By: Justine Van Drunen — Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Justine has lost 141lbs by maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. Justine, known online as Lean Justine, chronicles her journey on her Instagram and YouTube channels, sharing workout videos, nutrition tips and fitness inspiration. Her passion is helping others reach their goals.
Going grocery shopping can be a difficult task on a good day, especially when you add in the added task of searching for specific items because you're following a low carb food plan.
If you're following a keto lifestyle, you may feel overwhelmed searching the aisles for high fat, low carb options. You might even find yourself reading or questioning endless nutrition labels. Many processed, packaged foods are a no-no and certain whole foods are too high in carbs. You will need to fill your plate with low-carb, high-fat healthy foods like meat, seafood, low carb veggies (look for greens) and healthy fats.
When grocery shopping, I tend to stay within the outer perimeter of grocery store. This is where you'll find the freshest foods, including produce, meat and dairy.
So without further ado, here are some things that I would recommend adding into your keto-fied grocery cart.
Seafood is extremely rich in a number of nutrients that play an important role in health — some of them are relatively hard to obtain from other food sources.
Seafood is high in omega 3 fatty acids
Most seafood is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which can have a significant impact on your general health, especially on the health of your cardiovascular system. These essential fatty acids can lower the risk of heart disease & stroke, help reduce triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure and raise "good" cholesterol levels. Additionally, omega 3 fatty acids lower inflammation and can be beneficial for people with autoimmune conditions.
Seafood contains a good amount of protein
Seafood is rich in protein, which is essential for preserving lean body mass and for maintaining the proper functioning of your tissues and organs.
Seafood contains essential micronutrients
Specific types of seafood contains selenium, iodine, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc and more.
Look for these healthy seafood options in the grocery store:
Low Carb Veggies
Low-carb veggies are high in fiber, vitamins (A, C, and K), minerals and rich in iron. They also help fight inflammation and support bone, brain, and heart health. Dark, leafy green vegetables are best when it comes to being low-carb and nutrient dense. These vegetables have also been shown to fight the aging process and cognitive decline. Leafy greens also rank extremely low on the glycemic index, so they won't excessively raise your blood sugar levels. What are you waiting for? Run over to the produce aisle and stock up on these must-haves:
6. Bok Choy
9. Brussel sprouts
If you're following a keto lifestyle, you'll be cutting way back on carbs and sugar. Some fruits are okay to eat, but you'll want to be mindful about quantity. I think this category encompasses the most confusion for many — our whole lives we've been told to eat lots of fruits & veggies or an apple a day keeps the doctor away. These statements are not untrue by any means. But, when following a keto diet the simple answer is that it's all in the net carbs, and most fruits just have too many. An easy rule of thumb: most fruits that taste tart or savory tend to have much lower amounts of natural sugar, making the overall carb count relatively low.
Here are some keto-friendly fruits you can safely add to your grocery cart:
5. Avocados (New saying: an avocado a day keeps the doctor away!)
Meat, Chicken, Eggs
Meat, chicken and eggs are considered staple foods for a keto-based diet. Fresh meat and poultry contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc. Eggs one of the healthiest and most versatile foods on the planet. One large egg contains less than one gram of carbs and fewer than six grams of protein, making eggs an ideal food for a ketogenic lifestyle — boiled, fried, scrambled or as omelettes.
Remember that keto is a higher-fat diet, not high in protein, so you don't need huge amounts of meat. Excess protein can be converted to glucose, which could make it harder for some people to get into ketosis.
Look for these cuts of meat at your grocery store or butcher:
1. New York strip steak
2. Ribeye steak
3. Pork belly
4. Chicken thighs
5. T-bone steak
6. Babyback ribs
7. Ground beef/chicken/turkey
8. Chicken breast
High Fat Dairy
Some dairy products are great sources of protein, fat, potassium, and calcium and make a lot of sense for keto. But, the traditional keto diet is a bit more restrictive when it comes to other dairy food. That's due mostly to one thing: dairy equals sugar, which equals carbs. Stay away from ice cream, flavored milks and sweetened yogurts.
Butter is good, high-fat cheese is fine and heavy cream is great for cooking. Avoid drinking milk as the milk sugar quickly adds up (one glass = 15 grams of carbs). Replace it with almond or coconut milk.
Look for these keto approved dairy staples:
1. Butter (not margarine)
2. Hard cheese (like parmesan)
3. Soft cheese (not all, but look for Brie, Mascarpone, or creme fraiche)
4. Whipping cream
5. Sour cream
Most of the calories on a keto diet should come from fat. You'll likely get much of it from natural sources like meat, fish and eggs. You'll use fats in cooking, like butter or coconut oil, and feel free to add plenty of olive oil to salads and vegetables. You can also eat delicious high-fat sauces.
Here are some healthy fats that make a repeat appearance on my grocery list:
1. Avocado & avocado oil
2. Nuts or nut butters
3. Flax seed
4. Hemp hearts
5. Chia seeds
6. Olives and cold-pressed olive oil
7. Coconuts and unrefined coconut oil
8. Fatty fish
9. Whole eggs
Though fat makes up the majority of the calories on a ketogenic diet, not all sources of fat are good for your health — even if they fit into the macronutrient distribution of your diet plan. The following list should be AVOIDED:
1. Artificial trans fats
2. Processed meats
3. Fried food
Sweeteners can be tricky when maintaining a ketogenic lifestyle. Carb-dense sweeteners, even "natural" ones like honey, are pretty much out. But 0-carb/0-calorie sweeteners aren't necessarily perfect choices – some have fillers that can add to the carb counts, while others can cause digestive problems.
For beginners, here's a quick overview of four different categories of sweeteners:
1. Sugar (and other names for sugar, like coconut sugar, dextrin, maltodextrin, corn syrup, etc) — AVOID
2. Natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup) — AVOID
3. Artificial sweeteners (brand names Sweet N Low, Splenda, Equal, etc.): Saccharin, cyclamate, acesulfame, aspartame, sucralose — AVOID
4. Sugar alcohols: Erythritol, xylitol, mannitol — KETO-FRIENDLY
Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that have about half the calories of regular sugar. They occur naturally in certain fruits and vegetables.
Make sure you are reading the labels, the following three sweeteners are keto-approved and will not cause a spike in your insulin:
2. Monk Fruit