Use this keto shopping list for beginners next time you go grocery shopping and stop the guess work at the grocery store. These are the 21 keto staple foods you need to get started on your health journey, so read through and take notes. While the foods you can eat as a part of your keto diet are nearly endless, this 21 item grocery list covers the essentials to get you started.
One of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success is to have shopping lists for the different stores you frequent. It’s the first step to putting together a keto meal plan for yourself and really taking things to the next level. You can use our keto recipes as the foundation for your meal plans as a beginner and start your journey to health, energy and weight loss. For the most part we won’t have any specialty ingredients on this keto shopping list.
Here are some healthy foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.
Butter and cream are very keto-friendly foods.
This might come as a shock to you, but butter is actually a health food. That’s right. You’ve been lied to your whole life. Butter has adequate amounts of all of the fat-soluble vitamins as well as CLA. In America, butter is often the most widely available form of quality animal fat. Some good brands to look for at your local store are Kerrygold, Vital Farms and Organic Valley.
If you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to butter, see if you can find some ghee. Ghee is clarified butter which means the milk solids have been removed, so it is suitable for a dairy-free diet. Our favorite brand for ghee is 4th & Heart.
Keto Shopping Tip: A deeper colored butter means it is more nutrient dense. Butter will be dark yellow or even orange if the cow is pastured on nutrient-dense grass, rich in carotene.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat which makes it suitable for cooking with, and it comes with a long list of proven benefits. This oil will go through varying degrees of processing so you will have some decisions to make in the store. Look for virgin, unrefined or cold-pressed. Cold-pressed is the least processed form, but it will also have the strongest coconut taste. If you prefer a more mild tasting oil, you may want to opt for refined coconut oil. Our favorite brand is Nature’s Way.
MCT Oil is another option. Many people on a low carb diet use it in their bulletproof coffee.
3. Lard or Tallow
Everything you’ve been told about “healthy fats” is a lie! We always prioritize animal fats over plant fats as the foundation of our diet, so we are big fans of lard and tallow. Lard is the rendered fat from pork and tallow is the rendered fat of ruminant animals like beef and lamb.
The low polyunsaturated fat content of tallow makes it our preferred fat for cooking with. Whenever buying animal fats, quality will be more important than when buying plant fats, so take some time to seek out high quality sources. Our favorite brand is Epic Beef Tallow.
Items like ranch dressing and Caesar dressing will usually use processed vegetable and seed oils. We like to avoid ranch dressing unless it is made with healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil.
Avocados are the perfect keto food. They are an instant high-fat side dish that takes no time to prepare. It’s basically a full meal in a single fruit. Most people on a ketogenic diet stock up on avocados to use in their weekly meal plan and in keto recipes.
We always have a bunch on hand for when we don’t feel like cooking a complex side dish. Keto beginners will get confused about the carbs in avocado. They do contain a high amount of carbs, but they also contain a high amount of fiber which can be subtracted when calculating net carbs. A medium avocado will only have around three grams of net carbs.
5. Low-carb Nuts
Nuts are a great high fat snack for a beginner on the ketogenic diet. Just about all nuts are keto-friendly in moderation.
It can be hard to control your consumption of these tasty morsels when they’re salted, roasted, and pre-shelled, so use portion sizes. Refer to the graphic below for specific carb counts. There’s even some interesting studies that show nut consumption is associated with lower rates of type-2 diabetes.
Keto nuts list:
- Brazil nuts
- Chia seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
Keto Shopping Tip: Aside from just picking up assorted low-carb nuts, see if you can find nut flours like almond flour, peanut flour or coconut flour. You can use these to make keto bread and desserts.
6. Heavy Cream
If you’re a coffee lover, then this has to make it on your keto diet shopping list. Instead of using that low-fat, flavored, creamer you’re probably used to, try using heavy cream and some flavored stevia. Or make a Homemade Keto Creamer and use it through out the week.
Just about everyone loves cheese and it definitely has its place in a keto diet. With cheese, it is important to seek out quality options because the cheapest options are really devoid of nutrition. We always look for cheese made from raw milk. This can be found at most grocery stores in the United States nowadays. Just look for the words “raw” or “unpasteurized” on the ingredients list.
Sour cream, cottage cheese, greek yogurt and cream cheese are other options that fall under this category. These tend to be lower quality than quality sourced grass fed parmesan cheese or other hard cheeses. With items like these we always look to buy the full fat variety as opposed to the skim or lower fat versions. In addition to being healthier, full fat also means it is a less processed product.
When buying sour cream, cottage cheese or cream cheese look for the full fat variety. You will often be able to find organic and pasture raised quality as well.
Beef is our favorite protein source primarily because it has a higher fat content than chicken, fish and most cuts of pork. This makes hitting your keto macros a little easier. An added benefit is that beef has the most bio-available form of iron in high amounts. Check out this handy guide for selecting the most cost effective cuts of steak if you’re trying to do keto on a budget!
Buying organ meats is a great way to meet many of your nutrient needs on a budget.
Pro Tip: 80/20 ground beef is one of the most cost effective foods you can buy. For only a few bucks a pound, you can get a large quantity of calories and nutrients.
Since 1960, per capita chicken consumption has increased by over 400%. Needless to say, chicken is one of America’s biggest staple foods. Most people will favor chicken breasts over thighs and drumsticks because we’ve been incorrectly told leaner meats are better for us. On a keto diet, you’re going to want to opt for the fattier cuts. Not only are they cheaper, but they taste a lot better too. Chicken is great for prepping in bulk and including in your keto meal plan for the week. If you’re looking for new chicken recipes, try the most popular one on our blog – Keto Butter Chicken.
If you don’t like bacon, this might not be the right diet for you. While pork is tasty it also comes along with a strong nutrient profile, most notably in B vitamins.
When buying bacon can be confusing since most of them are cured using sugars. If you’re willing to pay a premium, you can find sugar-free bacon in most stores these days, but we personally don’t mind buying bacon with a small amount of sugar. The grams of carbs you get from the sugars used in curing bacon are typically quite low.
11. Fatty Fish
Fish and other seafood is important for providing omega-3 fatty acids which most Americans are not getting enough of. Some of the highest fat fish are salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. We like to make sure to get at least one serving of seafood per week at a minimum and typically more like 2-3 servings.
Keto Shopping Tip: If you’re looking for travel snacks that are packed full of nutrients, then pick up some canned fish like sardines, tuna, salmon, clams and oysters. Be sure to check what kind of oil they are canned with. Look or olive oil and try to avoid soybean oil.
Eggs are another budget friendly food that are packed full of nutrients. Of all the low carb foods eggs must just be the most essential. They are rich in choline, which most Americans do not get enough of. Four Eggs can cover the daily choline needs.
What type of eggs should you buy? Typically the more you pay the higher quality the eggs will be, so do the best you can. One way to save money on high quality eggs is to get them from a local farmers market instead of the store. That way you’ll save a few dollars per dozen of pasture-raised eggs. Our favorite brand at the store is Vital Farms.
Pro Tip: As with butter, the darker colored yolk indicates a higher concentration of nutrients.
13. Almond Butter
Almond butter, like most nut butter is great for a treat once in a while. If you’re doing a keto diet for weight loss, you may want to avoid these calorie-dense, highly palatable foods. The secret when buying nut butters is to look at the ingredients list on the back. The only ingredients you should see listed is the type of nut and salt. The cheaper brands like JIF and Skippy will have sugar added. We don’t want that!
Nut butters are not completely sugar free, but what you want to look our for is added sugars.
In addition to almond butter you can include your favorite nuts and seeds on your keto food list. The only ones you have to be cautious of are cashews and pistachios because the carbs can add up quickly. Our favorites are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, as well as any of these in nut butter form.
When including fruit in your keto diet, you have to be selective or the carbs can start to add up. Low-sugar berries are going to be your best low-carb fruits. If keeping your blood sugar stable and staying in ketosis are your goals, then minimizing fruit intake could be a good idea. Berries are full of antioxidants and can bring a refreshing flavor to a ketogenic diet. One of our favorite after-dinner snacks is berries and cream. Berries can be a welcomed change up to your typical keto diet food.
Pro Tip: Buy fresh berries when they are in season and freeze them. The only time we buy fresh berries at the store is when they are in season, otherwise we will go with the berries from the frozen section.
Raspberries are a good keto diet snack, coming in at 7g of carbs per cup. As with all berries, they are high in antioxidants and flavonoids, but more importantly they are delicious! Most berries will make it on the keto shopping list, but raspberries tend to be our favorite.
Broccoli is one of our favorite vegetables for a ketogenic diet because it really soaks up all of the fat we cook it in. It’s a perfect side dish for just about any keto meal. We’ll usually use butter to give the broccoli some flavor, which makes it easy to hit our fat macros for the day. Not to mention, broccoli is a good source of minerals and fiber.
It is a good idea to add your favorite type of leafy green vegetable to your first keto grocery list. Kale, collard greens, cabbage and spinach are all good options. We like spinach because it is among the most nutrient dense vegetables and contains high amounts of minerals. It’s great for mixing into salads and omelets. or as a side for any low carb meal.
Pro Tip: Find out what type of vegetables grow local to your area and prioritize those. We live in Georgia so we will often choose locally grown collard greens over spinach. Even if you’re at a grocery store like Publix, Kroger, or Whole Foods they will usually have some local brands.
Interestingly, asparagus is one of the only wild plants that we still consume en masse today. It also pairs nicely with a perfectly cooked steak, and for that reason we eat quite a bit of it. A cup of asparagus only has around 2g of net carbs which makes it one of the top keto foods.
19. Brussels Sprouts
The carbs in Brussels sprouts can add up quickly, but they are so tasty we had to include them on this keto diet grocery list. If you’re not familiar with how to prepare them we have a super flavorful recipe that you have to try. Brussels sprouts contain around 8 grams of carbs per cup, so keep that in mind when formulating your meals. We usually use Brussels sprouts as a side dish in moderation to keep our meals keto approved.
Cauliflower is truly the wonder food of the 21st century. We turn it into pizza crusts and rice to make healthier versions of the foods we love. It’s high-fiber content allows cauliflower to be shaped into a variety of healthy dishes that may help you stick to a ketogenic diet, while eating all of your favorite foods. Cauliflower is rich in minerals and antioxidants which make it a nutritious substitution for grains.
21. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, you’re in luck. Dark chocolate is the perfect ketogenic sweet treat after a long day. When buying chocolate you have two options. You can stick with high cocoa percentage chocolates, all the way up to 100% (although 85%-95% will be more palatable). The other option you have is chocolates that are sweetened with keto friendly sweeteners. The most common brands of sugar free chocolate is Lily’s, but there is a few others such as Choc Zero and Choco Perfection.
Pro Tip: Dark chocolate may take some getting used to since the stuff we eat these days has lots of milk and sugar added to it. Try starting at 70% dark chocolate and work your way up. Anything above 85% is going to be low enough in carbs to include regularly in your keto diet.
A Full Day of Keto Meals
Now that you have all your grocery items, it’s time to plan your meals for the week so you have an idea of how much to buy. Here is an example of a typical day of keto meals using our keto diet shopping list.
Keto Food List for Beginners
If you need ideas for certain stores in particular, take a look at all of the keto grocery shopping lists we have for different stores. We even have videos showing you some of our favorite purchases from grocery stores across the united states like the one below we filmed at Costco.
Costco Keto Diet Grocery List
- Almond Flour – Kirkland Brand is the cheapest option for this keto baking staple.
- Sardines – High in Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Powdered Bone Broth – All the bone broth benefits for just $1 per packet.
- Protein bars – Costco protein bars are keto friendly and cheaper than Quest bars.
- Cheese Crisps – Costco carries Moon Cheese and Cello Whisps, our best friend when we travel.
Click here for more info on shopping keto at Costco.
Trader Joe’s Keto Shopping List
- Bacon Ends and Pieces – Great fat content and adds flavor and crunch to keto recipes.
- Mahi Mahi Burgers – Only one carb per burger and delicious!
- Nuts – Low prices!
- Sunflower Seed Butter – The best alternative to nut butters and perfect for fat bombs.
- Pre-Cooked Pork belly – Delicious and easy to make. Just heat it up and serve.
Click here for more info on what NOT to buy at Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods Keto Grocery List
- Grass-fed Marrow Bones – Used in bone broth recipes.
- Kelp Noodles – Crunchy keto noodles for asian style salads.
- Primal Kitchen Mayonnaise – Made with healthy fats like avocado oil, not refined vegetable oils.
- Marinara Sauce – Victoria Vegan and Rao’s Sauces are both low-carb and tasty.
- Zevia – We drink these all the time. Sugar-free and no artificial colors.
Click here for more info on what NOT to buy at Whole Foods.
Sprouts Keto Grocery List
- Keto Yogurt – Kite Hill is a great keto brand of yogurt.
- Keto Baking Supplies – Great deals on chocolate chips, flours, and sweeteners.
- Low-Carb Chips – We love Quest Chips as a late-night snack or for munching on the road.
- Keto-Friendly Chocolate bars – Our favorite is Lily’s!
Click here for more info on what NOT to buy at Sprouts!
Publix Keto Grocery List
- Whipped Cream – Great for when we’re in a pinch and need whipped cream.
- Little Chorizo Sausages – The brand is called Quijote Chorizos Caseros and we love them as a movie snack.
- Real Good Foods Products – Publix carries keto-friendly frozen foods like pizza and enchiladas.
- Low-Carb Ice Cream – Their best keto option is Enlightened brand.
Click here for more info on shopping keto at Publix!
Walmart Keto Grocery List
- Duke’s Sausages – Our favorite flavor is Original.
- Mac’s Pork Rinds – Cheapest and tastiest. We like the barbecue flavor.
- Adobo Peppers – Essential to our favorite mexican shredded chicken recipe.
- Chicken Thighs – We prefer thighs over breasts for the higher fat content.
- Baker’s Chocolate – Great for fat bombs, snacking, and baking.
- Keto Cereal – You can find a few of our favorite keto cereal options at Walmart these days.
Click here for more info on shopping keto at Walmart
Aldi Keto Grocery List
- Babybel Cheese – These little cheese snacks are great for on-the-go keto.
- Avocados – Our favorite fatty fruit.
- Lemons – Great for cooking with chicken and fish recipes.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – An essential for many of our keto baking recipes!
- Flaxseeds – The main ingredient in our Pumpkin Flax Crackers.
These are the best keto items at Aldi.
GNC Keto Shopping List
There are tons of keto friendly finds at your local GNC, you just need to know what to look for. Since they mostly sell protein bars and other protein filled snacks, it’s important to understand the nutrition labels and ingredients list for many of these items.
Read our full guide on Keto at GNC.
- Choose a high quality fat source and make it a staple of your diet.
- Buy fattier cuts of meat over leaner cuts like chicken breast for a better keto macro ratio and cheaper prices.
- Have snacks on hand like nuts, cheese and dark chocolate, especially when first starting a ketogenic diet.
- Prioritize seasonality and where the food was grown/raised when possible.