Meal prepping is the secret to eating on a tight budget. It allows you to buy the items that are on sale, in bulk, and prepare them for quick access throughout the week. The meal prep detailed here took us about 2 hours of “active time” and another 3 hours of “passive time”. The passive time was mostly waiting for the chicken to cook/cool. The items we prepped for this meal plan are:
Some people don't do well in ketosis. As I mentioned above, you should check with your physician if you have any concerns about starting a ketogenic diet plan with pre-existing health conditions, especially if those conditions involve kidney or heart problems. Although there is evidence that many people do well with reducing carb intake, I don't recommend going much lower than 10-20 carbs per day. The ketogenic is a very low carb diet, but it is not a zero carb diet. If you find (after at least a month on the diet) that you are one of the people who doesn't feel well at very low carb levels, adding enough carbohydrate in the form of sweet potatoes and other starchier vegetables back into your diet should bring you out of ketosis and resolve the issues. If you stay away from grains and rely on vegetables, a moderately higher carb content (60-100 grams/day) should result in health benefits. You won't be in ketosis of course, but still, you should feel better. (I think grain consumption is one of the root causes of illness, but also acknowledge that everyone is different.)
Some benefits of going keto are difficult to dispute. Following a high-fat, low-carb diet can be a solid strategy for rapid weight loss and blood-sugar control. The keto diet can also be great for children with tough-to-control epileptic seizures. For decades, people have seen stellar results managing those conditions on a keto diet with the help and guidance of professionals.
Therein lies the problem, of course. You can’t just walk in to any store or restaurant and grab yourself some keto snacks. We are making progress on that front, for sure, but we’ve still got a ways to go. While there are a number of decent store-bought options like cheese, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs, there are potential pitfalls everywhere. Like beef jerky, which can often contain a startling amount of sugar and carbs.
Stomach growling? Reach for a handful of macadamia nuts, which have the highest amount of fat and lowest amount of carbs in the nut family, according to previous research in the journal Nutrients. Nutrition aside, they’re snacking all-stars because they’re easy to bring with you and don’t need to be refrigerated. Keep a stash wherever you spend your day — in the car, at your desk, or in the pantry at home.
After about two to seven days of following this eating routine, you go into something called ketosis, or the state your body enters when it doesn't have enough carbs for your cells to use for energy. Then it starts making ketones, or organic compounds that your bod then uses in place of those missing carbs—and oh, it also burns fat for more energy, says Beth Warren, R.D., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food.
Ready to head out the door and start buying groceries? Slow down there, chief. Go through the pantry, fridge, freezer, and secret stashes under the bed, and get rid of foods with any significant carb content. In the first few days, you could end up craving them—badly. This means fruit, too. Even carrots and onions are too high-glycemic to work with keto, Wittrock says.
The problem is that, with a bit more time, the pancreas eventually stops compensating, becomes exhausted, and makes less and less insulin—allowing the sugar in your blood to go higher and higher. So, the first stage of insulin resistance is normal or low blood sugars due to excessive compensation of insulin. Then this is followed by higher and higher blood sugars as you lose the ability to compensate for the sugar with insulin. This is called diabetes.
Fiber isn't just good for keeping your gut moving — scientists feeding diets rich in fiber to mice are discovering that the carbs, which can't be absorbed by the body, can help protect aging brains from some of the damaging chemicals associated with Alzheimer's and reduce inflammation in the gut. They're confident that the health benefits of eating more fiber extend to humans too.
Trying to lose weight with exercise and starting a keto diet at the same time can provide fast results for a "multiplier" effect. However, if you haven't exercised in more than 6 months, you should wait to start the keto eating plan. Begin an exercise program first so you are adapting to only one physical change at a time. After 2 weeks of working out 3-4 times per week, you should be ready to start the keto diet.
Some ingredients you will already have in your cupboards like seasonings and condiments. We list these out at the beginning of the meal plan. We assume that you'll have them in stock. If you're worried you won't have them all, you can check the meal plan for the daily ingredients as well! There are also some rare ingredients that we suggest you purchase at the beginning of you ketogenic diet journey. You'll begin to use these low carb ingredients in more and more of your keto diet recipes. You can get bargains on items such as almond flour if you purchase ahead online instead of waiting to purchase at the grocery store. In addition, you won't have to wander the health stores for hours in search of these items to find out they don't stock them, or that they are ridiculously over-priced.
When you get to one meal a day, just make sure the meal is a robust one, containing all the needed nutrients to fortify your body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, those important fatty acids, trace minerals—all of it. (This can be aided with green drink powders and high-quality electrolyte supplements that will help you get your daily requirements for potassium.)
Not only is this jerky zero-carb, sugar-free, and full of protein, but Davidson says it's the perfect keto post-workout recovery snack, especially since protein is crucial in building and repairing muscles after exercise. (P.S. This is what you need to know about exercising on the keto diet.) And since jerky is harder to eat and chew, it allows time for your stomach to tell your brain you're full, keeping those pesky carb cravings at bay, she says.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.