Food and Drink List

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
  • Bacon
  • Breakfast Sausage Patties & Links
  • Eggs
  • Cured Meats (pepperoni slices, salami, prosciutto)
  • Chicken (thighs, wings, drumsticks, breasts too lean unless you’re pan frying)
  • Ribs (Pork/Beef/Lamb)
  • Link Sausages
  • Brisket
  • 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
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Ham
  • Deli meats
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Lobster
  • Scallops
  • Crab
  • Sardines
  • Oysters

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.


  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini (in moderation)
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • 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.)
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash (spaghetti, butternut, etc.)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Garlic
  • 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)
  • Avocado
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Almonds
  • 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)
  • Guacamole
  • Spices (cumin, curry, pepper, salt, etc — all spices are fine)
  • Olive Oil & Vinegar-based salad dressings
  • Mustard
  • 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.

Ryan’s Frozen Dinners List

  1. Atkins – Chili Con Carne Cal-320 | Fat-21g | Protein-24g | Net Carbs-4g
  2. Atkins – Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Cal-330 | Fat-20g | Protein-26g | Net Carbs-5g
  3. Atkins – Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Cal-330 | Fat-22g | Protein-22g | Net Carbs-5g
  4. Atkins – Farmhouse-Style Sausage Scramble Cal-370 | Fat-29g | Protein-22g | Net Carbs-5g
  5. Atkins – Bacon Scramble Cal-380 | Fat-28g | Protein-26g | Net Carbs-5g
  6. Atkins – Swedish Meatballs Cal-350 | Fat-25g | Protein-23g | Net Carbs-6g
  7. Atkins – Roast Turkey with Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Cal-380 | Fat-29g | Protein-23g | Net Carbs-6g
  8. Atkins – Beef Teriyaki Stir-Fry Cal-260 | Fat-18g | Protein-16g | Net Carbs-6g
  9. Atkins – Beef Merlot Cal-310 | Fat-21g | Protein-16g | Net Carbs-6g
  10. Atkins – Meatloaf with Portobello Mushroom Gravy Cal-320 | Fat-23g | Protein-24g | Net Carbs-7g
  11. Atkins – Mexican-Style Chicken and Vegetables Cal-360 | Fat-20g | Protein-33g | Net Carbs-7g
  12. Atkins – Orange Chicken Cal-420 | Fat-30g | Protein-26g | Net Carbs-7g
  13. Atkins – Sesame Chicken Stir-Fry Cal-360 | Fat-23g | Protein-26g | Net Carbs-7g
  14. Atkins – Beef Fiesta Taco Bowl Cal-360 | Fat-23g | Protein-26g | Net Carbs-7g
  15. Atkins – Chicken Margherita Cal-420 | Fat-29g | Protein-28g | Net Carbs-7g
  16. Atkins – Shrim Scampi Cal-340 | Fat-22g | Protein-24g | Net Carbs-9g
  17. Atkins – Italian-Style Pasta Bake Cal-320 | Fat-15g | Protein-35g | Net Carbs-9g
  18. Jimmy Dean – Three Cheese Omelet Cal-290 | Fat-23g | Protein-16g | Net Carb-3g
  19. Jimmy Dean – Ham & Cheese Omelet Cal-250 | Fat-19g | Protein-16g | Net Carb-4g
  20. Eating Right for High Protein (Safeway) – Chicken Alfredo Cal-420 | fat-38g | protein-34g | net carbs=7g
  21. Eating Right for High Protein (Safeway) – Meatballs and Marinara Cal-300 | fat-3g | protein-27g | net carbs=8g
  22. Healthy Choice – Grilled Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Cal-190 | Fat-6g | Protein-27g | Net Carbs-4g
  23. Healthy Choice – Grilled Chicken Pesto & Vegetables Cal-200 | Fat-6g | Protein-27g | Net Carbs-6g
  24. Lean Cuisine – Cheddar Bacon Chicken Cal-200 | Fat-7g | Protein-23g | Net Carb-10g
  25. Trader Joe’s – Palak Paneer Cal-500 | Fat-38g | Protein-22g | Net Carb-10g, 2 servings per container.

Ryan’s Forever Snacks

  1. Sliced Pepperoni – Because they are high fat, high protein, zero carb, and quick and clean to eat with bare hands, sliced pepperoni tops my list of keto snacks. Eat pepperonis right out of the bag or bake them for 10 minutes at 400F for some crispiness. Expect to get about 100 calories and <1 net carb for every 10 slices.
  2. Pork Rinds – Great for satisfying cravings for something crunchy, you can eat pork rinds as a stand alone low carb snack or dip them into fun stuff like Taco Bell Hot Sauce, Franks Red Hot, or Herdez Guacamole Salsa (my current fave). Expect to get about 100 calories and 0 net carbs when you eat 20 plain pork rinds.
  3. Hot Dogs – In a pinch, you can heat a hot dog in the microwave, chop it up, and eat it with mustard as a quick snack. It’s about 110 calories and 1 net carb per hot dog.
  4. Roasted Seaweed – Looking for an offbeat low carb snack? Try roasted seaweed if you can find it in your Grocery Store. I like the Gimme Organic brand. I was surprised at how delicious and satisfying it is. You don’t need to bother trying the fancy flavors that are slightly higher carb (like teriyaki and wasabi). The basic sea salt flavor is the lowest carb and best tasting of the bunch. Each small package of Sea Salt Roasted Seaweed has 50 calories and 0 net carbs.
  5. Nuts – Peanuts, almonds, and pistachios are my preferred nut varieties. I like to bring nuts on road trips or scarf them at home while we’re watching Netflix. Expect to get about 150 calories and 5 net carbs per large handful.
  6. Beef Jerky – Great for road trips and hikes, beef jerky is a low calorie snack that’s appropriate when you’re snacking more to cure boredom versus to get full and satisfied. Check the nutrition labels to find low sugar beef jerky with less than 5 net carbs per bag.
  7. Olives – When you need something savory, indulgent, and pop-able, olives are a great keto snack. I eat them plain right out of the jar. Expect about 100 calories and less than 1 net carb for every 15 olives you eat.
  8. Spoonfuls of Nut Butter. Peanut, almond, cashew, coconut etc. Make sure you don’t eat more than 10g net carbs worth in a sitting.
  9. String Cheese – Favored by kids but delicious to adults like me as well, string cheese is convenient because it comes individually wrapped and doesn’t leave a residue on your fingers. Expect about 60 calories and 0 net carbs per stick. I’ll eat 3 or 4 typically as a snack.
  10. Cheese Cubes – Get about 150 calories and 1 net carb for every 10 cheese cubes you eat.
  11. Cheese Slices – When I’m too lazy to make a meat and cheese rollup (forthcoming), I’ll eat a few cheese slices as a snack. The good thing about cheese slices is almost every household has them in the fridge because mainstream eaters love them on sandwiches and burgers. One cheese slice has about 80 calories and 0 net carbs.
  12. Deli MeatBologna is my favorite deli meat because it’s high calorie, low carb and tastes indulgent. Turkey, ham, roast beef, and italian cuts like salami also work well. Deli meat typically has 1 net carb per slice and calories vary from 30 calories per slice for turkey up to 160 calories per slice for thick-sliced bologna.
  13. Deli Meat and Cheese Rollups – Now that I’ve introduced the low carb deli meat and cheese options, let’s combine them into something fun. Meat and cheese rollups are delicious served plain or you can add mustard and mayo for added flavor. These are high calorie low carb snacks offering up to 210 calories and about 2 net carbs per rollup.
  14. Canned Sardines topped with Old Bay Seasoning – Sardines might not look appetizing, but they have a savory flavor and a soft-yet-crunchy texture that’s unique for a low carb snack. I prefer sardines in oil because the fish hold their shape together better than sardines in water which crumble into a pile. Canned sardines are next to the cans of tuna in your grocery store. Top your sardines with Old Bay Seasoning for amazing flavor and enjoy the low carb friendly macros — 150 calories and 0 net carbs per can.
  15. Pickles – The sour snack leader for keto eaters is the pickle. Eat them with a fork right out of the jar or dip your pickles in ranch dressing to give them some caloric oomph. Pickles offer 0 calories and about 1 net carb per serving (1 spear or 8 slices).
  16. Summer Sausage – Summer sausage is great for plating at parties along with some thick-sliced cheese. I also eat it plain or with banana peppers for a little spice. Expect about 200 calories and 2 net carbs when you eat about ten 1/8″ slices.
  17. Sliced Avocado – Try some sliced avocados if you seek a snack that’s soft, mild-tasting, and refreshing. Add salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar if you need a bit more flavor. Expect to get about 4 net carbs per avocado and about 200 to 300 calories.
  18. Celery and Cream Cheese – Eating celery by itself is a fool’s errand, but add some cream cheese and you have a winner. It’s delicious and fits the macros of a low carb diet. Two full size celery sticks covered in cream cheese will be about 200 calories and 4 net carbs.
  19. Celery and Peanut Butter – Peanut butter is another dreamy, keto-friendly snack food that makes celery tolerable. It can be a little messy if you don’t refrigerate it first to let it thicken. Two celery sticks spread with peanut butter is about 7 net carbs and 200 calories.
  20. Cocktail Shrimp with Melted Butter – By dipping shrimp in melted butter instead of cocktail sauce, you give it a more low carb friendly nutritional profile. For 12 small shrimp dipped in butter you’ll get about 200-300 calories and less than 1 net carb.
  21. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Roll Ups – This is kind of like low carb sushi as a snack — except it’s incredibly easy and not as expensive as real sushi. Just get a package of smoked salmon, spoon some cream cheese onto the pre-cut salmon slices, then roll it up. Expect to get about 70 calories and 1 net carb for each salmon and cream cheese roll up that you eat.
  22. Pickled Okra and Ranch Dressing – I like hot pickled okras dipped in ranch is a good option if you want a snack with a little heat to it. Expect to get about 170 calories and 6 net carbs when you eat 10 hot pickled okras dipped in ranch.
  23. Broccoli Florets with Spinach Dip – A good way to sneak veggies into your diet is to eat them covered in low carb dip. One of my favorite pairings is broccoli florets and spinach dip. Expect to get about 110 calories and 2 net carbs for every 10 broccoli florets that you dip in spinach dip.
  24. Celery and Hummus – Hummus is another good option for a low carb dip. It pairs well with celery sticks. Expect to get about 80 calories and 4 net carbs for two sticks of celery chopped and then dipped in hummus.
  25. Cocktail Smokies Dipped in Mustard
    This is the more socially acceptable cousin of the chopped hot dogs and mustard you saw earlier in this keto snacks list. Cocktail smokies have a little spice to them and pair well with mustard. Expect to get about 200 calories and 2 net carbs for every six cocktail smokies that you eat.
  26. Seeds. Sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax. Check the carb stats and make sure not to eat more than 10g net carbs in a sitting.
  27. Sliced Bell Peppers and Ranch Dressing – Pair the crisp and semi-sweet bell peppers with a spicy ranch dressing for a nice flavor combination. Eating one medium sliced bell pepper with several scoops of ranch yields about 6 net carbs and 250 calories.
  28. Biltong. Similar to beef jerky but harder to find in the US. It has higher fat content and chewier texture than beef jerky.

You can see pictures of my favorite snacks here:

Ryan’s “Hit Recipes”

As an additional bonus, here’s my “Hit Recipe Matrix” swipe file if you want to sort the recipes by dairy free, gluten free, number of carbs, number of ingredients, type of meat / protein, and more…

Ryan’s Hit Recipes

  1. Scrambled Eggs & Sausage Patties
  2. Scrambled Eggs & Bacon
  3. Buffalo Hot Wings
  4. Chili (No Beans)
  5. Tuna Salad Wraps
  6. Skinny Indian Delight
  7. Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry (aka. Egg Roll in a Bowl)
  8. Zucchini Spaghetti & Meat Sauce
  9. Zucchini Pizza Boats
  10. Chicken Fried Rice made with Cauliflower Rice
  11. Lettuce Wrapped Sandwiches (Ham)
  12. Lettuce Wrapped Sandwiches (Turkey)
  13. Lettuce Wrapped Sandwiches (Bologna)
  14. Bunless Cheeseburgers
  15. Ground Beef Tacos
  16. Fish Tacos
  17. Shrimp Tacos
  18. BLT Sandwich
  19. Lettuce Wrapped Brat (Bratwurst Sausage)
  20. Tex Mex Casserole
  21. Sloppy Joes
  22. Ribeyes & Roasted Asparagus
  23. Barbacoa Tacos
  24. Sausage & Peppers
  25. BBQ Chicken Wings
  26. Cashew Chicken Stir Fry (kinda like Kung Pao Chicken)
  27. Boneless Pork Chop & Roasted Asparagus
  28. Chorizo Chow Mein
  29. Cauliflower Crust Pizza