Keto Lunch Meat: The Best Meats for Keto

Following the keto diet is fairly easy. However, you might wonder what type of keto lunch meats you can add without affecting your results. 
Following the keto diet is fairly easy. However, you might wonder what type of keto lunch meats you can add without affecting your results. 

Most people know they need to cut down on carbs and increase their fat intake. However, when it comes to protein, a lot of people don’t know that depending on the type of protein you add, it can aid or jeopardize your weight loss results. In line with the keto food pyramid, it is recommended to include 1–2 portions of fatty cuts of meat in every ketogenic meal. 

But what meat exactly can you include? And what kind of lunch meat is keto-friendly?

Here, we’ll create the ultimate list of lunch meat on keto, so you don’t have to worry about figuring that out. You just have to choose the ones you like and add them to your shopping list. 

Also, at the end of the article, we’ll provide keto-friendly recipes for you to enjoy. 

We’ve got you covered! 

Can You Eat Meat on the Keto Diet?

Yes, you can and should eat meat on the keto diet. In fact, the protein found in meat is one of the essential macronutrients. It helps support muscle mass, slightly increase the metabolism, which helps you burn more calories, and increases fullness levels

When it comes to protein, you don’t want to eat too little since it can result in muscle loss, but you don’t want to overdo it since protein might convert into glucose, affecting ketosis, although the process is quite complex. 

So, which is the best keto lunch meat?

The best lunch meat for keto includes options like chicken, pork, fish, seafood, and beef. They are unprocessed, so you won’t have to worry about them containing hidden carbs.  

Salmon steak – a good keto lunch meat option.

Processed meats, like deli meats, bacon, or hot dogs, usually contain fillers and additives to modify the texture and flavor, meaning they contain carbs. While it’s possible to pick relatively keto-friendly processed meat by checking the nutritional information on the package, it’s best to avoid it altogether. 

Processed meats might contain around 5–6g of carbs per serving. While this doesn’t sound like a significant amount, it might represent 20% of the total carbs for those following a keto diet. In addition, such meats are unhealthy because they are typically high in saturated fats and salt. 

What Meats Can You Eat on Keto?

When it comes to meat, the more natural it is, the better. You can include processed meats, but you must be careful since they have added sugar or other carb-based additives. 

So, what lunch meat is keto-friendly?

Here is a detailed list of keto-friendly lunch meat options you can purchase next time you go grocery shopping. 

Red Meat 

  • All steak cuts – flank, New York strip, skirt, rib-eye, tenderloin, sirloin, etc.
  • Beef – brisket, back ribs, flank, T-bone, ground, and shank
  • Beef and bone broth
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Goat
  • Mutton


  • All parts of the chicken – wings, thighs, breast, liver, and drumsticks
  • Chicken broth
  • Turkey
  • Goose
  • Hen
  • Duck


  • Pork belly
  • Ribs 
  • Pork rinds
  • Pork shoulder
  • Pork tenderloin

You can add the following cuts as long as they are sugar-free and don’t have any carb-based additives:

  • Ham
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausages 
  • Bacon


  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Shellfish, like lobster and oysters
  • Herring
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Flounder 
  • Snapper
  • Shrimp 
  • Canned tuna, but only with no added sugar

When it comes to seafood, while you can add it to a low-carb diet, be careful with the mercury content. A high mercury content might lead to fatigue, tremors, and headaches. 

To check how many times per week you can include each option, you can consult the FDA’s table for mercury content in fish. 

Deli meats 

While you can have deli meat from time to time on keto, they shouldn’t be your only meat source. It’s allowed in moderation, but don’t overdo it.  

  • Corned beef
  • Ham
  • Roast beef
  • Bologna
  • Mortadella
  • Salami
  • Pastrami
  • Prosciutto
  • Chicken 
  • Turkey 

Meat snacks

The same as with deli meats, make sure to read the nutrition label to ensure they don’t have any carb-based fillers or sugar added. 

  • Canned meats
  • Meat sticks
  • Beef jerky 

Game and specialty meats

  • Venison
  • Wild boar
  • Wild turkey
  • Bison
  • Elk
  • Rabbit
  • Organ meats, like liver, hearts, etc.
  • Pheasant 

Meats to Avoid on Keto

So is lunch meat keto-friendly? 

When it comes to lunch meats, the general rule of thumb is to always check the nutrition label before buying it to ensure you can have it on your low-carb diet. 

For instance, glazed ham is made with a sugar coating, so its carb content is high. This makes it a huge no for keto dieters.  

You should opt for lunch meats with almost no carbs (1–2g). If it has a higher amount, keep track of it and make the necessary adjustments during the day to stay within your carb budget. 

So, which protein do you need to be careful of on a keto diet?

  • Deli meats
  • Meat with glazes or sauces
  • Sausages
  • Hot dogs
  • Cured meats
  • Breakfast meats

Deli meats are also known for their high sodium content, and consuming too much of it might increase the risk of high blood pressure and water retention risk. 

Up to 300mg of sodium per serving is considered a safe amount. Anything more than that is classified as high sodium and might affect your health.

Keto Meat Recipes

A struggle most people have when following the ketogenic diet is finding some variety to make it easier. After all, not a lot of people like to eat the same thing every day. 

In this section, we’ll go over 6 delicious recipes allowed to eat on a low-carb diet. They are highly nutritious, low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein. 

Remember, you can make adjustments based on the foods you like and modify the portion sizes according to your daily calorie intake. 

Also, depending on the recipe, you can interchange the proteins. For example, if a recipe calls for sirloin steak, you can change it for another steak cut. 

Sirloin Steak in the Oven

Keto sirloin steak in the oven.

One of the benefits of cooking meat in the oven is that it requires only a small amount of time in the kitchen. You don’t need to stay next to the dish, like when you pan-fry food. 

If you don’t like sirloin, you can replace it with any other steak cut or even roast beef. 

Keto Meatballs

Keto meatballs recipe.

One of the benefits of meatballs is that you can modify the dish according to each need. For example, if you’re the only one in the family following a low-carb diet, you can prepare pasta to go along with the meatballs and have zucchini noodles for those following a ketogenic diet. 

Finally, for those parents that struggle with picky eaters, you can add some vegetables inside the meatballs to increase the nutrient intake. 

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Roasted beef tenderloin.

Roasted beef tenderloin is a delicious treat to have and an excellent dish to include on a keto diet. Add some veggies as a side dish to have a more balanced meal. 

Keto Meatloaf

Keto meatloaf.

Try this delicious meatloaf that your entire family will love, and the best part is that it is suitable to have on a keto diet. We assure you that one bite of this recipe will be packed with flavor, so you’ll want to keep eating more. 

Low-Carb Keto Ground Beef Stroganoff

Stroganoff is comfort food you might want to have when it’s a chilly night, or you are starting to catch a cold. However, most people associate this dish with a higher carb content. If you are looking for a version allowed on a keto diet, look no further. 

Chuck Eye Steak

Chuck eye steak.

Our final recipe is this mouth-watering Chuck eye steak that you can have when you follow a keto diet. As mentioned throughout the article, ensure you add vegetables to balance the dish and add more nutrients to the meal. 

Since you are using the grill, you can take advantage of the situation and add some vegetables like onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. You can use some of the keto rice substitutes as a side too. 

keto quiz


So, can you eat lunch meat on a keto diet?

Yes! Lunch meats are an excellent way of increasing your protein and supporting your muscles. However, you need to be careful with some protein options like deli meats since they might be higher in carbs due to added sugar and fillers. 

When you purchase meat, read the nutrition label thoroughly to check its carb count.

Remember to always have a vegetable source in your meals to provide nutrients and prevent common drawbacks of the keto diet, such as nutrient deficiency and constipation. 


Category: Keto 101, Recipes