My Top 10 Keto Foods and Why They Are Great for a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular as a way to lose weight, improve health, and simply feel better. The key is keeping carbohydrate intake very low, which puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of glucose.

Ketosis is a natural process that occurs when we don’t eat for a period of time. Our bodies switch to burning stored body fat in the absence of food. The keto diet simply replicates this through very low carb intake, allowing us to burn our stored body fat for energy.

While the keto diet is centered around the concept of ketosis, it is also important to choose the right keto-friendly foods to support health and satisfaction. Here are my top 10 keto foods and why they make excellent choices on a ketogenic diet.

1. Eggs

Eggs are the perfect keto food. They are low carb, high in protein and healthy fats, nutrient dense, versatile, inexpensive and tasty. Eggs can be prepared in so many ways – hard boiled, soft boiled, poached, scrambled, fried, baked into egg cups or frittatas, and more. They make a quick and easy meal themselves or can be added to other dishes. Eggs are a ketogenic dieter’s best friend!

2. Meat

Meat is very low in carbs and a great source of protein on a ketogenic diet. There are so many options – beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey, duck, and more. The choices for cuts and preparation are endless as well – grilled, roasted, braised, ground, and so on.

Meat often gets a bad reputation in observational studies, but the evidence does not support definitive conclusions. Eating meat in moderation as part of an overall healthy keto diet is perfectly fine. Choose fattier cuts for more flavor and satiety.

3. Poultry

Poultry is another excellent source of protein on keto. Chicken is a keto staple – versatile, inexpensive, and easy to cook. Other great options are turkey, duck, and other fowl. Focus on getting high quality and organic poultry when possible. Watch out for breaded versions, which add carbs. Stick to grilled, baked, or roasted.

4. Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood add variety to the keto diet and provide healthy fats like omega-3s. Salmon, tuna, trout, shrimp, lobster, crab, mussels, clams, oysters – the list goes on and on. Eat these low carb foods baked, grilled, or sautéed in butter or olive oil. Be mindful of breaded seafood, which contains added carbs.

5. Non-Starchy Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are very low in carbohydrates, high in nutrients, and part of a healthy keto diet. Great choices are leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, peppers, mushrooms and more. Pick your favorites and experiment to find new veggie loves! These can be sautéed, roasted, grilled, or eaten raw with keto friendly dressings.

6. Cheese

Cheese is amazing on keto for so many reasons. It adds a huge flavor punch. Cheese helps increase fat intake, which is important for satiety. Many cheeses are low in carbs. There is an enormous variety of textures and flavors. Cubes of cheese are an easy keto snack. Shredded cheese makes the perfect topping. Cheese pairs perfectly with other keto foods like eggs and meat. Those doing keto absolutely have room for cheese!

7. Cream

Heavy cream is very low carb dairy products that add richness, fat, and flavor to keto meals and drinks. They take eggs to the next level scrambled or in an omelet. A splash in your morning coffee is a perfect way to start the day. Cream-based sauces elevate otherwise simple meats or veggies. When you want to make something creamy and indulgent, don’t hold back on the heavy cream!

8. Avocados

Avocados are an amazing keto food. They are low in carbs but high in healthy fats and fiber. Their rich, creamy texture and mild grassy flavor are hard to resist. Enjoy avocado sliced or mashed on its own, in salads, on top of burgers or tacos, blended into smoothies or dips like guacamole, or even baked into brownies or cookies. However you eat them, avocados always add nutrition and creaminess.

9. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds make for crunchy, tasty, and portable keto snacks and meal additions. Favorites like almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all low in carbs. They add healthy fats, plant-based protein, and crunch. Eat them whole, chopped, slivered, spread with nut butters, or made into keto-friendly pestos and sauces. Just watch portion sizes, as the carbs can add up.

10. Berries

Finally, berries are one fantastic way to get a sweet fix on keto. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are lower in sugar than other fruits. They have antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Enjoy fresh berries in moderation as a sweet treat or topping. Frozen berries blended into smoothies are delicious as well.

The Many Benefits of Keto Foods

Beyond being low in carbs, the top keto foods offer many benefits:

Nutrition – The keto diet is centered around real, whole foods. Meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, herbs, spices and healthy fats provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and more.

Satiety – High fat, moderate protein keto foods promote satisfaction and fullness. This reduces hunger and cravings.

Variety – There is enormous variety within keto friendly foods for flexibility and sustainability.

Convenience – Many top keto foods are simple to prepare. This makes following the diet easier.

Budget – Staple keto foods like eggs, chicken, and non-starchy vegetables tend to be affordable.

Taste – Food should taste good! The keto diet does not require depriving taste buds.

Health – Keto foods nurture overall health – weight, inflammation, energy, mental clarity, and more.

Ketosis – Very low carb foods help lower insulin so the body can burn stored fat.

The keto diet may seem restrictive at first glance. However, the reality is there are endless combinations of delicious and healthy low carb foods to enjoy. The foods above are simply a guide to fantastic options.

How to Choose Your Own Top Keto Foods

The “best” keto foods are the ones that you personally love and find easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Here are some tips for choosing your top foods for keto success:

Consider your tastes – What did you enjoy before starting keto? Which go-to meals and foods bring you satisfaction? There are keto friendly options for almost any favorite.

Identify staples – Find versatile ingredients like eggs, chicken, beef and non-starchy veggies that can be worked into multiple meals. Build around staples.

Experiment – Try new keto recipes and foods regularly. Take note of ones that make you go “wow!”. Add these to your regular rotation.

Observe reactions – Pay attention after eating certain foods. Note energy levels, satiety, cravings, etc. Stick with what makes you feel good.

Check carbs – Get familiar with macronutrients. Under 20g net carbs ensures ketosis.

Plan ahead – Prep keto approved snacks and meals to set yourself up for success.

Keep it simple – Don’t overcomplicate. Find easy go-to keto meals, ingredients and snacks.

Focus on quality – Emphasize organic, pasture-raised, and high quality food sources when possible.

Stay flexible – Allow room for spontaneity and variety day-to-day. Rigidity is not sustainable long-term.

Choosing your own top keto foods based on your preferences, needs and reactions to different foods will help you stick with the diet and meet your goals.

Incorporating Variety Within Keto Food Groups

While keeping total carbs low is crucial for keto, you still want variety within keto friendly food groups for satisfaction and nutrition. Here are some ideas:

Animal Proteins

  • Beef – ground, ribs, roasts, steak (go for fattier cuts like ribeye)
  • Pork – chops, ham, bacon, sausage (watch sugar content)
  • Lamb – chops, leg of lamb, ground
  • Chicken – roasted, wings, thighs, drumsticks, ground
  • Seafood – salmon, tuna, shrimp, lobster, mussels, clams, crab
  • Organ meats – heart, kidney, liver have nutrients not found in muscle meat

Non-Starchy Veggies

  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, lettuces, chard, arugula, watercress
  • Cruciferous veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Zucchini


  • Soft and fresh – mozzarella, ricotta, goat
  • Aged – cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, pecorino
  • Blue cheese
  • Feta
  • Gruyere
  • Cream cheese

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Macadamia
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nut and seed butters


  • Berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Olives

Mix and match within these groups for endless variety.

Simple Tips for Keto Success

Here are some additional tips for transitioning to and sticking with a keto diet:

  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is always important, especially when starting keto as the body releases excess water initially.
  • Supplement electrolytes – Replenishing sodium, magnesium and potassium helps minimize keto flu symptoms like fatigue and headaches.
  • Plan out meals – Having keto friendly foods on hand helps prevent grabbing quick carby snacks out of convenience.
  • Avoid ultra-processed foods – Stick to simple, whole food ingredients as much as possible for nutrition.
  • Consider intermittent fasting – Going longer periods without eating accelerates fat burn once ketosis kicks in. Start slowly.
  • Read labels – Scan for total carbohydrates and avoid sneaky sugar additives.
  • Get creative – Find new recipes and combinations to keep your tastebuds excited.
  • Go at your own pace – Don’t try to change everything overnight. Ease into low carb eating.
  • Don’t “cheat” – Stay in ketosis for fat adapting benefits. Occasional treats won’t sabotage you.
  • Focus on how you feel – Monitor energy, satiety, cravings. Let your body guide you.

The keto diet does require some adjustment from the standard American diet. Preparation and knowledge of keto friendly foods helps tremendously in sticking with it.

Should You Avoid Keto?

The ketogenic diet has an excellent safety profile for most people. However, there are some cases where keto may not be advisable:

  • Type 1 diabetes – Very low carb diets can increase risk of ketoacidosis. Work with your doctor.
  • Pancreatic insufficiency – Difficulty producing pancreatic enzymes make very high fat diets problematic.
  • Gallbladder issues – Rapid weight loss increases gallstone risk. Gradual loss is better.
  • Medications – The diet may impact meds for blood pressure, diabetes, etc. See your doctor.
  • Eating disorders – For some, tracking macros and eliminating food groups may be triggering.
  • Pregnancy/breastfeeding – Nutritional needs increase. Effects are unknown. Use caution.

Unless you have one of these conditions, keto is likely safe. But it’s always smart to discuss major dietary changes with your healthcare provider first.

Should You Try Keto?

For most people, trying the ketogenic diet is perfectly safe and reasonable. Here are some of the benefits that may make keto worth a shot:

  • Sustainable weight loss without counting calories
  • Lower blood sugar and inflammation
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Increased mental focus and clarity
  • More balanced and steady energy
  • Reduced cravings and appetite
  • Better mood and reduced anxiety
  • Optimization of health biomarkers

The keto diet helps regulate hunger hormones, reduce fat storage, and tap into fat burning. For many it is life-changing. The foods are delicious and satisfying as well. With some preparation and knowledge, the keto diet is absolutely achievable. Why not try it out?

At minimum, reducing added sugar and ultra-processed carbs and focusing on real foods will benefit anyone. Keto takes this a step further for amplified benefits. With smart planning and commitment, the keto diet is a viable lifestyle for most people.

The Takeaway: Choosing Foods You Enjoy

The ketogenic diet centers around very low carbohydrate intake from real, whole food sources. This allows the body to enter ketosis – burning stored fat for fuel instead of glucose.

Choosing foods you enjoy that are naturally low in carbs is key to sticking with keto for the long haul. Eggs, meat, seafood, healthy fats, non-starchy veggies, cheese, berries and more can all be part of a sustainable keto diet.

Preparation, variety and flexibility help make low carb eating satisfying and achievable. Listen to your body, focus on how you feel, and find the keto style eating that works for you.

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