Interested in starting the keto diet but have no idea where to begin? Well, a keto diet grocery list for beginners is the perfect place to start.
The majority of people that try dieting fail to lose any weight. Typically this is because they don’t see results quickly, they feel like they have no energy or just can’t stand the thought of counting another calorie.
The truth is… most people never start off on the right foot.
Simply by having the right food shopping list makes everything so much easier.
This keto diet grocery list for beginners will show you exactly what foods you need to buy and what foods you should avoid. It will equip you to make sure you are prepared without the hassle of collecting keto diet recipes to work out what ingredients you’ll need next week.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and extremely low in carbs.
There are numerous variations of the keto diet. However, this keto diet grocery list for beginners will be based on the standard ketogenic diet.
It typically contains (the grams are in brackets based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet):
- 70-80 percent fat (167 grams)
- 10-20 percent protein (100 grams)
- 5-10 percent carbohydrates (25 grams)
Whilst this may sound confusing to you at first, at Well Fit Fam we like to make it super simple…
Don’t count the calories, just be aware of the carbs.
Aim to keep your net carbs below 10 grams per meal and eat the same amount of meals as you normally do i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner with a couple of snacks thrown in.
The keto diet has become super popular in recent years, especially associated with weight loss. Note that if you are using it for weight loss then you may need to consume fewer than 2,000 calories a day.
Disclaimer- Consult with a doctor or nutritionist before drastically changing your diet, especially if you have any health problems.
What are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?
There are many benefits of the ketogenic diet that many people don’t know. Such as:
- Preventing epilepsy (did you know it was originally created for people with epilepsy?)
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reducing hormones such as insulin (which reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases & strokes)
- Energy levels rise
- Reduced anxiety or depression
- Cravings disappear
- Your brain seems sharper
The most common benefit that you are probably aware of is that it can help with weight loss.
The basic science behind it is that your body won’t have the carbohydrate stores to use as energy. Therefore, it will start tapping into the ample fat reserves that our bodies hold (there is a lot more energy in us that we realise because we rarely access these stores!)
Many studies have proven the keto diet to be one of the best ways to lose weight… and lose weight quickly!
The beauty is that you won’t be left starving every day, you don’t need to consume processed meal replacements… and you can eat bacon!
What You Need to do Before Starting a Keto Diet
This is the part that most beginner keto dieters get wrong.
Changing any habit is hard enough. But without having the right tools and starting in the best way you will be making it an uphill battle from day one.
But not to worry amigo!
Here at Well Fit Fam we like to keep things simple so you can spend your days living your life rather than worrying about losing weight and what you can’t eat!
So here are the two simple steps to get started on the front foot…
Step 1- Throw Away or Use Up Carbs in the House
The easiest thing to do is to go to your fridge and cupboards, pick up anything that is carb-heavy or processed and throw it in the trash.
Note- all foods to avoid are listed later in this keto diet grocery list for beginners...
If it's a processed or sugary food i.e. candy, chips, milk chocolate etc. take it as a given it needs to go.
However, we know there is an emotional side to starting a diet so there is another alternative if you really don’t want to do that. Although we do highly recommend the first option.
Use up your carbs over the next week.
Set a deadline that by the end of the week you will throw out anything that hasn’t been used. Don’t use this as an excuse to binge eat your whole cupboard though!
It just gives you some time to mentally prepare for step 2. By the way, this diet really is not a starve yourself for 2 weeks then give up diet… you will actually never be hungry if you do it right!
Step 2- Have a “Go-To Food Shopping List”
Once you have got rid of all your carb-heavy food, your cupboards and fridge will probably look more bare than Yogi (sorry that was a bad one!)
This is when most people think…
“I better check Pinterest for some Keto diet recipes then!”
But chances are you won’t have any of the right ingredients to make these delicious keto diet recipes!
So this ultimate keto diet grocery list for beginners is your guide from now on (make sure you pin it so you can back to it any time).
Keto Diet Grocery List for Beginners
This list is broken down into different sections that you’ll typically find in most grocery stores.
Each section will give you a list of the foods you can get. There is an asterisk (*) next to foods that are pretty crucial for the diet and appear in tons of keto recipes. You don’t need all of the food on this list, but the more variety you have in your diet the more likely you will be to stick to it.
There are also common foods to avoid in each section, some of which may surprise you!
1. Keto Grocery List: Low-Carb Vegetables
This is a BIG misunderstanding about the keto diet.
Many people think “great I need to eat a load of fat, that means I don’t eat any vegetables”… enter illness, tiredness and giving up with keto!
Low carb veggies are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Without boring you with the science, you need them to stay healthy.
Here are the low-carb vegetables you can add to your keto diet grocery list:
- Bell peppers
- Green cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- Green/ white onions
- Pumpkin (in small amounts)
It is important to get a mix of these veggies so that you have more options with your meals. Try adding some new ones that you may not always eat. Veggies actually add flavor to meals despite the common negative connotation of vegetables.
Veggies to avoid: carrots, yams, beets, turnips, sweet and regular potatoes
2. Keto Grocery List: Low-Sugar Fruits
It may come as no surprise that many fruits contain sugar, aka carbohydrates.
This means many of the typical fruit you may get will be off-limits.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid fruit altogether though. Fruit is another great way to get that all-important fiber into your body.
Here are the fruits that contain fewer carbs than their off-limits relatives:
- Olives* (almost deserve a mention by themselves due to their high-fat content!)
- Lemon and limes
It’s important to note you do need to eat the above fruits in moderation to remain in ketosis. A great tip is to have a handful of raspberries whenever you are craving something sweet!
Fruits to avoid: apples, pears, bananas, pineapples, papayas, grapes, and fruit juices
3. Keto Grocery List: Meat & Poultry
The moment you have been waiting for!
Meat makes up a big part of the keto diet, but it has been stressed by experts the importance of choosing good quality meat.
It’s actually been scientifically proven that organic grass-fed red meat can have a different composition of fats compared to cheaper corn-fed variations. Your body is much better equipped to absorb these healthy fats and use it as energy (rather than storing it as more fat!)
Here are the main meat products you can add to your keto diet grocery list:
- Organic Chicken*
- Organic Turkey*
- Grass-fed beef*
There is obviously a large range of different types of meat but these are the most typical ones you will find in grocery stores.
Most types of meat will be OK for a keto diet, due to the high-fat, low-carb content.
4. Keto Grocery List: Eggs*
Eggs are so good they get their own section!
In fact, they are also really hard to place what section they come under in the grocery store. Is it just me or do you always find it hard to find them?
They are a great source of protein but the egg yolks contain a good amount of healthy fat. Eggs have also been found to increase metabolic rate and help you feel more full, which can help you lose weight.
Don’t overdo egg consumption though (1-2 a day is plenty) as this can cause higher cholesterol levels.
Similarly to meat products, the quality of eggs really does matter here.
5. Keto Grocery List: Seafood
Certain types of seafood is a great source of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
With the amount of processed food such as Mayonnaise and sunflower/ vegetable oils used when we eat out the majority of the Western world gets way too much omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 reduces inflammation whilst omega-6 fatty acids do the opposite. Simply put… omega-3 fatty acids are good for weight loss and overall health… too much omega-6 is bad.
The great news is that a lot of the seafood you see below is full of omega-3!
- Salmon* (especially high omega 3 fatty acids)
To make sure you are getting enough of the right nutrients during a ketogenic diet, try to have seafood twice a week.
6. Keto Grocery List: Dairy Products
Some dairy products are a good source of healthy fats, protein and calcium.
This is another reason why so many people enjoy the keto diet. You can eat cheese! But beware not all cheeses are equal.
Here are the main types of dairy products you can put on the grocery list:
- Hard cheese (parmesan, goat cheese, white strong cheddar, feta etc.)
- Soft Cheese (mozzarella, brie, blue, Monterey jack, camembert etc.)
- Plain Greek yoghurt
- Grass-Fed Ghee
- Almond or coconut milk (in the dairy aisle… not coconut milk in a can!)
There is some debate around cottage cheese and plain greek yoghurt on the keto diet. They do contain carbohydrates (typically 5 grams per serving). You can have them on a ketogenic diet but beware of eating too much.
As already mentioned in this keto food list, always go for the highest quality food you can get. Many kinds of cheese with colors or dyes have annatto (can spike your blood sugar levels) added.
Typically harder cheeses have fewer carbs than soft cheeses, but if you have them in moderation they are normally fine to stay in ketosis.
Also, the stronger-tasting cheeses typically leave you feeling more satisfied so it’s worth going for these than the mild variations (if you’re like me you could eat a wheel of mild cheddar in one sitting!)
Dairy products to avoid: cow's milk (sorry to break it to you... this is usually the biggest surprise, but it has lactose i.e. carbs... 12 grams per cup or 240ml of whole milk! If you must you can have it in very small doses)
margarine, ice cream, yellow cheddar, flavored milk, oat milk (14 g carbs per cup), rice milk (21 g carbs per cup)
7. Keto Grocery List: Nuts & Seeds
You’re about to find out that nuts and seeds are your new favourite kind of food!
With the high quantity of fat and ample protein, they make amazing snacks to keep you fuller for longer. Plus, you can add them to almost any meal!
Here are the best nuts and seeds to add to your keto grocery list:
- Chia seeds*
- Hemp seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
An important note here… it can be easy to overeat on nuts. Especially if they are salted or seasoned. Whilst, they are great for the ketogenic diet, they contain a lot of calories and fat.
If you eat more than you need (which is easy to do if they are salted) then your body will just store this fat. If you are trying to lose weight with the keto diet, this defeats the whole point!
The Well-Fit tip is to eat a handful if you are hungry, and stop! It sometimes takes a few minutes for your brain to realise you’re not hungry any more.
Nuts to be avoided: Cashews have a higher carb count than most other nuts.
Peanuts (yeah that kind of sucks!) are technically legumes, which are not typically acceptable in the keto diet as they are high in sugars!
8. Spices & Dried Herbs
This may be a section that you haven’t even thought of.
If you’re like us you probably think… “How bad can some spices be?!”
Funny enough… pretty bad! If you add a tablespoon of garlic powder to your Zucchini spaghetti bolognese then you could add 6 grams of carbs to your meal!
Remember you want each meal to be under 10 grams of net carbs.
Obviously, you don’t need to add that much otherwise no one would want to talk to you for a week. But you get the point.
Spices under 1 gram carbs per tablespoon:
- Cinnamon powder
- Ginger powder
- Black pepper
- Chinese 5-spice
- Garam masala
Here are the spices over 1 gram carbs per tablespoon:
- Ground cumin (2.75 grams)
- Cayenne (3 grams)
- Oregano (3.3 grams)
- Curry powder (3.7 grams)
- Paprika (3.8 grams)
- Chili powder (4.1 grams)
- Turmeric powder (4.4 grams)
- Onion powder (5.4 grams)
- Garlic powder (6 grams)
None of these is off-limits it’s just a good idea to be aware of the carb content.
Don’t scrimp in this section. If you enjoy your meals you are much more likely to carry on with the diet than if you eat a lump of cow on its own.
This is another often overlooked part of a keto grocery list.
But oils are full of keto-friendly healthy fats if you get the right type!
It can add flavour to your food as well as giving you the right proportion of high-fat, low-carb meals.
Here are the recommended oils to add to your keto diet grocery list for beginners:
- Sesame oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Nut oils
- Coconut butter
As is the case with every section here, do not overdo the quantity of oil if you are trying to lose weight.
Oil packs a lot of calories due to the high-fat content. Feel free to use it, but use oil sparingly.
Oils to avoid: Sunflower oil, peanut oil and any margarine (not technically an oil but we want to drill that one in... NO MARGARINE!... that goes for any "diet")
10. Coffee & Tea
OK, this is often a confusing point in the keto diet world.
Coffee and tea are fine on the keto diet as is caffeine.
The thing that is not fine is cow’s milk (do you remember that from earlier?) or sugar. If you really can’t have a cup of tea without cows milk then maybe one cup a day will not break you out of ketosis. But at least try to only use a dash!
You can, however, use heavy cream! I know, it’s a great diet, right?
You can add any of the following drinks to your keto food shopping list:
- Bulletproof coffee (the go-to super low carb coffee)
- Unsweetened Tea
- Unsweetened coffee
- Decaf coffee
- Decaf tea
- Green Tea
- Chai Tea
Quality of sleep can have a huge impact on our emotions and in turn, our ability to make good food choices, hence, lose weight.
So be sure to drink caffeinated drinks at least 7 hours before going to bed i.e. no later than 3 pm if you go to bed at 10 pm. Read more about this in the 7 steps to losing weight fast.
The [Often] Overlooked Keto Diet Grocery List for Beginners
There are some items on the grocery list that often get overlooked.
This is because they are technically not necessary foods for the keto diet. Remember, it’s important to try to eat whole foods rather than man-made processed food.
However, after thousands of studies (and our own personal experience), it’s been proven to be hard to completely change your diet overnight.
In our personal opinion, it’s far better to be prepared for that mid-diet wobble rather than pretend to yourself that it won’t happen.
So the following categories will help you make the best choices and give you something to nibble on if you’re ever craving something super yummy.
Note- there are lots of delicious and great recipes on the keto diet to suit anyone's taste buds as you can probably tell from the keto food list so far.
There are so many snacks you can make to eat on the keto diet. However, it’s sometimes great to have a go-to snack that you can easily pick up for those super busy days.
Snacks are also a great way to get the right amount of nutrition and keep the macronutrient balance in order.
Here are some of the best snacks you can have on the keto diet:
- No added sugar nut butter
- Low carb crackers (add the nut butter to make a great one!)
- Sugar-free jerky
- Dried seaweed
- Nuts (already covered above)
- Dark chocolate (as dark as you can manage!)
Try different snacks out and try to mix them up throughout the week. Remember to try not to overindulge but if you ever notice yourself getting hungry try to have a handful of nuts before the hangry monster appears.
Snacks to Avoid: Candy, Milk chocolate (I know, sad face!), ice cream etc. There are too many to list them all but you get the point!
Finding keto-friendly condiments can be a major challenge.
Most condiments are highly processed and most should be avoided if possible.
However, we know how much flavour they can add to meals and some people simply cannot cope without them.
Here are some condiments you can get for the keto diet:
- Olive oil mayonnaise
- Unsweetened ketchup
- Olive based salad dressings
- Coconut Aminos (soy sauce alternative)
The key is to use any condiments sparingly.
Our advice is to always check the ingredients. If you see added sugar anywhere (including syrup or anything ending in “ose” like fructose, glucose etc.) then leave it.
Condiments to avoid: Most normal ketchup, mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce etc. have sugar added... beware!
So this is often a section that gets overlooked in the keto diet.
It links back to a point already made in this keto diet grocery list for beginners.
If you do not enjoy your food you are less likely to carry on with the diet.
Re-read that last sentence.
Obviously it is better to avoid all sweeteners as they are not really a natural whole food. However, if you have a bit of a sweet tooth it may be wise to have a sweetener handy for emergencies (if you’re like me then you know what I mean… when the hungry monster appears!)
Here are some sweeteners that are OK on the keto diet:
- Stevia (natural… has a bit of a bitter taste)
- Allulose (natural… can upset the stomach)
- Monkfruit (most sugar-like natural sweetener)
- Erythritol (a type of sugar alcohol)
- Sucralose (an artificial sweetener found in Splenda)
You can add these into certain keto recipes to give you a little bit of a sweet taste, which you will likely miss early on. Ideally, try to ween yourself off this as soon as possible though.
Sweeteners to avoid: Cane sugar, agave, honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup and date sugar
Let’s get straight to the point…
Avoid fizzy soft drinks.
Yes, diet pop doesn’t have “added sugar” or technically any carbs. Some people claim that diet fizzy drinks are fine for the keto diet.
However, there have been so many studies that prove diet fizzy drinks increase our taste for sweet food and prevents us from realising when we are full. Possibly the 2 worst side effects for a ketogenic diet!
So here are some drinks you can have on a keto diet:
- Water infused with fruit (lime or lemon is best but you can even try raspberries or any of the fruit you find above)
- Coffee and tea (see the above section)
- Almond milk (1g carbs per 240 ml)
- Coconut milk (1g carbs per 240 ml)
- Keto smoothies (see the recipe below for an example)
For some people, this is a huge shift and one you maybe didn’t even consider. So if you really love your pop, try to only have no added sugar drinks occasionally.
Drinks to avoid: Coconut water (9 g carbs per 240 ml glass), soda or fizzy drinks, cows milk
15. Food Cupboard Extras
None of these is necessary but you can find certain recipes which often require some additional bits.
Here are some of the food cupboard extras you may need for the keto diet:
- Cocao powder
- White wine vinegar
- Collagen powder
- Protein powder
- Maca root powder
- Blanched almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Brain Octane Oil
- Coconut aminos
- Matcha powder
Other Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet
Let’s set this straight right now.
Some of the foods on the list below are not “unhealthy” or “bad for you”.
They just contain a high portion of carbohydrates (or sugar) so they should be avoided on a keto diet. Taking in too many carbohydrates will mean your body can slip out of ketosis and make the diet ineffective.
Some people live on a keto diet their whole life.
Others rather use the keto diet to lose weight quickly and then return back to a more balanced diet, whilst eliminating the processed food.
The key to any “diet” or eating healthy is to avoid processed food. So just take it as a given that you should avoid all forms of candy and fast food if you are interested in losing weight quickly.
But yes, you can still have keto desserts or “treats” and keto snacks.
Here is a list of foods that you should avoid putting on your keto diet grocery list for beginners:
- Most types of bread & cereals
- White flour & corn tortillas
- Sandwich wraps
- Most legumes (chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, soybeans… and peanuts as you already found out)
Just because you can’t have these types of food it doesn’t mean you have to miss out things you love like pizza, bread or fancy couscous salads.
You can make variations of them using cauliflower or other inventive methods. Plus you don’t have to spend ages blending or making the cauliflower how you want. Like so many things in life now all you need to do is check out Amazon and buy it ready to go.
The Keto Flu: Early Keto Side Effects and What to do…
When you are starting the keto diet you may experience the “keto flu”.
These symptoms typically only last a few days, unlike real flu! Many people won’t even experience this but you will notice some new things going on with your body.
However, if these symptoms continue past a few days & you don’t feel well, then you should listen to your body and stop the diet.
Some symptoms that you may experience:
- Low energy
- Mental fatigue
- Increased hunger
- Digestive discomfort
- Decreased exercise performance
- Low libido
Any of these symptoms is really just a sign that your body is getting used to being in ketosis. There is a transition period where your body is confused as the usual energy source from carbohydrates is missing.
The human body is a remarkable thing though so it quickly adjusts.
Once it figures out there is actually a comparably endless supply of energy sitting in our fat stores the benefits really kick in (you can find the benefits at the top of this page).
How to Get Rid of The Keto Flu
There are multiple ways you can cure keto flu.
Sometimes you just need to allow your body time to adapt.
However, you can also use these tips:
- Stay hydrated (you will typically use the toilet more when you start ketosis)
- Replace lost electrolytes
- Get enough sleep and rest (reduce caffeine intake & wake up at the same time each day)
- Avoid strenuous exercise for those first few days
- Check you’re getting the right amount of fat (70-80%), protein (10-20%) & carbs (5-10%)
Remember, not everyone will experience these symptoms.
However, if you don’t like the idea of going through this for a few days then you can choose to cut back on the carbs slowly or even try carb cycling for 2-3 days per week.
The most likely cause is that you are not getting enough fat in your diet.
Example Keto Diet Recipes
Now I can almost hear your mind thinking…
“This is starting to sound more complicated than I first thought!”
Well, these keto diet recipes examples are going to prove just how simple and yummy the keto diet can actually be!
Worried about what you’ll eat without that bread or cereals? Why not start the day with a treat of eggs and bacon with this delicious variation of the classic breakfast.
One of the best things about the keto diet is that you can enjoy some tasty bacon, which is often forbidden from many other diets. There’s only 1 gram of net carbs in this awesome breakfast!
- Heavy cream
- Mustard Powder
- Green Onions
- Pepper to taste
181 kcal | 75% Fat (15g) | 20% protein (9g) | 5% carbs (1g carbs)
Find the full recipe on Easy Low Carb
Lunch- Salmon, Avocado & Arugula Salad
If you’re like me then you’ll love a salad for lunch. Especially one that has avocado or salmon in it. Well, you’re in for a treat with this one because it has both! These two delicious foods are packed with nutrition that you need and help to make sure you don’t go hungry.
The arugula and homemade salad dressing make sure that this lunch is nice and light as well as super tasty. Plus it only has 4 grams of net carbs!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
- White wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Black pepper
- Smoked salmon fillet cooked
575 kcal | 79% Fat (49g) | 18% Protein (25g) | 3% Carbs (4g net carbs)
Find the full recipe at Step Away From The Carbs
Dinner- Chinese Beef and Broccoli
This simple yet scrumptious meal will leave you super satisfied for dinner. The flavour from the onion, garlic and ginger make this one of our personal favourites. It does pack 12 grams of carbs still so make sure you use this meal on a day where your other meals don’t carry too many carbs.
- Broccoli florets
- Corn starch optional (we recommend not to use this!)
- Avocado oil
- Yellow onion sliced
- Olive oil
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Beef stock
- Fresh ginger
294 kcal | 43% Fat (14g) | 39% Protein (29g) | 18% Carbs (12g net carbs)
Find the full recipe at Eazy Peazy Mealz
Smoothie- Keto Smoothie Recipe
If you’re worried about going from breakfast to lunch with only a couple of eggs and bacon rashers you don’t need to worry! A smoothie is a great filler if you get a bit peckish before lunch or dinner.
This smoothie is simple and delicious. With only 7 net carbs, you’re going to want to make sure you have a good blender or Nutri Bullet (our recommendation) ready to go.
- coconut milk
- water or ice
- low-carb sweetener (optional)
- nut butter (optional, almond butter)
- cocoa powder
- berries -blackberries, raspberries, strawberries or blueberries (blueberries have the highest net carb count)
- chia seeds
353 kcal | 87% Fat (36g) | 5% Protein (4g) | 8% Carbs (7g net carbs)
Find the full recipe at Cooking LSL
Snack- Kalahari Biltong – Keto Jerky
This snack is perfect for those times in the day when you realise you’re getting a bit hungry and you still have a couple of hours until your next meal.
This keto-friendly beef jerky with 0 grams of carbs is one of those snacks you’ll want to make sure you have handy at all times.
160 kcal | 63% Fat (24g) | 37% Protein (32g) | 0% Carbs (0g net carbs)
Total Macro Intake
One of the things to take note of about the keto diet is that it’s not recommended to count the calories.
The most important number to be aware of is keeping your net carbs between around 20-25 grams per day when you start. As you get into ketosis some people can increase their carbs to 50 grams and stay in ketosis. But to start with, keep your carb count below 25 grams.
The net carbs are the total grams of carbohydrates in any food minus the grams of fiber and sugar alcohols. Your body cannot digest these so they are important to count on the keto diet.
Here are the totals for the example of meals you could have in a day:
- 138g Fat = 1,242 kcal = 72%
- 99g Protein = 396 kcal = 23%
- 24g Carbs = 96 kcal = 5%
Total kcal 1,738
As you can see none of these meals is particularly hard to make or too different from the types of food you may normally eat.
And the spread of macros is pretty much perfect for the keto diet.
Once you have your meals planned for one week you will start to become aware of how many carbs are in different types of food and it becomes much easier. Check out our 7-day keto meal plan for beginners.
Fun fact- Ever heard that not all calories are the same?
Carbs have 4 calories per gram
Proteins have 4 calories per gram
Fats have 9 calories per gram
Keto Diet Grocery List for Beginners Summary
So there you go!
The ultimate keto diet grocery list for beginners has everything you need to know about starting a keto diet to lose weight fast.
You can find the benefits of starting a keto diet, how to manage the keto flu as well as all the different types of food you can or cannot add to your food shopping list.
Make sure you pin this page to your keto board so you can come back to it whenever you need to do your grocery shop or check those killer keto dieting tips.
If you enjoyed this one you’re bound to love some of our other keto articles: