Shopping for keto-friendly items in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland gets easier every day as more and more options become available. Now obviously your local grocery store will have most items you need on the keto diet… after all, even 7-11 carries meat, cheese, cream and eggs! There are, however, some specialty items you will need to get at other shops.
Below is a list of places and items (some essential, some recommended, and some just plain extravagances) that will help you on your keto journey.
Keto Specialty Shops
First, I wanted to tell you about a couple of great little specialty shops in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area that cater specifically to the keto lifestyle:
1. Everything Keto (#109, 8814-216th St, Langley)
This little shop is tucked away in the Walnut Grove area of Langley. They carry a huge variety of mostly imported keto-friendly items, including hard-to-find snack foods and other prepared food, but more importantly the store has fresh-baked goods (bread, cupcakes, etc.) and keto-friendly entrées (like shepherd’s pie and keto cauliflower mac and cheese) made by their partners F-Carbs. Everything Keto carries a great selection and people are always raving about their pre-made meals and desserts. It should also be noted they sweeten their treats with erithrytol, not sucralose.
2. The Low Carb Grocery (#137, 8610 Glenlyon Parkway, Burnaby)
This is a great little store in South Burnaby that carries an impressive selection of keto-friendly grocery items. They are bigger than Everything Keto, offer online shopping, and have a nice loyalty program. Like Everything Keto, they carry an impressive array of goods including several brands of low-carb tortillas and wraps. If you do go to check them out, make sure to stop by the nearby Red Square Bakery!
I want to give a shout-out to Nosh Low Carb, a low-carb food preparation service located in Langley. Nosh has an innovative business model, whereby they prepare keto-friendly baked goods that are are available for pick-up at other locations. They sell their wares mainly at Langley's Fresh Gourmet Takeaway (who also handle deliveries), and are also available at JD Farms Specialty Turkey Store, and at the Murrayville location of Shoppers Drug Mart.
Speaking of Fresh Gourmet Takeaway, they are a food-preparation company in Langley that caters to those too busy to prepare their own meals. Theyhave a full 7-day keto menu including all your meals and some bonus fat bombs that you can order as a package from their site and either pick it up or get it dropped off. The machinations are a bit complicated, so you're better off getting the info from their site.
Next is a list of notable grocery stores in the Vancouver area that stock specific keto-friendly items.
1. Real Canadian Superstore (multiple locations)
Every grocery store will stock items that will be helpful on your keto journey. But ketoers eat A LOT of meat. Sso if you're looking to save some money on your keto groceries (meat is spendy!) and cut down on food waste at the same time, Superstore has a new app that gives you huge discounts on food items nearing their best-before date.
I'm talking half-price meat here!!!
There are some amazing deals, as long as you're okay with meat approaching its best-before date. But that's what freezers are for, right?
You just download the Flashfood app, check out what's available near you, order it, then you just go to the customer service counter and pick it up! Also, if you use my link you get $5 off your first purchase. Five bucks!!!
If you're near a Superstore, click here (on your phone) and check out the deals!
2. Walmart (multiple locations)
I know, I know... not a traditional stop for low-carb shopping, but remarkably they do carry NuPasta shirataki noodles (the most pasta-like of all the available brands and an essential for keto pasta recipes), and Coolway low-carb ice cream, which in my extensive personal taste-testing is the best one available in the local market… and the most reasonably priced.
3. T&T Supermarket (multiple locations)
This is an Asian specialty market (actually owned by Loblaws). They have a lot of Asian vegetables and specialty meat cuts, but the main reason I shop here is they have the best selection of pork rinds (chicharrones) anywhere. They have a nice variety of flavours (including salt & vinegar and BBQ) that you can’t find anywhere else. A quick note: check the labels, because some items called “chicharrones” are actually made from corn flour!
4. Choices Markets (multiple locations)
Choices Markets is a Vancouver-based supermarket chain that is focused on natural, specialty and organic food. They have a surprising selection of keto-friendly items, but most importantly they have a new keto-friendly baked goods selection! They currently offer Fat Bombs, Keto Cookies, Low-Carb Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse. They’re made with locally sourced and organic ingredients, and sweetened with Erythritol.
5. Shoppers Drug Mart (multiple locations)
Many Shoppers locations, due to popular demand, have started building “low-carb” sections of their stores. They don’t carry much fresh food, but are a great source of snacks and packaged keto-friendly foods. The two that get the most love seem to be the Murrayville Square store in Langley location as well as the Fremont Village location out in Port Coquitlam.
6. Costco (multiple locations)
Costco is still the queen of keto shopping; their meat department especially is unrivaled for quality, selection, and price. They also have unbeatable prices on a few keto-friendly items like Whisps cheese crisps, almond flour, and more cheese and processed meat than you can shake a stick at. One warning: their low-carb protein bars have A LOT of sugar alcohols and thus may cause "gastric distress" in some people (like me). The manager at the Costco near me said it was their most-returned item for that reason... but they are delicious, so I'll leave it up to you!
Baked goods are tough on the keto diet, as there are only a few flours that are low-carb, and each comes with its own drawbacks. Add the fact that sugar is a no-no, and one can understand why some people accuse the keto diet of being too limiting.
That said, there are some new sweeteners out there and some innovative bakeries who are making remarkable keto-friendly products. Here are a couple I can personally recommend:
1. Red Square Bakery (8626 Joffre Avenue, Burnaby)
This has quickly become my favourite place to shop for keto baked goods. DOn't lets its off-the-beaten=path location and slightly weathered visage fool you... they make AMAZING low-carb baked goods and they are reasonably priced. They make keto-friendly bread, hamburger buns, pitas, bagels, pizza shells, cookies… the list goes on!
Red Square has been in business for decades and uses a propriety flax flour blend that makes seriously good bread at 1g of net carbs per slice. It has saved me from a life of sandwich deprivation! I should tell you they do add wheat gluten to make the bread fluffy and chewy, so if you’re celiac you should avoid their stuff. They also use sucralose in their sweetened products, so I personally stick to their bread, buns, and bagels. Definitely worth the trip to stock up once a month!
2. Style Me Sweet Bakery (#12 - 20349 88th Ave, Langley)
This bakery café (also known as Mozart Bakery) is located in Langley just off Highway 1 and, among other things, makes amazing erithrytol-sweetened treats like Nanaimo Bars, cakes, and cookies. They also bake their own keto bread (using Red Square’s flax-blend flour). This is a great little space to stop in for lunch and take home a few treats!
There are more and more restaurants that will modify their menu items to cater to ketoers. Most fast food joints, for instance, will do a lettuce wrap for your burger instead of a bun, and you can always get a steak and a salad just about anywhere.
But there are a couple of restaurants of note that are a ketoers dream, and I wanted to highlight them here.
1. Caveman Café (88 W Pender St. Vancouver)
This Vancouver bistro is a keto wonderland! None of their food or ingredients contain any additives, preservatives, or sugar. They only use avocado or olive oil, and their meats are either grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef, free-range chicken and eggs, and/or wild fish. They also deliver! Of particular note are their zucchini noodle pastas, caveman pizza (grain- and gluten-free crust) and keto almond cookies.
2. Festal Paleo Café (433 Granville St. Vancouver)
Festal isn’t keto per se, but their menu has lots of delicious keto options, including the ability to order a keto bun alongside any menu option. But more interesting is that you can order pre-made meals in advance, pick them up, and eat like a ketogenic rock star all week!
3. Be 'wiched Café (#102 - 15230 56 Ave. Surrey)
While I haven't had the chance to visit this place, I predict that will change real quick! Rumour has it Be 'wiched offers a rotating daily keto menu with lots of other keto options. They've garnered 4.9 stars out of 5 on Facebook, so that should tell you everything you need to know. Definitely a welcome addition to Surrey!
4. Pizza Knight (19161 Fraser Hwy, Surrey)
For all the recommendations this place gets from the keto crowd on Facebook, they really should be first on this list! Pizza Knight offers one of the only eat-in take-out keto pizzas in the Lower Mainland. They use a cheese crust, and a little birdy told me they also make a wonderful butter chicken with cauliflower rice! As a long-time ketoer myself I want to say I'm profoundly grateful for the option!
Pizza Knight also carries Bridge Brewing's PrimeTime Craft Ale (5% ABV, 1.5g carbs, 110 cal) to pair with your keto pizza pie, so we can eat out and have pizza and beer like the Norms!!! I did a little digging and found out you can get them delivered via DoorDash as well!!!
5. Blaze Pizza (3 locations)
Blaze is a US-based fast-food pizza chain that's quickly made a name for itself by a) being voted America's favourite fast-food pizza and b) being backed by NBA star LeBronJames. They are famous for their artisanal pizza pies... and cooking them in 3 minutes flat. Blaze is the first national chain to offer a keto-friendly crust and actually boasts two: a cauliflower-based crust and a "keto crust" that looks similar to the fathead dough many ketoers are intimately familiar with.
The Sundowner Pub (11970 64th Avenue, Delta)
If you find yourself in Delta (and really, who doesn't from time to time?), check out The Sundowner's special keto menu. It's nice to have places to go that support ketoers so we don't just have to order Buffalo Wings or bunless burgers everywhere we go!
Their menu distinctly says "Summer Keto Menu," so I'm not sure if it's available year-round, but their Bchicken wings are apparently famous so it's worth stopping by regardless, no?
Bonus points for their keto drinks selection with a specially made keto cocktail!
6. Mission City Pizza (32818 7th Ave N, Mission)
A little off the beaten path perhaps, but Mission City Pizza offers not one but TWO keto-friendly pizza crusts. This pizza joint comes HIGHLY recommended; in fact it was voted one of the top Pizza places to eat in the Lower Mainland in the latest Province survey.
Mission City has a cauliflower crust and a cheese-based crust, and while they DO deliver, getting it from farther away than, say, Abbotsford is going to be cost prohibitive. Your best bet may be, if you're heading east, to peruse the menu on their website, place a phone order, and make a quick detour over to the lovely town of Mission. Chances are the pizza will be gone by the time you get back on the highway!
For those of us who have the time and patience (and hopefully a Nexus card) to make the odd trip stateside, there are some great shopping experiences to be had in Washington.
It goes without saying that Bellingham is great (they have Whole Foods and Costco, but so do we, right?!). There's also a couple of Fred Meyers stores, which have a great meat and keto-friendly ice cream selection. Just get it home before it melts as I found out the hard way on my way home from a Blue Jays game in Seattle. Better to make ice cream your last stop before heading home!
But I accidentally discovered a new treasure in Lynden, WA. Here's why I love it: first, the Aldergrove border crossing is rarely busy; second, gas is $1 a gallon cheaper than in Blaine; and third, but most importantly, unlike Blaine, which only has one grocery store, Lynden has three!
You'll find a Safeway, a Food Pavilion (same chain as the Cost Cutter in Blaine), and my new favourite store, a Grocery Outlet (conveniently located beside the Safeway). This store has a whole aisle of keto-friendly baking ingredients and foods at prices half of what you’d pay in Canada, even on Amazon.ca!
I’m talking almond flour, monk fruit sweetener, Quest bars, Enlightened ice cream… all the greatest hits, for prices cheaper than you can even get on Amazon.com! Enlightened, for example, is only US$2 a pint!
You can check out weekly store flyers for all the Lynden stores here.
It’s definitely worth a trip, especially if you fill up with gas on your way back. Here's a link to up-to-the-minute gas prices in Lynden.
It’s also worth noting that both Blaine and Lynden are graced with Edaleen Dairy locations, where you can get fresh cheeses, eggs, and other dairy products for great prices… just do yourself a favour and stay away from the ice cream counter! Nothing keto-friendly there!