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The Ultimate Keto Diet Shopping List

·3 min read

The rumors are true: You can eat bacon on the keto diet.

That seems to be a sticking point for prospective dieters—and for good reason. The ketogenic diet is heralded as one of the strictest eating plans around, but the fact that greasy, fatty strips of meat get a stamp of approval makes it feel sorta-kinda doable.

Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

The whole point of going keto is to reach ketosis, a cult-y sounding name for the metabolic process that happens when your body uses fat instead of carbs for energy. To get there, you've gotta do the obvious: eat a whole lot of fat and little to no carbs. It's restrictive, but if you hack the the system just right, you can still create surprisingly delicious food—like taquitos and cookie dough bites. (These are our favorite keto recipes, by the way.)

This list is your ultimate guide to everything you can and can't eat when you go keto—plus the foods you're allowed to spring for every once in a while. Keep it with you everywhere you go: to the grocery store, to restaurants, to book club.

Note this: When it comes to keto-approved foods, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg. Yes, it's suggested your meats are either grass-fed or cage-free and your seafood wild-caught. For produce, organic is recommended. That said, you will not mess up your chances of achieving ketosis by purchasing farmed or non-organic foods. Do what best fits your budget and goals.

And fyi, Regina Georges of the world: Go for the butter. It's not a carb.

Photo credit: Allie Folino
Photo credit: Allie Folino

PROTEIN

Photo credit: Jeremy Woodhouse/Carl Kravats/Claudia Totir/LauriPatterson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeremy Woodhouse/Carl Kravats/Claudia Totir/LauriPatterson - Getty Images

*Look for wild-caught and grass-fed protein sources.

Always:

  • Bacon

  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)

  • Low-carb shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)

  • Poultry (dark meat)

  • Beef

  • Lamb

  • Pork

  • Bison

  • Organ meat (liver, tongue, tripe)

  • Full-fat dairy (butter, cream, yogurt)

  • Cheese

Sometimes:

  • Poultry (white meat)

  • Uncured meats (salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, and cold cuts)

  • Whey protein powder

  • Low-fat milk

  • Almond milk

  • Tofu

  • Pasture-raised eggs

  • Greek yogurt

  • Edamame

Never:

  • Breaded meat

  • Chickpeas

  • Peas (except for sugar snap and snow peas)

VEGETABLES

Photo credit: vkuslandia/DronG/istetiana - Getty Images
Photo credit: vkuslandia/DronG/istetiana - Getty Images

*Look for low-carb, organic vegetables.

Always:

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, romaine, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens)

  • Bell peppers

  • Bok choy

  • Asparagus

  • Cauliflower

  • Broccoli rabe

  • Celery

  • Mushrooms

  • Sprouts (alfalfa, bean)

  • Cucumbers

  • Radishes

  • Summer squash (zucchini, yellow)

  • Avocado

Sometimes:

  • Carrots

  • Onions

  • Eggplant

  • Broccoli

  • Ginger

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Spaghetti Squash

  • Artichokes

  • Jicama

  • Fennel

Never:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Potatoes

  • Leek

  • Corn

  • Beets

  • Winter squash (butternut, pumpkin)

FRUITS

Photo credit: Helaine Weide/Ann Cutting/Natasha Breen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Helaine Weide/Ann Cutting/Natasha Breen - Getty Images

*Look for low-carb, organic fruit.

Sometimes:

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Blackberries

  • Kiwi

  • Rhubarb

  • Coconut meat

  • Lemon juice

  • Lime juice

  • Honeydew

  • Tomatoes

  • Olives (black, green)

Never:

  • Dried fruit

  • Plums

  • Cranberries

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Grapes

  • Bananas

  • Oranges

  • Pineapple

  • Apricots

  • Mango

  • Cherries

  • Papaya

GRAINS AND LEGUMES

Photo credit: Philippe Desnerck/James and James/key05 - Getty Images
Photo credit: Philippe Desnerck/James and James/key05 - Getty Images


Sometimes:

  • Peanuts

Never:

  • Lentils

  • Black beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Lima beans

  • Navy beans

  • Pinto beans

  • Quinoa

  • Farro

  • Wheat

  • Oats

  • Popcorn

  • Rye

  • Rice (white, brown, wild)

  • Pasta

FATS

Photo credit: manoa/Kristin Duvall/Supaporn Manbunsom - Getty Images
Photo credit: manoa/Kristin Duvall/Supaporn Manbunsom - Getty Images


Always:

  • Avocado oil

  • Brain octane oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Fish oil

  • MCT oil

  • Olive oil

  • Cocoa butter

  • Avocado

  • Walnuts

  • Chia seeds

  • Flax seeds

  • Pecans

  • Pine nuts

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Hazelnuts

  • Full-fat dairy (butter, cream, yogurt)

Sometimes:

  • Nut butters (almond, pecan, hazelnut)

  • Pistachios

  • Brazil nuts

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sesame seeds

Never:

  • Sunflower oil

  • Canola oil

  • Margarine

  • Cashews

HERBS, SPICES, AND CONDIMENTS

Photo credit: Regine Mahaux/Rick Gayle/annick vanderschelden photography - Getty Images
Photo credit: Regine Mahaux/Rick Gayle/annick vanderschelden photography - Getty Images


Always:

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Cumin

  • Basil

  • Cayenne

  • Dill

  • Cilantro

  • Parsley

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

  • Paprika

  • Full-fat mayonnaise

  • Ranch

  • Musatard

Sometimes:

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Ginger

  • Oregano

  • Turmeric

  • Mustard

  • Ketchup

BEVERAGES

Photo credit: Eda Ho/Jose A. Bernat Bacete/krisanapong detraphiphat - Getty Images
Photo credit: Eda Ho/Jose A. Bernat Bacete/krisanapong detraphiphat - Getty Images


Always:

  • Bone broth

  • Herbal tea

  • Full-fat milk

  • Water

  • Seltzer

Sometimes:

  • Almond milk

  • Low-fat milk

  • Alcohol (unflavored liquor, low-carb beer and wine)

Never:

  • Soda (unless it's made with Stevia!)

  • Fruit juice

OTHER

Photo credit: Delish/Westend61/Delish - Getty Images
Photo credit: Delish/Westend61/Delish - Getty Images


Sometimes:

  • Dark chocolate (80% or higher)

  • Fat bombs

  • Low-carb sweeteners (Swerve, Stevia)

Never:

  • Sugar (granulated, brown, coconut)

  • Honey

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