The 20 Best Keto Diet Foods

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Keto diet foods are all around us. The Keto diet is centered around consuming high fat, low carbohydrate foods. Those who follow this diet can enjoy a range of animal proteins, dairy, vegetables, plant-based foods, and fats and oils.

The growing popularity of the ketogenic diet is primarily due to its potential benefits in weight loss and blood sugar regulation. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

Early evidence indicates that this high fat, low carb diet could be beneficial in treating specific cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health issues. However, more comprehensive research is needed to understand the long-term safety and effectiveness of the keto diet. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4

Carbohydrate intake is typically restricted to 20-50g (grams) daily on the keto diet.

While some people who follow the keto diet monitor their total carb consumption, others focus on net carbs, which are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs. This is because fiber is indigestible and cannot be broken down and absorbed by the body.

Though the diet may appear challenging, it allows everyone who follows it to consume a variety of nutritious foods.

Here are 20 healthy keto diet foods to choose from:

Best Keto Diet Foods

1. Seafood

Fish and shellfish are excellent choices for the keto diet. Fish like salmon are not only virtually carb-free but also rich in B vitamins, potassium, and selenium.

However, the carb count in shellfish varies depending on the type. While shrimp and most crabs have no carbs, oysters and octopus do. It’s still possible to include these foods in a keto diet, but it’s crucial to monitor these carbs closely to stay within your desired range.

Moreover, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and others are rich in omega-3 fats, which have been linked to reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity in individuals who are overweight or have obesity. Study 1

Regular consumption of fish has been associated with enhanced brain health and a decreased risk of disease. Study 1, Study 2

The American Heart Association advises adults aged 18 and older to consume 8-10 ounces of seafood weekly.

2. Meat and poultry

Meat and poultry are considered essential foods in the keto diet.

Fresh meat and poultry have no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and many essential minerals. They are also an excellent source of high-quality protein, which may help maintain muscle mass during a very low carb diet. Study 1

A small study involving older women discovered that a high-fat meat diet resulted in an 8% increase in HDL (good) cholesterol compared to a low-fat, high-carb diet.

If possible, it’s preferable to choose grass-fed meat, as it contains higher levels of omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to grain-fed meat.

3. Eggs

Eggs are an incredibly nutritious source of protein.

With less than 1g (gram) of carbs and about 6g (grams) of protein per large egg, eggs are ideal for a keto diet.

Moreover, eggs have been found to promote hormones that enhance feelings of fullness. Study 1

It’s essential to consume whole eggs instead of just egg whites, as the majority of an egg’s nutrients are in the yolk. This includes the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health. Study 1

While egg yolks have high cholesterol content, they don’t seem to increase the risk of heart disease. Study 1

4. Cheese

There are numerous types of cheese, most of which have low carb content and high fat content, making them an a great choice for the keto diet.

A single ounce (28g grams) of cheddar cheese offers 1g (gram) of carbs, 6g (grams) of protein, and a significant amount of calcium.

Although cheese is high in saturated fat, it hasn’t been proven to increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, some research indicates that cheese may help protect against this condition. Study 1, Study 2

Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been associated with fat loss and improvements in body composition. Study 1

Additionally, regular cheese consumption may help prevent the loss of muscle mass and strength that comes with aging.

A 12-week study involving older adults discovered that participants who consumed 7 ounces (210g grams) of ricotta cheese daily experienced less loss of muscle mass and strength compared to those who didn’t consume this amount. Study 1

Here’s a list of cheeses that are lower in carbs and suitable for a keto diet:

Keto cheese list:

  • Blue cheese
  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Cheddar
  • Chevre
  • Colby jack
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Feta
  • Goat cheese
  • Halloumi
  • Havarti
  • Limburger
  • Manchego
  • Mascarpone
  • Mozzarella
  • Muenster
  • Parmesan
  • Pepper jack
  • Provolone
  • Romano
  • String cheese
  • Swiss cheese

5. Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese

Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are nutritious, protein-rich foods. Although they contain some carbs, they can be consumed in moderation on a keto diet.

Both yogurt and cottage cheese have been found to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Study 1, Study 2

You can enjoy them as a snack on their own or combine them with chopped nuts, cinnamon, or other spices for a quick keto treat.

6. Cream and half-and-half

Cream is derived from the fatty portion of fresh milk that separates during processing, while half-and-half is made from 50% cream and 50% whole milk.

Both cream and half-and-half are low in carbs and high in fat, making them suitable for keto.

Like other fatty dairy products, butter and cream are rich in CLA, which may help in fat loss. Study 1

However, it’s best to consume cream and half-and-half in moderation.

The American Heart Association‘s 2021 dietary guidelines recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat. Replacing animal and dairy fats with plant-based fats or polyunsaturated fats has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Some studies have suggested that high-fat dairy products may not be strongly associated with heart disease, while others indicate that moderate intake of high-fat dairy could reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, the evidence remains inconclusive. Study 1, Study 2

This topic continues to be debated and may depend on various factors, such as the extent of food processing. Study 1

Cream and half-and-half are popular choices for adding to coffee or using as keto substitutes for small amounts of milk in cooking.

7. Unsweetened plant-based milk

Several types of plant-based milk, including soy, almond, and coconut milk, are keto-friendly.

Choose unsweetened versions, as sweetened options contain too much sugar for a keto diet.

Additionally, avoid oat milk, as even unsweetened varieties are too high in carbs to be considered keto-friendly.

8. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are extremely low in carbs, making them perfect for keto. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Study 1

Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are particularly packed with vitamin K and iron.

Leafy greens add volume to your meals without significantly increasing carb content. Additionally, herbs like oregano and rosemary provide plenty of flavor with minimal carbs.

Keto-friendly leafy greens include:

  • Salad greens: lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, escarole, and frisee
  • Cooking greens: bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and cabbage
  • Herbs: thyme, sage, mint, oregano, dill, parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and lemongrass

9. Peppers

Various types of peppers are suitable for a keto diet. Although technically fruits, they’re commonly used as vegetables in cooking.

Small hot peppers add spice to recipes, while jalapeños are perfect for keto-friendly appetizers. Larger, milder peppers like bell peppers and poblanos can be used in numerous dishes or stuffed for tasty low-carb main courses.

Peppers are also rich in vitamin C, with one bell pepper providing 107% of the daily Vitamin C value.

10. Summer Squash

Summer squashes like yellow squash and zucchini are highly versatile and low in carbs.
Zucchini is especially popular on keto. Using a spiralizer, you can make zucchini noodles as an excellent pasta substitute.

Grated zucchini can serve as a rice alternative or be added to baked goods without affecting taste. You can also thinly slice it with a mandoline and mix it with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a cold salad.

11. High-Fat Veggies

Avocados and olives, both technically fruits, are unique among vegetables for their relatively high fat content. They also contain fiber and have low net carbs.

Oleuropein, the main antioxidant in olives, has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect cells from damage.

One study found that consuming one avocado per day improved heart health risk factors, including lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

12. Other Non-Starchy Vegetables

Numerous non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs while being nutrient and antioxidant-rich.

Low-carb veggies can serve as excellent substitutes for high-carb foods.

For example, cauliflower can be turned into cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower. Spaghetti squash is a natural spaghetti alternative, and low-carb root vegetables like jicama and turnips can replace roasted potatoes or french fries.

Other keto diet vegetables include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Jicama
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Okra

Vegetables to avoid on keto diet:

  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Onions (when consumed in large quantities)
  • Specific winter squashes like acorn squash and butternut squash
  • Corn
  • Beets

13. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are nutritious, high in fat, and low in carbs.

Regular consumption of nuts is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, depression, and other chronic illnesses.

Additionally, nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, which can help you feel satisfied and naturally reduce your calorie consumption. Study 1

While most nuts and seeds have low net carbs, the amount varies significantly depending on the type. The nutes with the lowest carb amount and therefore the best nuts for a keto diet are:

14. Berries

Most fruits have high carbs content, making them unsuitable for the keto diet, but berries are an exception.

Berries, especially raspberries and strawberries, are low in carbs and high in fiber. While blackberries and blueberries have fewer carbs than other fruits, they might not be suitable for strict keto diets.

These small fruits are packed with antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against diseases. Study 1, Study 2

15. Shirataki noodles

Shirataki noodles are an excellent keto-friendly option. They contain less than 1g (gram) of net carbs and only 15 calories per serving, as they are mostly water.

These noodles are made from a viscous fiber called glucomannan, which offers numerous potential health benefits (67Trusted Source, 68).

Viscous fiber forms a gel that slows down the passage of food through your digestive system. This can help curb hunger and blood sugar spikes, promoting weight loss and diabetes management. Study 1, Study 2

Shirataki noodles come in various shapes, including rice, fettuccine, and linguine. They can be used as a substitute for regular noodles in nearly all recipes.

16. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder

Dark chocolate and cocoa are tasty sources of antioxidants.

Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which can reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy arteries. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

Surprisingly, dark chocolate is allowed while following a keto diet. However, it’s crucial to select dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, if not more, and consume it in moderation.

17. Olive oil

Olive oil offers amazing benefits for heart health.

It is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. Study 1, Study 2

Moreover, extra-virgin olive oil is abundant in polyphenol antioxidants which are plant compounds that further support heart health by reducing inflammation and enhancing artery function. Study 1, Study 2

As a pure source of fat, olive oil contains no carbs, making it an excellent base for salad dressings and healthy mayonnaise.

Since olive oil is not as stable at high temperatures as saturated fats, it is best to use it for low-heat cooking or add it to dishes after they have been cooked.

Other exceptional plant-based oils to consider on a keto diet include coconut oil and avocado oil.

18. Butter and ghee

Butter and ghee are suitable fats to add into a keto diet. Butter contains only trace amounts of carbs, while ghee is entirely carb-free.

Ghee is clarified butter made by heating butter and removing the milk solids that rise to the surface. It has a concentrated buttery flavor and is commonly used in Indian cuisine.

Similar to other full-fat dairy products, butter and ghee do not appear to be as harmful to health as previously believed. Study 1

19. Unsweetened coffee and tea

Coffee and tea are healthy, carb-free beverages.

They contain caffeine, which boosts your metabolism and may enhance your physical performance, alertness, and mood. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

Additionally, coffee and tea drinkers have shown a significantly lower risk of diabetes. In fact, those with the highest coffee consumption have the lowest risk, although a cause and effect relationship has not yet been established .

Adding heavy cream to coffee or tea is acceptable, but you should avoid “light” coffee and tea lattes while on keto, as they usually contain nonfat milk and high-carb flavorings.

20. Unsweetened sparkling water

For a keto-friendly soda alternative, unsweetened sparkling water is an excellent choice.

These drinks are delightfully bubbly and may be flavored, but they generally do not contain sugar or sweeteners. As a result, they have no calories or carbs.

However, some varieties are naturally flavored with small amounts of fruit juice, which may contain carbs. Make sure to check the label, as additional carbs can accumulate quickly.

Is keto diet suitable for you?

This low carb, high fat diet remains quite popular, and many people enjoy the diet and the results it offers. However, it may not be the right choice for everyone.

Keto is considerably more restrictive than some other diets, which could be stressful for some individuals.

Moreover, according to a study the keto diet may cause side effects, particularly during the initial phase. Some potential side effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive changes
  • Increased cholesterol levels

If keto doesn’t seem like a good fit, you might want to explore other diet plans.


The keto diet can help with weight loss, blood sugar regulation, and other health objectives. However, its high fat and low carb approach might appear quite restrictive, particularly in the beginning.

Despite this, the eating plan includes an extensive range of nutritious, delicious, and adaptable foods that allow you to stay within your daily carbs limits.

To enjoy all the health benefits of the keto diet and enjoy the best keto diet foods, it’s recommended to consume a wide variety of these keto diet foods.

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