Changing to a keto lifestyle can result in a significant change in your eating habits, but despite this fact, it doesn't have to be a restrictive one. The Ketogenic Diet offers many options that are savoury, sweet, and delicious. And the results of this eating plan have been proven to help people lose weight, have more energy, and improve their overall health and cognitive function in a multitude of ways. Also, having a solid keto diet grocery list will help you to stay on track.
The first few days and even the first week of eating keto can be difficult, though. For many people, a slow and steady change is easier to handle. When you have fed your body a steady diet of carbs and sugars for years, cutting it all out cold turkey can and will wreak havoc on your body. There is such a thing as sugar withdrawal. It happens when your body has been using sugar for fuel, and it's normal to have symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, and more. In fact, the term "keto flu" exists for this very reason. Keto flu is when the body is in detox mode. Detoxing from the sugars, carbs, processed foods, and the chemicals that have been its only source of fuel.
After the first few weeks of a keto diet, you will see a change in the body and an adaptation that is easier to manage. The cravings and headaches will have subsided, and you will see a considerable increase in energy and a change in your physical body. When you begin to run on ketosis, you feel incredible. The positives will undoubtedly outweigh the difficulties that you may have had at the beginning.
Let's begin with three basic rules of thumb for eating according to a keto diet, then we will dive into what you should have on your keto diet grocery list.
Going Keto -Step 1:
You will want to stick to whole foods and avoid all processed foods. That means anything that is pre-packaged and has a long list of (often unpronounceable) ingredients should be stricken from the list.
It's time to ditch the processed baked goods, breads, junk food, and even things such as whole-grain crackers. Often, packaging will use words that make the product sound healthy. Words like "whole grains" or "all natural" can be very deceiving. However, despite the words on the labels, packaged foods that sit on the shelf for undetermined periods are typically filled with sugars, hidden carbs, and chemically processed fake ingredients. Simply avoid those aisles of the grocery store that have boxed goods. Stick to the fresh, perishable foods.
Going Keto -Step 2:
Buy food that can be found growing and living in nature. Organic is best but also wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, low-carb veggies, and nuts. Swap out some of your typical fruits and add more vegetables. Although fruits are part of a keto diet, you will need more veggies than fruits, and only certain fruits are acceptable such as berries -more details on this to come.
Going Keto -Step 3:
Find three or four basic and easy to follow keto recipes that include some of your favourite foods. When switching over to a new diet, it's essential to have foods that get you excited for meal time. This doesn't mean that there's a keto version of mac n' cheese, but it does mean that if you love lobster, there are plenty of incredible keto lobster recipes on the internet! Do your research and find foods that taste great to you. If you enjoy what you are eating, it will be much easier to stick to your new diet.
Going Keto -Step 4:
Although we tend to use the word "diet," eating according to the keto way is more than that. Perhaps your motivation to try keto is to lose weight however keto is more than a weight-loss method. It is a lifestyle. Training your body to run on ketosis will change your health for the long term. It will lower your chances of disease and increase your life span. Keto is more than a diet, it is a healthy living plan. Therefore, reframing your thinking to include a bigger picture and plan for your life is essential to your success. Don't start keto to lose ten pounds and then return to your old habits. Start and keep keto because you are ready to change your life for the long run.
These are just the basics, now let's dive a little deeper into the details of the keto diet! We will outline an essential keto diet grocery list for you and a few recipes to start you off on this new journey!
Healthy fats are the cornerstone of the keto diet grocery list. Years ago, we were told that fat was bad, and we needed to avoid it. This was a complete fabrication that actually made the population fatter and sicker. To learn more about healthy fats, read our article about good fats and why we need them here
Here's a list of foods that contain many of the four types of healthy fats that a keto diet grocery list calls for. These foods help the body to function at its optimal level and use fat for fuel instead of carbs and sugars.
- Organic and grass-fed red meats
- Ghee, grass-fed butter, heavy cream (all high-fat dairy products)
- Full fat (low lactose) cheeses
- Eggs, lard, and tallow
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil
- Nuts and nut butters (macadamia, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews)
- Virgin olive oil, avocado oil
- Nut and seeds and oils made from them (flaxseeds, chia, walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower)
- Salmon, tuna, trout and other fatty fish
Protein is a crucial element of any diet, but more so on the keto diet. Protein fuels the body with essential amino acids, regulate organs, and helps to build muscles and their connective tissues.
When following a keto diet, you need protein to work in conjunction with healthy fats. Healthy fats fuel a large percentage of your body, but they need protein to fuel areas such as parts of the brain, blood cells, and to maintain proper glucose levels. Protein is also satiating, even more so than fat. This means that eating high levels of protein will keep you feeling full for longer.
There is a misconception that too much protein will increase glucose levels while on a ketogenic diet. However, this is just a misconception. Protein is actually crucial, and there is no limit to the amount you can ingest while on a keto diet.
Here's how to shop for protein while planning your ketogenic diet.
- Always choose organic and grass-fed
- Consistently opt for high-quality cuts
- Select the fattiest cuts
Which proteins are good choices to add to a keto diet grocery list?
- Beef -the goal is to choose fattier cuts like steak, veal, ground beef, and roast
- Poultry -this can include chicken, turkey, duck, and wild game. Ideally, the darker and fattier, the better.
- Pork -chops, ham, bacon, pork loin, and tenderloin.
- Organ meats -liver, tongue, kidney, heart
- Shellfish -crab, mussels, lobster, oysters, clams
- Fish -tuna, salmon, trout, halibut, cod, mahi-mahi, mackerel
- Lamb and goat meats
So, although the keto diet calls for minimal carbs, the carbs it does include are very particular. Forget bread and other bakery-style products. These healthy carbs should for the majority, come from sources such as above-ground vegetables. Then moderate amounts from below-ground vegetables, nuts, and a minimal from fruits and the small amounts in dairy.
Here are some great choices for your keto diet grocery list:
Above Ground Vegetables
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Brussel Sprouts
- Cabbage (green and white)
Below Ground Vegetables
These veggies are still acceptable but in very minimal amounts. This is because below-ground vegetables are starchy and, therefore, too high in carbs. Consuming these vegetables can throw off your daily carb intakes very quickly.
- Sweet Potatoes
Many people are surprised to learn that not all fruits are equal either on a keto diet. Bananas and apples, which are two of the most commonly eaten fruits, have some of the highest carb intakes around. Eating just one of these can throw off your carb count for an entire day while on keto. Therefore, when you do eat fruits, make sure to choose low carb options. Here are some excellent choices:
- Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries
- Melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew
Vegan Keto Options
Now, what about for those of you who are plant-based or even vegan? Is it even possible to follow a vegan-based keto diet? Clearly, a traditional keto diet is based heavily on animal products. However, although the vegan version is definitely more restrictive and harder to manage and plan for, it is still possible. It does involve having revamped the two main keto categories of protein and fats. The main issue that can occur is the potential of consuming too many carbohydrates and not enough fats and proteins. Be wary of this, and don't eat too many pre-packaged vegan options like vegan cheese and meats. These are very high in carbs and fillers and don't have much in the way of nutritional value.
Here are some vegan options that do fit into a keto diet grocery list:
- Almond milk
- Hemp milk
- Soy milk
- Nuts and seeds
Basic Keto Recipes
Now that you have a solid starter keto diet grocery list, it's time to meal prep! Prepping your meals in advance is a great way to ensure that you will stay on track with your keto diet. And as with all aspects of being healthy, planning is one of the cornerstones of success. If you don't plan, then the choices you will make at the moment will most likely not be your best ones. Just as you shouldn't grocery shop on an empty stomach, you should also never just decide on a whim, what to eat at the moment.
By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you will make healthier choices. You will be able to accurately track the amounts of protein, fats, and carbs that you have previously consumed. This will ensure that you balance out the next meal properly and don't overindulge on carbs.
Keto Meal Planning Options
Below are two fundamental days in the life of the keto diet. By starting out simple, there is very little needed in terms of cooking skills. This can be helpful if you are not someone who already enjoys spending time in the kitchen. However, as you become more adept at locating and preparing keto style meals, your skills will grow as will the variety and complexity of your meals.
Keto Meal Plan: Day #1
- Black coffee
- Scrambled eggs and sautéed spinach
- Chicken and broccoli stir fry
- Steamed salmon and asparagus
Keto Meal Plan: Day #2
- Black coffee
- Egg and ham omelet or frittata
- Tuna with avocado and arugula salad
- Steak with sautéed brussels sprouts
So, to sum up, all this information on a proper keto diet grocery list, just remember the following most important points. Remove all processed and pre-packaged foods from your current list. Raise the levels of healthy fats and protein that you consume each day. Read the ingredients and nutritional content on everything that you purchase. Stick to whole foods that are grass-fed, organic, and free of chemical processing.
Finally, plan out your meals and challenge yourself to find new options! Keto is not as restrictive as it might seem at the beginning. Once you have detoxed from the excess sugar in your diet, and you start to feel the incredibly energetic and invigorating effects of keto, you will never go back to your old eating habits.
Shopping with a keto diet grocery list is part of a lifestyle and not a temporary diet. Make it yours today!