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Ketogenic Pantry List

By August 24, 2016July 26th, 2022Coupon Codes for Products I Love

Ketogenic Pantry List

Ketogenic Pantry List


I love it when people get off medications!!! “Maria thank you for helping me achieve this new healthy lifestyle. Your book has been my everything these past few months! I now have hope where I once had fear and anxiety when it came to my future. I just wanted to share my story with you.

This year started out with excitement, as My husband, Charles and I found out we were pregnant. By the end of February, we had learned I had something called a blighted ovum and my dr feared it could be something worse called a molar pregnancy. My heart was broken as we had to terminate this pregnancy. In April, we were surprised to find out we were expecting again. Even though I was happy, I was also very nervous that this would not happen after what we had just been through…at 6 weeks I miscarried. So here I was knowing I could get pregnant, but couldn’t carry it through. Something was wrong and I knew it. I went for a lot of tests and my blood work showed my thyroid was not functioning properly and I was becoming insulin resistant (precursor to diabetes). 😱 I met with an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with thyroiditis. It could be caused by many different factors. It’s rarely reversible and I would most likely need to be put on medicine, especially if I wanted to carry a pregnancy. I did not want to be put on meds. I asked if I could please have time to try and reverse this with getting healthy and changing my diet. The doctor gave me until October, but explained sometimes with thyroid issues people just can’t lose weight or improve their health.

I left there talking to my Aunt who came with me…she suggested I try the Ketogenic diet. (She is truly inspiring when it comes to using food as medicine). She said I had to stop feeding my boKetogenic Pantry Listdy simple carbs and sugar. So that’s what I did the next day! I found you and jumped in; I mean what did I have to lose?!?!

Ok, so here I am 2 1/2 months later. I just received a call from my endocrinologist telling me my thyroid is functioning normally!!!! Praise be to God!!! I am down 40lbs since starting Keto (bonus) and my blood work is normal! I always hear food is medicine and would read stories about how people changed, but never did I think it would actually reverse this issue for me. My health will forever be a priority. God is so good!” – Jamie

Ketogenic Pantry List

If you are just starting out on your ketogenic lifestyle and are wondering how to get started, here are some of my tips!

1. Clean out your pantry. If you have sugary treats in your pantry, they are just going to call for you in the middle of the night until they are gone. Get rid of the junk.

2. Slowly start to get healthier and ketogenic options. It took me years to over-haul my pantry. Slowly over time, I found healthier salad dressings, healthier tomato sauces (in glass jars), healthier bone broth (such as Epic’s brand).

3. Double Check Ingredients for Sugar! Just because there are zero or low carbs on a condiment, check the ingredients. Trader Joe’s yellow mustard has sugar listed but it is still almost zero carbs. Just because something is at Trader Joe’s doesn’t mean it is healthy. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “duh!” BUT I had a client that was telling me her food diary from the past week and egg rolls were in her diary. I asked why in the world did you have that? She said, “Well, I got them from Trader Joe’s.” 🙂

4. Check for MSG. MSG (an excitotoxin) causes damage to the neurons in your brain and has links to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease and many others. Children are very susceptible to this type of effect on their sensitive and growing brains. Excitotoxins excite the neurons in the brain too much. They become exhausted and die. Neurotoxins are also a main cause of seizures . The damage may not be seen until many years later. When this happens, our neurotransmitters responsible for focus, mood, and memory have a hard time finding and recognizing their receptors due to the inflammation of the membranes on the brain cells caused by the consumption of MSG.

Brain levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (important for mood and focus) are lowered by 95% when you ingest excitotoxins. BUT what is even more disturbing, is that when you switch to eating 100% free of processed food, our brain remains unable to produce normal amounts of dopamine in the hippocampus (the part of the brain most responsible for consolidating memory). This is one reason for the high rates of ADHD and depression. To read more on Brain Chemicals, check out my book: Secrets to Controlling Your Weight Cravings and Mood

5. Check for Food Dyes: It’s not just the hot pink cherries in the Captain Crunch that have these detrimental dyes; sugar free Jell-O, cheese, vegetable juice, and yogurt contain food coloring. Did you know cheese should be white? Synthetic dyes cause hyperactivity because it is an excitotoxin, where it over stimulates our dopamine production, but then we don’t produce enough; which causes a deficiency. ADD is a symptom of a dopamine deficiency. Click HERE to read more.

6. Check for maltodexterin! The danger is that maltodextrin is very high on the glycemic index: 105. This is 5 points higher than glucose which is 100. And, it is almost double that of table sugar which is around 59.

Ketogenic Pantry List


For a downloadable list of options for stocking your pantry (CLICK HERE).


When you are keto-adapted, healthy fat, and lots of it, is your fuel source. You need lots of healthy fats to burn as fuel.

Saturated fats like MCT oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, tallow, and lard are your best choice: They are stable, protect against oxidation, are anti-inflammatory, and have many other important health benefits. You want to avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are unstable. When it comes to looking for oils and fats to include in your high-fat lifestyle, the higher the amount of saturated fat acids (SFA) the better. Grass-fed and organic sources are always best if you can get them.

MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides,” which are chains of fatty acids. MCTs are found naturally in coco­nut oil, palm oil, and dairy; MCT oil is extracted from coconut or palm oil and contains higher, concentrated levels of MCTs. Unlike coconut oil, it stays liquid even when refrigerated.

Here is a list of the best oils and fats to use with their SFA and PUFA content (compare the PUFA content of these good fats with the bad fats below):

1. MCT oil: 97 % SFA (less than 1% PUFA)*

Has a mild coconut flavor
Works great for sweet dishes, exotic Thai dishes and salad dressings
Can be heated

2. Coconut oil: 92% SFA (1.9%  PUFA)

Has a strong coconut flavor
Works great for sweet dishes and exotic Thai dishes
Can be heated
Can also be used on the skin

3. Palm kernel oil: 82% SFA** (2% PUFA)

Neutral flavor
Works great for baking
Can be heated

**Be sure to purchase sustainable sourced and processed palm kernel oil. There are ecological concerns associated with some palm oils, such as endangering gorillas, so make sure to know the source.

4. Cocoa butter: 60%  (3%  PUFA)

Has a mild flavor
Works great for sweet and savory cooking
Can be heated

5. Butter: 50% SFA (3.4% PUFA )

Has a rich buttery flavor
Works great for all applications if you are not dairy sensitive
Can be heated, but not to a high temperature

6. Beef tallow: 49.8% SFA (3.1%  PUFA)

Has a mild undertone of beef flavor
Works great for savory dishes
Can be heated

7. Ghee: 48% SFA (4% PUFA)

Has a mild buttery undertone flavor
Works great for all dishes: sweet and savory
Can be heated

8. Lard: 41% SFA (12% PUFA)

Has a mild flavor
Works great for frying sweet or savory foods
Can be heated

9. Duck fat: 25% SFA (13% PUFA)

Has a rich duck flavor
Works great for frying savory foods
Can be heated

10. Macadamia oil: 15% SFA (10% PUFA)

Has a mild nutty flavor
Works great for salad dressings
Use in nonheat applications, such as salad dressings

11. Extra-virgin olive oil: 14% SFA (9.9% PUFA)***

Has a strong olive flavor
Works great for Italian salad dressings
Use in nonheat applications, such as salad dressings

***Extra-virgin olive oil is a good fat to include in a ketogenic lifestyle, BUT only when used in cold applications, such as salad dressings. Do not use olive oil for cooking; heat causes the oil to oxidize, which is harmful to your health.

12. Avocado oil: 11% SFA (10% PUFA)

Has a mild neutral flavor
Great for salad dressings
Can be heated

13. Hazelnut oil: 10% SFA (14% PUFA)

Has a mild hazelnut flavor
Works great for sweet dishes and exotic Thai dishes
Use in nonheat applications, such as salad dressings

14. Almond oil: 2% SFA (17% PUFA)

Has a mild neutral flavor
Works great for sweet dishes and exotic Thai dishes
Use in nonheat applications, such as salad dressings
Can also be used on the skin

15. Buffalo Tallow (57% SFA, 7% PUFA):

Very Flavorful
Great for frying
Adds a unique flavor

16. Leaf Lard (40% SFA, 10% PUFA):

OK to heat
Doesn’t add much flavor
Very versatile

17. Bacon Fat (40% SFA, 10% PUFA):

Add great flavor
OK to heat

18. Schmaltz (30% SFA, 21% PUFA):

OK to heat
A bit higher in PUFA than others

19. Suet (75% SFA, 3% PUFA):

Great for frying
Harder to work with than Tallow (which is rendered from suet)

Bad Fats to Avoid

There are two kinds of fats that should be avoided. The most inflammatory fats are trans-fatty acids (trans fats). Trans fats are one of the worst substances we can consume for our overall health. There are many studies that show the heart disease and cancer risks of trans fats. Here is a list of trans fats to avoid at all cost:

1. Margarine

2. Vegetable shortening

3. Hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils (look for these on ingredient labels)

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) should also be limited as they are prone to oxidation. There are many oils high in PUFAs. These should be eliminated (or kept to a minimum like peanut or sesame oil). Here is a short list of some of the most common:

Grapeseed oil: 70.6% PUFA
Sunflower oil: 68% PUFA
Flax oil: 66% PUFA
Safflower oil: 65% PUFA
Soybean Oil: 58% PUFA
Corn oil: 54.6% PUFA
Walnut oil: 53.9% PUFA
Cottonseed oil: 52.4% PUFA
Vegetable oil (soybean oil): 51.4% PUFA
Sesame oil: 42% PUFA
Peanut oil: 33.4% PUFA
Canola oil: 19% PUFA



1. Canned Sardines

2. Canned Tuna

3. Canned Anchovies

4. Canned Salmon

5. Cheese Crisps

6. Pork Cloud Pork Rinds

7. Smoked Oysters and Clams

8. Beef Sticks and Beef Jerky (homemade recipe, click HERE.)

9. Nuts (avoid cashews, chestnuts and pistachios). Pili nuts are best.

10. Olives (green and black)

11. Adapt bars and fat shots


Herbs and Spices

Anise, annatto, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, caraway, cardamom, cayenne pepper, celery seed, chervil, chili pepper, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, fenugreek, galangal, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, licorice, mace, marjoram, mint, mustard seeds, oregano, paprika, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, spearmint, star anise, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Quality salts!

Avoid: Spice blends with added sugars or preservatives. Some with extracts and flavorings like vanilla.


HEALTHY TIP: Cinnamon (must be ceylon, not the typical cassia. Cassia has a compound that can be harmful over time)

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, Pili nuts.

Almond Butter, macadamia nut butter, pecan butter, sunflower butter (check for no sugar, I make my own and have recipes HERE.)

Avoid: cashews, chestnuts and pistachios.

Baking Supplies

1. Almond flour

2. Coconut flour

3. Protein powders (unsweetened whey or egg white if dairy sensitive). Watch for added sugars (should be as close to 0g carbs as possible, no more than 4g per serving).

4. Cocoa butter

5. Baking soda

6. Baking powder

7. Xanthum and guar gum (thickeners)

8. Unsweetened cocoa powder

9. Unsweetened baking chocolate

10. Extracts: Apple, strawberry, raspberry, caramel, maple, vanilla, almond, peach

11. SWERVE sweetener (general purpose sweetener).



Other Pantry Items

1. BONE BROTH: I am more like you than you realize… you can find me opening a jar of Epic organic beef broth instead of making my own broth quite often. BUT when I am not overwhelmed with work, I slow down and prepare a lot of things I know I should be doing such as making my own bone broth.

2. GelatinI don’t use regular store brand gelatin.  I use Great Lakes Gelatin It is made from pastured cows in Argentina that have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones.  I bought a HUGE amount (gelatin doesn’t spoil!). Remember, Red can = gels up like jello, green can = doesn’t gel up.

3. Coconut Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar. Watch this video on why coconut vinegar. 

4. Salad Dressings: Check for healthy oils and no sugar.

5. Mustards: Check for no sugar. Organic is preferred.

6. Mayo: check for junky oils and added sugar

7. Kelp Noodles

8. Tomato Sauce in glass Jars: the acid in tomatoes leach metal if stored in aluminum cans. THIS brand works great for making ketogenic ketchup!

9. Pork Dust

10.  Miracle Noodles and Miracle Rice

11. Nori Sheets: for making my Egg Rolls!

12. Marinara sauce: made with quality olive oil and no sugar added!



1. Everly natural sugar free drink mix!

2. TEAS: I love a tasty chocolate caramel caffeine free tea at night! Click HERE to find all the teas I love!

3. LaCroix mineral water. I love the strawberry kiwi!

4. Steaz Tea

5. Leaf & Love Organic Lemonade 

6. Bone Broth: makes a tasty warm beverage!

7. Zevia soda.

So these are just some of the ingredients that can get you started on “healthifying” your pantry! Don’t wait another day! You DESERVE this! It took me years… no, more than a decade, to “healthify” my pantry. I wish I would have ripped the band-aid off and did it all right away. It would have helped me so much. Don’t waste a decade like I did!

Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • asdf says:

    Surely under Fats for cocoa butter you mean mild “chocolate” or “cocoa” flavour where you have

    4. Cocoa butter: 60% (3% PUFA)
    Has a mild coconut flavor
    Works great for sweet and savory cooking
    Can be heated

    I found this article very interesting. Thank you

  • Jean L says:

    Maria, the link to the palm kernel oil you gave states that it is recommended for cosmetics & soap use only. What ??

  • Eliza says:

    I am curious about your take on the Adapt bars. You have them listed as a Keto snack. I make 99.9% of my food from my kitchen, but am always on the look out for an emergency food. I was interested in learning more about the Adapt bars, so I checked the website and they list artificial flavor as one of the ingredients…! I was disappointed to see that and wanted to get your thoughts.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      I contacted them about this and this is their response. “We understand your concerns. We have looked into the differences quite substantially, and a simple google search will result in the same finding we made, which is, “Nature Identical Flavors” (which is what we use) are in fact safer to use in many cases than the so called “Natural Flavors”. Please see an example link here for your reference. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/the-flavor-rundown-natural-vs-artificial-flavors/ Something else to consider, Flavors like “Cookies and Cream, Honey Marsh-mellow, Smors, Oreo and so many others don’t exist in nature and are therefore in the same category as ours. We don’t use any chemical preservatives and the ingredients we use are of the best quality. Dr Westman and The Adapt Team are confident that we have created a wholesome product that is completely safe to use. Warmest Regards, The Adapt Team”

      So for a go to when in a pinch, I think it is an ok option and better than most alternatives. 😉

  • I’m loving the new site, Maria!

    Is Palm kernel oil as soft as butter at room temperature?

  • Claudia says:

    Hi, what about peanut butter?

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      Peanut butter technically is a legume and isn’t Paleo. Yes, it is low carb but for best results I would cut it out.

  • Terri says:

    Great post with great information! I have a question on the Pork Clouds and Pork Dust. I’ve used them before and really like them but I was concerned that they are cooked in olive oil. You state above that heated olive oil is a definite no-no. I had stopped buying Pork Clouds because of that. Are they okay because it is not Extra-Virgin? Just guessing but depending on your expertise. Thanks!!

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      High quality (low acidity) extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 405 degrees so that should be ok. Would prefer they used something like tallow but these are ok in moderation I think.

  • Cindy says:

    My friend let me borrow her book Keto-Adapted, and I am hooked…I found this Pantry list a great help. Being new to the idea of changing my lifestyle of food is very difficult. I have fallen off track several times in the last few weeks. I believe knowing exactly what to purchase was my challenge. I would look at the labels and try to remember what you said about the bad ingredients and the good ingredients. I am getting better at finding the bad things, but honestly, your pantry list is helping me out a lot!! Thank you very much for posting this.

  • Joan Lambert says:

    Good Day: I have recently noticed in a few recipes that the carbs in Swerve are not included or counted. One such recipe is Pecan Toffee Bars. There is more than a cup of swerve used, which is a ton of carbs. If they don’t “count” why does it unleash my cravings for more? Thanks for your help.

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      They do not increase blood sugar at all. That is why they can be subtracted from the total.

  • TinaMarie says:

    Why do you avoid cashews?

  • Laura says:

    Hi Maria (or anyone else!), I know you recommend a specific brand of MCT oil, but in general, what should I look for as far as quality goes? I know there can different ratios between the fatty acid oils, and want to choose the best budget-friendly option ($20 range for 32 oz).

    I found this one:


    Also as a random side question… is there ever a point when the inevitable “Keto breath” people experience when in ketosis goes away, or is it always there? I am a newbie at 2 weeks in, and really starting to get it now. Does anyone have suggestions to keep it at bay besides popping a sugar-free mint??

    • Maria Emmerich says:

      MCT oils are all pretty similar. That looks like a good option.

      As your body gets more efficient at using ketones for fuel (and also if you workout more and use more ketones and FFA’s for fuel) you won’t notice as much bad breath. 🙂

  • Sue says:

    Thank you for this list! I have been following you for a long time now and I am still learning some things! I could use a suggestion though – I bought the green canister of Great Lakes thinking it was what I needed to make gummies 🙁 so now what can I do with the green stuff?? Thank you.

  • Beth says:

    I only see reference to Apple Cider Vinegar – is that the only one we should be using or can we use others as well?

  • Angela says:

    Thank you so much for this detailed post Maria! It is so helpful and I appreciate it so much! I just started reading your books a few days ago! Thanks for the work you’re doing 🙂

  • Molly dyson says:

    I noticed that you referenced making your own Swedish fish in this article. How do you do it? Is your recipe listed somewhere?
    Thank you for this fantastic site and for being a resource for all of us keto dieters!

  • Bronwyn Thomas says:

    Hi Maria. I’m just organising a shopping list after going through my awesome new book “Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking” 😆

    I’m just wondering what sauce you use when you call for “tomato sauce” in recipes?

    I’m loving this book, thank you so much.



  • Brittney says:

    Hi Maria!
    I’m loving your Ketogenic Cooking cookbook! My husband and I are on day 3 of our keto journey (we’ve done it before but this is my first time with your guidance). I’m loving your recipes – they are so creative and full of flavor! I’ve been telling all my friends about your book and how I feel like I’m ‘rediscovering food!’ It’s a great feeling. My question for you is, I bought the ingredients to make your Tomato Soup but my hubby said he won’t eat it because tomatoes have sugar in them and he doesn’t want to throw off his ketosis. What are your thoughts on this?

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