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!
It should also be mentioned that regulations on how much you can bring over the border change occasionally, but at the time of this posting you can bring up to CDN200 in groceries back (per trip per person) without paying duty, including up to USD20 worth of dairy products and 20kg of meat products. This website has a handy list of acceptable goods plus links to official government sites, so don’t rely on my limited knowledge for legal advice here!
Sometimes, it's still prudent to buy items online, whether for price considerations, availability, or convenience. Here is a list of items you can (and occasionally should) get online to help you along on your keto journey. I have tried to balance the lowest price with the best quality, and in many cases these are the same items I personally use. You can click on the link to take you to the item on amazon.ca. This website is part of Amazon’s affiliate program, so if you buy something from one of our links, we’ll make a small percentage (but your price won’t go up!).
The go-to baking chip in the worldwide keto community. They are good, if a little pricey, and don’t ship well in the hot summer months, but they taste EXACTLY like their carby cousins and are essential for making cookies, muffins, and other occasional treats. The chips also come in dark chocolate. They are currently WAY too expensive on Amazon, and half-price at the Natura Market link above. Do yourself a favour and go for the Foley’s chips in bulk at Save-On instead.
I tend to buy my sweeteners in bulk, as I tend to bake a lot. Swerve is the best as they offer three types, making it very versatile. Swerve – as it is made with erithrytol, a sugar alcohol – does leave a slight cooling aftertaste, but it’s not unpleasant and the flavour is very close to sugar. Swerve comes in granulated, icing sugar, and brown sugar.
Monkfruit sweetener is a natural sweetener and tastes almost exactly like sugar. It doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste of stevia nor the cooling sensation of erithrytol. It’s great for baking, but doesn’t brown and nicely as Swerve and the confectioners’ blend is usually too expensive.
This is the newest sweetener on the block and tastes EXACTLY like sugar. I’m still experimenting with this stuff but have been very impressed so far! Many experts think this is the future of artificial sweeteners as it appears to actually be good for you, but as of now it is still quite rare and a bit expensive.
Keto-Related Home Products
There are some products every ketoer should have in the house before they start their keto journey, and some that are just nice to have for food prepping. Here is a list of items that I wish I'd had when I started my keto journey!
The one thing many successful ketoers regret is not taking accurate measurements before starting their journey. It's definitely true for me! You may not want that initial reminder of how far you need to go, but once you are on your way you will regret not having a starting point from which to measure your progress. Before you begin, at a minimum you should measure - at their widest point - your stomach, your chest, your neck and your wrists. Before long, even if you can't see a difference in the mirror (the brain is funny that way with incremental change), you can measure again and see just how far you've come. It's incredibly motivating!
A scale is great for tracking incremental changes. Although you'll be tempted to check the scale every day, you should try to limit it to once a week or so. The reason for this is that your body weight will fluctuate with hormone levels and waste excretion, and you don't want to become obsessed with these small fluctuations. Once a week is enough to track your progress. The scale in the link even comes with a measuring tape!
These are ketone-testing strips that you pee on to test to see if you're in ketosis. DO NOT BUY THEM! They are actually meant for testing type-1 diabetics for ketoacidosis, a condition unrelated to the keto diet, and cause people to unnecessarily obsess over their ketone levels. They are also notoriously unreliable and, if you are following the keto diet, completely unnecessary.
4. Food scale
Again, this is not something you want to obsess over, but it can be very handy for pre-portioning food and checking your intake for food tracking. It has been life-changing to be able to weigh foods when I'm baking, rather that continuously rinsing and drying measuring cups!
Most people already have one of these in their kitchen, I imagine (I'm sure half of them were bought from an infomercial), but a tiny blender is great for making smoothies, protein drinks, "Bulletproof" coffee, salad dressings, and a whole lot of other things. Plus they're really cheap!
If you don't have one of these in your home, do yourself a favour and get one with a blade for making dough (like this one) so you can make your own fathead pizza dough, almond bread, cookie dough, and other low-carb baked goods! Also great for prepping onions, grating cheese, and making cauliflower dishes.
Now here is one item I wish I'd had years ago... it can take a $2 steak and turn it into filet mignon! Essentially, a "sous vide" cooks food at a temperature lower than your stove can... and for a longer time. This breaks down the fibres in the meat and makes any cut tender and juicy. You just plug it in, set the temperature and time, drop it into a container of water with your meat, and come back in 6-8 hours. You can do a medium-rare steak in about 6 hours, and I guarantee you've never had a more succulent steak in your life, no matter how cheap the cut! Not an essential item by any means, but wow... it's a game changer for sure!
8. Instant Pot
Much like the sous vide, an Instant Pot will take your keto culinary adventure to the next level. Most Instant Pot recipes take an hour or less to make, and some take as little as 5 minutes! And it couldn't be more versatile... you can pretty much make just about anything from cheesecake to eggs to full dinners in an Instant Pot! I am not kidding when I say they are truly AMAZING, and this is an item I use more than any other.
Other Keto Shopping Websites
There are a lot of other online shopping resources catering to people on the keto diet. I haven’t had the opportunity to use them (yet), but I would be remiss if I didn’t share them with you.
Keto Meal Delivery Services
More and more companies are offering keto options in their meal kit deliveries. Rather than spending my hard-earned money trying them all out, I refer you to thegoodstuffco.com website who did their own review here.
So that’s it! I hope this gives you an idea of the keto options available in the Lower Mainland. I hope to separate this out into more detailed blog posts as I explore more.
Have I missed anything people should know about? Let me know in the comments and I’ll check it out and add it to the list!
Keto Kickstart is a keto coaching service that helps people get through the first 30 days of "going keto" with daily one-on-one support. If you are looking for a way to heal your body and mind of any issues you might be experiencing, please get in touch and let's talk about how we can help you!