|May 17, 2024

Complete Keto Food List: What to Eat on Keto

By Bulletproof Staff
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy on 05/17/2024

Complete Keto Food List: What to Eat on Keto

  • The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that helps the body burn fat for fuel.
  • On the keto diet, you want to eat quality fats, moderate protein and minimal carbohydrates.
  • This keto food list answers the question, “What can you eat on a keto diet?” Use this list of keto-friendly foods to guide your meal plan.

Keto (short for ketogenic) is a low-carb, high-fat and moderate-protein diet. Eating this way sends the body into a metabolic process called ketosis, which is when the body starts breaking down fat for fuel.[1] Everyone from celebrities to regular keto devotees swears by the ketogenic diet for its health benefits. These can include weight loss, more energy and clearer thinking.

On the keto diet, you want to eat quality fats, moderate protein and minimal carbohydrates. Steak? Check. Bulletproof Coffee? Double check. But what about other foods? You have plenty of delicious options when it comes to your keto meal plan. You’ll enjoy quality fats and oils, dairy and plant- and animal-based protein sources. This comprehensive keto food list has everything you need to get started.

Keto Food List For Beginners

Here’s how to read this list:

  • Within each category, we’ll list which foods to eat freely, which to eat in moderation and which foods to avoid on keto.
  • Treat this list as a starting point for your next grocery store trip.
  • Focus on whole foods, stay away from ultra-processed ones and pay attention to how you feel along the way.
  • When possible, go with grass-fed, pasture-raised and/or organic products as you embark on your keto journey.

Fats and Oils

Seasoned egg on top of avocado toast

Make no mistake — fat makes up the bulk of the keto diet, to the tune of 50 to 70 percent of your daily calories. So, if you’re going to eat that much of anything, you want it to be the best quality you can get.

A clean keto food list for beginners consists of quality fats. This means minimally processed, high-fat foods that support healthy ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated fats and other processed vegetable oils. Limit your intake of inflammatory omega-6s, which can hide in poultry, nuts and seeds, grain-fed meats and farmed seafood.

We’re not fans of the levels of polyunsaturated fats found in conventional vegetable oils. But if you see terms like “high-oleic,” that means the oil has higher levels of monounsaturated fats—the same healthy fats found in olive oils.[2]


The best keto-friendly fats and oils include:

  • Avocado oil
  • MCT Oil
  • Grass-fed butter and Grass-fed ghee
  • Marrow and tallow from pasture-raised beef
  • Cacao butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cacao butter
  • Bacon fat and lard from pasture-raised pork

Eat in moderation: 

  • Duck or goose fat
  • Grain-fed butter and ghee
  • Nut oils
  • Cold pressed non-GMO seed oils
  • Pasture-raised chicken


  • Shortening
  • Oils made from GMO seeds
  • Commercial lard
  • Low-carb commercial dressings
  • Margarine

Related: Is Fat Good for You? Everything You Need to Know About Dietary Fats


filet of salmon surrounded by produce

If you stick to fatty cuts of grass-fed and pasture-raised meat, there aren’t too many keto food list rules here. If you can’t get your day’s protein from quality animal sources, fill in the gaps with grass-fed, undenatured whey protein concentrate or isolate. (Not heavily processed whey isolate.) As a bonus, grass-fed collagen peptides will help up your amino acid count, along with supporting healthy skin, bones and joints.[3]

What about soy protein? Regardless of diet, we’re not fans of soy products due to their phytoestrogen and linoleic acid content.[4] Plus, with so many diverse options available, you’re better off getting your protein from other food sources.

Keto Protein List

The best sources of protein for keto dieters include:

  • Collagen Peptides 
  • Collagelatin
  • Grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, goat or lamb
  • Wild game meats
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Grass-fed whey protein concentrate or isolate

Eat in moderation:

  • Pastured chicken, turkey, duck, goose
  • Pastured pork
  • Factory-farmed eggs
  • Factory-farmed meat
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Clean undenatured whey (heated whey) protein concentrate or isolate


  • Wheat protein
  • Processed cheese
  • Pasteurized dairy products
  • Soy protein

Fish and Seafood

No keto list of foods would be complete without fish and seafood. Stick to wild-caught sources. Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines are as nutrient-dense as they are rich in omega-3 fats, B vitamins and minerals.[5]

Keep an eye out for sneaky carbs in shellfish like mussels and clams. On the other hand, shrimp and most crabs are keto-approved foods. As long as you go the wild-caught route, seafood can be a part of your regular diet.

The best fish on keto include:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Halibut
  • Trout
  • Summer flounder
  • Cod
  • Tuna
  • Herring

Where’s The Beef On Your Keto Food List?

Things get complicated if you follow a dirty keto food list and eat drive-thru burgers and hot dogs on the regular.

Heavily processed proteins are higher in preservatives, additives and inflammatory fatty acids. These can derail your health goals over time on a low-carb diet.[6] When you do eat meat, focus on quality. For the biggest nutritional benefit, look for grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised or wild-caught proteins.

Ground beef and bacon alone are not the keys to keto. If you get more protein than your body can use, your body will begin converting protein to sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This kicks you out of ketosis.

Stick to your macros and balance your plate with lots of quality fats, moderate protein and plenty of vegetables from our clean keto food list.

Related: Spoiler Alert: Despite Popular Opinion, Plant-Based Salmon Isn’t the Solution


Eat your low-carb vegetables, kids. They’re delicious sources of fiber, essential nutrients and flavor, without a lot of carbs. Your clean keto food list sticks to nutrient-dense, lower-carb veggies that are low in naturally occurring sugars. These include veggies like broccoli, spinach and zucchini.

Truth is, you can eat most vegetables on keto, as long as you’re mindful of your serving sizes and total carb intake. If a small amount of lower-carb squash (like delicata, kabocha or chayote) fit into your diet plan, go for it. Although, we recommend saving higher-carb foods for later in the day. Or timing your carb intake after a workout.

Some quick notes on keto vegetables in our keto food list for beginners:

  • Nightshades like bell peppers and eggplants are great on keto. In some people, though, they can contribute to inflammation and food sensitivities. If this sounds like you, cutting out nightshades may be beneficial.
  • Aromatics like onions and leeks add a lot of flavor to foods, but they contain natural sugars. Be mindful of your serving sizes.
  • We prefer to lightly cook any oxalate-heavy cruciferous and leafy greens. This improves nutrient absorption and makes them easier to digest.
  • When possible, buy organic vegetables to limit toxin exposure. Use the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce as a quick reference at the grocery store.

Keto Vegetables List

These are the best veggies to consume when you’re on keto:

  • Asparagus
  • Dark leafy greens (such as arugula and watercress)
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Nori
  • Olives
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Zucchini

Eat in moderation:

  • Celery root
  • Eggplant
  • Jicama
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Rhubarb
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Beets


  • Corn
  • White potatoes
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soy/edamame


strawberrys sitting on cutting board

Fruit is called “nature’s candy” for a reason. The sugar content in most fruits can quickly take you out of ketosis. This begs the question: What fruit is keto-friendly? Well, coconut and avocado are the exceptions, plus antioxidant-packed fresh berries.

Go for organic berries when possible for your keto food list and be mindful of your portions. Don’t worry about scurvy—you’ll still get plenty of vitamin C in those strawberries.[8] Lemons and limes may contain sugar, but if you’re just squeezing a wedge into your water, you’re in the clear. For a fruity refresher without the high sugar content, try this Keto Green Lemon Smoothie.

Keto Fruit List

Although fruit isn’t a big part of the keto diet, here are the best ones to stock up on:

  • Avocado
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Coconut
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Tangerines
  • Peaches
  • Pears

Eat in moderation:

  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Honeydew and other melons
  • Plums
  • Tomato
  • Tomatillos
  • Grapes
  • Papaya
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lychee
  • Bananas
  • Mangos


  • Cantaloupe
  • Dates
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit leather
  • Jams and jellies
  • Canned fruit

Legumes, Nuts and Seeds

bowl of pecans on a tablescape

Although excellent sources of fat, nuts add up fast in protein and carbs. Snack on fattier nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans. But limit those high in omega-6s, like peanuts and sunflower seeds. Foods to avoid on keto include high-carb nuts like pistachios and chestnuts. Pass on most beans, too.

Use nut milk (like almond milk and cashew milk) and nut flour (like almond flour and cashew flour) in moderation. Check your labels — macronutrients can vary between brands. Pick a product with fewer carb counts per serving and no extra additives, sugar, starches or binders.

Need inspiration? Whip up a batch of Fluffy Almond Flour Pancakes or Low-Carb Almond Flour Pie Crust.

Keto legumes, nuts and seeds list

When it comes to legumes, nuts and seeds, the best ones to consume if you’re on the keto diet are:

  • Coconut
  • Coconut flour
  • Raw pistachios

Eat in moderation:  

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts and flour
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Nut butters and flours
  • Seeds (such as chia seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds)

Avoid: Most beans, lentils, soy

  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Soy nuts and flour
  • Corn nuts

A note about nuts

The Bulletproof perspective on legumes, nuts and seeds is different from keto. Except for coconut, we recommend limiting your intake of nuts and legumes. This is because they can contain mold toxins and plant anti-nutrients.[9]

So, are nuts, seeds and legumes “bad” on a keto food list? Not necessarily. These keto-friendly foods can fit into a healthy diet. Some people feel great when they eat peanuts, while others encounter food sensitivities. Pay attention to how you feel, be mindful of your macros and opt for organic, high-quality products whenever possible.


Cubes of butter

Organic, full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows is a great option on the keto diet—if you can tolerate it. Opt for full-fat, grass-fed, organic dairy to reap the health benefits of omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Don’t overdo the protein, especially if you’re regularly chowing down on foods like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Remember, too much protein can kick you out of ketosis.

Double-check the ingredients to make sure you’re not unknowingly eating high amounts of carbs or added sugars per serving. They are common in cheeses categorized as low-fat. Pre-shredded cheeses may also clock in with higher carb counts due to added starches that keep the product from caking.

Heavy cream is common on keto but avoid low- or reduced fat milk and half-and-half. These contain lactose sugars—aka too many carbs per serving to swing it on keto. Say “no whey” to sweetened or low-fat dairy, conventional evaporated and condensed milk and processed cheese products.

Cream cheese is keto-friendly. Look for organic varieties made without carrageenan to avoid stomach upset.

Keto dairy list

Dairy doesn’t work for everyone. If you can tolerate it, here are the best dairy foods to have on keto:

  • Grass-Fed Ghee
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Colostrum from grass-fed cows
  • Organic, grass-fed, full-fat A2 milk or yogurt

Eat in moderation:

  • Full-fat cottage cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Kefir
  • Grain-fed butter or ghee
  • Whole milk or cream
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole milk ricotta
  • Grain fed cheeses
  • Sour cream


  • Processed cheese products
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Conventional powdered milk
  • Margarine
  • Condensed or sweetened condensed milk
  • Conventional ice cream

What to do if dairy doesn’t work for you

From a Bulletproof perspective, dairy isn’t a key player in our keto food list. That’s because dairy can be allergenic and contains proteins that are difficult to digest. For example, ultra-processed cheese tends to contain a laundry list of ingredients rather than just cheese.

If you tolerate dairy, more power to you. It’s a solid source of nutrients, fat and protein.[10] Choose products with very few, high-quality ingredients on the label.


hands holding a creamy cup of Bulletproof coffee

When you’re looking for keto drinks, watch out for added sugar, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors. Be mindful of your serving sizes, too. While a splash of coconut water in your smoothie can add flavor and electrolytes, a full 16-ounce can may contain up to 30 grams of carbs.[11] Yikes.

Stay hydrated with plenty of water, and reload on electrolytes with bone broths, especially during the “keto flu” in the first few weeks of your diet. Unsweetened tea and coffee, including Bulletproof Coffee, are completely keto-friendly.

Even better, Bulletproof Coffee is made with Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil. In fact, MCT oil is a cheat code for keto because it boosts ketone production, which studies have found may help with fat loss.[12]

What about booze? Beer is not generally part of a keto eating plan unless you find a lower-carb, gluten-free variety. But you can enjoy an occasional cocktail if you’re mindful about what you’re drinking. Wine, mixed drinks and even hard seltzers can contain hidden carbohydrates that might knock you out of ketosis. Get the details about keto and alcohol.

Keto beverage list

When plain water doesn’t cut it, here are the best beverage options for keto dieters:

  • Bone broth
  • Coffee
  • High-quality unsweetened tea
  • Mineral water and sparkling water
  • Grass-fed A2 milk
  • Coconut milk

Drink in moderation:

  • Processed unsweetened iced tea
  • Coconut water
  • Processed nut milks
  • Keto-friendly alcohols (such as clear liquors and dry wines)
  • Fresh vegetable juice


  • Beer
  • Soy milk
  • Drinks made with artificial sweeteners
  • Sweetened drinks including energy drinks and sports drinks

Spices, Seasonings and Condiments

Hand sifting cinnamon

What foods are 100% keto? Some spice blends and condiments contain added sugars or high-glycemic sweeteners that make them less than ideal for a keto food list. But other than that, spices and seasonings are fair game for keto. Technically, carbs can add up in spice-heavy dishes. But don’t worry about a teaspoon of turmeric, especially when your spices are spread throughout an entire dish.

When you’re shopping for spices and sauces, check the labels for additives like sugars, milk solids, potato starch, corn starch or MSG. Even unsweetened ketchup contains natural sugars from all those tasty tomatoes. Tired of reading the labels on store-bought salad dressings? Make your own! Start with these MCT oil salad dressings.

Heads up: Table salt often contains undisclosed fillers and anti-caking agents. For the most healthful way to salt your food, add sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to your shopping list.

Additionally, spices and herbs can spoil in your home. Use high-quality, fresh or recently opened herbs and spices, particularly black pepper, garlic, nutmeg and paprika.

Keto spices, seasonings and condiments list

Need to add some flavor to your recipes? Here are the best keto-friendly spices, seasonings and condiments:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cacao powder
  • Coconut aminos
  • High-quality herbs and spices (such as black pepper, Ceylon cinnamon, cumin, ginger, oregano, thyme and turmeric)
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Mayonnaise made with quality oils
  • Sea salt
  • Vanilla bean
  • Ceylon cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Cloves
  • Sage
  • Onion
  • Garlic

Eat in moderation:  

  • Table salt
  • Black pepper
  • Coconut aminos
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Mustard/mustard seed
  • Hot sauces that contain carbs and sugar
  • Premade dressings and sauces (check the labels)


  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • MSG
  • Packaged sauce and spice mixes with added starches and sugars
  • Soy products


Cubes of sugar next to spoon

Sugar isn’t part of a ketogenic diet. That doesn’t mean abandoning your sweet tooth, though. It’s easy to get a sweet fix using keto-friendly sweetener alternatives.

On your clean keto food list, stick to low-glycemic sweeteners to avoid spikes in blood sugar. Avoid fillers and binders such as maltodextrin and dextrose. These can spike blood sugar and contain sneaky carbs. Finally, sugar alcohols such as maltitol or xylitol can still cause a moderate glycemic response when digested. Have them in moderation.[13]

Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, ace-K and sucralose. Though they’re technically sugar-free, they can potentially cause negative health risks, such as a change to gut bacteria.[14] Plus, there are plant-based, keto-friendly sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit available. Find them at your local grocery store and enjoy far fewer side effects.

Looking for keto-friendly sweets that won’t tank your macros? Try these delicious keto recipes:

Or just grab a Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar. With MCT oil, collagen protein and 11 grams of protein per bar, these bars are delicious keto-friendly nutrition.

Keto Sweeteners List

t is possible to satisfy your sweet tooth on keto. Here are the best sweeteners to keep in your pantry:

  • Xylitol
  • High-quality dark chocolate
  • D-ribose
  • Monk fruit
  • Stevia
  • Sorbitol
  • Maltitol

Eat in moderation:

  • Maple syrup
  • Natural sugars found in whole foods like berries and tomatoes
  • Sorbitol
  • Non-GMO erythritol
  • Raw honey
  • Allulose
  • Agave


  • Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet)
  • Fructose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Cooked honey
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Navigating the Keto Food List

Our keto food chart should serve as a guide to keep you on the right path. Of course, life happens, so you may find yourself having a few too many “avoid” foods when stress and other factors get in the way. If that happens, you can navigate back on course by keeping things simple.

Stick to the best foods to eat on keto (along with those in the “in moderation” categories). Baby steps will get you there, as will accountability.

Keto diets do not line up with the U.S.-recommended daily allowances (RDA) of macronutrients. Run your diet plans by your doctor to see if keto is right for you.

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This article has been updated with new content.