So you’re going to start keto, but you have no idea where to begin. Luckily there is not much to keto other than eating low carb foods. There are no pills, no shakes, no diet/exercise plans, no membership fees. If you don’t like something – you don’t have to eat it. If you don’t like or agree with how someone else is doing keto – you don’t have to do it that way. You can be as strict or as lazy as you want.
Onto the food itself.
If you have a Costco membership, you will be happy you do! If you don’t have one, I highly suggest getting one if you use any of the following products – because you will be using a lot of them, and it can get pricey. I don’t have a Sams Club membership, so unfortunately I can’t help there. I’m a Costco girl. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You will notice a lot of the items below are cheeses, because cheese is a very big part of keto for most people. Cheese can be either low or no carb depending on which kind you get, and it can be used to make oh so many things; pizza crust, bread, buns, rolls, crackers, chips, etc. It’s actually amazing, some of the things people have come up with. You know what they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention!”
Keep in mind when buying pre-shredded cheese that companies tend to add starch (carbs) to prevent them from sticking to each other. If you don’t mind the few extra carbs, by all means get the pre-shredded. However you not only save carbs if you buy a big block and shred your own – you also could save money.
3lb Bag of Shredded Parmesan – I use shredded parmesan to make homemade crackers (in my Whoopie Pie Pan) which we use to scoop up nacho cheese, I top 6 of them with a slice of ham and pepper jack cheese and have them for breakfast, and they act as a base for mini pizzas.
3lb Bag of Shredded Mozzarella – I use shredded mozzarella in a lot of meals. It’s the main ingredient in pizza dough, which you can also use to make hot pockets, hot dog wraps, bagels, chips, stuffed breadsticks – so many things.
5lb Bag of Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Marinated Artichoke Hearts – I just love these. I put them in my salad with southwest chicken and avocado.
Almond Flour – Almond flour is used in pretty much everything I make whether it’s pizza, cinnamon rolls, cookies, etc. It’s a must if you plan on doing any cooking or baking.
Canned Chicken – It’s just easier than cooking your own. My favorite things to use this in are homemade chicken salad (I make it even better than Costco’s chicken salad) and Chicken Enchilada Casserole. *eyes cross* YUM.
Ground Beef – Divide up a 6 or 7 pound package into 1lb gallon sized Ziploc freezer bags, flatten the bag out so it thaws easier, and freeze. Just take a bag out about 3 or 4 hours before you need it and it’ll be fully defrosted and they’ll last a while. I usually buy a package once a month.
American Cheese Slices – We use these to make homemade nacho cheese sauce which we put in our chimichangas, over nachos, and dip the parmesan crackers (above) in for nacho dip. Five slices of American cheese, some leftover bacon grease (drain what’s left after cooking bacon and keep it in a container in your fridge. Use it instead of butter in savory meals whenever possible), add 1 tbsp of salsa, and heat up for yummy nacho cheese.
Cheddar Cheese Block – I use shredded cheddar to mix into the cream cheese filling for jalapeno poppers, I also eat it on its own. Seriously, it tastes better shredded than sliced. I don’t get it either!
Pepper Jack Cheese Block
Salted Cashews & All Nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts) – Whether you snack on them or use them for baking, it’s so much cheaper to buy nuts here.
Guacamole Cups – Perfect little single-serving guacamoles to have with quesadillas and chimichangas.
Cream Cheese – 3 lbs of it. It won’t last as long as you think. Cheese danishes, mini cheesecakes, jalepano poppers, pizza crusts – so many things to use cream cheese with.
Avocados – ‘Nuff said.
Real Bacon Pieces – Sometimes you don’t want to defrost and fry/bake up bacon slices just to have to break/crumble it up. Enter Real Bacon Pieces.
Baking Powder – My little can of baking powder was almost empty and thankfully I remembered I saw this at Costco. It’s huge. It may be a lifetime supply. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Lemon Juice – Used in cheese danishes and mini cheesecakes, which we make a lot of.
Nonstick Spray – A must for every house, really.
Grated Parmesan – Great for pizza or salad toppings. When I cook with parmasan I tend to use the shredded, however grated is good for pizzas.
Red Pepper Flakes – I put these in almost everything; our ground beef, parmasan crackers, even the pizza dough. Look for all your favorite seasonings at Costco, actually!
Vanilla Extract – Used a lot when baking sweets.
All Vitamins – Unless your grocery store is having an amazing sale, chances are your vitamins are cheaper to get at Costco. We buy our probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D and magnesium here.
Grocery Store (ours is QFC/Kroger)
Breakfast Sausage Links
Black Forrest Ham
Heavy Whipping Cream – (commonly called HWC). Milk is high in carbs, so we use cream in its place.
Low Carb Tortillas – We buy Mission Brand, however I’ve seen many others online. Mission is the only one our stores carry.
Salsa – Check the carbs, we found one that is 1 net carb per tbsp.
Halo Top Ice Cream – A lifesaver. Seriously. The ice cream itself is magnificent on its own and they have so many flavors now, but you can also add heavy whipping cream and make shakes!
Breyers Carbsmart Ice Cream – Our store only has vanilla but I think others have chocolate, also.
Cherry Coke Zero – Yes we drink diet soda, and we drink a lot of it. It helps break up the monotony of water (even flavored water) and helps with sweet cravings. I have to have a Cherry Coke Zero every morning at work, for my sanity – but the ones below are like little desserts!
Diet Cream Soda
Diet Root Beer
Swerve (powdered and granular [confectioners] sugar) – I refuse to use anything other than erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol/no-calorie sugar substitute. It tastes like real sugar with no after taste at all. I prefer the brand Swerve and I have only been able to find it on Amazon. I have heard they are sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods and Walmart though.
Sugar Free Chocolate Chips – Thank you, Hershey’s!
Depending on how much effort you put into your food, you may or may not need any of the items below; however they have drastically simplified my life.
Cutting Board – Most people have a cutting board in their house; however it may not be big enough. All I had was a tiny wooden one, which was fine for cutting onions and vegetables – however when I pulled a huge pizza out of the oven, that tiny cutting board was not going to work. Until I bought a much bigger cutting board I was forced to cut as much as I can while on the board, move the pizza, cut more, move the pizza. Then in the other direction. Cut, move, cut. Now I have a huge one.
Parchment Paper/Silicone Baking Mats – These have saved us literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well…at least $100. They replace parchment paper completely, they can be washed and reused – they are wonderful.
Silicon Muffin Cups – I use these to make mini cheesecakes and homemade candy. I’m in love with silicon.
Whoopie Pie Pan – These are great because they keep the shape of the food. I’ve made mini pizzas, homemade crackers, egg cups, and the people’s favorite – Micro Tacos.
Cooling Rack – It’s just nice to have a place to put your cookies, pastries and loaves of bread when you take them out of the oven.
Candy/Chocolate Molds – These are just fun to have. We have roses, diamond/jewel shapes, squares – so many shapes and sizes for whatever little candies or fat bombs you’re making.
Food Processor – You can add any nuts to a food processor and create your own nut butter. I’ve tried it with both macadamias and peanuts and it’s so fun to watch the consistency change. You also save added carbs (and money).
Hand Mixer – If you have a standing mixer…*bows to you*. You are so lucky. For the rest of us, we can either depend on manual labor, or buy a hand mixer. If you’ve ever tried to make Oopsie Rolls, Cloud Bread, or anything that requires separating egg yolks from the whites and “beating the whites until stiff peaks are formed” without a mixer – your experience probably ended as miserably as mine did. It was worth the cost of the hand mixer just to achieve those damn peaks alone.