Ketogenic Diet Healthy Foods List and 7-Day Sample Menu to Start Easy

12 minute read

The ketogenic diet is a hot topic lately with a lot of people seeing success as they limit their carbs and load up on fats. By doing this they push their bodies into ketosis, a metabolic state where the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to fuel itself, so it starts burning stored fat for energy instead.

If you’re looking to start a keto diet or you just need a refresher, the following should help. This diet is typically very foreign to people who have been taught to have a well-balanced meal with a lot of fruits and vegetables.

It helps to familiarize yourself with the following complete ketogenic food list. And then there is a 7-day meal plan which can get you started.

Complete Ketogenic Food List

Creating your own keto diet that fits with your lifestyle, cooking habits, and tastes is key to sticking to it. That’s usually the secret to sticking to any diet because if you don’t like it and if it’s too complicated, you’re just not going to be able to stay the course.

To help you go keto, the following is a complete list of foods that are OK to eat on your keto diet, some that you should eat sparingly, and others that you shouldn’t eat at all.

Protein does not play a vital role in keto diets, but you do need it. The following items are OK to eat and can be eaten regularly, but in moderation.


OK proteins:

♦ Grass-fed beef

♦ Fish, especially fatty fish, like salmon

♦ Dark meat chicken

Sometimes proteins:

♦ Bacon

♦ Low-fat proteins, like skinless chicken breast and shrimp

Never proteins:

♦ Cold cuts with added sugar (read the label)

♦ Meat that has been marinated in sugary sauces

♦ Fish or chicken nuggets

Oil and Fat

Oil and fat are at the heart of a keto diet.

OK oils and fats:

♦ Avocado oil

♦ Olive oil

♦ Coconut oil

♦ Butter

♦ Heavy cream

Sometimes oils and fats:

♦ Sunflower oil

♦ Safflower oil

♦ Corn oil

Never oils and fats:

♦ Margarine

♦ Artificial trans fats

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies have been the thing you’ve been told to eat your entire life, and now you’re going to have to limit them and completely avoid others. The reason is that they can be high in carbohydrates and glucose, so it’s important to stick to low-carb varieties.

OK fruits and vegetables:

♦ Avocado

♦ Leafy greens like spinach and arugula

♦ Celery

♦ Asparagus

Sometimes fruits and vegetables:

♦ Leeks

♦ Spaghetti squash

♦ Eggplant

Never fruits and vegetables:

♦ Potatoes

♦ Corn

♦ Raisins

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds can play an important role as a snack in a keto diet, they give you fats and help fill you up. But nuts and seeds can have carbohydrates, so it’s important to have the right ones and count your carbs.

OK nuts and seeds:

♦ Walnuts

♦ Almonds

♦ Flaxseed

♦ Chia seeds

Sometimes nuts and seeds:

♦ Unsweetened nut butters (almond or peanut butter)

♦ Cashews

♦ Pistachios

Never nuts and seeds:

♦ Trail mixes with dried fruit

♦ Sweetened nut or seed butters

♦ Chocolate-covered nuts


Dairy products can be tricky in a keto diet because they have fat, but milk can have carbs. So, the following guide is important:

OK dairy products:

♦ Cheddar cheese

♦ Blue cheese

♦ Feta cheese

Sometimes dairy products:

♦ Full-fat cottage cheese

♦ Full-fat plain Greek yogurt

♦ Full-fat ricotta cheese

Never dairy products:

♦ Milk

♦ Sweetened nonfat yogurt

♦ Ice cream

Artificial Sweeteners and Sugars

Sweeteners should always be used in moderation, so there are no “OK” versions, but there are some you can have sometimes.

Sometimes sweeteners:

♦ Stevia

♦ Erythritol

♦ Xylitol

Never sweeteners:

♦ Agave

♦ Honey

♦ Maple syrup

♦ White and brown sugars

Condiments and Sauces

Condiments and sauces can be important on a keto diet because they add fats, especially to foods that don’t naturally have a lot of fat.

OK condiments and sauces:

♦ Guacamole

♦ Lemon butter sauce

♦ Mayonnaise (no sugar added variety)

Sometimes condiments and sauces:

♦ Raw garlic

♦ Tomato sauce (no added sugar)

♦ Balsamic vinegar

Never condiments and sauces:

♦ Barbecue sauce

♦ Ketchup

♦ Honey mustard


Beverages are an important part of every diet and of course water plays a key role, but what else can you have?

OK beverages:

♦ Water

♦ Almond milk

♦ Bone broth

♦ Plain tea

Sometimes beverages:

♦ Black coffee

♦ Unsweetened carbonated water

♦ Zero-calorie drinks

Never beverages:

♦ Soda

♦ Fruit juice

♦ Lemonade

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices play a big role in a keto diet to give you the flavors you want, but they can have carbs so you might need to watch it.

OK herbs and spices:

♦ Salt

♦ Pepper

♦ Thyme, oregano, paprika, and cayenne

Sometimes herbs and spices:

♦ Ground ginger

♦ Garlic powder

♦ Onion powder

Ketogenic Diet 7-Day Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Almond milk smoothie with greens, almond butter and protein powder.

Snack: Two hard-boiled eggs.

Lunch: Chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers and goat cheese.

Snack: Sliced cheese and bell pepper slices.

Dinner: Grilled shrimp topped with lemon butter sauce, side dish of asparagus.

Day 2

Breakfast: Cheese and veggie omelet with salsa topping.

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt topped with crushed pecans.

Lunch: Sashimi order with miso soup side.

Snack: Almond milk smoothie with greens, almond butter and protein powder.

Dinner: Roasted chicken with asparagus and sautéed mushrooms.

Day 3

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with veggies, topped with salsa.

Snack: Dried seaweed strips and cheese.

Lunch: Half an avocado filled with sardine salad made with mayo.

Snack: Turkey jerky.

Dinner: Broiled trout with butter and sautéed bok choy.

Day 4

Breakfast: Baked eggs in avocado cups.

Snack: Kale chips.

Lunch: Poached salmon avocado rolls wrapped in rice-free seaweed.

Snack: Turkey or pork meat stick.

Dinner: Grilled beef kabobs with peppers and sautéed broccolini.

Day 5

Breakfast: Bulletproof coffee and hard-boiled egg.

Snack: Handful of macadamia nuts.

Lunch: Tuna salad stuffed tomatoes.

Snack: Roast beef and sliced cheese roll-ups.

Dinner: Meatballs on zucchini noodles topped with cream sauce.

Day 6

Breakfast: Two fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens.

Snack: Handful of walnuts with a quarter cup of berries.

Lunch: Bunless grass-fed burger wrapped in lettuce with avocado slices, with a side salad.

Snack: Celery sticks dipped in almond butter.

Dinner: Baked tofu with cauliflower rice, broccoli, and peppers topped with peanut sauce.

| Related: How to Keto Diet With Good Fats for a Healthy Liver |

Day 7

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in butter on a bed of lettuce with avocado.

Snack: Handful of sunflower seeds.

Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled salmon.

Snack: Celery and pepper strips with guacamole.

Dinner: Pork chop with cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and red cabbage slaw.

The Bottom Line

A ketogenic diet can help you lose weight by pushing your body into ketosis, where it burns fat rather than carbohydrates to create energy the body needs.

The hardest part of this diet is the same as it is with every diet: it’s difficult to stick to and hard to follow. There are a lot of foods that aren’t allowed and some that are recommended that you aren’t used to eating.

The above guides give you a good starting place and even include some meals to help you reach ketosis and lose that stubborn body fat.

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