Blog Diets Carnivore Diet Food List: What to Eat 

Carnivore Diet Food List: What to Eat 

The carnivore diet is gaining traction among those who are looking for an uncomplicated, meat-led approach to eating and weight management. By cutting out all plant-based foods and prioritizing animal products, the diet promises simplicity and claims to offer potential health benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned follower or a curious beginner, mastering the diet plan starts with understanding what the food list for a carnivore diet contains. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into the essentials of the carnivore food diet and provide you with a comprehensive list of food for carnivore diet that highlights the options. We aim to motivate you with the simplicity of this diet, showing you how high-quality and nutrient-rich animal foods can fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. We also discuss the limitations and potential risks of this highly restrictive eating plan. So, let’s embark on this journey together. 

Introduction to the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is primarily focused on animal-based foods, entirely eliminating plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. Followers of the diet claim that it has various health benefits, including improved mental clarity, weight reduction, and lowered inflammation, although these claims are not supported by scientific research This guide breaks down a comprehensive carnivore diet food list to help you understand what it truly entails.

Origins and Philosophy of the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet, which is also known as the zero-carb diet, has its roots in ancestral eating patterns, where it is claimed that humans essentially consumed only animal products. The list of food for carnivore diet prioritizes high-quality, nutrient-dense animal cuisine, arguing that these foods provide all the nutrients that are required for sustainable human health. It’s also considered a type of “keto” or ketogenic diet as it has no room for carbs (2).  

Health Claims and Skepticism

Advocates and enthusiasts report that the carnivore diet can help with autoimmune diseases, mental health conditions, and weight management. However, there is no robust scientific evidence to support these anecdotal claims. Skeptics also argue that it lacks the many essential and beneficial nutrients that are provided by plant-based foods, and is likely to lead to long-term health risks (1). As with any dietary approach, it’s important to tread with caution and consider professional guidance. 

Essential Meats: The Backbone of the Carnivore Diet

In the list of food on carnivore diet, meat is more than just a staple — it’s the foundation of your nutritional intake. Essential carnivore diet meats provide the bulk of the diet’s nutrients, offering a variety of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being. 

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Many followers have reported improved energy levels, enhanced mental clarity, and better physical performance. Furthermore, the carnivore diet food list offers essential amino acids and fatty acids to support muscle growth, hormone production, and overall cellular function. However, it lacks carbohydrates, fiber, certain vitamins and minerals, and beneficial plant compounds such as antioxidants. Let’s delve into the various types of meats that build the backbone of the food list for carnivore diet. 

Red Meat: A Staple of Strength

Meat is central to a carnivore diet, with red meat in particular offering a rich source of protein, iron, and essential vitamins like B12. 

  • Beef: Ground beef, steaks, roasts, and ribs are versatile, nutrient-dense, and easy to prepare. 
  • Lamb: A flavorful carnivorous alternative rich in fats and minerals. 
  • Venison: Lean and full of protein, try venison when you want a bit of variety. 

Poultry and Pork: Diverse Proteins

Poultry and pork are the next best things for diversity on the list of food for carnivore diet, providing different flavors, textures, and nutrient profiles. 

  • Chicken: Whole chickens, thighs, breasts, and wings. 
  • Turkey: A leaner option for those who don’t prefer chicken. 
  • Pork: Chops, bacon, and ribs add a depth of flavor and fat. 
  • Game Meats: Duck, pheasant, quail, and squab are super flavorful. 

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Seafood: Diving into Aquatic Options

Embracing a list of food on the carnivore diet doesn’t require you to limit yourself to just land-based meats. The carnivore diet seafood list offers a refreshing and nutrient-dense variety that enhances your culinary experience. From omega-3-fused fatty fish to mineral-laden shellfish, the aquatic options on the carnivore diet food list offer brilliant flavors and essential nutrients to support overall well-being. 

Fatty Fish: Omega-3 Powerhouses

Fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, supporting heart and brain health. 

  • Salmon: Rich in omega-3s and versatile in flavor and preparation.
  • Mackerel: Packed with healthy fats and vitamins.
  • Sardines: High in nutrients with bones providing calcium. 
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Shellfish: Nutrient-Rich Choices

Shellfish offer a varied nutrient profile, providing essential minerals such as zinc and selenium. 

  • Shrimp: Low in calories and high in protein.  
  • Oysters: An exceptional source of zinc and vitamin B12.
  • Mussels: Rich in omega-3s and iron.

Carnivore diet food list  

Eggs: Versatile Protein Sources

Eggs are a cornerstone of the carnivore diet, revered for their simplicity, versatility, and nutritional prowess. As a complete protein source, eggs provide large amounts of many nutrients in a compact and easily available form. These delicious carnivore diet eggs are fast and easy to prepare and adaptable to several meal options, which makes them a breakfast favorite, a satisfying snack, and a practical and simple lunch or dinner solution.

Whole Eggs: Nutritional Benefits

Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, offering rich protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins. (3)

  • Whole Eggs: Include both the yolk and white for a balanced nutrient profile.
  • Egg Yolks: Rich in fats, minerals, and vitamins. 

Cooking Methods and Uses

Eggs are incredibly versatile to cook with and easily suit different preferences (4). 

  • Scrambled: Quick, easy. 
  • Hard Boiled: Convenient for snacks or meals, especially breakfast.
  • Omelets: A great base for a delicious meal, add chicken, feta, bacon, or anything you want.
  • Fried: Adds a flavor profile and crispy texture.
  • Poached: Slightly soft but full of deliciousness. 

Dairy: Selectively Included

Those who follow the food list for carnivore diet prefer it over any other due to its straightforward nature. Dairy products, although not always accepted in the list of food on carnivore diet, can be a valuable addition to your meals. High-fat, low-lactose carnivore diet dairy items such as butter, heavy cream, and cheese can enhance your meals, making them satiating and nutritionally diverse. 

High-Fat Dairy: Cream, Butter, and Cheese

While not universally accepted on the list of food on carnivore diet, high-fat dairy products offer beneficial fats and enhance the flavor and variety of any meal. 

  • Butter: Great for cooking and adding flavor to any meal. 
  • Heavy Cream: Useful in coffee or sauces to create a rich jus. 
  • Cheese: Opt for hard, aged cheese with low lactose. 

The Role of Dairy in Nutrient Absorption

Dairy foods are rich in protein, with a small thumb-sized wedge of hard cheese that contains 8 grams of protein (5). Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K come from animal and dairy products. In addition, lactose facilitates intestinal calcium absorption (9). 

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Read more: Carnivore Diet Meal Plan for Beginners

Organ Meats: Nutritional Goldmine

Organ meats, which are often referred to as offal, are some of the most nutrient-rich foods that are available, but they’re underappreciated in modern diets. For those who are following or considering an organ meats carnivore diet, incorporating them can be daunting but nutritionally enhancing. Rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and unique compounds, organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidneys can elevate your health with minimal effort and maximum reward. 

Liver: Vitamin and Mineral Storehouse

The liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the carnivore diet food list and is full of vitamins A, B12, and iron. It’s the detox organ, sometimes also called “nature’s multivitamin” .(6)

  • Beef Liver: High in nutrients and relatively mild in flavor, which makes it good for beginners. 
  • Chicken Liver: Softer in texture and easily adaptable in several dishes. 

Heart and Kidneys: Uncommon but Valuable

Organ meats can be a great addition to your food list for a carnivore diet. They’re a powerhouse of nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and folate, and they also provide iron and protein.  

  • Heart: Hearts are high in protein and zinc, making them essential for immunity. 
  • Kidney: Kidneys contain iron, zinc, and riboflavin, a B-vitamin which may reduce the risk of lung and colorectal cancer (7). 

Carnivore diet food list  

Fats and Oils: Sourcing Energy on the Carnivore Diet

As carbohydrates are entirely absent from the list of food on carnivore diet, the body relies heavily on fats for energy. The key is to incorporate animal-based fats and oils into your diet to simplify your carnivore journey. You should focus on a limited, nutrient-dense list of food for carnivore diet, especially animal fats as they can help maintain energy levels, promote satiety, and enhance overall dietary satisfaction.

Animal Fats: Tallow and Lard Essentials

Animal fats are a dense source of energy, crucial to add to the carnivore diet food list. However, they’re high in saturated fats, which are typically recommended to be limited for heart health.

  • Tallow: Rendered beef fat, exceptional for frying and baking. 
  • Lard: Rendered pork fat, versatile for cooking and baking.  

Incorporating Fats: A Balancing Act

Balancing protein and fat intake is the secret to maintaining healthy energy levels and satiety on a carnivore diet. 

  • Cooking with Fats: Use animal fats to up the flavor and nutrient profile of the meat. 
  • Supplement Fats: Butter or ghee is a great addition to the food list for carnivore diet. 
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Beverages: Keeping Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential when following any diet. When you’re following the food list for carnivore diet, choose beverages that align with a meat-based lifestyle. Hydration, especially water and nutrient-dense bone broth, can support your body’s needs and enhance your carnivore diet experience. These beverages can help you stay energized and nourished.  

Water: The Foundation of Hydration

Staying hydrated is the key to unlocking great health and there’s nothing better than water. Drink at least 2 to 3 liters a day.

  • Plain Water: Essential for all bodily functions – need we say more?
  • Mineral Water: Provides small amounts of additional electrolytes your body may be lacking. 

Bone Broth: Nutritious and Satisfying

Bone broth provides hydration together with collagen, amino acids, and minerals. It’s said to be super for digestion and gut health and to support immune function, help the joints, and promote sleep (8). 

  • Homemade Bone Broth: The ingredients and quality of the broth are in your control.
  • Store-Bought: Always read the label. Choose high-quality options with minimal additives.  

A Sample One-Day Carnivore Diet Meal Plan

Adopting a new diet can be overwhelming, but with the carnivore diet, its beauty is its simplicity. Embracing a carnivore diet food list is very straightforward, if not balanced, which makes meal planning and preparation quite simple. We’ve put together a one-day carnivore diet meal plan based on the list of food on carnivore diet to start things off for you.  

Breakfast Ideas: Starting Your Day Right

Starting your morning with a robust breakfast sets the tone for sustained energy and a satiated day. Here are some simple yet satisfying carnivore breakfast meals:

  • Scrambled Eggs with Bacon: This classic combination is a powerhouse of protein and fat and will ensure you stay full for longer. Cook the bacon first and then scramble the eggs in the rendered fat for a hearty meal. 
  • Steak and Eggs: A filling breakfast perfect for a long day. Grill or pan-fry a small steak according to your preference, and fry or scramble a few eggs to accompany it. 
  • Egg Muffins with Sausage: Bake your egg muffins in a muffin tin and add cooked sausage pieces to the mix. They’re great for grab-and-go and can be meal-prepped ahead of time. 
  • Omelet with Cheese: Whisk eggs and pour into a medium hot pan. Once set around the edges, add your cheese of choice and fold the omelet. Et voila, a creamy start to your day.   
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Lunch and Dinner: Satisfying and Simple

Lunch and dinner should be simple yet satisfying meals and these ideas we’ve put together for you require minimal preparation. 

  • Grilled Salmon with Butter: Salmon is an omega-3 fatty acid powerhouse and adds a depth of flavor to the meal. Grill the salmon and top it with a knob of butter for a fulfilling plate of food. 
  • Chicken Thighs with Crispy Skin: Seasoned chicken thighs can be either baked or pan-fried until the skin turns crispy. The high-fat content in the skin will keep you feeling full and satisfied for the rest of the day. 
  • Pork Chops with Bone Broth Gravy: Pan-fry chops in ghee for a juicy and delicious taste. Ghee and bone broth gravy will add nutrients and flavor depth.  
  • Beef Liver with Herb Butter: For a nutrient-rich meal, opt for beef liver sauteed in herb butter. Liver is rich in vitamins and minerals, and the creamy richness of the herb butter, which is made with dried herbs, complements the strong flavor of the organ meat.  

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Carnivore diet food list  


  • How do I transition to the carnivore diet from a standard diet?

Transition into a carnivore diet by gradually increasing your intake of animal foods while also reducing plant-based products. Listen to your body and adjust your food list for carnivore diet accordingly. Talk to your doctor about the risks and whether this type of diet is safe for you before you start. 

  • Can I drink coffee or tea on the carnivore diet?

While some purists avoid all plant-based foods, others are open to drinking black coffee and plain tea. Monitor your body’s responses and adjust if necessary. 

  • How do I ensure adequate fat intake on the carnivore diet?

Include fatty cuts of meat, use animal fats when cooking, and consider adding high-fat dairy products to your list of food for carnivore diet if that’s acceptable to you. 

  • What should I expect during the initial phase of the carnivore diet?

Initial adjustments can include digestive changes, energy fluctuations, and cravings. These typically stabilize with time and patience, usually in a few weeks. 

  • Do I need to count calories or macros on the carnivore diet?

Most followers of the carnivore diet food list prioritize eating to satiety rather than counting calories or tracking macros. You must listen to your body’s hunger signals. 

  • How can I handle cravings for sweets or carbohydrates?

Cravings often fade over time. Make sure you’re eating enough fat and protein to stay satiated through the day. However, eating few to no carbohydrates is not a good idea for everyone, so you should talk to your healthcare provider for individualized advice. 

  • Will I get enough fiber on the carnivore diet?

The list of food for carnivore diet doesn’t include fiber, which is one of the many serious limitations of this diet. Talk to your healthcare provider before you try any restrictive diet.  

The Bottom Line

The carnivore diet food list is full of animal-based products, which, while simple, is not balanced or healthy for most people. However, by understanding the nutrient profiles of each food and how to prepare them, you can seamlessly implement this diet if you choose to, despite its limitations and risks. As with any dietary approach, you should always consider your individual health needs first and consult a healthcare professional when making significant dietary changes. 

For more comprehensive information on health and wellness, explore the BetterMe blog.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Carnivore Diet: Food List, Benefits, Risks, and More (, 2024)
  2. What is the carnivore diet? (, 2024)
  3. Carnivore diet: What it is and how to do it (, 2020)
  4. What Is the Healthiest Way to Cook and Eat Eggs? (, 2023)
  5. Cheese – The Nutrition Source (
  6. Are Organ Meats Healthy? (, 2023)
  7. Are There Health Benefits to Eating Organ Meat? (, 2022)
  8. Top 5 health benefits of bone broth (, 2023)
  9. Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health (, 2015)
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