The ketogenic, or keto, diet can be a good way to lose weight and reduce body fat. However, the strict macronutrient ratios can make it difficult to know which foods to choose and may require careful planning for grocery shopping.
This article looks at what to include in a keto grocery list and provides recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It also looks at the side effects of the diet and how to prevent them.
According to one 2020 article, the common ratios for macronutrients are:
- 55–60% fat
- 30–35% protein
- 5–10% carbohydrates
On a 2,000 calorie per day diet, this means limiting carbohydrates to 20–50 grams (g) per day.
According to the same 2020 article, a keto diet should limit protein intake to less than 1 g per pound (lb) of body weight (or 1.5 g per lb of body weight for people who do heavy weight training).
A keto diet puts the body in a state of ketosis. This occurs when the body switches from burning carbohydrates as fuel to burning stored fats instead. Some keto diets aim to facilitate weight loss by creating a metabolic state where the body converts fat stores into energy.
The following are some keto-friendly foods to add to a grocery list.
A person should include non-starchy vegetables in a keto diet to provide essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Such vegetables include:
- green beans
Many fruits have a sugar content that is too high to be keto-friendly. However, a person can count their fruit intake as part of their carbohydrate allowance for the day and choose lower sugar fruits, such as berries, coconut, and citrus fruits.
People can vary their protein sources so that they get variety in the keto diet. Many protein sources, such as meat and dairy, also contain fat, so people can account for this when tracking their macronutrients.
The following are some protein foods to include:
- chicken and turkey
- red meat, such as beef or lamb
- unsweetened dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, cheese, and cream
- fish and shellfish
- tofu, tempeh, and seitan
One of the criticisms of the keto diet is that a person may consume too much saturated fat. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting calories from saturated fats to less than 10% of daily calories to reduce the risk of heart disease.
More healthful unsaturated fats sources include:
- olive oil
- avocado and avocado oil
- fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon
- nuts and nut butter
- sesame oil
- hemp seed oil
Coconut oil is a saturated fat that people can include, and many people also use medium chain triglyceride oil.
People should always stay adequately hydrated. This can also help prevent the side effects of the keto diet.
Plain water is a simple, healthful option, but other ideas for beverages to include are:
- water with added mint leaves and citrus slices
- herbal teas
- occasional zero sugar sodas
- unsweetened soy and almond milk
- bone broth
People can stock up on the following useful pantry items for a keto diet:
- coconut cream
- almond flour
- soy sauce or tamari
- liquid aminos or coconut aminos
- fish sauce
- dried herbs and spices
- cocoa powder
- garlic powder and onion powder
There are many online resources that allow people to look up keto recipe ideas. For example, keto diet apps may be a good option, as they include many recipe ideas along with their macronutrient content.
One keto diet app suggests the following recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
Breakfast mug frittata
Cook time: 5 minutes. Prep time: 5 minutes.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 2 tbsp Cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup raw white mushrooms
- Spray a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray or coat with butter.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper until frothy.
- Add the spinach, cheese, mushrooms, and chives.
- Pour the egg mixture into the prepared mug and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Check the eggs and microwave for another 30 seconds if they are not set. Continue to cook in 30-second increments until the eggs are firm.
- Enjoy while hot.
Keto salmon patties
A person could serve these patties for lunch with a green salad.
Cook time: 6 minutes. Prep time: 10 minutes.
- 1 lb canned salmon
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 tbsp chives
- 1 tsp dill weed
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- In a large bowl, mix the canned salmon, almond flour, eggs, chives, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Form 10 small salmon patties out of the mix, flattening each so that they are about half an inch thick. Set on a tray.
- In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Once the oil has melted, add the patties to the skillet (working in batches if necessary) and cook for 3 minutes. Flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, or until they are perfectly golden brown.
- Serve while hot.
Grilled chicken with peanut sauce
Cook time: 15 minutes. Prep time: 10 minutes.
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp ginger root
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp granular erythritol sweetener
- 6 whole chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 6 cups shredded green cabbage
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and lime juice.
- Add 2 tbsp of water and the granular erythritol, then whisk until smooth and set aside.
- Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with ground coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat and grease the grates with oil.
- Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down, and cook for about 6 minutes.
- Turn the chicken and cook for a further 6–8 minutes until cooked through.
- Meanwhile, toss the cabbage with the peanut sauce until well coated.
- Serve the chicken hot over a bed of shredded cabbage with the peanut sauce.
People may find keto diets challenging initially, and they may have food cravings and hunger pangs. However, this usually subsides with time.
Symptoms can include:
People should ensure that they stay hydrated with fluids and electrolytes to help prevent some of these side effects.
Eating fiber-rich and magnesium-rich foods — such as dark leafy green vegetables, cocoa, and pumpkin seeds — can help prevent constipation.
Keto diets may result in a buildup of acids, known as ketones, in the blood. Small amounts of ketones in the blood indicate that the body is breaking down fat. However, high levels of ketones can poison the body, leading to a condition known as ketoacidosis. Therefore, it is important to monitor kidney function while following a keto diet long term.
Keto diets may not be suitable for people with health issues such as diabetes and those who are taking certain medications. A person should check with their doctor first.
If a person transitions back to a standard diet, they should do so gradually to avoid rebound high blood sugars and weight gain.
After a person has confirmed that a keto diet is suitable for them, they can start by planning what they will eat and making a grocery list.
Varying the meals can help make the menu more interesting, and this can help someone stick to a diet plan.
People should be careful to avoid too much saturated fat, and they should make sure that they include a variety of vegetables. Stocking up on pantry staples and using a keto recipe app are ideas to help prepare future meals.