How to Choose Low Carb Diet Foods

What are the best low carb diet foods for a low carb diet?  That’s a question I get a lot. If you're just starting out, you’re probably a bit lost about the kinds of food you need to buy.  And I get it. But don’t worry, I have a list for you.  It’s not as difficult as it may appear to be, especially with my trusty, convenient list in hand.

Cereal Aisle

Foods to Avoid

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? First let’s talk about the foods that don’t belong in a low carb diet. So let’s eliminate anything high in sugars, starches, or unhealthy fats. This includes junk food such as chocolate bars, candies, ice cream, cookies and chips. Those are the obvious ones. 

But you should also avoid breakfast cereal, pasta, bread, rice, and most processed foods. You may think you can’t live without these but remember why you’re doing this… you want to lose weight and be as healthy as possible.

Navigating the Supermarket

OK, let’s go shopping! With your list of approved foods in hand, picture yourself confidently entering the supermarket. My very first piece of advice is to shop only around the perimeter of the store. That means there’s no need to go up and down the aisles where all the high carb contraband is stashed. The outer area is the safe zone.

Meats for Muscles!

Let’s start in the meat department. Here’s where you can load up on a variety of meats including beef, pork, lamb, and even game. And don’t forget poultry. Feel free to add chicken, turkey, and duck to your shopping list as well. These work well in a low carb diet because they’re not only tasty, but are high in protein and low in carbs!  You can’t go wrong with these.

Fresh Fish

You’re doing swimmingly so far, so keep it up! Now we’re off to the fish department. Some of my favorites are salmon, sole, haddock, halibut, cod and trout.  These provide excellent proteins that will fit perfectly in your low carb diet. But don't stop there. Why not try shellfish and seafood such as shrimp, crab, scallops and lobster? Now you’re talkin’.  Yummmmm!

Delicious Dairy

Let’s keep mooooving! Off to the dairy section. Here’s where things will become a little different than you may be used to.  I choose full-fat varieties whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to add butter, assorted cheeses, cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, and Greek yogurt to your list.  These are not only delicious but are low in carbs and contain healthy fats.

Healthy Eggs

You are becoming an egg-cellent low carb shopper! Speaking of eggs, throw a dozen in the cart. Eggs contain lots of nutrition and are easy to cook. But most importantly, they are low in carbs. That makes them a ”must have” on your low carb diet shopping list.

Vegetables for a Low Carb Diet

Let’s add some color to our cart with vegetables! But choose carefully here.  I avoid starchy ones like potatoes and carrots. Too many carbs.  Instead, I choose low-carb veggies such as leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower. These are healthy and packed with nutrients.  You will find that in season, they’re also affordable.  And these work when I’m in the mood for something fresh and crunchy.

Fruits - Nature's Candy

Selecting the right fruits can be tricky so be very careful. I think of fruits as nature’s candy because they can be high in carbs.  That includes fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas.  But all is not lost. You can still enjoy berries including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  These make great choices for a low carb diet. But remember, fruit IS nature’s candy, so go easy.

An Important Word About Fats

What about fats? You will need healthy fats in your low carb diet.  These include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and even butter.  Some folks believe that fats are not healthy, but they are and they are critical for your low carb diet. Duck fat, lard, tallow and suet can go on the list too.

Fats add flavor and can keep you full for longer periods of time.  I call that a double win! But here’s a big caution… and I am serious here.  Whatever you do, do not buy seed oil, vegetable oil or plant-based oils. There is a mountain of evidence that describes the dangers these oils present to your health. I will talk about this further but for now, trust me on this. 

Nuts and Seeds in Small Amounts

Small amounts of nuts and seeds are acceptable for a low carb diet. But they do contain carbs and they can be dangerous because they’re very s’morish. So don’t overdo it! Use them as condiments or little treats.

Vegetarian Low Carb

If you’re a vegetarian, some low carb protein options for you include tofu, tempeh and seitan. You can also eat beans and lentils and quinoa, but don’t overdo it because these are very carby. This can be challenging.  I know firsthand.  I was a vegetarian for a period of three years, and I gained a lot of weight because of all the starchy foods I was eating. I wasn’t wise to low carb back then.  But that’s a whole other story!

 What’s Next?

So here we are.  We have a reasonable list of foods for a low carb diet. You may be feeling a little cautious about this new approach, but that is to be expected.  The trick is to keep it simple.  There’s no need to overcomplicate things.  There’s no need for complex calorie counting here. Avoid processed foods and keep your focus on these whole, nutritious foods and you’ll be off to the races.


So, what about the cost of all of this?  It may seem like you’re spending a little more but in the long run it’s a great investment in your health. There are ways to cut cut costs, of course! Frozen vegetables are fabulously convenient, healthy and less expensive than fresh produce. When you see a sale on meats, load up, divide into desired portion sizes and freeze for a later day. Make soups, stews and casseroles in large batches and freeze the lot in individual portions to eat later. Have some meatless meals by making a filling cheesy egg omelet. These are just off the top of my head. Be creative and you will find ways to economize.

The way I see it, spending money on medications for the rest of your life is far more expensive. For me, eating low carb is an investment in my health… one that will offer impressive returns in the form of weight loss and improved wellbeing!  I know it can do the same for you.

Best Low Carb Diet Foods Wrap Up

What’s the best way to use our list? Simply print it out or save it on your mobile device and refer to it while shopping. No more second-guessing or confusion!

Switching to low carb diet foods may initially seem a little overwhelming. But as you become more familiar with it, you’ll find it’s easier than many other diets. And these are foods the whole family can enjoy so you won’t need to cook differently for yourself. Think of a nice steak, hot buttered green beans and a Caesar salad on the side with extra parmesan cheese – who would be disappointed with a dinner like that?

With this list of low carb diet foods, you can welcome the positive changes heading your way. Remember, good health and successful weight loss are just around the corner.

If you'd like some one-on-one coaching to get you started, here's a link to my services page.

I raise a glass of water to your health, your motivation, and the culinary adventure ahead. Here’s that low carb diet foods list.

Return to the Low Carb Diet page.

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