So you've decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning ketogenic diet. Whether it's to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn't come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It's especially hard if you're vegan and want to try keto.) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you're first getting started. (While you're at it, check out these Low-Carb Keto drinks That Will Keep You in Ketosis.)
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.
Each person is different with different health goals and macronutrient requirements (ie, weight loss, weight maintenance, brain therapy aid). Each day of our weight loss meal plan falls between 1150-1300 calories for maximum weight loss. There is an optional snack for people that need a bit more calories, which brings the total calories with snack to between 1300-1500 calories per day. In addition, there are various ways you can adjust for your personal macronutrient needs.
Keto diets rely on an extreme technique to (temporarily) move the scale down a few pounds, and basically eliminates all joy associated with eating real food and living life. Since restriction for life is downright impossible: Cut back on ultra-processed, high-carb foods like sugary beverages and tons of refined grains, and fill up on more nutritious carb choices, like veggies, fruit, legumes, low-fat dairy, and 100% whole grains to maximize long-term weight loss, health, and happiness.
The symptoms of keto flu are headaches, body aches, cravings, brain fog and fatigue. Well, just think about what you’re trying to do. You’re converting your ENTIRE cellular machinery to fat burning. What you need to do to avoid and heal the keto flu is get more electrolytes and more B vitamins. These are the cofactors that help in developing the machinery to burn fat effectively without draining your body. For the B vitamins, try nutritional yeast. However, nutritional yeast does not have B5—so you may have to take a B5 supplement. I recommend my electrolyte powder. It has 1,000 mgs of potassium and will help you get to that 4,700 mgs you need to create this machinery to burn fat faster and get into ketosis!
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:
Meat is fair game when you’re following the keto diet, which is why Griffin is a fan of putting together a plate of charcuterie when you’re in the mood for a snack. This doesn’t need to be one of those fancy displays you’d find at a restaurant — you can keep it simple and arrange whatever cured meats you have on hand. (Psst: This one makes a great party appetizer, too!)
When you consume lots of sugar and have higher levels of insulin on a continuing basis, your cells try to protect you and eventually start resisting or ignoring insulin. Remember, insulin is the key that allows glucose into the cell. So, your cells prevent insulin from working in order to prevent excessive sugar in the cell. This is your body saying, “If you’re going to keep eating sugar, I will block it at the cellular level.”
Bulletproof Coffee is coffee with added grass-fed butter and a fat called MCT oil, which is extracted from coconut oil. It’s alright to consider it as a meal but remember that it can slightly trigger insulin. However, I think it is good to do in the beginning, as it reduces hunger. For some people, it could slow progress so it’s good to experiment.
What's more, it's especially important to make sure your diet is well-planned when you're eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you're able, Stefanski recommends that you "talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you'll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy." You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on keto. That's because for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
There are many scenarios that can cause constipation with the ketogenic diet. Most people assume it’s a fiber issue; but it’s not that simple. You want to compare what you were doing before ketosis and after. Look at the change in vegetable fiber consumption; if you don’t have enough gut bacteria to digest all these vegetables, they will cause bloating, constipation, gas and all kinds of digestive issues. Some people can digest vegetables and others can’t. Some people can’t digest cabbage or cruciferous veggies. So, you might have to switch to less fibrous vegetables, such as various kinds of lettuce, and especially kale and beet greens, for your potassium. Electrolytes greatly help with constipation, too. If you need more support getting electrolytes, try my electrolyte powder. It helps supply the 4,700 mg a day of potassium you need, which is hard to manage without eating loads of vegetables.
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
One of the meals you will see recurring frequently in the meal plan is a Cobb Salad. We are big advocates for the Cobb Salad! You know us… shills for Corporate Cobb Salad. Really though, we find Cobb Salads to be a great way to get a meal with perfect keto macros as well as pack in some much needed micro-nutrients. We love them so much we made a video to show everyone how we make them! For this meal plan you’ll be making a salad just like the one in this video minus the shredded cheese:
Option 3: "Make your own keto 'lunchable' with cubes of grilled chicken, a slice of nitrate-free ham, cheese cubes, pickle slices, a hard-boiled egg, a few raw grape tomatoes, raw veggies like cauliflower or broccoli, a few almonds or walnuts, guacamole, and ranch dressing," says Stefanski. (Looking for something meat-free? Here are 29 Vegetarian Keto Recipes for Plant-Based Eaters.)
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.
This recipe is from our e-book, 20 Low-Carb Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes. In the e-book we call it “Better Than Crack Chicken”, which it really is! We switched up the seasoning a little (omitted the Ranch mix and added our own keto-friendly seasonings), and this takes it over the top in terms of deliciousness. Our e-book is now on sale on Amazon for just $4.99!
The best part of low carb eating is that you can still have rich, savory foods – dieting isn’t really a part of the lifestyle. Your body regulates your hunger naturally, so keeping your carbs low is the main concern. Being able to do that while still enjoying roast, fish, and big, healthy salads is what makes low carb so easy to stick with, and keep the weight off for good.
Calories: The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet typically works out to about 70-75% of calories from fat, 20-25% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis. However, these ratios don't work well at very low calorie or very high calorie daily totals. And although calorie counting is not required, it is important to understand how macronutrient percentages can be affected by caloric intake, so you may want to read my page on calorie counting to get more information on this subject. Again, low or very high calorie intake will skew the percentages of macronutrients. It is also important to remember that fats are super high-calorie foods, especially if you have extra weight to lose and you are doing keto to lose weight. Read my plateau page if you are not reaching your weight loss goals.
Actually, YES—ketchup, BBQ sauce, Asian sauces like duck sauce and sweet and sour sauce are LOADED with sugar and eating sugar with protein greatly spikes INSULIN—exactly what you don’t want to do. Mustard doesn’t. So choose fattier salad dressings like ranch. I like Paul Newman’s line of salad dressings as they contain almost no sugar. Start looking at sugar grams on EVERYTHING. Try to stick around one or less. Two max and only once a day.
We all know fat is more filling than carbs, but every now and then you get a hankering for something to snack on and you NEED some low carb snacks. Whether it’s salty, sweet or frosty, we all need a moment to enjoy something in between meals. Being on a diet shouldn’t mean all snacks are thrown out the window, being on a diet means learning what your body needs and how to best provide for it. If your body is craving something salty, there are ways of indulging without setting yourself back. There are ways of eating even brownies and cakes that won’t undo all your progress.
'Studies have shown that compared to energy-restricted diets (ie cutting down on overall calories in a day), low-carb diets may be more effective for weight loss in the short term,' says Dr Barclay. 'This is partly due to decreases in body glycogen stores (in the liver and muscles), and the associated water loss that occurs (which collectively weighs about 2kg in a typical adult).'
A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed; 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort; 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases; and 16% had never prescribed the diet. There are several possible explanations for this gap between evidence and clinical practice. One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.
These cheesy, crunchy crackers are perfect for snacking when you’re on the run. They’re seasoned with rosemary and made with a mix of almond flour and cheese. While the instructions list is long, they actually come together quite easily and you’ll definitely get the hang of it by the second time — and with crackers this good, there will be a second time! Just a few of these keto snacks will satisfy any hunger panes.
The brain is composed of a network of neurons that transmit signals by propagating nerve impulses. The propagation of this impulse from one neuron to another is typically controlled by neurotransmitters, though there are also electrical pathways between some neurons. Neurotransmitters can inhibit impulse firing (primarily done by γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA) or they can excite the neuron into firing (primarily done by glutamate). A neuron that releases inhibitory neurotransmitters from its terminals is called an inhibitory neuron, while one that releases excitatory neurotransmitters is an excitatory neuron. When the normal balance between inhibition and excitation is significantly disrupted in all or part of the brain, a seizure can occur. The GABA system is an important target for anticonvulsant drugs, since seizures may be discouraged by increasing GABA synthesis, decreasing its breakdown, or enhancing its effect on neurons.
The whole chicken we got was $1 per pound, which is a great deal! You can sub in thighs or legs if you find those to be cheaper. Try to get it with the skin on so your meat comes with some fat! In the videos we got 2 pounds of sausage at $3 per pound. That’s a deal we couldn’t pass up! You can substitute any sausage in for that(check for sugar) or you can opt for ground beef. Make sure you get 80/20 fat/protein ratio or higher(it will be listed on the packaging).
The ketogenic diet has been studied in at least 14 rodent animal models of seizures. It is protective in many of these models and has a different protection profile than any known anticonvulsant. Conversely, fenofibrate, not used clinically as an antiepileptic, exhibits experimental anticonvulsant properties in adult rats comparable to the ketogenic diet. This, together with studies showing its efficacy in patients who have failed to achieve seizure control on half a dozen drugs, suggests a unique mechanism of action.
Well, ketogenic comes from the word “ketosis“, which is a state in which your body breaks down fat molecules into ketones to provide energy. This state is achieved through very low carbohydrate intake and higher than normal fat intake. The “normal” state of the body’s metabolism is called “glycolysis”, where carbs are burnt for energy. The long and short is that when your body is in carb-burning mode, it will use all available carbs for energy before it touches stored fat. In ketosis, your body is primed to burn fat, and this is great news for anyone trying to get trim and slim.
Note that the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker or crock pot because slow cookers cook at a low temperature and may not heat chicken up to 165F, which is the minimum temperature to destroy any dangerous bacteria and ensure that chicken is fully cooked. So if you’re using a crock pot or slow cooker to make Crack Chicken, make sure to defrost it first!
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
With a ketosis diet, you tend to eliminate more calcium than usual. Additionally, foods such as cruciferous vegetables, spinach, iced tea or chocolate all have a high quantity of oxalates. Oxalates are naturally occurring substances found in a wide variety of foods; they play a supportive role in the metabolism of many plants and animals, including humans. Oxalates combined with calcium can cause kidney stones.
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.
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.
That's because my intro to this seemingly new plan was when I worked in a hospital, where ketogenic diets were specifically used as a medical nutrition therapy for pediatric patients with seizure disorders, for whom medication was no longer effective. In other words: It was used as an absolute last resort for families who felt otherwise hopeless in the face of a neurological disease, and under strict medical supervision.
These avocado bites (made only from freeze-dried avocado pieces and sea salt) are high in fat and have 7 grams of carbs per serving, making it a perfect portable keto-friendly snack. And if its low-carb appeal isn't enough, avocados are also full of fiber and potassium, she says, two nutrients that can be difficult to get enough of on the keto diet. "I recommend eating an avocado per day to most people on the keto diet, and these dried bites are a good way to help reach that goal," she says. Best part? They won't go brown like the avocado sitting on your kitchen counter.
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.