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Shopping List for the Slow Carb Diet: (with Protein Counts)

Shopping List for the Slow Carb Diet: (with Protein Counts)
Home » Diets » Shopping List for the Slow Carb Diet: (with Protein Counts)

This post is mostly a resource list of compliant foods that make up a comprehensive slow carb shopping list. Most of the items will also work with ketogenic and low carb diets.

Shopping for high protein, low carb foods in grocery store in Spain
Shopping for high protein, low carb foods in grocery store in Spain

Jump to:
High Protein Foods
Sauces & Condiments
Canned Goods
Packaged Food
Food for Refrigerator

First up is a list of proteins and the gram count for each one.  Protein is the keystone of the 4-hour body diet (aka Slow Carb Diet or SCD) and the guidelines call for 20-30 grams of protein for each meal.  This list might make it a little easier for you to make quick decisions on how to satisfy that guideline:

High-Protein Foods for a Slow Carb Shopping List


  • Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
  • Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
  • Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce


  • Chicken breast, 3.5 oz – 30 grams protein
  • Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
  • Drumstick – 11 grams
  • Wing – 6 grams
  • Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams


  • Most fish fillets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
  • Tuna, 6 oz can – 40 grams of protein


  • Pork chop, average – 22 grams protein
  • Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
  • Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
  • Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
  • Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
  • Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6 grams

Eggs and Beans & Misc.

  • Egg, large – 6 grams protein
  • Cottage cheese, ½ cup – 15 grams
  • Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
  • Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
  • Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
  • Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams

Nuts and Seeds

  • Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons – 8 grams protein
  • Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
  • Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
  • Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
  • Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
  • Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

 Rice Protein Powder and Other Protein Powders

Rice and hemp, as well as other plants like soy and pea can be used to make protein powders. They are all processed to some degree or other, but can be useful supplements to the diet in some circumstances.  Check individual brands for the amount of protein per serving.

Good Sauces & Condiments for a Slow Carb Shopping List

Many sauces and condiments are riddled with all kinds of hidden sugars. Learn to read labels and look for sugars and carbs in all their disguises. These homemeade no-sugar sauces can definitely liven up your meals, whether it be the main protein or a vegetable side dish.

Slow Carb Sauces: Harissa, Romesco & Chimichurri
Slow Carb Sauces: Harissa, Romesco and Chimichurri

A more detailed list of condiments might include:

  • Mustard (except sweetened mustards like honey mustard)
  • Vinegars (be careful with added sugar in baslamic vinegar)
  • Oils (olive oil and coconut oil are the recommended oils)
  • Most bottled hot sauces (check labels for added sugar)
  • Most salsas (check labels for sugar)
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Mayonnaise – look especially for brands high in monounsaturated fat
  • Sugar-free salad dressings, preferably brands high in monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil (check labels carefully)
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Horseradish
  • Pesto
  • Herbs and spices
  • Lemon or lime juice (1 gram of carb per tablespoon)
  • Extracts (vanilla, lemon, almond, etc.)
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Worcestershire sauce

 Canned Goods for the Pantry

  • Canned seafood (tuna, salmon, crab, smoked oysters)
  • Sardines
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Salsas
  • Pasta sauce or tomato sauce with no added sugars
  • Canned green chilies
  • Tomato paste
  • Roasted red peppers (rinse if there is sugar in the ingredients)
  • Dried tomatoes in oil (a little adds lots of flavor)
  • Chicken and/or vegetable stock
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Jars of pesto or other vegetable-based sauces
  • Dill pickles
  • Italian pickled vegetables
  • Anchovies
  • Nut butters
  • Coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • Dried beans of all kinds (including garbanzo)
  • Canned beans (rinse them off if using canned beans)
  • Olives

Packaged Foods for the Pantry

  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or peanuts (domino foods but allowed in small amounts if you can be disciplined about it)
  • Seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sugar-free gelatin such as JELL-O
  • Chicharrones (pork rinds)
  • Protein Powders: Popular brands on these diet include Isopure, MuscleTech, Optimum Nutrition and several others.

**Notes on protein powders:

The main things to look for in your proteint powder is:

  • it is a “whey isolate”,
  • it includes less than 2 grams or so of sugar,
  • at least 20 grams protein per scoop
  • and that it is low in carbs.

After that it is a matter of taste and expense.  They do all taste quite different, so if one is not to your liking try another.  Also, a tsp of cinnamon really helps in the taste department.

Protein powder with blender bottle
Protein powder with blender bottle

Good Choices for the Refrigerator and Freezer

  • Low-carb vegetables, fresh and frozen. For example, spinach, greens, peppers, spaghetti squash,  zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, beans, etc.
  • Most root vegetables are NOT allowed and most winter squash is not allowed.  Root vegetables include such things as beets, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, etc.  Corn is NOT allowed and carrots are OK but can be a little high in sugar.
  • Most fruit is not allowed. 1/2 cup of berries per day can be OK and lemon and lime juice can be OK.
  • Meats of all kinds
  • Fish of all kinds
  • Eggs
  • cottage cheese (full fat)
  • Tofu (soy products are not deemed “healthy” by 4-Hour body book however)
  • Nuts – almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts – keep in freezer or refrigerator
  • Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin – keep in freezer or refrigerator
  • Lettuce: large leaves for rollups – put any sandwich material inside (example: BLT lettuce wraps)
  • Bags of greens or cabbage for quick preparation

I’m sure I have missed some compliant foods and have added some foods that 4-hour body gurus debate (i.e., cottage cheese, 1/2 cup berries and unsweetened coconut milk), but this is the most current information that I have been able to curate that has passed most tests of being “compliant”. It should serve you well as a low carb shopping list to take along to the grocery store.

Online Coaching

Although I am not currently taking clients for diet & health coaching, I have been a coach for many years with the online service called It is a great platform for all kinds of coaching – anything from specific diets, writing a blog, getting up early, or getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site through the link below. There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  You can always contact me to get referrals also.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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  1. Nichole says:

    Thanks for the list! I see you on all the time and I love your input. Your products look awesome and your blogs really show that you’re a down-to-earth lovely lady. Keep up all of your awesome work!

  2. Elly says:

    Under eggs, beans & misc. Category, tofu is listed to show how many grams of protein yet under the low carb refrigerator and freezer you lis tofu as not being accepted under this diet. Can you clarify-is it or is it not okay to eat under this diet? Also, I’m not able to find any information on shrimp-I know shrimp is high in protein and low in calories. Is that an acceptable protein? I would appreciate your help! This was a helpful post with the exception of those two clarifying questions. Thanks so much

    • Hi Elly, thanks for pointing out the tofu confusion. Tofu is compliant with the diet as far as carbs go, but soy products are considered unhealthy by the author in terms of GMO’s etc. Shrimp is fine. I’d have to google it to find the number of grams protein and calories, but I’m sure it would be easy enough to find. All the seafood proteins are compliant.

  3. Sofia Simone says:

    Wow that’s not very much food. 20 grams of protein for supper is basically one chicken thigh and about half a cup a beans or split peas. I though in the book he said that we can eat as much of the above as we want. I’m kinda confused 🙁

    • That is a minimum amount of “protein”. You want to get in about 30 grams of protein for breakfast, at least 20 grams for lunch and 20 grams for dinner. It’s a guideline and remember you’re also getting carbs, fat, etc. with your meals. Most people have a lot of trouble getting in 30 grams of protein for breakfast and if you are getting enough protein and fat you are not going to be hungry. The total protein per day should run from 70 grams upward.

      Beans are allowed but too many beans can stall your weight loss. They are included to keep your energy levels high enough that you don’t get fatigued and quit.

      • Sofia Simone says:

        I meant to say can I substitute beans and lentils for split peas?

        • Yes, lentils are the best in terms of weight loss, black beans next best, then red kidney beans and peas are least best as they have more sugar than the others. I will try and post an article on beans next week. I haven’t had time to post much lately but hope to do a lot more now that my blueberry season is over. I’ll let you know when I post it.

          Thanks for the questions/comments!

          • Sofia Simone says:

            Thank you so much for the enlightenment . You’re so kind 🙂

            • No Problem Sofia! I love helping people out on this diet. It has been very good for me and my family and I’m a strong advocate for this way of eating. Healthy and long term sustainability, no hunger, and gets rid of all the sugar. (plus the cheat day is like having Christmas once a week).

              • Sofia Simone says:

                I’ve been on this diet for about 4 days now and I love it so much because I’m never hungry. But I’m little worried because everyone is talking so much against legumes because of the lectins they contain. I have been soaking and sprouting mine hoping this would help because I really want to stay with this eating plan. I’m glad to know that you and your family encourage this way of eating !!!

                • One more thing on beans Sofia. Briefly, National Geographic hired Dan Buettner to search the globe for those areas which have the longest lived people with the least amount of health issues, and then try to figure out why. They were looking for places with high concentrations of 100-year-olds who had grown old without diseases like heart problems, obesity, cancer, or diabetes. They identified 5 areas in the world that met the criteria. He then studied their diets. Each area had very different diet regimes, but the one thing they all had in common was a cup of beans a day. He called beans the cornerstone to health in these areas’ diets.

  4. Hello and thank you for this article.

    Do you have any information on the suitability of chayote? I understand it is a member of the squash family, but other research seems to indicate it’s very good for low carb diets. So I’m hopeful it’s OK for this variation as well.

    There is so much you can do with it, from faux baked potatoes, to ingredients in casseroles and more. (Great for low carb Thai curries I’ve been concocting.)

    • Well, with respect to the slow carb diet, chayote is considered a fruit and a large portion of its calories come from sugar (2 grams of sugar and 6 grams carbs for every 25 grams of calories). This would make it non-compliant with a slow carb or low carb diet. Chayote is, however, a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Zinc, Copper and Manganese. So, value in the health area, but not in the weight loss area.

  5. Erin McKnabb says:

    I recently found a slow carb breakfast frittata recipe that called for bacon and turkey sausage. Is this allowed on the 4 hour body diet? Also is it ok to have a protein shake when you wake up instead of a big egg breakfast if you have limited time in the morning?

    • Yes on both counts. Just make sure the protein shake uses protein powder that is a whey isolate with very little carbs and less than 2-3 grams sugar. It doesn’t have to be right when you wake up either. He has moved on that recommendation.

  6. Valerie says:

    I just want to know about brown rice?

    • Brown rice is not allowed on slow carb or keto or most of the low carb diets. It has the same amount of carbs as white rice, but has a few more nutritional components. If you keep your daily totals of carbs really low elsewhere sometimes you can get away with some brown rice. Depends on how strict you want to be and what else you’re eating that day.

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