How to Food Shop When You're on a Low-Carb Diet

From low-carb frozen vegetables to fish, here's what to put in your cart.

refrigerator with low-carb foods
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When changing to a low-carb way of eating, you will probably find yourself eating more fresh produce, meats, and other perishable foods. Most low-carb plans recommend cutting out processed foods and switching to whole foods—like fruits and vegetables—as well as protein. There are a few high-carb produce items, such as potatoes and bananas, that are fine to eat in moderation on a low-carb diet plan.

The first step in making a dietary lifestyle change is preparation. Make sure to clean out your cabinets and remove high-carb and sugary foods. If you are following a diet like the Paleo diet, you will also want to remove items containing grains and gluten. Once you've cleaned out your pantry, move on to your refrigerator. If you have a lot of non-compliant food, you can donate non-perishable items to a local food pantry.

Low-Carb Items to Keep

  • Low-carb vegetables either fresh and frozen. This can include greens, peppers, summer squash, asparagus as they are all low in carbohydrates.
  • Low-carb fruits, especially frozen berries.
  • Meats like chicken, fish, and other sources of lean protein. 
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products or dairy alternatives like almond or hemp milk. Some low-carb diet plans like the P aleo diet and Whole30 exclude dairy from the program.
  • Tofu
  • Nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts
  • Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Items to Toss

  • Frozen foods with high-carb ingredients, such as pasta, desserts, waffles, etc.
  • Happily, most perishable foods are low in carbohydrates.

Once you've cleaned out your cabinets and refrigerator, it's time to go shopping! Make a list of the items you need to buy so you don't get distracted by high-carb items.

Low-Carb Food Shopping List

  • Frozen vegetables to keep stocked in your freezer including green beans, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower, which can be quickly cooked for meals or snacks.
  • Fresh vegetables for snacking on, either plain or with spreads and dips. Cucumbersjicama, bell peppers, and green beans make excellent raw vegetable dipping options.
  • Frozen fruits and berries. Frozen fruit is great to eat with yogurt or cottage cheese as well as a great addition to smoothies.
  • Lettuce, both large leaves for rollups or smaller leaves for sandwiches (such as BLT lettuce wraps)
  • Bagged greens for easy to make salads.
  • Protein such as meat, fish, eggs, and tofu.
  • Nuts including walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, almonds, and cashews.
  • Olives and other pickled or fermented foods like kimchi.
  • Shirataki noodles, noodles made from konjac yams that are low in calories and carbohydrates. 
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