Embarking on any new nutrition plan can seem daunting and the ketogenic diet is no different. Many people aren’t sure where to start and have countless questions. What foods are keto-friendly? What foods aren’t? What about keto beverages or snacks? Should I look more closely at my macronutrients? What if I want a sweet treat or dessert? Let’s discuss keto diet foods and how to start shopping for ketogenic diet meals.
How do I Choose Keto Diet Foods?
Going keto means lowering your intake of sugar and heavy starches and carbohydrates. Put simply, this means the obvious sugary beverages, candy bars, and white wonder bread are off the menu. Going keto also means increasing your intake of healthy proteins and fats like salmon and avocados.
With keto, you’ll want to avoid starchy vegetables and heavy, processed and refined carbohydrates and instead, opt for nuts, seeds, leafy greens cooked in healthy fats, meats, low-starch vegetables, bone broths, keto-friendly soups, and more delicious and nutritious foods that work for you.
Below are some quick tips to get you started shopping for keto diet food.
1) Recipes and Meal-prepping Guides
Meal-prepping and planning can make your grocery trip easier and more efficient. You might want to choose simple recipes for the week and tasty snack and beverage ideas. You can also make a shopping list you can take with you to the store. Dieting apps and an accountability partner might also be useful for extra support.
2) Choose Natural Whole Foods
Natural whole foods are healthier for your body and digestion and it’s usually easier to find keto-friendly options among the whole, unprocessed foods available as nature intended. There isn’t an ingredients list on an avocado, a head of broccoli, or a steak.
3) Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
The perimeter of the grocery store and the meat, dairy, and produce sections are typically where the natural, whole foods are found. These are usually the healthiest and most keto-friendly options available and it’s probably where you’ll be sourcing the bulk of your keto shopping. Some keto gems might be sprinkled in other parts of the store. With a basic picture in your mind of the foods and food groups that are more keto-friendly, you’ll quickly become more adept at food selection.
4) Prepare Your Pantry Staples
Having a fully prepared keto pantry could mean the difference between you falling off the keto bandwagon or not. If you suddenly have an unshakeable urge for a sweet treat, your pantry likely has solutions ready for you to conjure up a keto delight. Or if you’d like to whip up a fresh, tasty salad dressing made with sea salt, a dash of lemon, herbs, and fatty oils like olive or macadamia nut oil, you’ll also need a stocked keto pantry. Our keto dessert recipes section also helps!
Some of the best keto pantry staples to have on hand include:
- Coconut flour
- Cocoa butter
- Cocoa powder
- Coconut milk or cream
- Almond flour
- Butter or ghee
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- MCT oil
5) Farmer’s Markets and Local Farms and Stores
Farmer’s markets and local farms and stores are some of the best places to find healthy, organic, fresh, and local meat and produce for your keto lifestyle. Not only are you supporting your local farmers, but you’re also finding top quality keto diet foods, usually for a more affordable price. Why not talk to your farmer to find out if you can get a discount if you buy in bulk, weekly, or biweekly?
People are Metabolically Different
If you’re unsure if a food is keto-friendly or not, check the ingredients if it’s in a package and look at the total amount of carbohydrates. A common low-carb snack nutrient profile has around 20 grams of carbohydrates, but around 15 of those grams might be from the fiber. With the ketogenic diet, you can subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates to get a better idea of the net carbs in that particular food.
However, it’s important to remember that people are metabolically different and what kicks one person out of ketosis might be different for another. Fiber also isn’t that simple and different types of fibers can have various effects on the body. Check out our detailed article on fiber for more info.
Unless you want to, you don’t have to calculate your macros, especially when you’re just starting off and learning about the ketogenic diet. When you’re comfortable, you could try monitoring your blood glucose and ketone readings to determine how certain ingredients and nutrients, such as fiber, personally affects you.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a scientist or nutritionist to try the ketogenic diet.
Whether or not you’re calculating macros, thinking about the week ahead usually allows for an uncomplicated keto shopping trip.
Check Out Our Keto Recipes!
Check out our beginner keto recipes and our article on the keto diet for beginners for more helpful tips. Here’s how to eat keto at your favorite restaurant, for example, get the burger with no bun, get creative with toppings like bacon and avocado, and maybe even add a side salad.
Here’s another informative article if you’re wondering about fruit on the ketogenic diet.
It’s clear you’re in the right place to learn more about keto at ketogenic.com.
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Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.