrients are easier for your body to absorb and use. You’ll be able to readily use them without forcing your digestion to do all the heavy lifting. This makes certain vegetables easier to digest than in their raw form.

Cooking also gives you the chance to add fat and flavor. A little oil, plus some pink Himalayan salt and pepper, can radically transform a tasteless raw vegetable into something more crave-worthy. In the end, it’s smart to enjoy vegetables both ways.

During the summer, you may want a nice cold salad with spinach, while in the winter sauteed spinach with garlic may sound better.

FoodServing Size Calories ProteinFatTotal Carb Fiber Net Carb
Artichoke 1/2 medium (60g) 321.7g 0g 7g 3.5g 3.5g
Asparagus6 spears (90g) 202g 0g 4g2g 2g
Bamboo shoots, canned, sliced 1/2 cup (66g) 121g 0g2g 1g 1g
Beans, green, wax, string, snap 1/2 cup (63g) 22 1g 0g 5g2g3g
Beet greens 1/2 cup (72g 192g 0g4g2g 2g
Bok choy (pak choi) 1/2 cup (85g) 10 1.3g 0g 1.5g1g 0.5g
Broccoflower 1/2 cup (34g) 10 1g 0g 2g 1g 1g
Broccoli1/2 cup (78g) 27 2g 0g 5.5g 2.5g 3g
Broccoli rabe 1/2 cup (85g) 28 3.3g 0.5g 2.7g 2.4g 0.3g
Brussels sprouts 1/4 cup (40g) 140g0g3g 1g2g
Cabbage, green 1/2 cup (75g) 17 1g 0g 4g 1.5g 2.5g
Cabbage, red 1/2 cup (75g) 22 1g 0g 5g 2g3g
Cabbage, savoy 1/2 cup (73g) 17 1.3g 0g 4g 2g2g
Cardoon 1/2 cup (80g) 18 0.5g 0g 4g 1.5g 2.5g
Cauliflower 1/2 cup (62g) 14 1g 0.3g 2.5g 1.5g 1g
Celery 1/2 cup (75g) 14 0.5g0g 3g 1.2g 1.8g
Chard, swiss 1/2 cup (88g) 18 2g 0g 3.5g2g 1.5g
Chayote 1/2 cup (80g) 19 0.5g 0.4g 4g 2g 2g
Collard greens 1/2 cup (95g) 31 2.5g 1g 5.5g 4g 1.5g
Dandelion greens 1/2 cup (53g) 17 1g 0.3g 3.5g 1.5g
2g
Eggplant1/2 cup (50g) 17 1g 0g 4g 1g 3g
Escarole 1/2 cup (75g) 14 1g 0g 2.3g2.1g 0.1g
Fennel, bulb 1/2 cup (44g) 130.5g 0g 3g1.5g 1.5g
Hearts of palm 1 heart (33g) 9 1g 0.2g 1.5g 1g 0.5g
Kale 1/2 cup (65g) 18 1g 0g 4g 4g 2.5g
Kohlrabi 1/4 cup (41g) 12 1g 0g 3g 0.5g 2.5g
Leeks1/2 cup (52g) 16 0.5g0g 4g0.5g 3.5g
Mushrooms, button 1/4 cup (39g) 11 1g 0g 2g 1g 1g
Mushrooms, shiitake 1/4 cup (36g) 20 0.5g 0g 5g 1g 4g
Mustard greens 1/2 cup (70g) 18 2g 0.3g 3g 1.5g 1.5g
Nopales (cactus pads) 1/2 cup (75g) 11 1g 0g 2.5g1.5g 1g
Okra 1/2 cup (80g) 18 1.5g 0g 3.5g2g 1.5g
Onion, yellow; sauteed 1/4 cup (22g) 29 0g 2.5g2g 0.5g 1.5g
Peppers, green bell; chopped 1/4 cup (29g) 37 0g 3.5g1g 0.5g 0.5g
Peppers, red bell; chopped 1/4 cup (27g) 35 0.3g 3.5g 2g 0.5g 1.5g
Pumpkin1/4 cup (61g) 12 0.5g 0g 3g 1g 2g
Sauerkraut 1/2 cup; drained (71g) 13 0.7g 0g 3g 2g1g
Shallots 2 tablespoons (20g) 14 0.5g 0g 3.5g 0.5g3g
Spaghetti squash 1/2 cup (78g) 21 0.5g 0g 5g 1g 4g
Spinach 1/2 cup (90g) 21 3g 0g 3g 2g 1g
Summer squash 1/2 cup (90g) 21 1g 0.4g 3.5g1g 2.5g
Tomato 1/4 cup (60g) 11 0.5g 0g 2.5g0.5g 2g
Turnips (white), mashed 1/2 cup (115g) 25 1g 0g 6g 2.5g 3.5g
Zucchini 1/2 cup (90g) 141g 0.3g 2.5g 1g 1.5g

Fruit

Many new keto dieters are surprised to learn that fruits and fruit juices contain as many grams of carbs and sugar as some desserts. Bananas and apples, two of the most popular fruits in the United States, contain 24g and 20g of net carbs, respectively. That’s your entire carb count for the day in just one fruit!

Fruit should be eaten in small amounts. When you do eat fruits, choose lower-sugar options like these and keep your portions in check:

  • Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries
  • Certain melons
  • Cherries
  • Avocados
Food Serving Size Calories Protein Fat Total Carb FiberNet Carb
Avocado, Hass (Florida) 1/2 fruit (152g) 182 3.5g 15g 12g 8.5g3.5g
Blackberries, fresh 1/4 cup (36g) 15 0.5g0.2g3.5g2g4g
Blackberries, frozen 1/4 cup (38g) 24 0.5g0.2g6g 2g4g
Blueberries, frozen 1/4 cup (39g) 20 0.2g0.3g5g1g 4g
Cherries, sour, fresh, w/o pit 1/4 cup (39g) 190.4g 0.1g 5g1g 4g
Cherries, sweet, fresh, w/o pit 1/4 cup (39g) 24 0.4g 0.1g 6g1g 5g
Cranberries, raw, chopped 1/4 cup (28g) 13 0.1g 0g 3g 1g 2g
Currants, fresh, red and white 1/4 cup (28g) 16 0.4g0.1g 4g1g 3g
Gooseberries, raw 1/4 cup (38g) 16 0.3g 0.2g4g1.5g 1.5g
Loganberries, frozen 1/4 cup (37g) 20 0.6g0.1g 5g 2g 3g
Melon, cantaloupe, balls 1/4 cup (44g) 15 0.4g 0.1g 3.5g 0.5g 3g
Melon, honeydew, balls 1/4 cup (44g) 16 0.2g0.1g 4g 0.5g 3.5g
Melon, balls, frozen 1/4 cup (43g) 14 0.4g 0.1g 3.5g 0.5g 3g
Raspberries, fresh 1/4 cup (31g) 16 0.4g 0.2g 4g0.5g 3.5g
Raspberries, frozen 1/4 cup (35g) 18 0.4g 0.2g 4g 2g 2g
Strawberries, fresh, sliced 1/4 cup (42g) 13 0.3g 0.2g 3g1g2g
Strawberries, frozen 1/4 cup (37g) 13 0.2g 0g 3.5g 1g 2.5g
Strawberry, fresh 1 large (18g) 60.1g0.1g1.5g0.5g 1g

Carbohydrates to Avoid

On top of avoiding starchy vegetables and fruits triple packed with sugar, you should also eliminate carbs such as:

  • Grains: All wheat (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.), oats, rice, quinoa, barley
  • Starchy vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips
  • High-sugar fruits including bananas, mangoes, watermelon, apples and grapes
  • Processed foods
  • Beans and legumes
  • Sweets, candies, and most prepackaged or commercially baked desserts

Whole grain options, like whole wheat bread or pasta for example, don’t raise your blood sugar as much as regular pasta — the difference is around one point — yet they still keep your glucose levels just as elevated.

Beans can have a similar effect despite being a vegetable instead of a flour-based mixture like pasta or bread. Depending on the variety, a single serving of beans can range from 25g of net carbs all the way up to 46g!

Keto Drinks

While juice and soda may be off the menu on the keto food list, there are other beverages you can sip on besides plain water.

These include:

  • Water flavored with cucumbers, lemon, or lime
  • Collagen or bone broth to give your gut and immune system a boost
  • Plain, plant-based milk like almond and hemp milk
  • Coffee and tea
FoodServing Size CaloriesProteinFatTotal Carb FiberNet Carb
Broth/bouillon (not low sodium; no added sugar) 1 cup (235g) 27 6.25 0g0.79 0g0.79
Club soda 1 can (474g) 00g0g0g0g0g
Caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee 1 cup (237g) 2 0.54g 0.05g 0g0g0g
Caffeinated or decaffeinated tea 1 cup (245g) 20.54g 0g 0g0g0g
Lemon juice (2.5g) and lime juice (2.9g) 1 lemon or lime (48g) 11 0.17g 0.12g3.31g 0.1g3.21g
Unsweetened almond milk 1 cup (262g) 39 1.55g 2.88g 1.52g 0g 0g
Unsweetened hemp milk 1 cup (236g) 50 2g4g 1g
0g 1g

Alcohol Keto Drinks

You don’t have to cut out alcohol from your keto diet, but it does come with a few caveats.

You should know:

  1. Alcohol contains empty calories and may cause you to overeat as your inhibitions are lowered, which can lead to weight gain.
  2. Alcohol also turns off your body’s ability to burn fat.
  3. You may also get drunk faster in keto, and experience a worse hangover, since your body is not running on carbs anymore.

To help you navigate the menu better, check out the chart below to see which alcoholic drinks are the lowest in carbs and calories.

FoodServing Size Calories ProteinFatTotal Carb FiberNet Carb
Beer (light) 12 oz. (336g) 96 0g 0g 3g0g3g
Bourbon 1 oz. (28g) 70 0g 0g 0.03g
0g0.03g
Champagne 3.5oz. (100g) 87 0.07g0g 2.9g0g 2.8g
Gin1 oz. (28g) 730g0g0g0g0g
Rum1 oz. (28g) 640g0g0g0g0g
Scotch 1 oz. (28g) 70 0g0g0g0g0g
Sherry (dry) 2 oz. (57g) 690g0g0g0g0g
Vodka 1 oz. (28g) 64 0g0g0g0g0g
Wine (red) 5 oz. (140g) 125 0.1g 0g3.84g 0g3.84g
Wine (white) 5 oz. (140g) 1210.1g 0g3.82g0g3.82g

Alcohol to Avoid

Try to avoid these sugary adult drinks on keto:

  • Cocktails and mixed drinks like mojitos, mimosas, cosmopolitans, rum and Cokes, Moscow mules, screwdrivers, gin and tonics, and Long Island iced tea.
  • Frozen drinks like pina coladas, margaritas, and daiquiris.
  • Beers and even non-alcoholic beers may have as much as 17-18g of carbs per drink.
  • Sweet wines like riesling, moscato, sherry, and port can each have as many as 20g of carbs per glass.

Keto Condiments, Spices, and Dressings

Sauces contain sugar and can be a bad idea on a keto diet. That’s why they’re not typically on the approved keto food list. You’re better off making your own sauces to control the calories, ingredients, sugars, and carbs.

Condiments and Sauces

There are also plenty of pre-made options that are safe to use if you don’t have time to whip up something homemade to drizzle on your meals. Just make sure to check the nutrition facts and ingredients for sugars, carbs, and unhealthy oils or preservatives.

If you don’t feel like scanning labels, you can try your hand at one of these homemade keto sauces:

FoodServing Size Calories ProteinFatTotal Carb Fiber Net Carb
Ancho chili pepper 1 pepper (17g) 482g 1.4g 9g 4g5g
Anchovy paste 1 tablespoon (15g) 25 3g 1.5g 0g0g0g
Capers 1 tablespoon (8.6g) 2 0.2g 0.07g 0.42g 0.3g 0.1g
Chipotle en adobo 2 peppers (30g) 20 0g 1g 3g1g 2g
Clam juice 1 cup (237mL) 78 15.8g 0g 0g 0g 0g
Coconut aminos 1 teaspoon (5mL) 5 0g 0g 1g
0g 1g
Coconut milk (canned and unsweetened) 1/2 cup (113g) 212 2.3g 24g3g 0g 3g
Cocoa powder, unsweetened 1 tablespoon (5.4g) 12 1g 0.74g 3g
0g 3g
Enchilada sauce 1/4 cup (60g) 24 1g 0g 5g 1g 4g
Fish sauce 1 teaspoon (5mL) 3 0.66g 0g0g0g0g
Horseradish sauce 1 teaspoon (5.6g) 28 0.6g 2.85g 0.56g0.1g 0.4g
Jalapeno chili pepper 1/2 cup; sliced (75g) 30 1.4g0.33g6.6g1.1g 5.5g
Miso paste 1 tablespoon(18g) 30 2g 1g 4g 1g 3g
Mustard (Dijon) 1 teaspoon (5g) 10 0g0g1g
0g1g
Mustard (yellow) 1 teaspoon (5g) 3 0g0g0g0g0g
Pasilla chili pepper 1 pepper (7g) 24 0.86g1.11g3.58g 1.9g 1.68g
Pesto sauce1 tablespoon (15g) 58 0.7g 5.8g 1.2g0.2g 1g
Pickapeppa sauce 1 teaspoon (5mL) 5 0g 0g 1g0g 1g
Pickle (dill or kosher) 1/2 pickle (32.5g) 4 0.11g 0.07g 0.73g 0.4g 0.3g
Pimento or roasted red pepper 1 oz. (28g) 6 0.3g0.08g 1.41g 0.5g 0.9g
Salsa, green (no added sugar) 1 tablespoon (10g) 0 0g 0g 0.6g 0g 0.6
Salsa, red (no added sugar) 1 tablespoon (14g) 30g 0g1g 0g 1g
Serrano chili pepper 1/2 cup (52.5g) 17 0.9 0.23g 3.5g 1.9g 1.6g
Soy sauce 1 tablespoon (18g) 11 1.9g 0g1g 0.1g 0.9g
Sriracha 1 teaspoon (6.5g) 61.13g 0.06g 1.25g 0.1g 1.15g
Tabasco or other hot sauce 1 teaspoon (4.7g) 1 0.06g 0.04g 0.04g 0g 0.04g
Taco sauce 1 tablespoon (16g) 8 0g0g2g0g2g
Tahini (sesame paste) 2 tablespoons (30g) 178 5.2g 16g6.5g1.5g5g
Vinegar, balsamic 1 tablespoon (16g) 14 0.08g 0g2.7g0g2.7g
Vinegar, cider 1 tablespoon (15g) 30g 0g0.14g0g0.14g
Vinegar, red wine 1 tablespoon (15g) 30.04g0g0.04g0g0.04g
Vinegar, sherry 1 tablespoon (15g) 5 0g0g2g 0g2g
Vinegar, white wine 1 tablespoon (15g) 4 0.01g 0g0.12g0g0.12g
Wasabi paste 1 teaspoon (5g) 10 0g 0g 2g 0g 2g
Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon (17g) 13 0g0g3.3g
0g3.3g

Dressings

Salad dressings and sauces can also have extra sugar you wouldn’t expect. If you’re out at a restaurant, avoid balsamics, vinaigrettes, honey mustard, and French or Thousand Island dressings since they tend to have more sugar in them.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on which dressings are best whether you’re home or out to eat:

FoodServing Size Calories Protein Fat Total Carb Fiber Net Carb
Blue cheese dressing 2 tablespoons (30g) 140 1g 14g 1g 0g 1g
Caesar salad dressing 2 tablespoons (30g) 140 1g 16g 1g 0g 0.5g
Italian dressing 2 tablespoons (30g) 710.12g6.2g3.6g0g3.6g
Lemon juice 2 tablespoons (30g) 7 0.11g 0.07g2.1g 0.1g 2g
Lime juice 2 tablespoons (30g) 8 0.13g0.02g 2.6g0.1g 2.4g
Oil and vinegar 2 tablespoons (32g) 1440g 16g 0.8g 0g0.8g
Ranch dressing 2 tablespoons (30g) 129 0.4g 13.4g 1.7g
0g1.7g

Herbs and Spices

Since many traditional seasonings and sauces aren’t keto-friendly, herbs and spices will become your new best friends in the kitchen.

Just make sure they don’t contain any sugars or high-carb fillers — some mixed spice blends do — and are purely the herb or spice itself before you take the spice jar home with you.

Some of the best herbs and spices to use include:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Condiments, Spices, and Dressings to Avoid

As mentioned earlier, these sauces are usually packed with sugar and should be avoided at the grocery store and anytime you eat out.

Be sure to ask your server to take them away altogether so you’re not tempted and lured in by the sweet taste:

  • Ketchup
  • BBQ sauce
  • Honey mustard
  • Any packaged item containing sugar

Keto Sweeteners

When it comes to sugar, moderation and reducing your portions are not enough to keep you safe.

Over time, sugar consumption can increase your chances of developing health issues like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Leaky gut syndrome

This means both refined and baking sugars — even organic ones — are off-limits.

For those times when you do use sweeteners in a recipe, keep these best practices in mind:

  1. Only use low-glycemic index sweeteners as they won’t affect your blood sugar levels or contribute to your carb intake.
  2. Try to stay away from sweeteners that use the sugar alcohol maltitol or filler ingredients like dextrose or maltodextrin. This even applies to low- or no-calorie and low- or no-sugar sweeteners.

Two sugar alternatives that tick those boxes and are also low-carb include:

  1. Stevia
  2. Monk fruit

Here are some safe, low-glycemic sweetener options (nutrition facts may differ based on the brand you choose):

FoodServing Size Calories ProteinFatTotal Carb FiberNet Carb
Stevia (liquid) 4 drops (0.13mL) 0 0g 0g 0g 0g 0g
Erythritol 1 teaspoon (4g) 0 0g 0g 4g0g1g
Monk fruit (Luo Han Guo) 1 teaspoon (0.5g) 0 0g 0g 1g0g1g
Xylitol 1 teaspoon (4g) 10 0g 0g 4g0g1g

Sweeteners to Avoid

Keep in mind, artificial sweeteners like Splenda, sucralose, and aspartame are also considered low calorie and low glycemic, but that doesn’t make them a good option.

Some people experience blood sugar spikes and cravings when consuming these fake sweeteners. Plus they may have negative effects on your gut microbiome and can possibly cause inflammation and even weight gain over time.

If you see these ingredients on the label, the food is probably not keto-approved and shouldn’t be on your keto food list:

  • Any form of cane sugar
  • Honey (use one of these four honey substitutes if you miss the taste or need the consistency in a recipe)
  • Maple syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Date syrup
  • Agave syrup

5 Beneficial Keto Supplements

Although the main focus of your ketogenic diet should be consuming whole foods that are as close to nature as possible, there are some other healthy options that will support your keto diet.

Here’s a guide to some of the common supplements and other products that may help you along your keto journey.

1. Exogenous Ketones

The purpose of exogenous ketone supplements is to provide the body with extra ketones for energy. Ketone supplements can be a huge help when just starting out on keto or entering a fasted state.

Exogenous ketones help with energy levels and battle brain fog when you’re getting into ketosis. They can also provide you with an extra boost of energy pre- and post-workout — even if you’re already in ketosis.

2. MCT Powders and Oils

MCT is short for medium-chain triglyceride. MCTs are a type of fat that are readily used for energy by your body and do not have to be shuttled around your digestive system before use. They are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs.

Benefits of MCTs
  • Weight Loss: MCTs are easily digested and have a thermogenic (energy-creating) effect, also known as boosting your metabolism.
  • Energy: MCTs are a fast-acting source of energy. They break down into ketones which can then be used as fuel for your body.
  • Digestion: MCTs support your gut microbiome by combating harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Overall Health: MCTs contain antioxidant properties which reduce internal inflammation and improve overall performance of your heart, brain, and nervous system.

While MCTs and MCT oil play a role in fat loss, this next supplement may improve the condition of your hair, skin, nails, joints, and more.

3. Collagen Protein Supplements

Collagen is a type of protein — one of over 10,000 in your body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for 25-35% of all protein. It can be considered the glue that holds your body together.

Collagen protein from grass-fed beef is made in the same way that bone broth is made — low and slow heating to preserve the nutrition. Getting enough collagen from your diet keeps many of your organs healthy, including your skin, nails, hair, heart, eyes, joints, and muscles.

4. Micronutrient Supplements

One of the toughest parts of sticking to the keto food list is that it cuts out lots of starchy fruits and vegetables that contain a variety of nutrients.

Perfect Keto Micro Greens can help you beat this issue by giving you the same types of nutrients you’d find in those foods without having to load up on starchy carbs and fruits to do so.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • Greens and Veggie Blend: 4.5 grams of raw and organic greens and vegetables from 12 different sources.
  • Berry and Fruit Blend: 4.5 grams of raw and organic berries and fruits from 10 different sources.
  • MCT Powder: 3.5 grams. We use fat from coconut oil so you absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in plants.
  • Liver Support and Digestive Enzymes: These help you absorb all the nutrients in the product.

5. Ketogenic Pre-workout Supplements

As discussed in this guide, it’s not just the carbs, calories, and sugar content you have to consider when choosing workout supplements, especially pre-workouts.

Many pre-workout powders contain cheap fillers, chemical binders, and artificial ingredients which have been linked to:

  • Weakening of your immune system
  • Impaired neuromuscular transmission
  • Increased asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and migraines
  • IBS and leaky gut syndrome symptoms
  • Ovarian, lung, and endometrial cancers

Even if the pre-workout you’re considering is promoted as low-carb and sugar-free, you can’t trust it until you do your own research to see what’s really behind the claims.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go far with this low-carb pre-workout free of junk fillers and chemical ingredients.

Here’s a peek inside the Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout:

  • 7.7g BHB ketones: Boosts ketones through its work with acetyl groups to create ATP, the energy currency of cells.
  • 5g MCTs: Provides healthy fats and a source of ketones for an energy and cognitive boost.
  • 2g Creatine: Increases your body’s ability to produce energy fast through cellular hydration.
  • 2g BCAA (2:1:1): Branched chain amino acids composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine. Together, they promote muscle protein synthesis and cellular glucose uptake for muscle growth and better endurance.
  • 1.5g Beta-Alanine: Promotes muscle endurance and more power output during training.
  • 500mg L-citrulline: Helps reduce muscle soreness and promotes better endurance for your workouts.
  • 50mg Caffeine: Derived from green tea, it promotes alertness without the blood pressure and heart rate elevation caused by caffeine.

Vegan Options

Many people question whether or not it’s possible to follow a ketogenic diet while being a vegan. Although difficult (and not recommended), it’s not impossible to become a keto vegan.

Vegan Keto Tips

If you plan to follow a vegan or vegetarian style of keto, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  1. The biggest issue many face when trying this style of keto is unknowingly eating too many carbs from vegetables and not enough dietary fat.
  2. Avoid pastas, breads, chips, tortillas, rice, starch, white and sweet potatoes, fruit juices, sodas, and cereal.
  3. Stick with spinach, kale, collard greens, asparagus, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and the other vegetables mentioned earlier in this guide.
  4. Enjoy berries as your primary fruits, occasionally.
  5. Good sources of protein include eggs, dairy, tempeh, natto, miso, nuts, and seeds (which are also great fat sources too).
  6. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian, these fats are ideal: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCTs, macadamia oil, olives, avocado, cocoa butter, and organic dairy options.
  7. Avoid pre-packaged vegan options as many are filled with fillers and soy, which, just like tofu, may not be right for some.

While tofu is an option, there are limitations to consider since it contains xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens which can actually trigger your body to stop making its own estrogen. For some, this means processed tofu is not something you want to consume a lot of.

To learn more about this controversial food and to see if it’s OK for you, check out this guide when you’re finished here. You can also find a complete list of vegan and vegetarian foods that are safe on a ketogenic diet below:

Vegan Keto Options

Food Serving Size Calories Protein Fat Total Carb Fiber Net Carb
Almond milk, unsweetened 1 cup (240 mL) 29 1g 3g 2g 1g
1g
Hemp milk, unsweetened 1 cup (236 mL) 50 2g 4g 1g0g1g
Natto 1/4 cup (44g) 92 8.5g 5g 5.5g2.5g 3g
Shirataki noodles 4 oz. (113g) 20 1g 0.5g 2g 2g 0g
Soy milk, plain, unsweetened 1 cup (240 mL) 79 7g 4g 4g 1g 3g
Tempeh 1/2 cup (83g) 159 17g 9g 6g 0g 6g
Tofu, firm 4 oz. (113g) 70 8g 3g3g0g 3g
Tofu silken, soft 4 oz. (113g) 62 5.5g 3g 3.3g 0g 3.3g
Tofu bacon 2 strips (20g) 40 4g 2g 0.53g 0.3g 0.23g
Tofu Canadian bacon 3 slices (57g) 70 14g 0.5g 2.g 0.5g 1.5g
Tofu bulk sausage 2 oz. (57g) 60 7g 0g 7g 3g 4g
Tofu link sausage 2 links (64g) 130 9g 4g 15g 3g 12g
Vegan cheese (no casein) 1 slice (19g) 35 1g 2g 5g0g 5g
Vegan cheese (no casein) 1 oz. (28g) 70 1g1g2g 1g 1g
Veggie burger 1 burger (70g) 124 11g 4.4g 10g3.5g 6.5g
Veggie crumbles Veggie crumbles 80 8g 1.5g 9g1g 8g