If you’re new to low carb eating and feeling overwhelmed, keep this in mind: there are SO many tasty low carb foods to enjoy, you just need to know what they are and how to eat them!
I know making the switch to low carb eating can feel overwhelming and, frankly, like a total bummer. But it doesn’t have to be. You’ve got mother nature’s finest foods on your side: from low carb vegetables to meats and cheeses, even some low carb fruits make the cut!
So whether you’re just getting started on a low carb meal plan, or you’re a seasoned veteran looking for more resources, here’s everything you need to know in this ultimate guide to low carb foods!
Use this table of contents to skip to the section you’re looking for:
Ultimate List of Low Carb Foods
Here’s a list FULL of the tastiest low carb foods! Enjoy these on their own, or combine them with each other to create your very own low carb recipes.
Pst, be sure to grab a printer friendly version of this below. Or, if you’d prefer, download a copy of my low carb shopping list here!
Here are the top low carb foods, broken into grocery store categories:
Meat, Fish + Eggs
Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, seafood and eggs. Heck ya that includes: bacon, pancetta, pepperoni, rotisserie chicken, sliced deli meat and pork rinds! Watch out for jerkies as they’re often cured with sugar (check out these low carb beef jerky options instead).
Low Carb Vegetables
Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, arugula, cabbage, kale are great! Plus: broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, asparagus, squash, artichokes, celery, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and onions.
When in doubt, think of non starchy vegetables. A good rule of thumb: vegetables that grow above ground are lower in carbs than starchy vegetables that grow below ground.
Low Carb Fruits
Delicious low carb foods from this category include berries (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries), avocados, lemons and limes.
I always measure my fruit, I find these low carb foods are easy to over do.
Low Carb Milks
Low carb milks include almond milk, coconut milk, hempseed milk, and other dairy free alternatives. Heavy cream/heavy whipping cream are also low carb, whoop whoop!
More info on these alternatives in my low carb milks article.
Additional Dairy Products
Cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, butter, heavy cream, sour cream, low carb Greek yogurt — check out labels before purchasing and be leery of added sugar in some of these products.
Check out my guide to the carbs in cheese and protein in cheese for more info.
Low Carb Nuts + Seeds
Low carb nuts and seeds include brazilian nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans and walnuts.
Sticking to a low carb eating plan doesn’t mean you have to let go of your beloved breads and sweets — you’ll just want to make your own low carb bread and low carb desserts instead!
To get started, choose your low carb flours: almond flour, coconut flour, peanut flour. Then incorporate psyllium husk, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, unsweetened/shredded coconut, and unsweetened baking chocolate.
To add some sweetness to your recipes, check out the keto sweetener, such as erythritol or stevia.
Low Carb Sauces, Oils + Condiments
Olive oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, low carb salad dressings (read labels!), apple cider vinegar, pesto, broth, hot sauce, almond butter/peanut butter (check out these low carb peanut butter options), pickles and olives.
If you don’t see your favorite sauce listed above, have no fear, there are sooo many keto recipes using low carb foods you can try instead. To name a few:
What to Do With This List of Low Carb Foods
Print out this list of low carb foods, and throw it on your phone, fridge or in your wallet. Having this list in front of you will help you memorize it, so you can low carb like a champion!
Net Vs. Total Carbs: 2 Examples of Carbohydrates
When putting these low carb foods together to formulate your eating plan, there are a few things to consider — first and foremost is which examples of carbohydrates will you be counting: your net or your total carbs.
Total carbs are the total number of carbs in any given foods.
Net carbs are the total carbs minus sugar alcohols and fiber.
Figure out which of these works best for you based on your health, dietary restrictions and goals. You’ll then want to calculate how many carbs in a low carb diet, so you can start putting together your meal plan…
How to Incorporate These Foods Into a Low Carb Meal Plan
You know what to eat, now how do you eat it? Because eggs on their own are boring, and no one likes plain kale. Here are some tips for you to get started incorporating low carb foods into your low carb meal plan:
1. Check out my low carb recipes section.
Every one of the low carb recipes here will include these low carb foods in some tasty form or fashion. It’s a great resource if you’re looking for low carb diet recipes, or just healthy no carb snacks to incorporate.
2. Center Your Meal Around High Protein Low Carb Foods
High protein low carb foods are usually the most expensive part of any meal, and will keep you full longest! Which is why I find it easiest to center and plan my meal around this food group.
3. Add in High Fiber Low Carb Foods
You know, I know, fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients — which is why high fiber low carb foods are an important addition to any meal plan. For a full breakdown of foods that belong in this category, click the link above.
What Are Some No Carb Foods?
Looking to incorporate some no carb foods into your diet?
The low carb foods list above includes quite a few options, which are great to incorporate into your low carb meals: Proteins such and meat and seafood are carb free, while eggs and cheese have hardly any carbs.
Low Carb Food List Printable
For a full breakdown of nutritional values in each of the low carb foods listed above, check out my low carb food list printable.
It’s an awesome resource I recommend to anyone starting a low carb eating plan. It breaks down each of the low carb foods and categorized them into low, medium and high carb ratings. It’s also sorted by both net and total carbs, so you can use whichever works best for you.
High Carb Foods to Avoid / Look Out For
Here’s a list of high carb foods. Some you know about, some you’d like to deny. Don’t let this list alarm you — there are tons of delicious substitutes for everything listed below!
- Grains + Products Made from Grains
- Starchy Veggies
- Corn + Beans
- Cow’s Milk
- Fruit Juices
Whether you’re on a low carb diet plan for weight loss, or just to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I hope this list helps you along your journey! Leave me a comment below with any feedback, or, if I missed your favorite low carb foods, let me know!