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 ketogenic diet food list includes everything you can eat for ketogenic diet success. The good news is that keto is probably the simplest diet you will find.
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.
We’re break it down into four sections, fat, protein, carbs, and miscellaneous.
And to make it super easy AND delicious for you, we’ve whipped up a ketogenic diet meal plan so you can take the guesswork out of keto and put away your calculator.
Ketogenic Diet Food List: Fats
Healthy fats are really the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet. In order to keep your body in a state of ketosis—breaking down fat instead of carbs or protein for fuel—you’ve gotta eat a lot of fat—at around 70% of your calories, in fact. We want a high-quality ketogenic diet, which means quality fat, which means the source matters. Check out our full article on healthy fats vs. the ones to still avoid even in ketosis.
This is really one of the best things about the keto diet. Fat is satiating, and it tastes great, so you can eat a lot of foods that are satisfying and delicious. Just make sure you eat the right types of fats. Here’s what that includes:
SATURATED AND MONOUNSATURATED FATS
- Butter or ghee
- Macadamia nuts
- Coconut butter
- Cocoa butter
- Egg yolks (go with pasture-raised for the extra few bucks) #TreatYoself
- Coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, or avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds or nut butter (choose fattier nuts like macadamia nuts or almonds)
- Fatty fish
Keep in mind that you want a good balance of omega-3s and omega-6s, which are essential fatty acids you must get from your diet and are important for many things, including proper nerve and brain function and reducing the risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and brain function decline with old age.
Although omega-6 is essential, too much is inflammatory to the body, so be mindful of your intake of sources higher in omega-6, such as peanuts and plant oils like corn oil or sunflower oil. Focus mostly on omega-3s from fish like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel or take a high-quality fish oil supplement.
Also, be mindful of nuts because they do contain some carbs, especially cashews, pistachios, and almonds.
Ketogenic Diet Food List: Proteins
Remember that moderate protein is important when going keto, so monitor your intake of meat and eggs based on their protein content. Too much protein in relation to fat can cause the body to break down protein for fuel instead, decreasing or stopping ketosis. If you eat leaner cuts of meat, consider including a fatty side dish or sauce. As much as possible, choose grass-fed and pasture-raised options.
Source Matters Series: A Guide to Buying Healthy Meat
Source Matters Series: A Guide to Buying Healthy Seafood
- Beef, preferably fattier cuts like steak, veal, roast, ground beef, and stews.
- 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, 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.
Beware of meats that contained processed ingredients, sauces, or cured meats with added sugars. These can easily increase your carb and sugar intake.
A hot tip from our founder, Dr. Anthony Gustin (@dranthonygustin) is to buy your meat locally and in bulk. This whole lamb from a ranch in the Bay Area cost under $3/lb and is fully grass-fed!
Ketogenic Food List: Carbohydrates
Think low-carb and non-starchy. Choose leafy greens first, including:
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
Other options include:
- Bell peppers
Fruits must be limited and eaten in VERY small amounts, as they have a high sugar content. When you do eat fruits, choose lower-sugar options like:
For fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen is fine, and organic is best but not required. Take a deep dive in the Source Matter Series: A Guide to Buying Healthy Produce
Ketogenic Food List: Supplements
Okay so we hit all three macronutrients, but there’s so much we haven’t talked about! Here’s the guide to everything else you might consume on your ketogenic diet, ut didn’t quite fit the macro mold.
The purpose of exogenous ketone supplements is to provide the body with extra ketones (energy). Ketone supplements can be a huge help when transitioning into a state of ketosis or entering a fasted state.
Exogenous ketones help you get back into ketosis at any time, instead of having to wait for at least a couple days. They can be taken in between meals to provide a quick punch of ketones or before a workout for additional energy.
Learn more on the Perfect Keto Base Product Page
MCT Oils and Powders
MCT is short for medium chain triglyceride. MCTs are a type of fat that can be 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 MCT Supplements
Weight Loss: MCT’s are easily digested and have a thermogenic (energy-creating) effect, also known as “boosting your metabolism.”
Energy: MCT’s are a fast-acting source of energy. They break down into ketones which can then be used as fuel for your body.
Digestion: MCT’s support our gut microbiome by combating harmful bacteria and parasites.
Overall Health: MCT’s contain antioxidant properties which reduce internal inflammation and improve overall performance of your heart, brain, and nervous system.
Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder adds an unflavored creaminess that is incredible in coffee, tea, and any smoothie you can think of.
Collagen Protein Supplements
Collagen is a type of protein – 1 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.
Most other animal-based protein powders can be inflammatory to many people. Casein and whey are known allergens and egg protein can be quite inflammatory. 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.
For more on collagen: When and How to Use Keto Collagen Protein
One of the toughest parts of keto is that it cuts out lots of starchy fruits and vegetables that are high in carbohydrates. However, they are also packed with nutrients. Keto Micro Greens is the solution to getting enough nutrition from produce, while eating a low carb ketogenic diet. Perfect Keto Micro Greens Powder is 14 servings of 22 different fruits and vegetables, plus MCT fats for absorption.
Perfect Keto Micronutrient Greens Ingredients
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: Without this, you would waste a lot of the benefit and micronutrients of the product.
Keto Micro Greens is what a multivitamin should be. For more: How to Use Micro Greens Powder
Ketogenic Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout powders are for people who are on a ketogenic or otherwise low-carb diet and want a healthy, ketogenic pre-workout energy drink without all the crap in other pre-workout drink mixes. They can be used any time of day for a quick, clean and healthy energy boost for physical and cognitive performance without the caffeine crash.
Perfect Keto Perform Pre-Workout Ingredients
- 7.7g BHB ketones: Boost ketones through its work with acetyl groups to create ATP, the energy currency of cells
- 5g MCTs: 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: For reduced muscle soreness, and better endurance for your workouts.
- 50mg Caffeine: From green tree, for alertness without the blood pressure and heart rate elevation caused by caffeine.
Keto Perform Pre-Workout Product Page.
Keto Food List Extras: (Condiments, Spices, Sweeteners)
When it comes to topping foods on the keto diet, homemade is always best. When possible, it’s best to make your own versions of sauces and other condiments to keep at home. That being said, we know life is busy, so here are some pre-made condiments that are safe to use:
SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS
- Yellow mustard
- Ketchup without added sugars (or sugar alcohols)
- Mayonnaise (preferably made from cage-free eggs)
- Hot sauces
- Worcestershire sauce
- Sauerkraut without added sugars
- High-fat salad dressings with low or no added sugars
HERBS AND SPICES
A lot of traditional seasonings and sauces aren’t ketogenic diet-friendly because they contain added sugars and carbs, so herbs and spices really become your best friends here. Just make sure they don’t contain any sugars and are purely the herb or spice itself. Examples include:
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Lemon or lime juices
- Salt and pepper
Sweeteners are tricky, so choose with caution if you do use them. The best option is to avoid sweet foods as much as possible so you lose the taste for them and don’t have to deal with cravings, but when you do use sweeteners, here are some things to keep 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 (even low/no-calorie or low/no-sugar) that use the sugar alcohol maltitol (which is high glycemic) or filler ingredients like dextrose or maltodextrin.
Here are some safe, low-glycemic sweetener options:
- Stevia (preferably liquid form, as the powder can sometimes have dextrose or maltodextrin added as binders
- Erythritol (it’s not digested by the body, so it contributes no carbs or glycemic load)
- Monk fruit
You can often find blends of the above sweeteners at the store too. Just make sure there any no other added ingredients you need to avoid.
I can hear you now… wait but what about dairy, you haven’t told me if I can eat dairy! Let’s dive in. Dr. Gustin put together a great guide on how to test for yourself if you should be eating dairy or not, in keto or otherwise.
Ketogenic Diet Food List: Dairy
Source Matters Series: A Guide to Buying Healthy Dairy
Most dairy products get the green light on keto. Just opt for the full-fat version and preferably organic and raw, if possible. Remember, fat is fuel, and the reason we would eat dairy is for the high-quality fat. Don’t be fooled by the “low-fat yogurt with mountains of fruit sugar added is healthy” garbage claims.
- Full-fat yogurts
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Hard cheeses like parmesan, swiss, feta, and cheddar
- Soft cheese like brie, Monterrey jack, mozzarella, and bleu cheese
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 kwality keto diet.
Use this ketogenic diet food list as your guide when planning your ketogenic meals and helping you stay on track! For more information on the ketogenic diet, check out this post.