The ketogenic diet — a high-fat and very low-carb eating plan — can be tough to start. After all, it’s likely a radical departure from the way you’re eating now (a typical standard American diet is high in carbohydrates and processed foods). But many people are trying the keto diet, which puts your body in a state of ketosis. That's what happens when your body’s carb-burning switch flips to a fat-burning one, a change that can cause weight loss and has even been credited with controlling diabetes. (1)
But even if you’re not trying to lose weight, the keto meal plans might appeal to you. By limiting sugars and processed grains, you lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating an array of heart-healthy fats, like nuts, olive oil and fish, can decrease your risk of heart disease. And while some people stick to a super strict keto diet, with 75 percent of their diet coming from fat, 20 percent from protein and just five from carbs, even a less intense, modified version can help you reap the keto diet’s benefits.
It is possible to combine the results of several small studies to produce evidence that is stronger than that available from each study alone—a statistical method known as meta-analysis. One of four such analyses, conducted in 2006, looked at 19 studies on a total of 1,084 patients. It concluded that a third achieved an excellent reduction in seizure frequency and half the patients achieved a good reduction.
A ketogenic diet focuses on minimal plant-based carbs, moderate amounts of clean protein, and high healthy fat consumption – the three keys to achieving nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, you’re essentially converting yourself from a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner.” With 40g or less net carbs per day, you’ll feel satisfied instead of hungry. The lower sugar helps reduce inflammation and fight chronic disease while keeping your insulin levels in tact, too. Great for people suffering from chronic conditions or anyone who wants to feel their best.
People also see good weight loss results on the keto diet because eating a low carb, high fat diet can help you feel less hungry and not have to count calories or portion sizes to lose weight. Plus, cutting out the refined carbs and sugars normally present in a traditional Western diet helps avoid crazy spikes in blood sugar that can lead to the feeling of being hungry again soon after eating.
There’s a lot of nut butters out there, but we found that this little guy not only tastes the best, it’s also one of the most filling on the market (i.e., you won’t be left dreaming of grape jelly and white bread). The density of healthy fats takes care of the stomach grumbling, while the four simple ingredients—macadamia nuts, coconut, cashews, and Himalayan sea salt—take care of your taste buds and fuel your body with oleic acid, minerals, and B vitamins.
We understand that you may not have time to track all your macros, which is why we include the macros with each keto recipe. However, try grabbing a handful of almonds for a keto snack and realizing even a big handful is over a "serving size" and greater than 200 calories. If you are using the keto diet for weight loss, this may not fit into your macros of 1200-1500 calories per day.
By cutting carb intake significantly, we can drastically reduce insulin resistance, the precursor to type 2 diabetes. In addition, low carb diets, along with exercise, can be very effective at helping alleviate the symptoms and progression of type 2 diabetes. Beyond that, ketosis itself is appetite-suppressing, meaning your hunger will naturally check itself, increasing your caloric deficit and making you lose fat even faster.
Hunger is one way to know if you’re in fat burning, because the longer you do keto, the less hungry you’ll be.39,40 If you’re getting severe hunger with weakness and brain fog, you’re not quite into keto. Back off a bit. Don’t be doing 20-hour fasts. You need more fuel to give your body the energy it needs, and that includes energy to manufacture the enzymes to burn fat instead of glucose. Take it slow, add more fat to your first meal, and eat nutrient-dense foods. If you need more nutrients, try adding some nutritional yeast and electrolytes, and major amounts of potassium. These will help you fix insulin resistance and help you get into fat burning. Bone broth is great for a snack. It’s just nutrients without calories, period.
"Sunflower seeds are a great snack option whether you follow a keto diet or not," says registered dietitian Katey Davidson, M.S., R.D. Although all sunflower seeds are an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E, many companies use flavorings to season their products which can be high in both salt and sugar, says Davidson. She recommends Terrasoul Superfoods because they aren't flavored or salted. And with only 6 grams of carbs and 1 gram of sugar (per one 1/4 cup), you won't have to worry about these seeds throwing you out of your hard-earned ketosis. However, Davidson says you'll want to aim to eat just a handful of seeds, which is considered a serving. (Related: This keto smoothie recipe is delicious even without a ton of fruit.)
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kossoff EH, Zupec-Kania BA, Amark PE, Ballaban-Gil KR, Bergqvist AG, Blackford R, et al. Optimal clinical management of children receiving the ketogenic diet: recommendations of the International Ketogenic Diet Study Group. Epilepsia. 2009 Feb;50(2):304–17. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01765.x. PMID 18823325
Coconut MCT oil, cacao butter, grass-fed whey protein, organic almond butter, and other keto-approved ingredients combine for this protein bomb of an energy bar, designed specifically to support ketone production and keep you fit and focused for hours. It’s basically like jumper cables for your metabolism… if jumper cables tasted like smooth chocolate and almonds.
But the real reason why keto plans fail most of us is that they're not sustainable for the long term. Holidays, vacations, work functions … there's likely at least one scenario in which you'll find yourself eating higher-carb foods. And the same reasons why we see immediate weight loss on carb-restricted diets is the same reason why we see immediate weight gain after adding a seemingly harmless sandwich back into the mix: The water weight comes back instantly with glycogen storage.
Doing a 1:1 substitution would probably change the macros too much but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat dairy to eat a ketogenic diet. If you want to use the meal plan you’d have to adjust it with other sources of fat so that you match the macros. It will require a little work (I recommend using an online diary like MyFitnessPal for support) but you’ll end up with a plan that works for you and your needs
Now we do have a full meal plan laid out for you below, but I would encourage you to experiment a bit with some meals that might better suit your tastes. We love all of these meals, that’s why we picked them! We know everyone is different though. If you want to sub something in, just check to make sure the nutrition is comparable. Keto on a budget can be pulled off all types of different ways. This is just one example using a lot of our favorite meals. For example, if you have a bunch of coconut oil sitting around feel free to sub it in for the butter. If you have olive oil, sub it in for the blue cheese dressing. Don’t let this meal plan feel restricting, it is best used as a reference point and not as a hard and fast rule book. We put together this full day of eating video to show you an example of how we ate on $5 a day:
You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.