Keto Macros and What to Eat?

They are confusing Questions. How much can I actually eat when I am eating keto? What can I eat? What can’t I eat? Do I have to track what I eat? How do I do that if I need to? Can I just eat keto food? How many grams of protein, carbs and fats or calories should I eat?

Keto is a moderate protein, high fat and very low carb way of eating. You can absolutely start by only eating keto foods and you should be “close” to keto. In fact, this is the way we recommend that you start keto by easing into it. However, understanding it more can be SO useful so that you don’t get confused by the terms and the apps.  

Macros are the macronutrients in your food – The amount of fat, carbs and protein.

This article is broken into two sections – What foods you can or can’t eat and understanding “macros”. 

What Can I Eat? And What Do I Need to Avoid?  

“Is this keto?” is one of most common questions. It’s time to give you the tools and knowledge you know to find out if it’s keto or not! 🙂

There are a number of ways you can figure this out! Firstly, it’s important to know where you stand on ingredients – Are you wanting to have a very clean, low processed keto way of eating wanting to eat keto, but not worry about ingredients. If it’s clean, you’ll want to avoid pretty much all of the below or for more relaxed keto, you will be likely ok with some small amounts of these. 

Some of the way you can figure this out include:

  • Search the group or your keto group of choice (i.e. peanut butter)
  • Search google (i.e. “Is cream keto?”)
  • Look on “keto food lists:
  • Use an app like Carb Manager –
  • Look at the carbs – How much is it going to affect your daily carb count?  I.e. 5gm carbs isn’t too bad… But if it’s only 10g of food, that’s a problem. But, 5gm of carbs from that BIG serve of cauliflower is fine! Ingredients (are they high carb?), carbs per 100g (i.e. over 5gm carbs per 100g is something to watch more closely) and size of the serve need to be considered.
  • What are the ingredients? Does it have sugar or flours in it?

Net vs Total Carbs

The carbs you want are net carbs. This is the carbs minus the fibre in the United States. In NZ, New Zealand foods that in packets already display net carbs on the carb line – No calculation needed. The only time you need to do any calculating is knowing that you can remove the fibre from things like veges or berries on Tracking Apps such as Carb Manager as the vast majority are entered using US databases

If you are buying American foods, they are in total carbs and you can remove the fiber. The most important thing to do when using the macros that are in an app is to confirm them against the packet.

Just look at that carb line and you have the net carbs – There is nothing else to do. The majority of countries track it the same as New Zealand including many that some of our foods come from such as Australia, South Africa and European countries.


Coke Zero/Coke No Sugar/Diet coke (or premade drinks with zero carbs) – Some will avoid it for the artificial sweeteners, but it won’t have effect ketosis too much (but look into this in the future if you drink a lot and keep stalling!)

Popcorn – It’s not keto as its carbs are too high

Peanut butter – Some say yes, it’s fine. Some say it’s inflammatory. Many use it in moderation as it is reasonably low in carbs.

Aeroplane or sugar free jelly – Keto, but if you are watching artificial sugars, you may not want it.

Oils – Many will avoid hydrogenated oils (canola, grapeseed, sunflower etc) and aim for more natural ones such as butter, lard, bacon fat, olive or coconut oil etc. This is for health reasons; it won’t kick you out of ketosis though.

Foods with maltitol  or maltodextrin – Both raise blood sugars significantly and should ideally be minimised or completely eliminated  – Though things may have small amounts, you need to add the maltitol grams to the carbs to get the true carb count when it has this in it. Maltodextrin isn’t separated on the nutritional panel but will add extra “carbs” to an ingredient, even though they aren’t shown. If there is lots of maltodextrin, it’s best to avoid entirely. Maltitol also is well known for how badly it upset tummies! 

Grain based foods such as wheat or maize flour, corn, cornflour, porridge, oats, muesli style bars – generally not keto, though some will allow minuscule amounts in their way of eating. Oat fibre and Vital Gluten Flour (the extracted gluten part of the flour) are very low carb so these are ok if you don’t need to avoid these. 

The veges you are mostly aiming for are the above the ground ones. This helps show you the carbs in veges:

For sweeteners, you are avoiding “sugars” such as honey, sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, dates, fruits etc. Some people choose to avoid the artificial ones and use “sugar alcohols” instead. We have more information if you search “sweeteners” in the group. 

Fruit – Small servings of berries are usually ok, but check the carbs as some have more than others. Other fruits are generally not keto. This link is great to see the carbs in fruits:

Understanding Macros and Tracking Your Food

This information has lots of links, have a read of the information first before opening the links and then look at any you need to. The information we’ve linked to helps you to have the most accurate and concise info buy you might not need a lot of it yet. 

Some people choose to track macronutrients either from the start, when they want to check how much they are eating or have stalled for a while etc. If you want to work out your macros for your food, you can use the calculator . We do suggest Carb Manager as the app for tracking what you eat, but highly recommend you use the calculator instead of the Carb Manager calculator for the macros initially as the Carb Manager one is often very inaccurate. The is the most effective and accurate calculator we’ve found for most people. If you are more experienced with keto or are an athlete/high exercise level, then Ketogains Calculator is worth a look too. For most people, we’ve found the macros with Ketogains to be very similar to the ones you will get from, but the calculator is more user friendly. The Ketogains calculator can be found here: It is VERY important that you click the information buttons to make sure you are putting int the correct values no matter which calculator you use. 

What can I eat?

As explained above, the big aim is that you need to cut out the foods that contain carbs (think things like grains, root veges, sugar, “starches” etc) and increase the low carb, higher fat foods (meats, healthy fats, dairy, some nuts, etc). Our book Keto Kiwi is the perfect way to help you get started super fast! 

What app to use? And how to set it up?

Want to track your macros or check the macros of an ingredient? Using an app makes this easier. Carb Manager is one of the best apps you can use for keto: 

You want to set your carbs in Carb manager to “net” carbs. You can do this under “settings” then “carbs to track” This guide will show you how if needed (change to “net carbs” not diabetes carbs): 

You want to calculate your macros using this calculator and then put them into Carb Manager: 

To change your macros in Carb Manager, use the Getting Started wizard in the app’s left menu or have a look here: Step 5 shows you how to select custom macros. 

Meal Plan

If you are looking for a meal plan, we have more information about getting started in our Getting Started Plan. 

What to eat on keto