Health & Medical

A Simple Keto Grocery List for Beginners

A Simple Keto Grocery List for Beginners

The hardest thing about starting any new diet is knowing where to begin. Luckily, when it comes to keto specifically, it all starts with a simple grocery list. Adding a variety of keto foods to your fridge and pantry will help you stay within your macros on a daily. Soon enough, you'll have a mental list of foods you can and cannot eat on keto and it's smooth sailing from there.
 
You can make your own shopping list once you've learned enough about the keto diet or you can go the easier route and use ready-made lists like the one below.. To make your beginnings with this diet easier, we made this simple yet comprehensive keto grocery list with the macros included. Below, you’ll find only the absolute essentials for your keto diet. However, before you head to the list, let's discuss some key keto concepts.

About the Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a low-carb and high-fat diet that is meant to put you in a state of ketosis. The diet was originally designed to treat epilepsy, but studies found that it offers benefits beyond that [1]. However, one of the most notable benefits of going keto is weight loss. Other ketogenic diet benefits include improved mental functioning, lower inflammation, improved metabolic health, and so on.
 
To follow the keto diet and get into ketosis, you simply need to:
  1. Get 75-80% of your calories from fat
  2. Around 25% calories from protein
  3. And just 5% of your calories from carbs
If weight loss is your main goal on keto, then you'll also need to lower your calorie intake. Since the majority of your calories on keto come from fat, that means that you'll need to adjust the amount of fat on your keto diet. To find out how much fat you should be eating to lose weight on a keto diet, use our Keto Calculator. Another thing worth noting is carbohydrate types. On keto, you need to minimize net carbs which are a food's carb content minus fiber (since fiber does not affect blood glucose).

The reason fat intake is so high and carb intake low on a ketogenic diet has to do with your metabolism. You see, normally your body uses carbs to make energy. But when your carb intake is so low that it can't sustain its current energy requirements, it starts to use fats instead. And now here's the thing – your brain does not like using fatty acids for fuel [2]. Instead, evolution designed ketones to fuel the brain when carbs are not available and, sometimes, your body makes these ketones from its own fat stores.

Making Your Keto Grocery List

Now that you know how the keto diet works, you want to know how it looks. As already said, fat is the central ingredient on a keto diet so you will want to eat a wide range of foods high in fat. These usually also happen to be moderately high in protein and low in carbs. Secondly, you'll keep your intake of carb-containing foods as low as possible. To get a better picture of how this looks like, here's your keto grocery list for your next shopping:
 
Meats
Always go for fattier cuts and, if possible, organic and grass-fed. However, leaner cuts will also do as long as you prepare them in butter, olive oil, or with a bit of bacon. Great fatty cuts to prepare your first keto meals include:
 
  • Chicken thighs (1 thigh)
    Fat: 9g, Protein: 10 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Chicken breasts (3 1/2 oz with skin on)
    Fat: 8g, Protein: 30g, Carbs: 0g
  • Ground beef (3 oz)
    Fat: 15g, Protein: 23g, Carbs: 0g
  • Beef sirloin (3 oz)
    Fat: 8g, Protein: 18g, Carbs: 0g
  • T-bone steak (3 oz)
    Fat: 7.4 g, Protein: 22 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Pork ribs (3 oz)
    Fat: 12 g, Protein: 24 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Breakfast sausage (one pork sausage)
    Fat: 8 g, Protein: 5 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Bacon (one slice)
    Fat: 3 g, Protein: 3 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Sardines (1 can)
    Fat: 11g, Protein: 23g, Carbs: 0g
  • Salmon (3 oz)
    Fat: 11g, Protein: 19g, Net carbs: 0g
 
Eggs & Dairy
Full-fat dairy is your best bet on keto. As for your choice of eggs, we recommend pasture raised and preferably eggs higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that our diets are imbalanced in omega-3s [3], so boosting your intake of this essential fat anyway possible is recommended.
  • Omega-3 eggs (1 egg)
    Fat: 5 g, Protein: 5 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Cream cheese (1 oz)
    Fat: 8.4 g, Protein: 2 g, Carbs: 2g
  • Butter (1 oz)
    Fat: 23 g, Protein: 0.2 g, Carbs: 0g
  • Greek yogurt (2/3 cup)
  • Fat: 8 g, Protein: 11 g, Carbs: 5g
  • Cheddar (1 cup)
    Fat: 43 g, Protein: 32 g, Carbs: 2g

Of course, there are many other items you could add to the list. Parmesan cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, kefir, ricotta cheese, and ghee are all great. Do skip milk, however, even if it's whole milk as one cup packs a hefty 13 g of net carbs in the form of lactose.  

 
Produce
When it comes to fruit and vegetables, make sure you're buying only low-carb vegetables and keto-friendly fruit. This way, you'll get plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants while keeping your carb intake within the required limits.
 
Vegetables
  • Avocados (1 whole)
    Fat: 30 g, Protein: 4 g, Net carbs: 4g
  • Cauliflower (1 cup)
    Fat: 0.1 g, Protein: 2 g, Net carbs: 2.8 g
  • Broccoli (1 cup)
    Fat: 0.3 g, Protein: 2.6 g, Carbs: 3.6 g
  • Cremini Mushrooms (1 cup)
    Fat: 0.1 g, Protein: 1.8 g, Net carbs: 2.6 g
  • Tomatoes (1 cup)
    Fat: 0.4 g, Protein: 1.6 g, Net carbs: 5g
  • Spinach (1 cup)
    Fat: 0.1 g, Protein: 0.9 g, Net carbs: 0.4 g
  • Zucchini (1 large)
    Fat: 0.1 g, Protein: 0.4 g, Net carbs: 0.3 g
 
Fruit
  • Berries (1 oz blueberries) – but any other berries will do
    Fat: 0.1 g, Protein: 0.2 g, Net carbs: 3.4g
  • Lemons (1 fruit)
    Fat: 0.3 g, Protein: 1.3 g, Net carbs: 6 g
Nuts & Seeds
Most nuts and seeds have a nutrient profile that's ideal for the ketogenic diet, i.e. high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. There are a couple of exceptions, though. Cashews are higher in carbs than most nuts while chestnuts are mostly made of starch and have very little fat. Pistachios are somewhere in the middle with one handful providing around 5 g of net carbs.
  • Walnuts (1 oz)
    Fat: 18 g, Protein: 4.3 g, Net carbs: 1.9 g
  • Almonds (1 oz)
    Fat: 14 g, Protein: 6 g, Net carbs: 2.7 g
  • Brazil nuts
    Fat: 18 g, Protein: 4 g, Net carbs: 1.3 g
  • Peanuts
    Fat: 14 g, Protein: 6.6 g, Net carbs: 3.8 g
  • Flax seed
    Fat: 12 g, Protein: 5.1 g, Net carbs: 0.5 g
  • Chia seeds
    Fat: 8.6 g, Protein: 4.4 g, Net carbs: 1.7 g,
  • Sesame seeds (1 oz)
    Fat: 13.4 g, Protein: 4.7 g, Net carbs: 3.3 g
 
Pantry Essentials
Below are a couple of ingredients you'll find helpful when making your keto-friendly meals. Some of them serve as substitutes for common carby ingredients like wheat flour, starch, and dairy milk while others are great due to their versatility of use and beneficial effects on blood glucose.
  • Coconut flour (100 g)
    Fat: 15g, Protein: 17.5g, Net carbs: 22g
  • Almond flour (100 g)
    Fat: 12g, Protein: 5.6 g, Net carbs: 0 g
  • Olive oil (1 oz)
    Fat: 28g, Protein: 0g, Net carbs: 0g
  • ACV Vinegar (1 tbsp)
    Fat: 0g, Protein: 0 g, Net carbs: 0.1 g
  • Peanut butter (2 tbsp sugar-free)
    Fat: 16g, Protein: 9g, Net carbs: 5g
  • Almond butter (2 tbsp)
    Fat: 17g, Protein: 4.2g, Net carbs: 3.9g
  • Coconut oil (2 tbsp)
    Fat: 28g, Protein: 0g, Net carbs: 0g
  • Almond milk
    Fat: 3g, Protein: 1 g, Net carbs: 1g
  • Stevia leaf powder
    Fat: 0g, Protein: 0g, Net carbs: 0g
There are, of course, many other items you could add to this list. Sauces, herbs, spices, seafood, algae, leafy greens, dark chocolate, pork rinds, broth, coffee, tea, etc. To get a personalized keto food list to your email, click here. You'll get a wider idea of what foods you can enjoy on a keto diet. You can also visit our recipe database to get inspired in making your keto meals today.

More About Your Keto Grocery List

The above list provides some essentials to help you get started. There are many other ingredients that you will learn about once you start mastering high-fat eating. We chose the above ingredients because they're healthy, versatile, affordable, and tasty. Here are some quick facts on some of these ingredients:
 
Organic meat
Meat is free of carbs while fatty cuts can give you enough fat for quick and easy ketosis. Since you'll be eating lots of fatty meat on a keto diet, it's important to go for meat that’s rich in healthy fat. That way, you'll not only meet your macros, but support your health through means other than ketosis.
 
Research shows that organic and grass-fed meat contains 47% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional meat [4]. We already explained that most people nowadays are not getting enough omega-3s, and the change in livestock feeding practices could account for this. Going for grass-fed meat will provide you with one of the most important fats for your brain, cardiovascular system, and immunity [5].
 
Eggs & dairy
Eggs and dairy are valuable sources of protein and fat. They're also low in carbs, all of which makes them perfect for keto. Unfortunately, both have gained a bad rap for containing saturated fat and cholesterol, nutrients that researchers have for a long time deemed as unhealthy.  
 
Now, scientists are saying that we know very little about the true impact of saturated fat on human health [6]. Evidence also shows that cholesterol from eggs isn’t as detrimental to your health as once thought [7]. And besides, what’s the point of excluding two of the highest-quality protein sources? Definitely add eggs and dairy to your keto regimen, that is if you have no trouble digesting them.
 
Produce
Low-carb vegetables will help you get enough fiber on your keto diet. Fresh produce contains other nutrients that are difficult to get from animal food like vitamin C, vitamin E, and carbs. There are many low-carb fruits and vegetables you can enjoy on a keto diet. Simply research the carb content of different plant foods using myfitnesspal or SELF Nutrition Data and feel free to include any that have less than 10 grams of net carbs per serving.
 
Some of the vegetables included in our keto grocery list are also great as substitutes for carby meals. For example, zucchini cut into long strips and cooked for a short time make a great noodle alternative. Similarly, cauliflower shredded in a food processor can replace rice, couscous, and even mashed potatoes.
 
Nuts and seeds
On keto, you should enjoy a variety of nuts and seeds without having to fear being kicked out of ketosis. A handful a day will give you plenty of healthy fats and protein. They make for a great snack and you can definitely include nut butters and seed pastes like tahini as filling ingredients for your smoothies and keto desserts.
 
Besides helping you get into ketosis, nuts and seeds provide many other health benefits. Studies show that they help support appetite, with glycemic control, oxidative stress, and nutrient deficiencies [8]. So, a handful of nuts a day keeps the doctor away!
 
Pantry staples
On keto, you can replace wheat flours, dairy milk, and refined sugar with low-carb and higher fat options like almond flour, almond milk, and stevia. Almond flour will be your default baking product as it’s low enough in carbs to keep your macros intake within the recommended limits. However, many dieters find that mixing it with a bit of coconut flour improves the texture and consistency of baked goods.
 
There are countless other pantry stables that we didn’t include here but that you may want to consider when you’ve been on the keto diet for long enough. MCT oil os a good example and so are flaxseed meal, cinnamon, ghee, mayo, avocado oil, egg white protein, etc.

Conclusion

If you’re just beginning a ketogenic diet, then definitely use this keto grocery list as it has only the absolute essentials. You may also want to clear out your kitchen of high-carb ingredients to avoid temptation, but that’s up to you.

Going keto is easy once your kitchen is full of tasty, creamy, and high-fat stuff. But it takes time and dedication. This diet is completely different from anything you’ve tried before or dared to try before. If you want to learn more about the keto diet, then try our free Ketocademycourse or visit our keto FAQs section.

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