Figuring out what foods work with a ketogenic lifestyle can be a little overwhelming for someone just starting out. We have put together a keto grocery tips guide to help you successfully navigate your first few trips to the supermarket.
Keto grocery tips
In this keto grocery tips guide you will find excellent information around the following:
- Nutritional labels and how important they will become to this way of living
- What ingredients you will now need to avoid and why
- What sweeteners are best and why
- How to choose eggs, meat and your fresh produce when at the grocery store
When adopting a ketogenic diet you will become an expert at reading nutritional labels. The first thing you will do when looking at an item at the grocery store will be to turn it over and look at the ingredients and the macros.
Over time this becomes second nature. You will start to find you are buying more food in the real food section of the grocery store. Shopping when on a ketogenic diet involves a deeper understanding of what is in your food.
- When checking a nutrition label, you want to try and keep the carbohydrate less than 5g per 100g.
- Most Australian nutrition labels show the net carbs under the carbohydrate section, where as most American labels will be showing the total carbs. Check out this nutritional labels guide for more information.
Ingredients to avoid
So you will now find there are going to be whole sections and aisles of the grocery store that you will be avoiding. You will find yourself mainly sticking to the outer sections of the grocery store. The sections you will be frequenting the most are the fresh produce, fresh meat, eggs and the fridge sections.
As you become more in tune with ingredients and what gets added to a lot of processed foods you will find yourself avoiding the processed foods sections more and more. Sugar, soy and vegetable oils get added most processed foods, and we prefer to avoid these ingredients.
Foods you will be avoiding on a keto diet are:
- Sugar in all its forms – Food producers use a lot of different names to try and sneak sugar into our foods. Check out the list below to help you work out if a product has added sugar.
- Transfats and highly processed vegetable oils – Margarine, shortening, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil.
- Grains – This will include wheat, rice, oats, corn, quinoa and some of the old favourites like bread, pasta and cereals.
- Processed food – It is easiest to avoid most processed food. As you develop your keto grocery shopping skills, you will find there are some good quality processed foods available at some grocery stores. We have found some excellent products like Primal Kitchen Dressings made with avocado oil.
You will find as you navigate the grocery store that sweeteners can also be a bit of a mine field and working out the ones that are safest can be tricky.
- The best sweetener options to choose are stevia, erythritol and xylitol
- We love the Sukrin sweeteners. They are an excellent replacement for sugar in recipes.
We encourage you to do some more research around sweeteners and what might work best for you and your body.
If you are a fan of eggs, you will find they become a bit of a staple in your diet. Not only are eggs delicious they are also really good for you. They have the right amount of healthy fat and protein and at only 1g of carbs, so an excellent low carb food.
The quality of the eggs is important. Where possible choose free range eggs as the chickens have much less stress and the quality of the nutrition in the eggs is much better.
Organic is always going to be more expensive, but eggs that are organic are chemical and hormone free, and you can see the difference in the colour of the yolks.
The best eggs are the ones that you get from your own chickens. Now, doesn’t that sound ideal! We would LOVE to have our own chickens, but we live in a confined space, so at the moment, we choose these ones.
I think owning our own chickens has just been added to one of Erika’s life goals.
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Here are some tips on what to look for when buying meat on a ketogenic diet.
Choose fattier cuts of meat where possible, for example chicken wings or thighs over chicken breast. The best thing about this, is they are usually the cheaper cuts. We have become more comfortable with eating the fattier cuts. It is an adjustment. We have been taught our whole lives to AVOID the fat.
Erika has really enjoyed experimenting with our slow cooker and using stewing cuts to make tasty curries and a yummy osso bucco. Other popular keto cooking methods are using an instant pot, smoker and a sous vide. These are all great ways to cook those fattier cuts of meat.
Grass fed and pasture raised Animals
A lot of farm raised animals are fed grains to “fatten” them up and also kept in feed lots that cause a lot of stress on the animal. Grass fed and finished beef is going to be a much better choice, where possible. Animals that are raised on their natural diet and in a stress free environment are going to ensure the highest quality and nutritional value.
We will be the first to admit that this isn’t always an option for us. Sometimes price and availability comes into our decision making process. Grass fed and finished is not a “keto requirement”. We mention it though, as it is good to have an understanding of the difference in quality and if you can buy grass fed, it is the better option.
Grass fed and pasture raised meat options are becoming more readily available now and we have even seen good options in Aldi and Costco.
Sausages and Prepared Meats
Dan is a big fan of sausages, so we had to find some that had good clean ingredients. When looking for sausages and prepared meats, check the ingredients and nutritional panel as a lot will have breadcrumbs and other fillers.
Cleavers Meats is a great option that is available in most supermarkets in Australia.
Cured meats may contain small amounts of sugar due to the curing process. Again, check the ingredients and nutrition panel to ensure the carbohydrate and sugars are as low as possible
When looking for keto friendly vegetables and fruits there are some things that are great ketogenic options and some fruits and vegetables that you will want to avoid.
The general rule is that vegetables that grow above the ground are the best options when eating low carb. Leafy greens are the lowest carb choice, like baby spinach and rocket (or Arugula for our US friends). Avoid starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato, carrots and corn.
The best fruit options are berries like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Avoid really sweet fruits like bananas, apples, stone fruits, oranges. You will find it much easier to stick to the berries. A great dessert is some berries and whipped cream – yum!
Lemons, limes and fresh herbs are great for adding flavour to your dishes. We will often garnish our meals with herbs as it adds freshness and flavour.
When choosing your fresh produce buy organic where possible. There are some vegetables that are much better to buy organic if you can. Check out the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 for some great advice.
Are there any keto grocery tips you have that we may have missed? What keto grocery tips do you use? Let us know in the comments below.
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- Keto Beginners Guide – Keto Tracking
- Keto Beginners Guide – LCHF Approach
- Keto Beginners Guide – The Best Keto Diet for you
- Keto Beginners Guide – The Ultimate Keto Kitchen Must Haves
- Keto Beginners Guide – Keto Food List
- Keto Beginners Guide – Keto Grocery Tips