Everyone’s been talking about keto for the last few years, and there is a good reason for that.
According to research, a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for certain diseases. As a result, many have lost weight without spending hours counting calories or tracking their food intake.
Meal planning is essential to enjoy the benefits of a keto diet.
A keto diet involves reducing carbohydrates and increasing fats, which puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Achieving and maintaining this state requires planning to ensure you always have the right food available.
Following a keto diet could be life-changing, and there are many delicious recipes for keto-based meals, so you don’t feel like you’re being deprived of all the good things in life.
Let’s look at how to go about keto meal planning so that you can enjoy all the success of your new lifestyle.
Benefits of Keto Meal Planning
There are a number of health benefits when you follow a keto diet. But, unfortunately, one of the negative aspects of a ketogenic diet is that it can be challenging to maintain.
When we first see the foods allowed on the diet, we might be excited.
Avocado, butter, steak, eggs, cheese, cream – what’s not to love?
But once we actually get into it, creamy scrambled eggs may seem less exciting without the toast. Likewise, steak isn’t as appealing without a side of fries.
While the foods are delicious, your food options can feel quite limited and everyday situations make following the keto diet something of a challenge.
For example, eating a meal at a friend’s place or a restaurant can be difficult.
These challenges make it a tough diet to sustain, so planning ahead is the key to your success.
It’s natural to want to choose the path of least resistance, but meal planning helps us make the easiest option and the healthiest one. We will avoid the temptation to make poor food choices that goes with being hungry and tired.
Having meals ready to go is essential when we follow a food plan that may pose challenges for eating on the run.
Other than setting you up for success, here are a few more benefits of taking some time to do keto meal planning.
- Saves you time – no matter what diet you follow, planning your meals help you manage your time. Knowing what you want to eat and shopping in advance can add a few more hours to your week.
- Portion control – even though you don’t need to calorie count excessively on a keto diet – portion control is still important, especially if you consider that many keto-friendly foods are quite calorie-dense.
- Reduces food waste – planning and only buying what you need can reduce what will end up in the bin at the end of the week.
- Reduces stress – knowing what you need to eat and when especially when following a specific plan, will help to reduce stress in our already busy lives.
- Saves you money – by planning your meals for your keto diet, you will be more prepared, which will reduce impulse buying – rather spend your money on quality foods.
- Ensures that you still enjoy a variety of foods – there is some limitation to your food choices when you follow a keto diet. Creating a meal plan that incorporates a selection of keto-friendly foods will ensure that you don’t get bored and risk falling off the bandwagon.
The Basics Of A Keto Meal Plan
As we mentioned in the introduction, a keto diet involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake.
This new way of eating will put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When your carbohydrate intake is low, ketosis happens. Your body begins to break down fat, and it produces ketones.
These ketones become fuel for your body and brain, and because ketosis relies on fat for energy, your metabolism shifts, and your body burns fat at a higher rate.
Typically, you will want about 75% of your daily calories from healthy fat sources, 20 % from protein, and only 5% from carbohydrates. This ratio should put your body into a state of ketosis.
Staying in ketosis is the next thing you need to master.
Everyone is different, but you must ensure that your net carbs are curbed at between 20 and 50 g per day to maintain ketosis.
Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs.
It is pretty easy to get kicked out of that ketosis state. A few carbs too many will mean that your body will start to burn carbs rather than fat for fuel.
Dirty Keto Vs Clean Keto
Losing weight on a keto plan isn’t an automatic ticket to health, especially if you fall in to trap of doing dirty or lazy keto. However, meal planning makes it easier to do clean keto, which will lead to health benefits and weight loss.
Although still low in carbs and high in fat, eating a dirty keto diet means that your food sources are not as nutritious as clean keto.
As a result, your body may get into a state of ketosis, but you will be missing out on critical nutrients which improve your health. In addition, this lack of nutrients increases your risk of disease.
What Is Dirty Keto?
Dirty keto is popular among people who want to achieve ketosis without planning for clean keto meals.
It contains highly processed and packaged foods – for example, a bacon and cheese hamburger from a fast-food restaurant, but without the bun.
These processed meals are often high in sodium and unhealthy additives, and low in micronutrients.
They may also be hiding sugars that are preventing you from maintaining a state of ketosis.
What Is Clean Keto?
Clean keto is about eating whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Processed food is eaten in moderation.
The main focus is on food quality, which results in many potential health benefits, such as weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and even a lower risk of certain cancers.
To follow a clean keto plan, you need to eat whole foods from quality sources. Think of things like grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, wild-caught seafood, olive oil, and organically grown non-starchy vegetables.
Meal Planning Schedule
You need to create a keto meal planning schedule that suits your household and lifestyle. If you have a family, then take this into consideration. As clean keto is essentially a healthy whole food diet, there is no reason your entire family can’t follow a similar plan, perhaps with just the addition of some starchier vegetables.
If you are on your own or have a hectic lifestyle and provided your budget allows, you may want to consider a keto food delivery service. These convenient food services can save you time and help you figure out the basics of keto eating. In addition, they often work out to be relatively cost-efficient for single people.
If you are going the DIY route, the internet has an endless supply of resources.
Weekly Meal Planning – 7 Day Meal Plans
|One week sample meal plan||https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327309#1-week-sample-meal-plan|
|A week of the keto diet||https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/7-day-keto-meal-plan|
|Keto for beginners meal plan||https://headbangerskitchen.com/recipe/keto-for-beginners-free-keto-meal-plan/|
|Free 7 day keto diet meal plan, cheat sheet and recipes||https://www.changeinseconds.com/7-day-keto-diet-meal-plan-for-beginners/|
|Keto meal plan & grocery list||https://www.ourpaleolife.com/keto-meal-plan-grocery-list/|
|Free 7 day Vegetarian Meal Plan||https://flaxseedsandfairytales.com/7-day-vegetarian-keto-meal-plan/|
30 Day Keto Diet Meal Plan
|30 Day low-carb meal plan||https://www.eatingwell.com/article/291554/30-day-low-carb-meal-plan-1200-calories/|
|90 Keto diet recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner! Ketogenic 30-day meal plan||https://wordtoyourmotherblog.com/90-keto-diet-recipes-30-day-meal-plan/|
|Free 28-day keto meal plan||https://ketosummit.com/free-keto-meal-plan/|
|30-Day low carb keto diet meal plan to speed up your success||https://www.ketovale.com/keto-diet-meal-plan/|
|Keto diet recipes: simple 30-day keto meal plan for weight loss||https://www.merakilane.com/keto-diet-recipes-simple-30-day-keto-meal-plan-weight-loss/|
Keto Diet On A Budget
People often think that following a keto plan is super expensive, but it really doesn’t have to be. There are a few ways to ensure that you get all the benefits of keto without breaking the bank.
- Avoid pre-packaged keto foods. These are often processed foods, and not only are they pricy, but they are also not necessarily in line with the principles of healthy whole foods.
- Eat loads of eggs. Eggs are inexpensive, and they’re the perfect healthy food for keto.
- Add plenty of non-starchy veggies to your meal plan. These are not expensive, and they add loads of healthy nutrients to your daily intake. If you’re on a budget, you may want to avoid the pre-cut, packaged version and take some time to cut and prepare them yourself.
- Choose your cut of meat strategically – certain cuts are cheaper than others, but always try to go with the highest quality you can afford.
- Look out for meat share options with your local farmers or butchers.
- Shop at farmers markets and bargain grocery stores in your area.
- Organic black soybeans are inexpensive, very low in carbs and high in fiber. Lupini beans are also a good option.
- Only a tiny amount of fruit can be eaten on a keto plan, and berries are an excellent and tasty option. Opt for frozen berries instead of fresh – they’re cheaper and won’t go to waste.
- Meal planning is your best friend to make full use of everything you buy and reduce waste.
- Buy keto-friendly nuts in bulk.
- Use low cost, high-fat oils – if avocados are not in your budget, avocado oil is an option. Extra virgin olive oil is also a good option.
- If you can’t afford organic, grass-fed and free-range, then at least move towards whole food. This way of eating is still preferable to eating loads of processed and junk foods.
Done for You Meal Planning
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or have some specific health concerns or dietary requirements, you might want to engage with a professional nutritionist.
Another option is to use meal planning apps such as PlateJoy or Noom.
These plans are personalized to your tastes, macros, and you can usually swap out foods or make rules not to include things you don’t like. Apps like this require the least amount of work, with loads of variety.
DIY Meal Planning
We have loads of generic premade keto plans available on the internet with just a simple search. Look out for one that suits your specific situation. We’ve listed a bunch of free 7 and 30-day meal plans above. Here are a few more plans and resources that might suit your particular needs.
How To Meal Plan – Meal Planning Basics
Meal planning for your keto lifestyle can seem daunting to begin with, but once you get the hang of it, you will wish you had started sooner. The idea is to reduce the hassle around food choices and preparation.
There are a few key ingredients when putting together your keto meal plan: First, plan your meals for a few days at a time or a week ahead.
Source the right ingredients from your local food markets, stores or meal prep services.
Batch prepping your meals ahead of time is highly recommended to help you save time.
Here are our top ten tips for keto meal planning:
- Start small and start with your favorites
You don’t need to plan or prep for an entire week if that is daunting. Choose an amount of time that feels manageable for you. And choose your favorite keto-friendly foods to start with to ease you into the process. Consider meals that you currently enjoy and whether they can be adapted to the keto lifestyle
2. Add some Keto pantry staples to your shopping list. Choose some basics from each of the following categories:
|Proteins||Seafood, meat, tofu, yogurt, eggs|
|Healthy fats||Avocado, Co coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, eggs, coconut milk, avocado oil|
|Vegetables||Kale, spinach, broccoli, onions, asparagus, peppers, eggplant|
|Condiments||Keto-friendly versions of mayonnaise, hot sauce, ketchup|
Life happens, and having these sorts of ingredients on hand means that you can quickly put together a keto-friendly meal if you need to.
3. Make a grocery list – it doesn’t matter whether you’re only planning for a few days at a time, having a grocery list when you go shopping is essential to avoid food waste. Plus, it saves you time and money.
4. Buy a set of food containers for batch cooking and leftovers.
5. Batch cooking means taking some time out to cook and portion out meals for the days ahead. Then, you can refrigerate or freeze the meals, and they will be available for you during the week in a matter of minutes.
6. Double up cooking.
if you’re not a fan of batch cooking, then carry on cooking as normal but double up recipes that can be frozen or refrigerated so that you can reheat and eat later.
7. Schedule restaurant and takeout meals but plan ahead – lookout for options that will fit your new keto lifestyle.
8. Unless you’re practicing intermittent fasting, breakfast is still one of the most important meals of the day. Plan ahead for busy mornings with breakfasts that can be prepared ahead of time.
9. Frozen vegetables are a great option as a backup to fresh ingredients because they don’t spoil.
10. Progress, not perfection. Life is unpredictable, and you can’t do every meal perfectly. So let meal prepping be your structure but have a plan with some emergency frozen meals for when things crop up that you haven’t planned for.
Figure out your target macros
One of the essential steps to mastering a ketogenic diet is understanding your macros. We mentioned this briefly earlier, but let’s get into more detail now.
“Macros” or macronutrients are the carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your food. These macros are where all of your calories come from.
The typical macro ratio to put your body into a state of ketosis is as follows:
5% of calories coming from carbs
20 – 25% of calories coming from protein
70 -75% of calories coming from fat
Step 1. Determine your calorie needs
Your calorie needs depend on your goals: do you want to lose, gain or maintain your weight?
To lose weight, you will need a calorie deficit and to gain weight, you will need a calorie surplus.
Step 2. Determine your carbohydrate needs
Generally, a carb intake of less than 20 to 50 grams per day will promote ketosis. Start with a carb intake of 20 to 25 grams per day, and you can tweak as you go.
Step 3. Define your protein needs
Protein is important for supporting your lean body mass. In addition, research indicated that higher protein intake supports better appetite control and a lower body fat percentage without messing with ketosis.
Step 4. Determine your fat needs
Your fat needs are calculated based on your remaining calories.
You can use free keto macro calculators online to determine your macros.
You can also consider tracking your macros in a keto-friendly nutrition app by logging your food choices and continuously trying to stay within your daily ranges.
Find Keto Meal Prep Recipes
We’ve compiled a handy list of recipe resources to get you started with your meal planning.
Keto Slow Cooker Meals
For a delicious and nutritious meal that simmers away while you get on with your day, the slow cooker is your best friend. Remember to portion and save any leftovers for future meals.
|18 Keto-friendly recipes you can make in your slow cooker|
|The 35 best keto slow cooker recipes of all time|
|23 Easy Keto Crockpot Recipes|
Keto Batch Cooking
Batch cooking is a lifesaver for busy people. Once you have a stash of meals in the freezer, you can have supper ready in minutes.
|The ultimate guide to batch cooking low carb freezer meals||https://perfectketo.com/batch-cooking-low-carb-freezer-meals/|
|Recipes for batch cooking||https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/?tag=/tagBatchCooking|
|40 Delicious make-ahead keto freezer meals||https://www.intoxicatedonlife.com/40-delicious-make-ahead-keto-freezer-meals/|
|20 Keto diet meals you can make ahead of time||https://www.everydayhealth.com/ketogenic-diet/keto-meal-prep-recipes-you-can-make-fast/|
|Keto freezer meals||https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/keto-freezer-meals/|
Keto Sheet Pan Meals
Sheet pan meals are the bomb for quick dinners and easy clean-ups – the oven equivalent of one-pot cooking.
|20 Keto sheet pan meals.||https://www.tasteslovely.com/keto-sheet-pan-meals/|
|25 Best keto sheet pan dinners – low carb||https://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/25-best-keto-sheet-pan-dinners-low-carb/|
|28 Keto friendly sheet pan meals||https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/keto-friendly-sheet-pan-meals/|
Keto One Pot Meals
Because we all like no-fuss meals!
|11 No-fuss keto one-pot meals||https://www.livingchirpy.com/11-no-fuss-keto-one-pot-meals/|
|50+ One-pan keto meals||https://www.maebells.com/50-one-pan-keto-meals/|
|30 One-pot ketogenic recipes (because you love food but hate cleaning)||https://www.purewow.com/food/one-pot-ketogenic-recipes|
Keto Pantry Meals
Have a few key ingredients in stock so that you can keto even when you can’t get to the shops.
|10 Easy keto recipes to get you back on track||https://www.thekitchn.com/10-easy-keto-pantry-recipes-23019641|
|30 Easy keto recipes using pantry staples||https://thebigmansworld.com/easy-keto-pantry-recipes/|
|18 Keto friendly pantry recipes||https://perfectketo.com/18-keto-friendly-pantry-recipes/|
Make Your Keto Shopping List
There are many ways to do keto, but the list below are some of the basics to get you started:
- Poultry – chicken, turkey, geese and duck
- Meat – beef, pork, lamb
- Fish – salmon, sardines, tuna
- Dairy – cheese, butter, yogurt and cream
- Nuts and seeds – pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts and almonds
- Vegetables – non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cucumber, kale, lettuce, spinach
- Healthy fats – coconut oil, avocado, nut butters
Cheap Keto Meal Plan
|Keto on a budget: tips, meals, and foods to eat||https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/keto-on-a-budget|
|Low carb and keto on a budget||https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/recipes/low-carb-budget|
|12 Ways to do the keto diet on a budget||https://www.everydayhealth.com/ketogenic-diet/keto-diet-on-budget/|
Easy And Beginner Keto Meal Plan
|Easy keto meal plan for beginners||https://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/easy-keto-meal-plan/|
|Keto for beginners – free keto meal plan||https://headbangerskitchen.com/recipe/keto-for-beginners-free-keto-meal-plan/|
|Free 3 day keto kickstart and meal plan||https://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/3-day-keto-kickstart-menu-plan/|
Diet-Specific Keto Meal Plans
Vegan & Vegetarian Keto Meal Plan
|Can you go vegetarian on the keto diet?||https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegetarian-keto-diet-plan|
|2 Week vegetarian keto diet plan||https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/lchf/2-week-vegetarian-keto-diet-plan|
|21-day dairy-free keto diet plan||https://www.mypcoskitchen.com/21-day-keto-paleo-pcos-meal-plan/|
|Carnivore diet: A beginner’s guide to an all-meat diet||https://chomps.com/blogs/news/carnivore-diet|
|19 Day keto diet menu with intermittent fasting for beginners||https://www.ketodietyum.com/keto-diet-menu/|
|The ultimate guide to OMAD plus keto||https://www.carbmanager.com/article/yeasxhuaacqai1v5/the-ultimate-guide-to-omad-plus-keto/|
High & Low Effort
|7 Day lazy keto meal plan||https://skinnyms.com/7-day-lazy-keto-meal-plan/|
|The ultimate guide to dirty keto||https://www.carbmanager.com/article/xtqixheaaciackcg/what-is-dirty-keto/|
|What Is Speed Keto? Everything To Know About The Buzzy Keto-Plus-Intermittent Fasting Plan||https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a30897057/what-is-speed-keto/|
|1,200 Calorie Keto Meal Plan: Full 14 Day Menu||https://www.trifectanutrition.com/blog/1200-calorie-keto-meal-plan-full-14-day-menu|
|1500 Calorie Keto Meal Plan||https://perfectketo.com/1500-calorie-keto-meal-plan/|
|2000 Calorie Keto Diet: Low-Carb High-Fat Meals That’ll Make Weight Loss A Breeze||https://betterme.world/articles/2000-calorie-keto-diet/|
Keto meal planning can seem a bit daunting to begin with, but with all the health benefits associated with the plan, it is worth the time and effort. With a little bit of research and practice, you will soon be creating exciting keto meal plans in no time at all.