Images by Ayla Sadler

It’s easy to get intimidated when starting a new diet. A common bump in the road is often not knowing where to begin. But if you’re here, you’ve got the first step down: listening to your body and starting the search on how to improve your health and well-being!

One of the best ways to feel comfortable in your new routine is with a bona fide shopping list that’s easier to recall than your own phone number. This is a staple for any beginner who needs a foundation of delicious snacks and reliable go-to recipes. Especially with the keto diet.

You’ve probably been hearing a lot of buzz around the keto diet. But is transitioning to this new diet really worth the change? Like any other diet, keto requires discipline and dedication, but it also has very specific requirements of being low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat.

Standard ketogenic diet There are different versions of the ketogenic diet, and our version will be focused on the standard ketogenic diet (SKD): very low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat. It typically contains 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and only 5 percent carbs. For a 1,600-calorie diet, that’s 1,200 calories of fat, 320 caloriesof protein, and 80 calories of carbs.

A new diet is a disruption in your normal, everyday routine — but if you keep thinking of your new routine as a “hassle,” then your new lifestyle will also feel like one. And where’s the fun in that?

Our simple shopping list is based off of delicious recipes that’ll launch your keto journey beyond the first week. It keeps to the basics, so you’ll feel confident and inspired to keep going — on your own terms. Once you gain momentum and settle into a routine, you’ll find the transition a lot easier than you think.

Before you start shopping, clear out any tempting carb-heavy items in your fridge and pantry, such as sugar, processed foods, breads and grains, starchy vegetables, and other natural sweeteners. Listed below are the ingredients that make up a keto beginner's grocery basket for our go-to keto recipes. We recommend doubling up on the produce and proteins so you can whip up your own creations at home!

Produce

Ingredients

  • mushrooms
  • garlic
  • green cabbage
  • scallions
  • white onion
  • red bell pepper
  • spinach
  • romaine
  • cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lime

Proteins

Ingredients

  • chicken breast
  • ground beef
  • breakfast sausage (chicken or pork)
  • uncured bacon

Eggs and dairy

Ingredients

Pantry staples

Ingredients

Spices and oils

We’ve partnered with companies like Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value, Kettle Fire, Redwood Hill Farm, and Bob’s Red Mill to create this keto-easy grocery list.

These five recipes are simple, easy to prepare, and packed full of flavor — leaving you completely satisfied after every meal. You might also recognize some of them as ones that you’re already eating at home (just with less carbs).

We wanted to make sure these recipes were familiar, cost-effective, and a smooth transition into the keto lifestyle. Keep reading for a sneak peek into the recipes and how they taste! For the full recipes, download our guide.

Pro-tip: Each recipe is set up to make two servings. For those of you who love meal prepping, we’ve got you covered. Simply double or triple the recipes, prep them on a weekend, and never look back.

1. Creamy garlic mushroom chicken

This dish makes an excellent dinner! You can whip it up in 30 minutes, or prepare it ahead of time and freeze it for up to one month before use.

This delicious dish is so creamy and versatile — get ready for flavors of garlic and mushroom to fill each bite! I also got to save time and money by pairing this with zucchini noodles, instead of making an additional keto-friendly dish. My family isn’t keto or low-carb but they loved it, especially my 2-year-old picky eater. It’s safe to say this easy-to-make, (most ingredients are readily available) low-carb hit will definitely be in my meal planning rotation!
Lele Jaro, on keto for two years for type 2 diabetes (Follow her on Instagram)

Calories: 280.5 per serving

macrosper serving in grams (g)
carbs6.6 g
fat15.05 g
protein31.25 g
fiber1.75 g

2. Egg roll in a bowl

For a low-key night in, this egg roll in a bowl is a winner. The best part is you can prep it ahead of time and munch on it all week long! It will keep for up to one week in the fridge or one month in the freezer.

The egg roll in a bowl tastes amazing. It’s all the traditional flavors of the savory egg roll, but without all the added carbs and additives. It actually tastes even better the next day! This simple recipe is quick (one-pan), easy (no specialty ingredients), and a family crowd-pleaser. We like to switch it up with broccoli slaw instead of cabbage from time to time — highly recommend putting this into your meal plan rotation!
Kyndra Holley, founder of Peace, Love, and Low Carb (Follow her on Instagram)

Calories: 210.25 per serving

macrosper serving
carbs6.05 g
fat8.25 g
protein25.83 g
fiber1.15 g

3. Chicken cobb salad with avocado lime dressing

Filling and delicious, this salad will surely become a staple in your household. It can be thrown together faster than getting takeout around the corner and keeps well in the fridge if you want to prep it for a week’s worth of lunches.

Calories: 284 per serving

Chicken cobb salad:

macrosper serving
carbs4.4 g
fat4 g
protein37.6 g
fiber1.2 g

Avocado lime dressing:

macrosper serving
carbs11 g
fat19.1g
protein4.9 g
fiber3.9 g

4. Egg muffins with sausage and vegetables

A breakfast staple for someone living on-the-go or for anyone who wants to pack some extra nutrients into their Wednesday morning. These egg muffins will surely do the trick. They can be made ahead of time on the weekend so all you have to do is grab-and go and they’ll keep well for up to one week in the fridge.

Calories: 125 per muffin

macrosper serving (if you make six)
carbs2.23 g
fat9.3 g
protein4.8 g
fiber.52 g

5. Chocolate fat bombs

Getting enough fats during keto can be a challenge — that’s where fat bombs come to play. You can prepare these quickly as a snack option throughout the week. Double or triple this recipe and freeze until you’re ready for use — or make a small batch to curb that sugar craving.

Calories: 241 per fat bomb

macrosper serving (1 fat bomb)
carbs2.6 g
fat26.6 g
protein1.1 g
fiber1.5 g

Although this diet may be beneficial for some populations, there are side effects you may encounter a few days into eating keto. One of them being the “keto flu” — don’t worry it only lasts a few days, not like a real flu. Some of the symptoms people tend to experience are:

  • low energy and mental function
  • headaches
  • increased hunger
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • digestive discomfort
  • decreased exercise performance
  • possibly low libido

These symptoms, among others, are a sign that your body is transitioning and getting used to being in ketosis.

To combat these symptoms (or minimize them) easing into the diet might be a good place to start! You could try carb-cycling two to three days per week until you’re fully ready to approach the low-carb or no-carb keto diet. Some people end up sticking with carb-cycling because they feel it’s beneficial for them. But everyone is different — so just be mindful of your body and what works best for you.

Keto flu and electrolytes As you increase your water intake and drop water weight, your electrolytes may swing out of balance and increase the intensity of your symptoms. To counter this, drink bone broth for sodium, water with apple cider vinegar for potassium, or eat a piece of dark chocolate for magnesium.

Did you know the ketogenic diet has been around for almost 100 years and was originally created for people with epilepsy by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Center?

Alongside helping those with epilepsy, there are many other benefits of the keto diet. It’s been known to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, by reducing hormones like insulin. And insulin plays a key role in the development of not only diabetes but a plethora of other health problems, like cardiovascular disease and stroke. By following this particular way of eating, you may see improvements in your blood pressure, insulin secretion, and postprandial glycemia. Of course, more research still needs to be done on the long-term health effects of the keto diet.

But another benefit of the keto diet is weight loss — which may happen quicker than you’d expect if you’re having trouble with weight management. And this diet is one that won’t leave you opening up your fridge multiple times, in search of foods that contain empty calories or processed ingredients.

Speak with your doctor or work with a dietitian to find out if the keto diet is right for you.

Q:

Who shouldn’t be on the keto diet?

A:

It’s always important to check with your doctor before starting any extreme diet. The following people should not go on a keto diet:
• pregnant women
• women who are breastfeeding
• people on medications that may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) such as insulin, sulphonylureas, and glinides
• children
• people with gall bladder issues
• endurance athletes

Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-CAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Now that you understand the benefits of the keto diet and what to expect, download our guide (full recipes and shopping list included) and use our tasty recipes to kick-start your new lifestyle.

These ingredients were selected for flexibility, affordability, and ease — meaning if you want to whip up your own nutritious, keto-friendly recipes, you can! As long as you stick to this shopping list, your meals can be keto-friendly.

Recipe alternatives Scramble a couple of eggs and fry up a few pieces of bacon for a quick breakfast option. Or if you have a little more time, make an omelet, packed with vegetables and protein! For lunch, try your own version of baked chicken breasts with cheesy cabbage. You can also try any of these 10 keto-friendly recipes, many of which use ingredients from our shopping list!

Once you get the hang of eating keto, we encourage you to create your own recipes. The best way to stick to a diet is to make it enjoyable — but more importantly totally yours. The possibilities are endless now that you have the tools. Good luck and happy keto-ing!

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Ayla Sadler is a photographer, stylist, recipe developer, and writer who has worked with many of the leading companies in the health and wellness industry. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and son. When she’s not in the kitchen or behind the camera, you can probably find her toting around the city with her little boy. You can find more of her work here.