Starting a low carb diet means different choices at the grocery store. Those middle aisles can be a savage place. Don’t panic.
Get organized before you shop with this printable low carb grocery list. It’s incredibly simple: choose any item on the list and you’re safe.
Grocery Foods for Low Carb
Here are the items included in the printable low carb grocery list above, with tips and recommendations for making great low carb choices in every section.
Meat and Poultry
Any type or cut of meat is fine. For the best health, choose grass-fed or organic meats, avoiding antibiotic, pesticide and grain residues.
- Chicken (whole or parts)
- Beef steaks and tips
- Bacon, ham and sausage
- Pork loin, chops or steaks
- Pork or beef ribs
- Beef or pork roasts
- Ground beef
- Ground turkey
Good in a pinch and better than higher carb alternatives.
- Cold cuts such as turkey breast and pastrami (Check for added sugars.)
- Pepperoni sticks or slices
- Salami and bologna
Any type of seafood is fine- except imitation crab meat. Make sure to check the labels if you’re buying any frozen varieties.
Omega 3 fat levels are higher in wild caught seafood.
- Fresh or frozen, easy-to-peel shrimp
- Fresh or frozen fish
- Tuna in oil or water
- Fresh or canned salmon
- Fresh or frozen scallops
- Heavy cream
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Cheese (Hard cheeses such as cheddar and Parmesan.)
- Cheese (Soft cheeses such Muenster and Farmer’s.)
- Greek Yogurt (Choose plain, full fat and aim for less than 7 net carbs per serving.)
Low Carb Vegetables
Vegetables are a main event on any low carb foods list. Low carb veggies replace sugary side dishes and add incredible variety to meals.
- Bell peppers
- Lettuce (Large leaves act as the “bread” for sandwiches.)
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Onions and garlic (for flavorful cooking)
- Sprouts for salads
- Summer squash such as zucchini
Fruits are an optional item on your low carb grocery list. They can be added once your weight and health are stable.
Some people can handle the sugar in fruit and still be healthy and slim, others can’t.
Not sure which fruits are low carb enough? Here are 43 low carb fruits with 1 to 10 net carbs per serving to enjoy.
- Choose fresh, local fruit in season and stick to berries which are lower in sugar.
- Eat fresh fruit with a fat (peanut butter, whipped cream, cheese). It slows the blood sugar spike.
- Try avocados: A great snack with lemon juice or balsamic, or make guacamole for dipping low carb veggies.
Nuts and Seeds
- Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and especially macadamia nuts (Nuts last longer if you freeze them.)
- Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds
When stocking your low carb kitchen, (consult our low carb kitchen quick-start guide) add these items to your list of low carb foods:
- Canned tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, sardines, anchovies
- Vienna sausages, canned luncheon meat (Good in a pinch, but go light on processed meats, as real meat is healthier.)
- Tomato products: Canned tomatoes and tomato paste (Look for the brands with the lowest carb count.)
- Sauces: Pasta sauce, pizza sauce and Alfredo sauce with no added sugar or thickener
- Canned vegetables: Green chiles, roasted red peppers, chipotle peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes in oil (A little adds lots of flavor.), hearts of palm, green beans, greens, okra (Check labels for no added sugar.), sauerkraut
- Chicken and/or vegetable stock
- Nut butters (Choose natural, unsweetened. These need refrigeration after opening.)
- Sugar-free dill pickles or relish. (Use for tuna or egg salad.)
- Mustard (Any except sweetened mustard, especially honey mustard.)
- Cider and wine vinegar (Use balsamic vinegar sparingly.)
- Most bottled hot sauces (Tabasco)
- Most salsa (Check the label.)
- Soy sauce (Avoid soy sauce if you are gluten sensitive.)
- Mayonnaise (Look for the brands with the lowest carbs.)
- Sugar-free salad dressings
- Lemon or lime juice (1 carb per tbsp.)
Cooking or Baking Ingredients
- Whey protein powder, plain, vanilla and chocolate flavors
- Splenda or other artificial sweeteners
- Erythritol, xylitol and other sugar alcohol sweeteners
- Herbs and spices (Watch for mixtures with added sugars.)
- Extracts (Vanilla, lemon, almond, etc. Avoid the ones with sugar.)
- Broth or bouillon
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Gelatin (plain)
- Xanthan gum (Good for thickening and binding.)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Peanut oil and coconut oil for cooking
- Sesame oil for salad dressings
- Almond flour or other nut flours, flour substitute (Keep these in the freezer.)
- Pork rinds (Crushed, these are a good substitute for bread crumbs.)
- Beef jerky or beef sticks
Download the Low Carb Grocery List
(1.2 MB .pdf ) Opens in a new window.
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