Here’s my approved foods list.
Get the condensed, downloadable, and printable one-pager here.
If it’s not on the list, assume it’s off limits. The foods are listed in descending order of the amount I eat each month. The higher it is on the list, the more I eat. Similarly, if it’s bold font, I eat alot of it. I made some notes to highlight my own eating habits.
- Sparkling Water (LaCroix is my favorite brand)
- Tap Water & Bottled Water
- Tea (hot or cold, must be unsweetened)
- Coffee (I don’t drink it, but you can. Take it black or with heavy whipping cream)
- See note on Alcohol at the bottom of page. I have an entire module dedicated to low carb alcohol.
I drink 3+ LaCroix per day right now. It satisfies my taste for something different than water and is sometimes an adequate substitute for light beer for me.
Meat, Seafood, & Eggs – in order of preference
- Ground beef
- Ground pork
- Breakfast Sausage Patties & Links
- Cured Meats (pepperoni slices, salami, prosciutto)
- Chicken (thighs, wings, drumsticks, breasts too lean unless you’re pan frying)
- Ribs (Pork/Beef/Lamb)
- Link Sausages
- Steak (Ribeye, T-bone, NY Strip, Skirt, Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, other cuts are too lean)
- Roasts (Pork/Beef/Lamb)
- Pork Loin, Chops & Steaks
- Prime Rib
- Deli meats
I eat a lot of ground beef in lettuce wrapped tacos & hamburgers as well as in casseroles, etc. Sliced pepperonis are my go to snack foods. I’ve gotten pretty good at making buffalo chicken wings in the oven, so I’ll try to make that at least once a month, especially during football season. I order 2 pounds of smoked pork ribs from a nearby bbq restaurant about once a month.
- Zucchini (in moderation)
- Lettuce & various leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, bib lettuce, etc.)
- Cabbage / cole slaw
- Onion (in moderation or as a garnish – there’s quite a few carbs in onions surprisingly)
- Brussels sprouts
- Peppers (jalapenos, bell peppers, banana peppers, etc.)
- Squash (spaghetti, butternut, etc.)
- Artichoke hearts
- Mushrooms (I’m allergic, but you can eat them).
Of note, potatoes and sweet potatoes are NOT approved. Corn and all corn byproducts (like corn tortillas, corn bread, corn chips), likewise. Too high carb. Beans like pinto beans, refried beans, black beans etc are also off the list. I get these questions often. They are too high carb and shouldn’t be eaten.
Oven-baked asparagus covered in salt, pepper, and olive oil, is a delicious and indulgent side that I use as kind of a replacement for french fries, believe it or not. They’re that good. We buy the frozen, “steam in bag” broccoli and cauliflower. I steam it in the microwave and then drain it and then sauteed it an pan with olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper to give it some flavor & fat. My wife makes an amazing sauteed brussels sprouts and bacon.
Snacks – full module dedicated to snack options in the course.
- Sliced pepperonis
- All-natural hot dogs
- Pork Rinds
- Cheese cubs & cheese slices
- Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (full fat version)
- Sliced Deli Meat
- Hard boiled eggs (deviled eggs are awesome if you can tolerate the extra prep)
- Seaweed chips
- Dark Chocolate (85%+ cocoa)
Other than avocado, which can be consumed regularly, fruits are too high in sugar to be eaten regularly.
- Full-fat cheeses
- Full-fat sour cream
- Full-fat butter (avoid margarines)
- Full-fat heavy whipping cream
One of the great things about low carb is that you have permission and SHOULD buy the FULL FAT version of everything, including cheese. Get rid of all the “low-fat” stuff in your house. Personally, I try not to eat much dairy because I’m lactose intolerant and dairy can cause acne, but not everyone reacts the same to dairy, so test it for yourself.
You should not be drinking milk because it’s too high in sugar.
Condiments / Oils / Spices – all spices are fine
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Butter / Ghee
- Mayos & Mayo-based sauces
- Animal Fats – Bacon grease, lard, beef tallow, duck fat
- Coconut Milk (full fat versions only)
- Tomato-based Salsas (look for less than 8g carbs per serving)
- Tomato Sauces (look for less than 8g carbs per serving)
- Avocado-based Salsa (Herdez Guacamole Salsa is a favorite of mine)
- Spices (cumin, curry, pepper, salt, etc — all spices are fine)
- Olive Oil & Vinegar-based salad dressings
- Soy sauce (tamari if you’re eating gluten-free)
- Hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Lemon/Lime Juice
You can use BBQ sauce and ketchup sparingly. Buy the ones with the lowest amount carbs & sugar and the fewest ingredients. It’ll take some time to scour the shelves in your store.
Alcohol is not recommended, per say, but you can drink a little bit and still have great results while eating low carb. I typically drink Bud Select 55 which is the lowest carb and lowest calorie beer on the market. I’ll have a glass of red wine on occasion. For a mixed drink, I’d go with vodka-soda, but that’s pretty rare for me.
Technically, the best drink for weight loss is a shot of tequila or vodka diluted in sparkling water with some lime juice to mask the taste. It’s super low carb while also being pretty high in alcohol content to give you a buzz. Beware, alcohol hits you harder on keto and liquor causes blackouts so take it easy.
I do what I can to limit alcohol intake, but still, I’d imagine over the course of a typical 21 day stretch, I’ll drink about 5 times and mostly super light beers like Bud Select 55 and Miller Light. As long as the drinking doesn’t result in binge eating and comfort eating, it won’t sabotage your results.