If you’ve just started a low carb diet, then your refrigerator probably needs an overhaul. So many common foods are packed with more carbs then you need.
Time to hit the grocery store!
If you’re looking for a ready-made low carb grocery list, here is one that you can print out and have on hand while shopping for groceries. Experience has taught me that low carb dieting involves a big portion of impulse control along with a decent-sized pinch of planning ahead. I have started shopping on a full stomach, armed with a low carb grocery list. This has made grocery shopping quick and effective. No longer do I feel threatened by the bakery at the super market!
I prefer to shop aisle by aisle, and that is how this list is put together. Please note, this list does not follow one particular diet. I would suggest you read every label for net carbohydrate count before you purchase anything. On average, foods that contain up to 5 grams of healthy carbohydrate per serving, are considered moderate to low carb. How you incorporate these healthy carb choices into your diet will make all the difference. The low carb dieter also has to shop for protein, fiber, grains, beverages, snacks, dessert and supplements.
Essential Foods on a Low Carb Grocery List
Fresh Vegetables You Should Buy
- Alfalfa sprouts – .45 net grams per cup
- Avocados – 3.65 net grams per medium avocado
- Spinach – .39 net grams per cup
- Artichokes – 7.09 net grams per medium globe
- Bell Peppers – 4.78 net grams per medium pepper
- Broccoli – 3.64 net grams per cup (chopped)
- Basil – .01 net grams per tablespoon
- Parsley – .14 net grams per tablespoon
- Cauliflower (makes for excellent imitation mashed potatoes) – 2.8 net grams per cup
- Cucumbers – 1.59 net grams per 1/2 cup slices
- Celery – .59 net grams per medium stalk
- Cilantro – .04 net grams per sprig
- Ginger – .36 net grams per teaspoon
- Garlic – 0 net grams per clove
- Eggplant – 1.87 net grams per cup (cubed)
- Lettuce – .93 net grams per cup (shredded or chopped)
- Mushrooms – 1.6 net grams per cup (sliced or chopped)
- Radish – 2.04 net grams per cup (sliced)
- Hot peppers – 1 net gram per tablespoon
Cabbage contains significantly higher carbs per serving when compared to, say, cauliflower. Okra and green beans are also a little higher on the carb count and not permitted in the initial phases of some low carb diets. If you are on a net carb counting diet, you may want to avoid those veggies.
Low Carb Fruits You Can Eat
- Apples – 15.76 net grams per medium apple
- Oranges – 12.29 net grams per medium orange
- Grapefruit (if you are on thyroid medication, check with your physician before eating grapefruit) – 8.94 net grams per half medium grapefruit
- Raspberries – 6.69 net grams per cup
- Strawberries – 8.67 net grams per cup (halved)
- Blueberries – 17.51 net grams per cup
- Honeydew – 14.69 net grams per cup (balled)
- Peaches – 7.85 net grams per medium peach
- Limes – 5.16 net grams per medium lime
- Lemons – 3.81 net grams per medium lemon
- Check out more ideas in our low carb fruit list!
If your diet allows you fruit, dessert choices just expanded! Stay away from bananas, grapes, mangoes, kiwi, and cherries: these are no-no on a low carb grocery list!
Salad Dressings and Toppings to Use
- Walden Farms’ Salad Dressings - Walden Farms makes several healthy salad dressings. They have no carbs, no fat, no sugar, and no gluten. Yes, they’re that good!
- Sesame oil – 0 net grams per serving
- Other seasoned oils
- Balsamic vinegar – 2.55 net grams per tablespoon
- Nuts and seeds: All nuts are permitted in most low carb diets. The key is to stick to the assigned portion sizes.
Great Proteins for Low Carb Dieters
- Eggs (especially egg whites) – .38 net grams per large egg
- Other seafood
If there are no other health issues, the low carb dieter will benefit from eating some red meat in the week. This will help with iron stores. Also, if you are going to buy processed meat like sausage, read the label carefully. Often, these may have significant quantities of starches in them. Breaded foods do not belong on a low carb grocery list!
Dairy Products You’re Allowed to Have
- Fage’s Total Greek Yogurt – Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and, of course, low on carbs. Fage makes an incredibly delicious yogurt that’s creamy, firm, and fresh tasting.
- Cottage cheese – about 6 net grams per cup, depending on the brand
- Sour cream – about .5 net grams per tablespoon, depending on the brand
- Cheese (some diets do not permit mozzarella at first) – depends on the variety and brand
- Heavy cream – about .5 net grams per tablespoon, depending on the brand
- Low-carb yogurt (yes, there is such a thing, and it’s delicious too!) – depends on the variety and brand
Oils and Fats with Few Carbs
- Olive Oil – 0 net carbs per serving
- Canola – 0 net carbs per serving
- Butter – ~0 net carbs per serving
- Ghee (clarified butter) – 0 net carbs per serving
- Cooking sprays – most have 0 net carbs per serving
- Coconut oil – 0 net carbs per serving
Avoid partially saturated oils and fats.
A Few Low Carb Beverages You Can Drink
- Bigelow’s Green Tea – My all time favorite brand of green tea. I’m kind of a snob when it comes to green tea, but this particular brand offers amazing taste and great value at about .5 net grams per cup.
- Unsweetened almond milk – about 1 net gram per cup
- Coconut water – 6.3 net grams per cup
- Protein shakes – depends on variety and brand
Healthy Condiments for Flavor
- Mustard – .19 net grams per teaspoon
- Mayonnaise (full fat/regular) – 3.51 net grams per tablespoon
- Tomato ketchup – 5 net grams per tablespoon
- Tomato paste – 2.33 net grams per tablespoon
- Black olives (black olives are lower carb than their green cousins) – 1 net gram per 4 olives
- Sun dried tomatoes – 3 net grams per tablespoon
- Pesto – depends on variety and brand
- Or see how you can sweeten up your meals with low carb sweets
Read the labels of all your condiments to make sure they are sugar free.
Grains with a Low Carb Count
- Lentils (for vegetarian low carb dieters) – 22.21 net grams per cup (cooked)
- Chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans) – 13 net grams per 1/2 cup
- Quinoa – 38.57 net grams per cup (cooked)
- Brown rice – 40.92 net grams per cup (cooked)
- Basmati rice – 39.02 net grams per cup (cooked)
Bakery Items You Can Purchase
- Smart & Delicious Low Carb Tortillas – The nutritional value of these tortillas is great. It has 3 gms of net carb per tortilla. Not bad! I love to use these for quick, healthy wraps.
- Black rye bread (if your diet permits it) – depends on brand
Other Low Carb Options
- Lindt’s Dark Chocolate Bars – Dark chocolate is very healthy in moderation. And if you haven’t yet heard of Lindt’s chocolate bars, you’re welcome in advance! If you haven’t tried dark chocolate, then you’re missing out. Like wine, dark chocolate can be an acquired taste. Put a small piece in your mouth, let it melt, and let your taste buds get used to the bittersweet flavor of dark, delicious cocoa. I love to pair these with red wine and grapes! Lindt’s Excellence Intense Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa has 14 net carbs in every 4 square serving.
- Low carb cookies
- Sugar-free Jell-O
To get more bang for your buck remember that you can buy all your vegetables and meats from the frozen section. They are less expensive and as nutritious as the fresh items.
If you buy dietary supplements at the supermarket, add them to this list and you are all set.
Happy low carb grocery shopping!