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Healthy Keto®-approved Food List: The Best Foods to Get into Ketosis

Ketosis is a popular dieting approach, and for a good reason—it works! If you’re looking to follow a keto diet, you’re in the right place. This Healthy Keto food list includes the best foods to help you stay in ketosis and lose weight.

What is keto?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet that pushes your metabolism to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. 

As you break down fat, your liver creates large quantities of ketones, a type of acid and a very efficient energy source. Ketones enter your circulation to fuel your body—this state is known as ketosis.

In fact, your heart, brain, and muscles prefer ketones as a source of energy compared to relying on sugars and carbohydrates.

Carbs quickly raise your blood sugar and trigger the release of the hormone insulin, a critical player in controlling how your metabolism produces energy. If insulin is high, it blocks your metabolism from converting fats to energy. To maintain ketosis, consume no more than 20 to 50 grams of net carbs daily.

The longer you stay in ketosis, the more efficient your metabolism will become at burning fat. The ketogenic diet boosts weight loss, improves your mood, increases energy, supports cognition, and promotes better memory.

What makes Healthy Keto different?

Scientists initially formulated the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Being primarily a medical treatment, a focus on providing balanced and adequate nutrition was missing.

Being in ketosis is only one cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Humans are complex, and your health relies on many nutrients and building blocks.

Simply depending on a high-fat, low-carb diet is missing the bigger picture. Without a focus on nutrients, your keto diet could be low in nutrients but high in processed foods and products full of harmful trans fats and preservatives.

Healthy Keto is a holistic diet combining the metabolic benefits of ketosis with balanced nutrition. By incorporating non-GMO organic vegetables, full-fat organic dairy and eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and game meats, the Healthy Keto diet provides all nutritional needs for optimal health while burning fat.

Let’s take a look at why Healthy Keto is an excellent choice:

  • Organic meats, dairy, and vegetables reduce exposure to toxins like pesticides and herbicides, taking the burden off your liver to detoxify these harmful chemicals.
  • Grass-fed meat, game meats, and wild-caught fish thrive on a natural diet, resulting in better nutrition and higher amounts of healthy fats like polyunsaturated fats.
  • Non-GMO products avoid the potential adverse health implications of genetically modified foods like gastrointestinal issues, fertility problems, and impacts on liver health.
ketogenic diet food list

Keto-approved fat

Fat is your primary energy source on keto and having the right amount is essential. But to get the most out of your Healthy Keto diet, you must also understand which healthy fats to include and which to avoid.

Apart from providing energy, fat has many other benefits for your health. Fat digestion is complex and slow, meaning that high-fat meals will keep you fuller for longer, making fat a great tool if you want to lose weight. Research confirms the benefits of the high-fat keto diet for weight loss.

Your body relies on fat to absorb fat-soluble nutrients (vitamins A, D, K, and E), control inflammation, and produce hormones like testosterone and estrogen. In a nutshell, fat is essential for your health.

Dietary fats contain different types of fatty acids, including saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. You may have heard that saturated fat causes heart disease, but this isn’t true. Saturated fats are part of a well-balanced keto diet and are found in many keto-friendly foods.

For optimal nutrition on keto, you should enjoy a wide variety of healthy fats. Include plenty of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats from olives, avocados, macadamia nuts, and lard.

Keto fats

Blue cheese
Brie cheese
Butter
Cocoa butter
Coconut butter
Cream cheese
Duck fat
Egg yolks
Half and half
Red palm oil
Sesame oil
Sour cream (organic)
Walnut oil
Whole cream

Keto-approved protein

Protein contains amino acids, the building blocks for lean muscle, cellular repair, and hormone production. Your body produces most amino acids, but there are nine that your body can't make.

Luckily, animal protein is a "complete protein," providing all essential amino acids.

While you need protein, too much protein isn't great for keto. Protein, especially very lean choices, can cause a rise in insulin levels, kicking you out of ketosis.

Moderate amounts of around three to six ounces per meal will provide your body with all the necessary amino acids while keeping you in ketosis.

Don't just think of meat when choosing protein. Fish is a fantastic source of protein, and frequent fish intake supports heart health and weight loss. Fatty fish like wild-caught salmon or sardines are rich in healthy fat and excellent foods to eat on keto.

Many keto-approved protein foods are also good sources of fat. It's wise to choose options from the protein keto food list below to combine your protein intake with healthy amounts of fat.

Meals containing both fat and protein slow down your digestion and increase satiety, meaning you feel fuller for longer. Less hunger supports weight loss and is an excellent tool for intermittent fasting.

Keto meat, dairy, and eggs

Beef
Beef jerky
Bison
Chicken
Deer
Duck
Elk
Goat
Goose
Hot dogs
Lamb
Moose
Pepperoni
Pheasant
Pork
Quail
Rabbit
Salami
Sausage
Sheep
Turkey
Veal
Wild boar
Wild turkey

Keto fish

Anchovies
Bass
Cod
Eel
Flounder
Grouper
Haddock
Halibut
Herring
Mackerel
Mahi-mahi
Orange roughy
Perch
Red snapper
Rockfish
Salmon
Sardines
Sole
Tilapia
Trout
Tuna (including albacore)
Turbot

Keto seafood

Abalone
Caviar
Clams
Crab
Lobster
Mussels
Octopus
Scallops
Shrimp
Squid

Keto organ meats

Bone marrow
Heart
Kidney
Liver
Tongue
Tripe

Keto vegan protein

Mushrooms
Nut butters (unsweetened)
Protein powder (pea, hemp, brown rice)
Seed butters (unsweetened)
Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
Sprouted beans
Tofu/Tempe (organic)

Keto-approved nuts and seeds

You miss out on many health-promoting benefits if you don't include nuts and seeds in your keto regime. Nuts are nutrient-dense and rich in healthy fats and fiber. They support heart health and cognition, improve memory, and help your body fight infections and inflammation.

Keto-friendly nuts are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and low in carbs. Nuts are high in fiber, support your digestive health, and contain vitamins and minerals linked to heart health.

This study indicates that regular nut consumption helps lower heart disease risk.

Nuts are nutritious and versatile—but they’re also high in calories. Don't snack on nuts or add too many to your meals to avoid weight gain.

Keto nuts and seeds

Almonds
Chia seeds
Hemp seeds
Macadamia nuts
Nut butters (unsweetened)
Peanuts
Pine nuts
Seed butters (unsweetened)
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds

Keto-approved vegetables

Although there are some exceptions to this rule, vegetables growing above the soil line generally contain fewer carbs than root vegetables that grow below the ground.

Choose veggies that are low in carbs but rich in nutrients to keep you in ketosis and get optimal nutritional benefits.

Green leafy vegetables are low-carb nutritional powerhouses delivering fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are perfect for Healthy Keto and should be a part of your meals as often as possible.

Stay away from starchy vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, and sweetcorn. These varieties are high in total carbs and will quickly push you out of ketosis.

You should aim for seven to ten cups of keto vegetables each day. Vegetables support weight loss, boost gut health, and help lower blood pressure.

Maximize your nutrient intake by adding fresh and organic produce to your diet. Frozen veggies are fine too, and blanching your vegetables before freezing is a great way to preserve nutrients.

Stay away from canned vegetables. These products have been heavily processed to extend shelf life, have the least amount of nutrients, and can contain hidden carbs.

Keto vegetables

Artichoke
Bean sprouts
Beet greens
Bell peppers
Bok choy
Butterhead lettuce
Chard
Chives
Dandelion greens
Eggplant
Endive
Green beans
Jicama
Kohlrabi
Leafy greens
Leeks
Microgreens
Mushrooms (all kinds)
Mustard greens
Okra
Olive
Onion
Parsley
Peppers (all kinds)
Pumpkin
Radicchio
Rhubarb
Romaine lettuce
Scallions
Seaweed (all sea vegetables)
Shallots
Spaghetti squash
Swiss chard
Tomatoes (moderate amount)
Turnip greens
Zucchini

Keto-approved berries and fruit (in small quantities)

If a fruit is keto-approved depends on its carbohydrates and fiber count. Because fiber buffers the impact of carbs on your blood sugar, high-fiber fruits, like berries, can be a great way to add some natural sweetness to your keto diet without kicking you out of ketosis.

Berries are naturally high in fiber and keto-friendly. But you must be aware of their net carbs and include them in your daily net carb count.

Understanding the net carbs of fruits and berries is crucial for a successful keto diet. Total carbs and net carbs are two different things.

The total carbs of any food combine fiber and sugars. But because fiber has no impact on your blood sugar, you can subtract fiber from the total carb count to get a precise net carb amount. Limit your daily net carb intake to no more than 50 grams to stay in ketosis.

Avoiding most fruits won’t negatively affect your vitamin and mineral levels. Keto-approved vegetables and berries provide your body with all the essential nutrients needed for your health. Bell peppers and leafy greens like kale have more than double the amount of vitamin C compared to an orange.

Keto berries and fruit

Blackberries
Blueberries
Chokeberries
Cultivated European gooseberry
Lime
Raspberries
Red currant
Sea-buckthorn
Strawberries
Tart cherries

Keto-approved herbs

Herbs and spices enhance the flavor of your meals and are rich in health-promoting nutrients. Research indicates that spices may reduce cancer risk and support healthy gut bacteria, making them a great addition to your keto diet.

Most herbs are low-carb and acceptable ketogenic diet foods to spice up your recipes. Starting your own herb garden is a great way to have your favorite herbs available at all times.

Seasoning blends using only dry herbs are keto-friendly. However, some spice blends, dry rubs, and marinades contain sugar and other non-keto-friendly fillers like corn starch. Read labels to avoid products with hidden sugars and additives.

Keto Herbs

Allspice
Cardamom
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Cilantro/coriander
Cloves
Cumin
Curry powder
Dill
Italian seasoning
Nutmeg
Parsley
Sage

Keto-approved liquids

What can you drink while you’re on keto? Your best choice is pure water. Choose filtered, sparkling, or bottled water with no calories, sugars, or other additives. Adding electrolytes to your water can ease your transition into ketosis.

But what can you drink if you like a boost of energy or want some flavor? Luckily there are plenty of keto-approved liquids you can choose from.

Nut milks, like almond or coconut milk, are tasty and nutritious. They’re rich in healthy fats, making them perfect keto-friendly beverages.

Small amounts of coffee are okay—but avoid high levels of caffeine. Many people are over- caffeinated and develop heartburn and high blood pressure. Opt for non-caffeinated herbal teas you can sip throughout the day.

Keto liquids

Almond milk (unsweetened)
Broth (chicken, beef, bone)
Club soda
Coconut milk (unsweetened)
Coffee (unsweetened)
Herbal teas
Kombucha (2g of sugar)
Lemon and lime juice (small amounts)
Seltzer water
Sparkling mineral water
Tea (unsweetened)
Water
Water with lemon (unsweetened)

Keto-approved additionals

There are many keto-friendly recipes you can choose from for a versatile and balanced Healthy Keto diet. But if you want to experiment and create your own keto recipes, you’ll want to keep these keto-approved ingredients on hand.

Because of keto’s low-carb, high-fat requirements, avoid conventional flour and sugar. This doesn’t mean all desserts are off the table. Monk fruit, shredded coconut, dark chocolate, and almond flour are all excellent ingredients for keto-friendly dessert recipes.

Keto-approved condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, or coconut aminos will add flavor and texture without affecting ketosis.

Keto ingredients

Almond flour/meal
Cacao nibs
Cacao powder
Coconut aminos
Cod liver oil (fish oil)
Dark chocolate 100%
Fermented vegetables
Fish sauce
Gelatin
Gluten-free tamari sauce
Hot sauce (no sugar)
Mayonnaise (made with good oils—see list of fats)
Monk fruit
Mustard (no sugar)
Pickles (no sugar)
Shredded coconut
Vanilla extract

Foods to avoid on keto

To get the most benefit from your Health Keto diet, you should avoid foods that kick you out of ketosis. Some small amounts of carbs are fine, but limit your daily net carbs to no more than 50 grams.

Avoid non-keto foods high in carbs, including bread, cereal, pasta, rice, pancakes, biscuits, cakes, and pudding. Stay away from starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, beets, and corn. These foods quickly raise your blood sugar and will push you out of ketosis.

Most fruits aren’t keto-approved, but you can enjoy berries in small amounts. Make sure to eat plenty of keto-friendly vegetables instead to get vital nutrients for your health.

Stay away from fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, sugar-laden coffees, cocktails, wine, and beer. You also should avoid diet soda and other sugar-free drinks. They often contain artificial sweeteners and sugar alternatives that aren’t safe on keto.

Watch for added sugars and avoid honey, syrups, and sugar alternatives like dextrose and polydextrose. Many food products also have hidden sugars and carbs used as fillers and preservatives to add texture and extend shelf life.

Limit your processed food intake as much as possible, and always read nutrition labels.

Key takeaways

Going keto is the best way to support a healthy body. There are plenty of keto-approved foods and ingredients you can use. Opt for a wide variety of keto foods to keep your nutrition balanced while in ketosis.

Focus on high-quality foods by including organic and non-GMO produce, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, and game meats. Choose healthy fats and have plenty of keto-approved veggies to promote a healthy body.

Avoid high-carb foods, processed foods, and artificial sweeteners, and always check nutrition labels to get the most out of your Healthy Keto diet.

Keto meal examples

keto-breakfast

Breakfast

HEAVIER FAT AND PROTEIN
2-4 Eggs, cheese, hormone-free bacon, avocado

keto-lunch

Lunch

PROTEIN, FAT (3-6 ounces)
Animal Protein (non-lean) hamburger, fish, chicken (with skin)
Vegetables or salad (7cups)

Keto-shrimp

Dinner

PROTEIN (3-3 ounces)
VEGETABLE (2-3 cups)

Delicious desserts at the end of the meal

Almond Butter Fat Bombs Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Almond Butter - ¼ cup
Coconut Oil - ¼ cup
Cocoa Powder - 2 tablespoons, unsweetened
Stevia - to taste, this recipe used 10 drops

STEP 1

In a bowl, melt down almond butter and coconut oil. You can use the microwave or a double boiler and stir to make sure it is mixed thoroughly.

Almond butter

STEP 2

Stir in cocoa powder and stevia. If possible, pour into a spouted container to avoid making a mess.

Liquid stevia

STEP 3

Pour into silicone molds. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins before eating. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Almond butter bombs

Kale Shake

INGREDIENTS

1 handful of kale
10 drops of Liquid Stevia (berry)
2 Tbs (heaping) coconut oil

STEP 1

Add all ingredients to the blender

Coconut oil

STEP 2

Blend for 3 minutes.

Blended kale shake

STEP 3

Drink up!

Kale shake

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What foods can I eat on keto?

High-fat, low-carb foods are perfect keto foods that won’t affect your blood sugar levels, keeping you in ketosis. Grass-fed beef, fatty fish and seafood, game meat, and low-carb veggies are foods you can eat on keto. Choose full-fat dairy like heavy cream, cottage cheese, and cream cheese, plain greek yogurt, and include plenty of good fats like olive oil and avocado oil. Nuts and seeds like macadamia nuts and sesame seeds are also excellent choices.

2. What are the top 10 foods on keto?

The top 10 foods to have on keto are shellfish, salmon, leafy greens, sardines, eggs, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, olives/olive oil, grass-fed beef, and nuts and seeds.

3. What can I not eat when on keto?

Avoid foods high in carbohydrates. These foods raise your blood sugar and will kick you out of ketosis. Avoid all sugar and syrups, bread, cereal, pasta, rice, pancakes, puddings, crackers, and biscuits. Stay away from most fruits and avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beets. Sweetened drinks like fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugar-laden coffees aren’t keto-friendly.

4. Can I have fruit on keto?

While most fruits are high in carbs and not keto-friendly, berries are high in fiber, and small amounts won’t push you out of ketosis. Blackberries, black currants, blueberries, and raspberries are great additions to your Healthy Keto diet.

5. Can I have carbs on keto?

You should avoid all high-carb foods on keto. To achieve and maintain ketosis, you must keep insulin levels balanced. Because carbohydrates raise your blood sugar and increase your insulin levels, it’s crucial to keep your carb intake low, not exceeding 50 grams of net carbs daily.

6. Can I eat desserts on keto?

Traditional desserts are generally high in sugar and grain flour and not keto-approved. Luckily, there are many keto-friendly desserts you can choose from. Monk fruit, shredded coconut, dark chocolate, and almond flour are all excellent ingredients for keto-friendly dessert recipes.

7. How many carbs can I have on keto?

To stay in ketosis, limit your daily net carb intake to no more than 50 grams.

8. What is the difference between keto and Healthy Keto?

Traditionally, the keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet but being in ketosis is only one cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Humans are complex, and your health relies on many nutrients and building blocks. Simply depending on a high-fat, low-carb diet is missing the bigger picture. Without a focus on nutrients, your keto diet could be low in nutrients and high in processed foods and products full of harmful trans fats and preservatives.

Healthy Keto is a holistic diet combining the metabolic benefits of ketosis with balanced nutrition. By incorporating non-GMO organic vegetables, full-fat organic dairy and eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and game meats, the Healthy Keto diet provides all nutritional needs for optimal health while burning fat.

9. Do I have to eat organic foods on keto?

Ketosis itself doesn't require organic foods. But if you choose the keto lifestyle to improve your health and lose weight, organic foods will boost keto's health benefits. Organic meats, dairy, and vegetables reduce your exposure to toxins like pesticides and herbicides, taking the burden off your liver to detoxify these harmful chemicals.

10. What foods can I have on dirty keto?

A dirty keto diet follows keto’s low-carb, high-fat requirements but does not consider nutrient levels or the quality of the foods. If you choose keto for its health benefits, a dirty keto diet may be counterproductive. Processed foods and fast foods often contain GMOs, have lower levels of nutrients, and contain trans fats and artificial ingredients—you want to avoid all of these on Healthy Keto.

11. Can I have sugar alcohols on keto?

Yes, some sugar alcohols are keto-approved. Erythritol and xylitol are both keto-friendly sugar alcohols that are as sweet as sugar but have little to no impact on your blood sugar levels. Avoid maltitol, a sugar alcohol with a glycemic index almost as high as pure sugar. Maltitol will throw your blood sugar and insulin out of balance and kick you out of ketosis.

12. Do I have to avoid all sugar on keto?

Yes! Sugar is a carb and not keto-friendly. Your body digests and absorbs sugar rapidly, causing spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels. Whenever insulin is high, your body can’t burn fat to produce energy, making ketosis impossible.

13. Are cheat meals okay on keto?

No, cheat meals aren’t okay on keto. Your metabolism can only be in one state at a time. It either burns fat, or it burns sugar. It can’t do both at the same time. During ketosis, your metabolism is primed to burn fat instead of sugars to produce energy. Whenever you consume more than 50 grams of carbs daily, you will be kicked out of ketosis and return to burning sugar and carbs for energy. Cheat meals significantly interfere with your ketosis and keto-adaptation. Even if you return straight back to your keto protocol, it can take a few days for your metabolism to switch back to ketosis.

14. Can I get keto foods at fast-food restaurants?

Try to avoid eating too many meals at fast-food restaurants. Fast food is heavily processed, low in nutrients, and high in trans fats and artificial ingredients. But, if fast food is your only option, you can use some fast-food restaurant keto-hacks to stay low-carb and maintain ketosis.

You can ask for a burger lettuce wrap to avoid the carb-heavy bun if you fancy a burger. If you are after tacos, check if a low-carb version is available. Some fast-food restaurants offer keto-friendly items like egg tortillas. Many fast-food restaurants offer keto-approved meals like grilled chicken and cobb salad. Avoid sodas, soups, fries, mayonnaise, and ketchup, and use mustard and peanuts to add flavor.

15. How many eggs a day can I have on keto?

Eggs are a perfect keto food; you can eat as many as you like. Eggs are rich in vitamin A, heart-healthy omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Choose organic and pasture-raised eggs, and don’t just use egg white. The yolks are the most nutritious part of eggs and shouldn’t be avoided.

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Dr. Berg's Healthy Ketosis Acceptable Foods List

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