Comprehensive Food List for the Keto Diet
In this post you’ll get a full Keto Food list to better help you manage your ketosis plan.
Keto Diet Explained
The keto, or Ketogenic diet follows a high fat, low carb and moderate protein prescription to encourage our bodies to enter ketosis where fat is used as a primary and preferred source of fuel over carbohydrates. Getting into ketosis doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, we’ve made it easy for you by compiling this comprehensive food list for the keto diet. Here you’ll find information on which food groups to focus on and why particular foods are recommended as part of a keto diet. We’ve also included a fat to protein to carbohydrate breakdown to make it really easy for you to see exactly how each food type fits your macros.
Check out this Keto Infographic to learn more about what Ketosis is and why you should care.
Approved Keto Fats
The very basis of the keto diet is to encourage your body to use fat as its primary fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This means that quality sources of fats including oils, nuts and seeds should make up most of your caloric intake.
Although we’re typically told to avoid eating too much fat, it’s actually a vital nutrient that’s needed by your body to keep every cell in your body healthy. Including more of the right types of fats in your diet is also a great way to promote an efficient metabolism that delivers an even source of energy throughout the day without sudden hunger pangs or cravings. It also increases satiety and makes you feel full for longer while boosting the amount of stored fat that your body burns throughout the day for effective weight loss and healthy weight management.
When it comes to including fats in your keto diet, it’s vital that they’re from the right sources. Natural sources of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats will help your body to enter and stay in ketosis (fat burning mode). To ensure you’re getting enough of these, focus your diet on meats and nuts and use healthy oils and butters to cook with. Try to make sure that you’re getting a good balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids by including fatty fish as well. Processed fats, i.e. chemically altered trans fats are very damaging to your body and should always be avoided.
Cooking with grass-fed butter is a great way to boost your intake of more than 400 different types of fatty acids while keeping your carbohydrate intake low. High in conjugated linoleic acid, butter has been shown to aid in fat loss and has been linked to reducing the risk of heart attack, some cancers and stroke. It also contains small amounts of vitamins A, D, E and B12.
- One serving of butter (1 tsp) contains approximately 4 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
Ghee is a form of butter that’s been naturally processed to remove most of its water content and milk solids. The result is a nutritionally rich, high fat, low carbohydrate substance that’s low in lactose, making it a great addition to any keto diet but particularly those who are intolerant to dairy. It’s also got a high smoke point which means that it can be used for frying foods without turning into trans fats that are best to avoid. The medium-chain fatty acids in ghee are ideal for establishing ketosis, weight loss, reducing inflammation and removing toxins from building up in the body.
- One serving of ghee (1 tsp) contains approximately 5 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) contained in coconut oil are ideal for boosting your ketone levels to help you achieve or stay in ketosis. They’re also processed by your liver very quickly for an immediate, carb-free energy boost that’s particularly useful before a workout. However, coconut oil has also been shown to improve immune function, reduce inflammation and lower bad cholesterol.
- One serving of coconut oil (1 tsp) contains approximately 4.5 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
Pork fat, otherwise known as lard, has a unique chemical composition as it contains absolutely no harmful trans fats. Instead, it’s full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and oleic acid that’s been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Due to its high smoke point, lard is ideal for using in the keto diet to fry foods and even contains some vitamin D.
- One serving of lard (1 tbsp) contains approximately 13 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
Tallow is made from rendering beef fat and is another great keto-friendly, high heat fat to use for cooking. With a high amount of conjugated linoleic acid, it boosts fat burning, encourages the growth of lean muscle and decreases inflammation that can cause heart disease and digestive problems.
- One serving of lard (1 tbsp) contains approximately 13 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
Although you’ll most probably have to make it yourself, schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat is a traditional Jewish ingredient has a light, buttery flavor that’s prized for its versatility. With an impressive profile of satisfying and metabolism boosting saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, incorporate it into almost any keto meal.
- One serving of chicken fat (1 tbsp) contains approximately 13 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
As a pure source of fat, olive oil is naturally carb-free, making it ideal for using as a base for keto salad dressings and low-temperature cooking. It’s high in oleic acid and antioxidants which decrease inflammation, protect against disease and reduce a range of factors that improve heart health. Look for a cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil for the added benefit of vitamins E and K for healthy skin and hair.
- One serving of olive oil (1 tsp) contains approximately 4.5 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
Avocado is one of the best low-carb, high fat fruits to include in your keto diet and works well alongside almost any meal. They’re high in a whole range of vitamins and minerals including the B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and copper. They’re also high in phytonutrients and antioxidants which both help to protect your body from the damage of free radicals, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. Almost 1/5th of an avocado is soluble and insoluble fiber which also helps to keep your digestive system functioning well.
- One serving of avocado (1/3 of fruit) contains approximately 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Nuts and Seeds
High in fat and fiber, nuts and seeds are a healthy addition to any keto diet that will keep you full for longer while aiding in healthy weight loss and management. Although the carbohydrate content of nuts and seeds does differ between the different varieties, most easily fit into low-carb constraints of the keto diet. Enjoy them as a snack or add to yoghurts, salads and other meals to boost your fat intake and provide a whole host of other important vitamin and minerals.
- One serving of almonds (23 nuts) contains approximately 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of walnuts (14 halves) contains approximately 18 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of macadamia nuts (10 nuts) contains approximately 19 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of chia seeds (2 tbsps) contains approximately 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of pepitas (2 tbsps) contains approximately 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates.
Keto Approved Meats and Protein
In addition to fats, meat is a staple of the ketogenic diet. They’re low in carbohydrates, higher in fats and contain quality protein which aids to maintain lean muscle mass on a low-carb diet. Most fresh meats are also rich in B vitamins and other valuable minerals such as potassium, selenium and zinc which adds to the overall nutrient profile making this a worthwhile source of calories on the keto diet.
However, because too much protein can lower the production of ketones and raise insulin levels, true keto diets prescribe a moderate intake of protein. Therefore, aim to include meats that are lower in protein and higher in fats. Try to eat pasture-raised, grass-fed varieties as much as possible. These have a more favorable fat and nutrient profile while minimizing the transfer of antibiotics, steroids and other pesticides to your body through the food. It’s also important to avoid any processed meats that are treated with artificial flavor enhancers, preservatives and added sugars that disrupt the benefits of a keto diet.
While beef is low in carbs, it can be high in protein so choose fattier cuts such as 80/20 ground beef, ribeye steak or brisket. This will help to ensure an adequate nutritional profile to encourage our body to enter and remain in its optimal state of ketosis. Beef is also a valuable source of nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron which will all assist your body to maintain adequate energy levels on a low-carb diet.
- One serving of ground 80/20 beef (100 grams) contains approximately 20 grams of fat, 30 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Fatty cuts of pork such as naturally cured bacon, pork belly and pork butt are high in fat and low in carbs while providing an adequate amount of protein to support healthy muscle growth and maintenance. Pork, unlike most meats, is also rich in thiamine, a B vitamin which keto dieters are often deficient in although it’s necessary to support the healthy metabolism of all macronutrients
- One serving of bacon (100 grams) contains approximately 50 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
While chicken is a common staple in many diets, to maintain ketosis, focus on either eating fattier cuts of chicken or adding keto-friendly fats into your meal. Then, poultry is a great food to ensure your body has enough protein to aid in physical recovery from exercise while keeping carbohydrates low for optimal fat burning.
- One serving of chicken thighs (100 grams) contains approximately 20 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Fish such as wild-caught salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, snapper and trout are high in healthy fats such as omega-3’s and are virtually carb-free. This makes them an ideal moderate source of protein in the keto diet. Fish that are less fatty can still be incorporated into the keto diet, however, prepare them by frying in some of the recommended fats. It’s also important to be aware that some fish, particularly shellfish, do contain more carbs. If you do eat these foods, be sure to account for them in your overall carbohydrate target.
- One serving of salmon (100 grams) contains approximately 13 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of tuna (100 grams) contains approximately 6 grams of fat, 30 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of trout (100 grams) contains approximately 6 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Eggs are one of the more nutritious foods on the planet and their moderate fat and protein profile combined with the fact that they’re also low in carbs makes them a great staple of the keto diet. Be sure to eat the yolks as these contain almost all of the fats and nutrients an egg offers. Here you’ll find saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for energy and ketone production along with almost every essential vitamin and mineral that your body needs to function properly.
- One egg contains approximately 11 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein and 1 grams of carbohydrates.
Keto Vegetables and Fruits
Because vegetables and fruits are such a great source of valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, they’re an essential part of any ketogenic diet. However, some vegetables and fruits are higher in sugar (carbohydrates) which means they’re not conducive to maintaining ketosis. When it comes to assessing the true carb content of these food sources, be sure to account for how much fiber they contain. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that’s digested in a different way to other forms of carbohydrates. It won’t interrupt with your body’s ability to create ketones but it will improve your digestive health.
The best vegetables and fruits for ketogenic diets are low in carbohydrates and high in nutrients. This generally includes all dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli and most types of berries. If you can, choose organic versions as they contain fewer artificial pesticides that have been linked to increasing the risk of developing various diseases.
Vegetables and fruits that are higher in carbs such as roots, nightshades and citrus can still be part of a successful keto diet. Just be mindful of their total carbohydrate count to ensure that your body does enter and maintain an optimal state of ketosis. Starchy vegetables and fruits such as potatoes and bananas may need to be avoided altogether as they’re carbohydrate load is often too high. Aim for varieties with a net (digestible) carb count of between 1 and 8 grams per serving.
Swiss chard is one of the most nutrient-packed, low-carb vegetables you can add to your keto diet. With virtually no macronutrients, this powerhouse contains more than 13 different antioxidants to protect your body against a wide range of diseases. Among these is a flavonoid called syringic acid which has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, a goal of the ketogenic diet. It’s also high in vitamin A, C, K and E along with magnesium, potassium and iron.
- One serving of swiss chard (1 cup) contains approximately 0 grams of fat and 1 gram each of protein and carbohydrates.
Low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, spinach aids in maintaining a healthy digestive tract in those on a keto diet. It’s also full of nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, K1, folic acid and iron that help to reduce oxidative stress, lower blood pressure and help to prevent the development of certain cancers. Spinach is also a valuable source of calcium for long-term bone health.
- One serving of spinach (1 cup) contains approximately 0 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Although it is a little higher in carbohydrates and protein without anything in the way of fats, broccoli is an excellent source of numerous vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, K, E and B6, chromium and folate. Research has shown that it’s hugely beneficial in preventing the development of cancer through reducing inflammation, oxidative stress and detoxifying the body. Therefore, broccoli is a great addition to the keto diet and can be consumed moderately.
- One serving of broccoli (1 cup) contains approximately 0 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
Berries are often prized for their high antioxidant component but they’re also the type of fruit that’s lowest in carbs and highest in vitamins and minerals. Because of this, they can be enjoyed in moderation on a ketogenic diet. While the health benefits vary greatly between different types, they generally range from reducing blood pressure to improving heart heath, reducing inflammation, detoxifying and boosting immunity.
- One serving of raspberries (1 cup) contains approximately 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of blackberries (1 cup) contains approximately 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of strawberries (1 cup) contains approximately 0 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein and 8 grams of carbohydrates.
Keto Approved Dairy
With reasonably high amounts of fats, carbs and protein, most types of full-fat dairy can be enjoyed moderately on a keto diet. Opt for less processed, high fat, organic versions that don’t have any added sugar. In general, the more dairy products are processed, the more carbohydrates they generally have. This includes avoiding fat-free and low-fat options as the process of removing the fat leaves a greater natural carbohydrate content which negates the benefits of ketosis.
However, adding dairy into keto meals is a great way to increase the overall fat content of the meal. Consider cooking spinach with cream or serving yoghurt as a savory side dish. Do be mindful that including dairy will also increase the protein content too that you’ll probably want to monitor to ensure your insulin levels stay low for optimal ketone production.
While most yoghurts contain added fruits and sugars which make them unsuitable on a keto diet, full-fat Greek yoghurt retains a fairly high amount of fat along with moderate protein and carbohydrates.
- One serving of Greek yoghurt (1/2 cup) contains approximately 6 grams of fat and 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbohydrates.
Cream is the natural butterfat that’s skimmed off the top of milk before processing. Because of this, it’s high in fat and relatively low in protein and sugars, making it an excellent ketogenic choice. Full-fat creams are also very rich making it an ideal, high-fat substitute for milk in tea or coffee.
- One serving of heavy cream (1 tbsp) contains approximately 6 grams of fat and 0 grams of protein and carbohydrates.
While the nutritional content of cheeses varies greatly depending on the type, most are low enough in carbohydrates to be considered suitable as part of a balanced keto diet. In general, hard cheeses have more carbs while soft cheeses are lower. Always select full-fat varieties as a great way to contribute to your daily fat intake.
- One serving of brie (30 grams) contains approximately 8 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of mozzarella (30 grams) contains approximately 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein and 1 grams of carbohydrates.
- One serving of cheddar (30 grams) contains approximately 9 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein and 0 grams of carbohydrates.