To download a printable version of this food list, click here.
A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that can help you burn fat more effectively. In general, you should aim for:
60-75% of calories from fat
15-30% of calories from protein
5-10% of calories from carbs
I’m not big on doing math at every meal so I’ve found if you eat as recommended - 3-6 ounces of protein at each meal, veggies, and some fats at every meal - you’ll be close to these numbers. You can use an app (I like Stupid Simple Keto app) to make sure you’re on target if you really want to track numbers.
Keto is not a very high-protein diet. Aim to eat the protein you need (3-6 ounces per meal), but not in excess. A normal amount of meat is enough.
Aim for 20 grams per day of net carbs.
Eat enough fat to feel satisfied. If you are hungry, add a little more fat.
Avoid snacking. If you are hungry, feel free to add a keto-friendly snack, but don’t mindlessly munch on Keto-friendly snacks.
Add intermittent fasting if you like. You can do Keto without it, but it can help get results. An easy way to do intermittent fasting is to skip breakfast and only eat during 8 hours of the day, fasting for 16 hours.
Exercise can help. I often skip exercising until I’ve got my meals down because adding too much at once can be overwhelming. But if you’re up for it, add some exercise!
Get enough sleep! I find I need more sleep on Keto. Lack of sleep and stress can slow weight loss.
Now on to the food lists! Check out our Keto Food Pyramid for a visual idea of what to eat.
Meat & Seafood
Pretty much all meats and seafood are okay for keto!
Stay away from:
Breaded meats that are full of carbs from the breading
Cured meats that have sugar added
Glazed and sauced meats, which can have flour or sugar added
Processed meats, which can have hidden carby fillers
I tend to stick with bacon, beef, chicken, seafood, turkey, and pork, but if you are adventurous, feel free to try some of the more exotic meats!
Beef Jerky (check carbs in flavored varieties)
Ground Meat (beef, chicken, lamb, pork)
Sausage (beef, chicken, pork, turkey)
Spam (2g carbs per serving)
While veggies do have carbs, the fiber gets subtracted from the carb total to get the “net” carbs so don’t feel like you need to limit your vegetables. It’s best to stick with the green, leafy veggies.
Spring Mix lettuce
Butter, cheese, full fat yogurts and cottage cheese, and heavy cream can all be a part of your Keto diet. Low fat and fat free dairy often have sugars or fillers though, so check carb counts carefully if choosing those options. Fat is your friend on Keto!
Note: Dairy can cause stalls in some people. Too much cheese or yogurt can slow down weight loss in some people. If you seem stalled, cut down on the dairy for a bit and see if the scale moves.
Colby Jack Cheese
Heavy Whipping Cream
Unsweetened Greek or Regular Plain Yogurt
Fats & Oils
For most people, you won’t need to add tons of extra fat to your diet. If you are eating healthy fats with your meals like avocado, butter, or fatter cuts of meat, you won’t need to drown everything in oil or stuff yourself with fat bombs to fit your macros. Skip the processed vegetable oils and margarine and choose butter or the oils listed below.
Ghee (clarified butter)
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Red Palm Oil
Tea Seed Oil
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are low in carbs and full of healthy fats. They are also pretty easy to overeat so make sure to track your portions and carbs. It’s very easy to eat too many, which will stall out your weight loss. If the scale seems stuck, limit or skip nuts and seeds for a bit to see if the scale moves again.
There are all kinds of nut flours that can be used in baking to replicate carby breads and cakes. While that can add variety to your diet, you will probably do better to stick with regular, whole foods before venturing into the kitchen to make Keto cakes and breads until you are familiar with Keto and are losing well. All the extras that go into these recipes can add up and stall you out. Keep it simple and grab a handful of nuts or seeds instead!
Cashews (higher carb)
Soy Nut Butter
Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower Seed Flour
You can have limited lower carb fruits like berries on Keto if you desire but track the carbs like you would any other carbs. Starchy fruits like bananas should be avoided and fruit juice is a no-no as well. You may want to avoid fruits at first until you get the hang of Keto and controlling your carb intake.
Drinks and Liquids
Water should be your main drink. Broth is also helpful as it both hydrates you and balances your electrolytes. Coffee, diet soda, and alcohol are allowed, but be aware that these all are diuretics so if you drink them, be sure to drink water as well to stay hydrated.
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Keto lowers your alcohol tolerance. I have learned this from experience the hard way. It will take much less to feel that buzz than it did pre-Keto. Not only will this make for some nasty hangovers if you overindulge, but you may make poor diet choices, so try to drink less than you did pre-Keto. Avoid sweetened mixed drinks like daiquiris and pina coladas.
Hard Alcohol (gin, rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey)
A small square of dark chocolate can be very satisfying. Choose the highest percentage of cocoa that you can tolerate. I use 100% baking chocolate, but many people find that too bitter.
Condiments and Extras
Bouillon cubes and broth
Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
Dried herbs and spices
Hot sauce (low carb)
Low carb dips and sauces (harder to find, but there are some brands available – check labels)
Parmesan/Cheese crisps (made from only cheese)
Protein shakes (low carb)
There are sweeteners you can use to flavor food and coffee. Splenda is probably my favorite, but here are other options: