If you’re looking into the ketogenic diet, this beginners guide is the perfect place to start! After you read this keto diet menu plan, you will have everything you need to determine if “going keto” is the best option for you.
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If you’re looking for a way to lose weight without starving yourself, then a ketogenic diet is a healthy way to do it. I’ve lost over 90 pounds on the keto diet, and I’m telling you if a forty-year-old mother of three can do it you can too:)
Here’s the photographic evidence in case you need inspiration:)
The ketogenic diet is legit. It’s not a fad or a trend despite what Instagram hashtags may lead you to believe.
And you know what?
It’s not a vanity thing either – well, at least not 100%:)
Yes, you’ll shed massive amounts of weight so you can fit into your skinny jeans that you can’t even look at right now, but the keto diet also improves your health.
There may not be another diet as well researched as the ketogenic diet – in randomized, controlled trials (AKA: dependable scientific studies) which prove a low carb diet helps reduce triglyceride levels, raise HDL (the good cholesterol), lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) – and by doing such helps with diabetes [Source], cardiovascular disease [Source] [Source], & possibly Alzheimer’s [Source] – more studies need to be done here – and epilepsy, which makes perfect sense since the keto diet was created for patients/children with epilepsy in 1921.
My point is that the keto diet has been around a long time with an excellent track record.
I chose the keto diet because it made sense to me.
And it worked for my body.
Low carb diets work – but they’re not for everyone.
I’ll try my best to break it down for you.
The ketogenic diet forces your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state – do not confuse ketosis for ketoacidosis (a complication of diabetes).
Ketones are produced when you eat minimal amounts of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein.
When your body doesn’t have carbohydrates to burn for energy, it burns fat.
Break Down: On a keto diet, you are changing your body into a fat burning machine!
Ketogenic Diet For Beginners: Rules
As a rule I hate rules, but you’ve got to understand a few basic concepts of the ketogenic diet so you don’t accidentally throw your diet off track!
Or worse – end up gaining weight.
Low carb diets have appetite suppressing effects – which is one of the main reasons they work – In other words, you won’t be counting down the minutes until your next meal – or feel like you’re starving yourself to death!
Keep Carbs Under 30
You need to limit your carbohydrate intake to 20-30 carbs per day.
You may be thinking that’s an awfully wide range there, Heather. And you’re right. It is a wide range because it depends on the individual!
So what are you supposed to do? Average it out & hope for the best?
Use this Free Keto Calculator to find out exactly what your number is. I’ll wait right here while you do it!
With the keto diet, 5-10% of your calories come from carbohydrates, 15-30% of your calories should come from protein, and 60-75% of your calories are derived from fat.
So, where do you get your macros? (Fats, Proteins, Net Carbs) Well, there are tons of keto-friendly foods and even more delicious ways to prepare them that you almost forget about bread. Almost.:)
Foods Recommended on a Ketogenic Diet
Shellfish & Seafood
[MOST FRUIT IS TOO HIGH IN CARBS TO RISK IT! THESE ARE OK IN VERY SMALL AMOUNTS]
*Yes, these commonly categorized vegetables are technically fruits
Garlic (in moderation)
Onions (in moderation)
Cottage cheese (full fat)
Cream Cheese (full fat)
Greek Yogurt (full fat)
Half and half
Heavy whipping cream
Sour cream (full fat)
Nuts & Seeds
Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet
The two main starchy-high carb culprits are wheat and corn, but they are not the only ones to avoid. Flours, vegetables and beans also fall under the avoid on keto category.
Keep in mind that breads, pastas, crackers, cookies and pizza crusts are typically made with these ingredients – so don’t forget to double check the label or the ingredient list!
Starchy Flours & Thickeners To Avoid
Chickpea flour or Gram
Avoid These Ingredients with Sugar
Avoid These Sugar-Filled Drinks & Foods
Fruit to Avoid
Dried fruits: dried dates, mangos & raisins
Processed Foods To Avoid
NO Processed Foods! If it comes in a bag or a box it’s probably processed food which is NOT on the keto diet!
Baked Goods: Cakes, Muffins, Pastries
Most Sauces and salad dressings
While lower carb full fat cheeses and heavy cream are allowed on keto, dairy sources like cow’s milk should be avoided. They contain a few too many carbs to be considered keto. Here are the ones to avoid.
Milk sourced from cows (both full fat and low fat versions)
Fat free and low fat yogurt
Also known as beans and peas, legumes are another high-carb food you’ll want to avoid.
Great Northern beans
*Exception for Green Beans-you can have those!
If you’d like a free downloadable printer-friendly copy of this list, plus more in-depth information on what to eat (including snacks!), please click here!
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
Weight loss varies from one person to another-everyone’s body is different, y’all!
If you have a lot of weight to lose (like I did), you may notice more weight loss at the beginning of your diet. The average weight loss on the keto diet after the first week is usually around 10 pounds.
Now please don’t get too excited.
I’m about to bring you down.
This initial weight loss is water weight.
I know, I know, weight is weight…
See, the keto diet causes you to drop the water weight fast because you’re cutting your carbs dramatically.
And while you may not be losing fat, this water weight loss is a good sign that your body has entered the ultimate fat burning mode: ketosis!
7 Day Keto Meal Plan
I’ve been in your shoes and I know starting a new diet is a challange. There’s a lot to learn and a ton of recipes to scroll through on Pinterest! I could spend all day pinning.
Moment of truth: I have.
But you know what? My unhealthy obsession with Pinteresty things helped me find these recipes for you to make starting the ketogenic diet a little more manageable!
I’m not going to lie to you-planning keto meals and shopping lists takes time and work – but it can be done. Even on a budget:)
If you’re already too busy for words and you struggle with meal planning, don’t worry! You’ve got options.
1. Do It Yourself
If you go the DIY route – you can find a low carb recipe for literally every meal – breakfast – lunch – dinner – snacks – appetizers – & – my favorite meal of the day – dessert – on this page where I have indexed every article – recipe – & recipe round-up I have ever written. At last count there were over 500 keto recipes:)
2. Get A Meal Plan Delivered To Your Inbox
Ok. So, I don’t do a lot of selling here – unless the product is LEGIT. As in, I use it – I believe in it – & I know it will help you.
I recommend 2 Keto Meal Plans – Tastaholics Weekly Meal Plans & Healthful Pursuit’s Balanced Weekly Meal Plans. Both make life easier. You can try them for free & both give money back guarantees – which I appreciate – but never use:)
Here’s The Custom Weekly Meal Plan Option
And Here’s The Healthful Pursuit Option
If you’re just dipping your toe into the ketogenic diet & don’t want to sign up for anything yet – I understand. Here are some fabulous beginner – style keto recipes to get you started – for free:)
Ketogenic Breakfast Recipes
Easy Egg Muffins | Word To Your Mother Blog
10 Minute Blueberry Muffin In A Mug | Word To Your Mother Blog
Keto Mexican Breakfast Casserole | KetoDiet Blog
Cream Cheese Pancakes | Word To Your Mother Blog
Low Carb Keto Breakfast Burrito Bowl | Ketogasm
Chaffles (Keto Waffles) | Word To Your Mother Blog
Keto Sausage Breakfast Sandwich | Hey Keto Mama
Strawberry Smoothie | Word To Your Mother Blog
Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bombs | Ruled.Me
Avocado Baked Eggs | Word To Your Mother Blog
Ketogenic Lunch Recipes
Salmon & Avocado Nori Rolls | Eat Drink Paleo
Zucchini Crust Grilled Cheese | The Iron You
Vietnamese Noodle Bowl Salad | Ketogasm
Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowl | Hey Keto Mama
Caprese Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes | My Cooking Spot
Vegetarian Keto Club Salad | Ruled.Me
Spicy Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Tahini Dressing | Oh Snap! Let’s Eat!
Ketogenic Dinner Recipes
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken | Word To Your Mother Blog
Easy Pork Stir Fry with Vegetables | Low Carb Maven
30 Minute Beef & Broccoli | Word To Your Mother Blog
Low Carb Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Skillet | Peace Love and Low Carb
Crockpot White Chicken Chili | Word To Your Mother Blog
Zucchini Pasta with Chicken & Pistachios | Healthy Body Formula
Crockpot Crack Chicken | Word To Your Mother Blog
Sheet Pan Salmon Supper | Nom Nom Paleo
Loaded Keto Cauliflower Soup | Word To Your Mother Blog
Crockpot Chicken Taco Soup | Word To Your Mother Blog
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs | Word To Your Mother Blog
3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies | Word To Your Mother Blog
3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Balls | Word To Your Mother Blog
Easy Cream Cheese Fat Bombs | Word To Your Mother Blog
Easy Shortbread Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing | Word To Your Mother Blog
Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake | Word To Your Mother Blog
Super Easy No Bake Cookies | Word To Your Mother Blog
Did I miss anything? Do you think you have enough information to decide if the keto diet is right for you? Let me know if you have any questions!