Best and Worst Canned Goods for Low-Carb Diets

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Opened Can of Sardines
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Canned goods on a low-carb diet may seem out of place. You may think that meat and fresh veggies are your only option, but you may consider this list of canned goods for low carb diets. Below we outline which foods you can keep and what to look out for to ensure these keepers are indeed keepers.

Avoiding Sugar and Sauces

Many low carb canned goods exist, but they have to be weeded out from those that have added sugars. Pasta sauce, pumpkin, and salsa are especially on the watch list for added sugar. Nut butters also have to be checked to be all natural and unsweetened.

In addition to canned, there are pre-packaged sardines, tuna, and salmon, as well as crab that doesn't come with the special "sauce" or water usually packaged in cans. Go with a recloseable pouch if fish sauce isn't your idea of a snack. Using the pouches makes this seafood easy to snack on, which is good because these are low calorie, high protein foods. 

Choose Low Sodium

The goal of any meal is to feel full longer and keep your blood sugar balanced. If you eat high sodium soups or stocks, it may be harder to do this because of the low protein content and the risk of sugar cravings. Most soups and stocks are not high in protein, but they are usually high in sodium (especially in those in cans). Because high amounts of sodium can promote sugar cravings, you may want to go with low or no salt varieties of soups and stocks. Salsa and tomato paste may be hard to find with no salt, but ask around and find what you need.

Stocking Your Pantry

You may think you need to completely start anew in your pantry, but there's hope. Here we outline all the foods you can keep, what you can toss and what you should add to your pantry. With proper planning ahead of time you can stock up your kitchen for your low carb diet without a sweat. The goal is to be prepared and know what to look for so you reach your goals for being on the low carb bandwagon.


  • Canned seafood (tuna, salmon, crab)
  • Sardines
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Salsas
  • Pasta sauce or tomato sauce with no added sugars
  • Canned green chilies
  • Tomato paste
  • Pumpkin
  • Roasted red peppers (rinse if there is sugar in the ingredients)
  • Dried tomatoes in oil (a little add a lot of flavor)
  • Chicken and/or vegetable stock
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Jars of pesto or other vegetable-based sauces
  • Other canned low-carb vegetables, if you like them
  • Dill pickles
  • Italian pickled vegetables
  • Anchovies
  • Nut butters (natural, unsweetened)

To Buy

  • Coconut milk
  • Canned black soybeans (taste like black beans, but lower carb)
  • Other canned beans, depending on your individual diet
  • Low-carb fruit, such as Carb Clever peaches, at 6 grams per serving
  • Sugar-free sweet pickles, such as Mt. Olive Brand

To Toss

  • Canned soups – almost all of them are high carb
  • Canned fruits – unless specially packed to be low carb, as most have added sugars
  • Anything with pasta, starch, or added sugars
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