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Low-Carb Grocery Shopping List

Low-Carb Foods to Buy at the Supermarket

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Updated March 19, 2014

woman shopping for healthy food
Photo © Daniel Laflor
If you are on a particular low-carb eating plan, that will guide your choices, as will individual tolerance to carbohydrates. Of course, carbs and portion sizes are important in determining how much of a food to buy. This is meant to be a general guide. For more in-depth information on these categories, see the links at the bottom of the page.

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Produce Aisle

Eat a variety of non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits such as these:
Salad Greens (lettuce, spinach, cabbage)
Other Leafy Greens (Swiss chard or other chard, collard greens, kale, bok choy)
Herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
Other salad vegetables (radishes, sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes)
Other green vegetables (avocado, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, okra, also cauliflower)
Other non-starchy vegetables (summer squashes, peppers, green onions, eggplant, artichokes, mushrooms)
If fruit allowed on your plan, servings of berries and melons and small peaches are good choices

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Eggs

Almost any of these are fine. Eggs are extremely nutritious. Oysters and liver have a little carb, so some diets recommend limiting them in the first phase.

Dairy Case

Cream, butter, full-fat cottage cheese (see oils below for info on these), sour cream, cheeses, ricotta, sugar-free yogurt

Fats and Oils

Most low-carb diet authors argue that foods high in saturated fats (butter, coconut oil) are not a problem in the context of low-carb diets, while a few others avoid them. Most say to avoid oils which are high in omega-6 fats (soy, corn, most safflower and sunflower). Partially hydrogenated oils should always be avoided.

Butter
Olive oil (particularly recommended)
Coconut oil
High-mono safflower and sunflower oils (check the labels carefully) such as Saffola brand
Other oils in small amounts as flavoring (sesame and nut oils)
Other high-fat foods: nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, and cream

Frozen Foods

It's a good idea to have frozen meats, fish, vegetables, and berries handy.

Canned Goods

Canned versions of the above vegetables, also, black soy beans, olives, coconut milk.

Nuts and Seeds

Most nuts and seeds (and butters made from them) are OK, although check the carbs. Flax, almond, and coconut flour/meal are particularly good for baking, but try to make sure they are fresh. Some diets avoid legumes, which include peanuts. Make sure coconut is unsweetened.

Condiments

Mustard, full-fat mayo (preferably not made with soy oil), sugar-free ketchup, sugar-free salad dressings (hopefully not made with soy oil), soy sauce, pesto sauce, broth or bouillon, spices, hot sauce, sugar-free pickle relish, sugar-free jams and preserves

Other:

Unsweetened soy, almond, rice, or hemp milk
Pork rinds
Low-carb tortillas
Unsweetened coconut
Unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder

On a moderate-carb diet, you can add limited amounts of corn, al dente pasta, beans, high-fiber breads, and grains such as rice, quinoa, and barley. Also, more fruit.

Aisles to Avoid

Just Say No. Don't go to these areas: Baked Goods, Cookies, Crackers, Bread, Candy, Pasta, Baking Supplies, and most processed foods.

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