Best Keto-Friendly Foods (& What to Avoid)

Starting the keto diet and wondering what you should be eating (and what foods to avoid?) We've got a comprehensive list below!

Welcome to our guide on the best keto-friendly foods, and which foods you should be avoiding on a keto diet. Whether you’re new to keto or a seasoned pro, we’ll explore the various options to keep you on track with your low-carb lifestyle.

Best Foods for a Keto Diet ✅

Meat and Poultry

Fresh meat and poultry do not contain any carbs, so they can be considered staples in a keto diet. You can eat any unprocessed meat during a keto diet, such as:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Organ meats (e.g., liver)

In general, the keto diet recommends a moderate amount of proteins. Getting enough proteins can help maintain satiety and preserve muscle mass while on a keto diet [1].


Fish and shellfish are some of the best foods to include in a keto diet. Fish contains nearly no carbs and packs an incredible amount of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Eat seafood like:

  • Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, and sardines)
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Crawfish

You’ll need to be a little more careful with clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, and octopus, as these contain more carbs.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

If you’re on a strict ketogenic diet, you’d want to prioritise veggies that are low in carbs. Some examples of low-carb vegetables include the following:

  • Capsicum: With around 6 grams of carbs per 100 grams, capsicums are rich in vitamin C and other essential nutrients.
  • Spinach: Packing just 3.6 grams of carbs per 100 grams, spinach offers antioxidant benefits and supports heart health.
  • Kale: Low in carbs (about 2 grams per 100 grams), kale is a nutrient powerhouse, providing vitamins A, C, and manganese for bone health.
  • Cabbage: With 6 grams of carbs per 100 grams, cabbage is high in vitamin C and K, essential for blood clotting and bone health.
  • Zucchini: Offering only 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams, zucchini is loaded with vitamins and minerals like A, C, potassium, and folate.
  • Brussels Sprouts: These contain about 9 grams of carbs per 100 grams but just 5.2 grams of net carbs, along with fibre, vitamin K, and C.
  • Cauliflower: With 5 grams of carbs per 100 grams, cauliflower is rich in B vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants.
  • Broccoli: Providing 7 grams of carbs per 100 grams, broccoli is a great source of fibre, vitamins C, K, and folate, and has potential health benefits.
  • Asparagus: Offering around 4 grams of carbs per 100 grams, asparagus is a decent source of vitamins K, A, B, and zinc.

Low-Carb Fruits

Fruits are naturally high in sugar and carbs, but don’t be so quick to cross them off your keto food list. Certain fruits are lower in net carbs than others, making them a suitable addition to most low-carb diets.

  • Raspberries: With around 12 grams of carbs per 100 grams, raspberries offer fibre, vitamin C, B vitamins, and manganese.
  • Strawberries: Moderation is key with strawberries, containing about 7.6 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
  • Blackberries: Enjoy in moderation, as blackberries have about 9.6 grams of carbs per 100 grams, along with fibre, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
  • Avocados: A perfect addition to keto diets, avocados provide healthy fats and just 1.8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams, plus vitamins C, E, and K, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Apricots: Consume apricots in moderation due to their carb content, offering around 11 grams of carbs per 100 grams.
  • Watermelon: Enjoy watermelon sparingly, with about 8 grams of carbs per 100 grams. It’s hydrating and contains beneficial plant compounds, but more research is needed regarding its potential health benefits.

High-Fat Dairy

For a dairy product to be keto-approved, it needs to be low in carbs and added sugars. If you’re on a keto diet, make sure you read the nutritional labels. In general, these are keto-approved foods:

  • Butter: Butter contains just 0.1 carbs per 100 grams, making it essentially carb-free. You may go for grass-fed butter since this variation is slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Ghee: Ghee is a clarified form of butter. Ghee contains a slightly higher concentration of fats than butter and no carbs, making it the perfect choice for a keto diet.
  • Heavy cream: Heavy cream is the portion of milk that rises to the top due to its high-fat content. Since it is a high-fat dairy product with a much lower carb content than milk, it’s suitable for a keto diet. In general, there are almost 3 grams of carbs per 100 grams of heavy cream.
  • Certain cheeses: Cheese isn’t off-limits on a keto diet. Some types of cheese that are suitable for a keto diet include parmesan cheese (4.1 grams of carbs per 100 grams), goat cheese (0.1 grams of carbs), cream cheese (4.1 grams of carbs), and blue cheese (2.3 grams of carbs).
  • Greek yoghurt: Greek yoghurt may be a reasonable addition to the keto diet, but moderation is key. Go for plain, full-fat Greek yoghurt, as flavoured Greek yoghurt likely contains more added sugars. There are approximately 3.6 grams of carbs per 100 grams of Greek yoghurt.
  • Certain types of milk: Not all types of milk are keto-friendly. But you don’t have to avoid milk entirely on a keto diet. Unsweetened almond milk (0.8 grams of carbs per 244-gram serving) and macadamia nut milk (1 gram of carbs per 244-gram serving) fit nicely into a keto lifestyle.

Most Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are very low in net carbs and high in healthy fats. They’re also rich in antioxidants, fibre, minerals, and vitamins and are thought to help support weight loss and cardiovascular health.

You can include the following nuts and seeds in a low-carb diet. The approximate carbs and net carbs provided are per 100 grams of each food:

  • Flaxseeds: ~1.6 grams of net carbs (~28.9 grams of carbs)
  • Chia seeds: ~7.7 grams of net carbs (~42.1 grams of carbs)
  • Pumpkin seeds: ~10 grams of net carbs (~13.3 grams of carbs)
  • Macadamia nuts: ~5.4 grams of net carbs (~13.4 grams of carbs)
  • Pecans: ~4.3 grams of net carbs (~13.9 grams of carbs)
  • Almonds: ~5.2 grams of net carbs (~16.2 grams of carbs)
  • Brazil nuts: ~4.2 grams of net carbs (~11.7 grams of carbs)
  • Walnuts: ~7 grams of net carbs (~13.7 grams of carbs)

The exact number of carbs of different seeds and nuts will vary based on how they were processed and if they contain any added sugars or flavourings. Be sure to look at the nutritional labels of products you buy to gauge how well they fit into a keto lifestyle.

Healthier Oils

While all pure oils contain zero carbs, certain oils are naturally healthier than others. Here are some of the best oils to include in your low-carb meal plan:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • MCT oil
  • Hazelnut oil

When choosing a suitable oil for your keto lifestyle, opt for oils made from foods that are naturally high in fats, such as olives and avocados.

Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet ❌

On a keto diet, your carb intake is typically restricted to less than 50 grams of carbs daily. This means you will have to avoid certain types of foods to ensure your body isn’t kicked out of ketosis.

Here are some high-carb foods that are best avoided or limited on a keto diet:

  • Foods high in refined carbs: This includes white bread, rice, and pasta. Instead, you could opt for cauliflower rice or low-carb bread made from almond or coconut flour.
  • Processed meats: While processed meats like bacon, sausage, or ham are keto-friendly, they are not the healthiest form of protein to add to your diet.
  • Sugary beverages: A regular soda can quickly push you past your daily carb and sugar limit with just one serving. Fruit juices generally aren’t ideal for keto, either, since they’re loaded with sugars.
  • Honey and maple syrup: One tablespoon of honey contains 17 grams of carbs. Meanwhile, maple syrup contains 13 grams of carbs per tablespoon. If you’d like a substitute for honey, maple syrup, or sugar, you can consider replacing them with keto sweeteners like stevia, allulose, and erythritol.
  • Starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips, squash, peas, corn, and legumes like black beans, green beans, and peas are best avoided on a keto diet.
  • High-carb fruits: Bananas, apples, grapes, mangoes, cherries, pineapples, and lychees are all fruits that do not fit well into a keto diet.
  • Regular beer and mixed drinks: An average can of beer contains about 13 grams of carbs. Mixed drinks and cocktails contain syrups, juices, and mixers, making them less suitable for a keto diet. Instead, you may go for wine since it generally contains fewer carbs. Apart from that, pure spirits like vodka and whiskey are practically carb-free.
  • Cow’s milk: In general, cow’s milk isn’t keto-friendly because they have higher amounts of sugar in the form of lactose.


What are some benefits of the keto diet?

The keto diet is said to help with weight loss, weight management, and appetite control. Some research also suggests that the keto diet can improve a person’s lipid profile by increasing good cholesterol levels and reducing bad cholesterol levels [7]. In some instances, the keto diet might be utilized to manage epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, but this should only be done under the recommendation and supervision of a healthcare professional.

Is cottage cheese suitable for keto?

Cottage cheese can fit into a keto diet, given you go for full-fat, plain cottage cheese. In general, 100 grams of cottage cheese contains approximately 3.4 grams of carbs.

Can I eat cashew nuts on a keto diet?

While cashew nuts are a healthy snack, they aren’t suitable for a keto diet. There are almost 33 grams of carbs and 30 grams of net carbs per 100 grams of cashew nuts. Thus, they can quickly push you past your carb limit while on a keto diet.

Are whole grains suitable for keto?

Many people on a strict low-carb or keto diet skip whole grains, as a single serving of grains might be enough to meet or exceed their carb limit. However, certain grains are naturally high in fibre and low in net carbs and can be taken in moderation on a keto diet. Examples include quinoa and oats.

Can a keto diet improve blood sugar levels?

A keto diet can help with blood glucose management. Some research has found that a ketogenic diet not only improved blood sugar and lipid control in people with Type 2 diabetes but also contributed to weight loss [8].

A keto diet involves cutting out high-carb, starchy, and sugary foods, which can feel restrictive. However, there’s flexibility in meal planning with options like non-starchy vegetables, low-carb fruits, fish, eggs, meat, nuts, butter, ghee, and oils.

It’s a big change from your usual meals, so it’s wise to consult a nutritionist or healthcare professional before starting, especially if you have medical conditions or take medications.

For more help with starting keto, check out our beginner’s guide, lists of keto-friendly snacks and meal plans, and recommendations for keto meal providers in Australia.

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