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 the keto diet is the best option for you.
This post may contain affiliate links that help keep this content free. [Full Disclosure]
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 – & legitimized – 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) – & 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 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
Pepperoni – Bacon – Hot Dogs – Deli Meat – Sausages – Salami
- Red Snapper
- Mahi Mahi
- Orange Roughy
- Chicken Eggs
- Goose Eggs
- Duck Eggs
- Quail Eggs
[MOST FRUIT IS TOO HIGH IN CARBS TO RISK IT! THESE ARE OK IN VERY SMALL AMOUNTS]
- Avocados & Olives
- Bell Peppers
- Boy Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Green Beans
- Jalapeño Peppers
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Mustard Greens
- Spaghetti Squash
- Swiss Chard
- Turnip Greens
- Blue Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Feta Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Goat Cheese
- Half & Half
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Sour Cream
Nuts & Seeds
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seed
- Soy Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
Foods to Avoid on a Ketogenic Diet
- Rice Flour
- White Flour
- Wheat Flour
- *Most Flours As A Rule
SUGAR IS NOT ALLOWED! AVOID THESE COMMON SUGAR FILLED FOODS!
- Sports Drinks
- Ice Cream
- Fruit Juice
Avoid These Ingredients
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
- Maple Syrup
Fruit to Avoid
- Canned Fruit
NO Processed Foods! If it comes in a bag or a box it’s probably processed food which is NOT on the keto diet!
Stay Away From
- Snack Bars
- Most Sauces
- Baked Goods
- Ice Cream
Both full & low-fat milk are not allowed as they are high in carbs
Avoid All Beans, Lentils & Soybeans on the Keto Diet!
- No Chickpeas
- No Baked Beans
- No Black Beans
- No Pinto Beans
- No Kidney Beans
- No Lima 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:) ***If you have food sensitivities & allergies – I’d lean towards the Healthful Pursuit option.
Here’s The Try Low Carb 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
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
Rocket Fuel Keto Milkshake | Healthful Pursuit
Smoked Salmon Breakfast Bombs | Ruled.Me
Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich | Wicked Stuffed
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
Easy Pork Stir Fry with Vegetables | Low Carb Maven
Low Carb Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Skillet | Peace Love and Low Carb
Crockpot White Chicken Chili | Word To Your Mother Blog
Keto Slow-Cooker Beef & Broccoli | Wicked Stuffed
Zucchini Pasta with Chicken & Pistachios | Healthy Body Formula
Crockpot Crack Chicken | Word To Your Mother Blog
Sheet Pan Salmon Supper | Nom Nom Paleo
Coconut Chicken Fingers | Civilized Caveman
Creamy Avocado “Pasta” with Chicken & Asparagus | The Healthy Foodie
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fat Bombs | Word To Your Mother Blog
3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies | 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
Did I Miss Anything?
Do you have enough information to decide if the keto diet is right for you?
Or are you still on the fence?
Either way, please let me know by leaving a comment below!
If you’re stuck between Do I Want A Meal Plan & Doing It All Yourself – you may want to check out these Keto In Five Cookbooks These Are Not your Grandmother’s Cookbooks-You Can download Them To Any device!
Each offers 30 breakfasts, 30 lunches, 30 dinners & 30 desserts with only 5 ingredients & 5 net carbs – with all of the macronutrient info – making it easier to track your meals. Oh, & the food is good:) You can get them here
More Must-Have Keto Resources
Total Keto For Beginners – A detailed deep dive into the keto diet for beginners. This will help you decide if the keto diet is right for you – and a few meal plan options perfect for beginners.
500+ Keto Meal Ideas & Recipes – Here’s the link to my keto recipes index. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll find everything from breakfast to dinner – plus holiday meals – It’s a handy resource to bookmark!
Keto Flu: Symptoms, Remedies & Tips To Avoid Feeling Like Garbage – What you need to know about the keto flu – including common symptoms & remedies
Keto Food Swaps – If you’ve ever wondered what is the best keto alternative for sugar, flour, or pasta is, then this keto substitute guide has your back! The best low carb alternatives to unhealthy favorites like bread, flour, rice, potatoes, pizza, beer, wine, and even chocolate chip cookies.
Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Alcohol + Drinking On The Keto Diet – Here’s the one where I share 34+ keto-friendly cocktails and pretty much everything you need to know about drinking + ketosis + keto-friendly alcohol + what to avoid
Keto Meal Prep 101 – Fabulous tips & tricks for making meals ahead and not spending all day in the kitchen!
50 Fabulous Make Ahead Keto Recipes – Struggling with finding easy meal prep recipes? Here’s your go-to list of low carb meals to make meal planning breakfast, lunch and dinner easy!
40 Keto Crockpot Recipes – Speaking of meals, here’s 40 fabulous low carb dinners for your slow cooker!
40 Keto Instant Pot – More of a pressure cooker fan? Here’s some of my favorite fast Instant Pot meals
30+ Keto Dinner Recipes For When You Have Zero Time [30 Minute Meals] – When you need a healthy dinner – ASAP
Share or Save these Keto Recipes & Tips!
For More Low Carb Inspiration, Follow Me On Pinterest or Subscribe below! Leave A Comment, Ask A Question – Tell Me What’s On Your Mind!
First, thanks for sticking with me – I started this blog to help people like you take control of their health – achieve their fitness goals – lose weight – and gain the confidence they need to go out and live life to the fullest. (Because that’s what losing 90 pounds on the keto diet did for me:) If you need help, please reach out. In addition to blogging full-time, I’m a Health Coach, and I’m a mom of three awesome kids – 2 girls & one precious son who happens to have autism.
I’m continually seeking balance to do all of the things – and I’d love to help you do the same.
You Can Find Me On Facebook.
I’m also on Pinterest.
One day I may participate regularly on Instagram, who knows:)