Named after a fat-burning metabolic state called ketosis, the ketogenic diet reduces carbs and increases healthy fats. Eating this way forces the body to use fat as fuel, producing compounds called “ketones” that are used for energy. Curious what to eat on a diet like this? Keep reading to get all the deets for loading up your plate with keto-friendly ingredients.
Keto Diet Basics
When you’re following a keto diet, you need to cut out excess carbs, starches, and sugar, and all the foods on this list:
- Grains (rice, pasta, quinoa, and wheat)
- Processed foods
- Vegetable oils
- High-carb nuts (pistachios and cashews)
It’s also recommended to limit nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants), citrus, and root vegetables.
Tips for Going Keto
If you’re just getting started and feeling overwhelmed by all the rules, take a cue from Healthful Pursuit blogger Leanne Vogel, who recommends approaching keto in phases. “The first thing to understand is this isn’t a rush to the finish line,” she shares. Vogel also stresses how important it is to understand how your body responds to carbs: “Try keto for 10 days, then have a bit of carbohydrates and see how you feel. The only way to truly know how you respond is to actually test it. Generally, people are motivated to keep up with keto because it makes them feel good, and not because some trash magazine said it’d make them leaner.”
“The only way to truly know how you respond is to actually test it.”
When personal trainer and health coach Thomas DeLauer works with clients new to keto, he recommends three simple ways to help them achieve success:
- Eat a 2:1 fat-to-protein ratio
- To combat dehydration, drink lots of water (with added pinches of sea salt)
- Three times a week, experiment with having keto coffee (made with healthy fats like butter and MCT oil) instead of breakfast
Below you’ll find even more ideas for successfully going keto.
Prep breakfast the night before
There’s nothing worse than waking up hungry, only to realize you don’t have anything planned for breakfast. Get a jumpstart on the morning by choosing make-ahead recipes (like our chia seed pudding below) or grabbing a bag of pre-portioned smoothie ingredients.
Track your macros
Using a calorie-tracking app and a scale will help you stay accurate when it comes to what you’re eating on a daily basis.
Prime your kitchen for success
Going all-in and want to avoid temptation? Eliminate non-keto foods from your pantry and refrigerator. You’ll be far more likely to stay on track when everything you have at your fingertips is keto-approved.
There’s nothing worse than coming home and wondering what’s for dinner. When you have a keto meal plan that’s prepared in advance, it’s easy to shop, cook, and prep all your keto foods, sans stress. (Keep reading for some of our favorite keto recipes to try!)
Keto Grocery List
Ready to commit to keto? Let’s start shopping. Check out this list of ingredients—healthy fats, proteins, veggies, and more—for great keto meals.
Best sources of healthy fat
Whenever possible, stick to saturated and monounsaturated fats or natural fats like:
Nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats, and make a great snack on the go or a crunchy salad topping.
Certain types of dairy are still allowed on a keto diet. Try these varieties to stick with your meal plan.
- Cottage cheese
- Greek-style yogurt
- Hard cheeses (aged cheddar, parmesan, feta)
- Soft cheeses (mozzarella, colby, brie)
Top keto proteins
Opt for pasture-raised, organic, and grass-fed meat, and keep your portions in mind so you don’t go overboard on protein.
- Fatty fish (cod, halibut, mahi mahi, salmon, trout, and tuna)
- Organ meats (liver, kidney, and tongue)
- Poultry (chicken, duck, and wild game)
- Shellfish (clams, oysters, lobster, and mussels)
- Unsweetened nut butters (almond and macadamia)
- Whole eggs (whites and yolks)
Approved keto vegetables
Whether you choose fresh or frozen veggies, steer clear of any that are starchy. And if you don’t already, start embracing the color green!
- Bok choy
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chard
Healthy keto condiments
When you have the time, making your own spreads, broths, and dips from scratch is the best way to go, but sometimes we all need a little help from the grocery store. Stock up on these keto condiments that won’t derail your eating plan.
Member-Favorite Keto Ingredients
How do Thrive Market members stock their keto pantries? Let us count the ways. Here are some of the most popular picks.
A favorite condiment for keto, Whole30, and Paleo diets, this mayo is made with real ingredients (like cage-free eggs and organic vinegar) and has no preservatives or additives.
“Best mayo ever period. Huge help for my keto diet! No junky oils in here!”
Every can in this four-pack is made with only one ingredient: fresh albacore tuna. Each tuna steak is cooked only once and hand-packed to retain the natural juices rich in omega-3 fish oils.
“I love these cans for a quick breakfast when I'm in a rush. I pop open a can and eat it along with half an avocado. Super convenient and delicious.”
This kitchen multitasker is ethically sourced from small farms in the Philippines and made from fresh, high-quality ingredients that are organic, cold-pressed and never refined.
“I was using a popular brand before trying this and, I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised. There is hardly any aftertaste, just coconut, and it's gentler on my stomach.”
This keto diet staple delivers 10 grams of protein per serving, plus collagen. It’s slow-simmered using organic chicken bones, filtered water, organic veggies, herbs, and spices for a restorative broth you can sip on its own or add to soups.
“Good, rich flavor that's perfect heated up and sipped on its own (which is how we just consumed it), and will be perfect with soups in the future!”
Get your coffee fix the keto way. This vegan and non-dairy substitute is made from almonds and MCT-rich coconuts.
“These are creamy and flavored, but not sweet. They add a wonderful creamy nut flavor to my coffee.”
13 Recipes for Your Keto Meal Plan
Let Thrive Market be your HQ as you prep your ketogenic diet meal plan.
Sous vide is a vacuum-sealing technique that gives super-accurate internal temperatures for whatever food you’re cooking. At home, the Instant Pot gives you a similar result, and we’re loving these egg bites spiked with MCT oil. They’re a perfect breakfast or post-workout snack.
Baking the eggs makes this meal super simple to whip up. Nestle them into a skillet filled with dairy-free coconut creamed spinach for an irresistible breakfast, brunch, or even dinner.
Chia seeds are small but mighty. Stir them up with almond milk and spices, then watch them bloom into a pumpkin-infused dessert that’ll satisfy sweet cravings. There’s even a spoonful of energizing MCT oil for a nutritional boost. Chia pudding also works as a make-ahead keto breakfast idea, too!
Yes, you can absolutely treat a heart of romaine like a slab of steak—stick it on the grill! The outer leaves will soften and char, and the core stays crunchy with plenty of smoky flavor. Drizzle it with a zesty avocado-lime dressing for a perfect side dish.
When it comes to grain-free cooking, cauliflower is a kitchen champ. Here, we use it as a base for roasted salmon and sautéed veggies seasoned with allspice, cinnamon, and cumin.
Need a keto-friendly dip or sauce? This pesto’s got your back. It’s whizzed up in the food processor with hemp seeds, kale, parmesan cheese, garlic, and lemon.
This recipe comes from Primal Kitchen founder Mark Sisson, who whips up a richer-than-average burger spread with pistachio pesto.
Whip up this easy keto dinner for date night or Tuesday night—it’s up to you. Earthy mushrooms pair perfectly with tender pork chops and a decadent butter and cream sauce.
Instead of a sugary dry rub, we use a keto-friendly substitute that’s just as sweet. Paired with garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, this flavorful coating is just right on ribs.
For Sunday supper, try this impressive roast beef that’s extra easy to put together. (The oven does most of the work.) This recipe is perfect for a crowd or for ensuring leftovers for weekday lunches.
Keto meets Korean in this balanced bowl with hints of sweetness from grated pear and spice from gochujang, a fermented chili paste. Ground beef adds richness while fresh veggies keep things light.
No bread left behind! You can still enjoy a slice, even when you’re keeping things keto. This one is made with lots of pantry ingredients like almond flour, tapioca flour, and melted coconut oil.
This cool keto dessert whips up in the food processor using creamy avocados, coconut cream, and cacao powder. It’s the perfect sweet ending (or afternoon nibble).
This classic peanut butter and chocolate dessert gets a keto twist with MCT oil, raw coconut butter, and almond butter. It’s a no-bake recipe you’ll love to have in your arsenal.