Deciding to start the keto diet is easy, but creating a keto meal plan and menu can be challenging especially if you’ve been eating a high carb diet for years. The good news? This sample 7-day keto meal plan will make transitioning to the ketogenic diet easier with simple low carb recipes (with macros), tips for beginners, and a keto food list, so you’ll know what to stock up on for weight loss and what you may want to clear out of your kitchen cabinets ASAP!
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How Keto Works: The Condensed Version
The keto diet is a low carb diet that restricts the number of carbs you take in to 20 grams of net carbs per day or less. All food consists of three primary nutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Your body naturally breaks down carbs first, then fat, then protein for fuel/energy. When you reduce the number of carbs you eat you give your body no choice but to break down fat for fuel.
This fat burning state is known as ketosis. The name “keto” comes from the word ketones-which are molecules produced when your body burns fat instead of carbs. These ketones will be your body’s new (& improved) source of energy now that carbs aren’t available.
Once you’ve achieved ketosis the benefits are immediate and plentiful. Being in the ultimate fat burning state brings more energy, better focus, less migraines (True for Me) AND helps you burn more fat, boosts metabolism, decreases appetite, and helps you lose weight faster. I know from experience. I’ve lost over 90 pounds on the keto diet. Losing that weight changed my life-sounds cheesy, but it’s true. You can see my Before & After’s here & read more about me if you’d like. I need to get back to helping you-I have stay focused or I tend to ramble:)
Signs of Ketosis – How Do You Know?
One way of determining if you are in ketosis is to check your ketone level with a urine test like Ketostix. These are easy to use, relatively cheap-and the best route if you’re a beginner. You can find these at your local drug store or buy them on Amazon. The only issue I have with these is that you can’t depend on their accuracy-especially if you’ve maintained ketosis for an extended period. Urine testing is also sensitive to how hydrated you are or aren’t-this study took a look at the best time to test for ketosis and found morning is the best time.
There are also physical symptoms of ketosis like loss of appetite, weight loss, halitosis (bad breath), increase in energy, and digestive issues ranging from diarrhea to constipation. It usually takes 4-5 days to reach ketosis after cutting carbs to 20 net grams per day.
What Can I Eat?
Best Keto Foods
- Grass-Fed, Lean Steak & Chicken
- Omega-3 Rich Fatty Fish: Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Bell Peppers, Mushrooms
- Nuts: Unsalted Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Macadamia
Foods to Avoid
- Pasta, Rice, Bread
- Soda & Juice
- Breakfast Cereal
- Low-Fat Foods
Check out this collection of keto-friendly foods & (Free) printable grocery list for beginners.
Keto + Fast Food
Dining at home isn’t always an option! When you’re on the road or shuttling kids from one extracurricular to another here are your best bets!
- Grilled Chicken BLT Salad – 7 Net Carbs
- Bunless Original Cheeseburger – 3 Net Carbs
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich (No Bun) – 5 Net Carbs
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich (No Bun) – 1 Net Carb
- Egg McMuffin (No Muffin) – 3 Net Carbs
- Quarter Pounder with Cheese (No Bun) – 8g Net Carbs
- Power Chicken Bowl (No Beans or Rice) – 5 Net Carbs
- Power Ground Beef Bowl (No Beans or Rice) – 6 Net Carbs
- Baconator (No Bun) – 3 Net Carbs
- Double Cheeseburger (No Bun) – 5 Net Carbs
What Are Macros?
Short for macronutrients, “macros” refers to the nutritional components that every diet requires: protein, carbohydrates, fat, and macro minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Finding the right balance of carbs, fats, and proteins for you is important, and it does involve a few equations. This is where many tune-out or get confused & frustrated or just quit.
Let me try to make it easier for you.
Use this Free Keto Calculator to get your number. It’s as easy as typing in your gender, height, weight, activity level, body fat %(there’s an estimation option), your goals & boom. You’ve got your individualized macro numbers so you can plan your meals.
Net Carbs vs. Carbs
Easy math! Since fiber does not affect blood sugar levels or ketosis, we subtract it from the Total Carb amount (listed on nutrition labels or fitness trackers) to determine Net Carbs.
Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber = Net Carbs
Ex: Total Carbs 6g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Net Carbs = 4 g
A Few Tips for Beginners
Don’t Try Complicated Recipes
It’s a rookie mistake I made more than once when I first started the keto diet, and I almost quit out of frustration! Don’t spend a lot of time or money trying elaborate recipes. You’ll get there one day, but when you are just starting, it is best to keep it simple. These Keto in Five cookbooks will help you do just that.
All of the recipes call for 5 ingredients or less and contain 5 or less Net Carbs. The recipe creators, Vicky & Rami, make easy taste extraordinary. Plus, all of the recipes list nutritional content, so they make it simple to keep up with macros-from the beginning.
Keep Exercise Light: While your body is adjusting to keto stick to light exercise like Yoga & walking. It can take 3-5 days to get into ketosis, and it’s not unusual to feel a bit weak and sluggish. Don’t overdo it! And don’t worry-You’ll be back to those HIIT Workouts and spin classes within a few weeks.
Stay Hydrated: To combat side effects like constipation & the Keto Flu you need extra fluids. Up your H20 intake to at least 8-8 oz glasses of water or more (if you’re active) per day.
Avoid Keto Flu
While your body is adapting to your new low carb lifestyle, you may experience a few side effects-collectively known as the Keto Flu. You may feel one or two of these symptoms or none at all depending on your body, your activity level, and what your diet consisted of before you started keto!
Keto Flu Symptoms
- Muscle Cramps
- Sleep Issues
- Sugar Cravings
The #1 Tip to Avoid the Keto Flu – Stay Hydrated!
The keto diet can cause you to drop water weight especially in the first week which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration leads to all kinds of nasty symptoms like headaches, dizziness, weakness…Sounds like the keto flu, right? Stay on top of your water game by drinking plenty of H20! Tea & coffee count too, but nothing is better than water. Drink even more if you are suffering from diarrhea-which can cause dehydration on its own. I found that adding a 1/2 Teaspoon of salt to a glass of water eased my keto flu symptoms-which were mild even though I was overweight & out of shape.
Bone Broth: Sip on delicious bone broth to stay hydrated & replenish electrolytes! Kettle & Fire makes a clean bone broth that’s as tasty as it is healthy. And you can buy it online in your PJ’s-which is a bonus!
Is Keto For Everyone?
No. Although the ketogenic diet is a safe way to lose weight for most people, no one diet is for everyone. You should always speak with a medical professional before you start any diet! If you are breastfeeding, on medications for diabetes or blood pressure, then the keto diet may not be for you.
Ready to dive into week one? Here’s a sample Keto Meal Plan that’s under 20 net carbs per day to give you an idea of how eating low carb looks & tastes! You may need to adjust portions, add a snack, or skip/double up on dessert based on your individual macro needs! This is my personal menu for the next week and I know I’m looking forward to diving back in to strict keto after the holidays. I may or may not have broken a few rules-nobody saw me do it so they can’t prove anything:)
Breakfast: 3 Scrambled Eggs + 4 Slices Bacon (392 Cal, 30g Protein, 22g Fat, 1.5 Carbs)
Snack: Celery + 2 TBSP Peanut Butter (198 Cal, 8g Protein, 16g Fat, 5 Net Carbs)
Lunch: Keto Cobb Salad (600 Cal, 43g Protein, 48g Fat, 3g Net Carbs)
Dinner: Keto Quarter Pounder (443 Cal, 25g Protein, 34g Fat, 4g Carbs)
Dessert: Chocolate Keto Lava Cake (173 Cal, 8g Protein, 13g Fat, 4g Net Carbs)
Breakfast: Easy Egg Keto Breakfast Muffins (108 Cal, 7g Protein, 7.8g Fat, 1.5 Carbs)
Snack: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs (120 Cal, 10g Protein, 10g Fat, 0 Carbs)
Lunch: Low Carb Pork Egg Roll In A Bowl – Crack Slaw- (297 Cal, 20g Protein, 20g Fat, 5.5 Net Carbs)
Dinner: Keto White Chicken Chili (481 Cal, 39g Protein, 30g Fat, 4 Net Carbs)
Dessert: Keto-Low Carb Magic Cookie Bars (232 Cal, 4g Protein, 21.8g Fat, 2.4 Net Carbs)
Breakfast: Cauliflower Toast with Avocado (300 Cal, 10g Protein, 23.5g Fat, 6.5 Net Carbs)
Snack: Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Fat Bombs (72 Cal, 0 Protein, 7g Fat, 1 Carb)
Lunch: Low Carb Chipotle Steak Bowl (620 Cal, 33g Protein, 50g Fat, 5.5 Net Carbs)
Dinner: Easy Malibu Chicken (696 Cal, 46g Protein, 55g Fat, 3 Net Carbs)
Dessert: Keto Cream Cheese Cookies (106 Cal, 3g Protein, 9g Fat, 2g Net Carbs)
Breakfast: Avocado Egg Cups (251 Cal, 8g Protein, 21g Fat, 2g Net Carbs)
Snack: Keto Italian Sub Roll Up (234 Cal, 10g Protein, 20.6g Fat, 1 Net Carb)
Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Soup (563 Cal, 57g Protein, 32.5g Fat, 4g Carbs)
Dinner: Keto Cheesy Stuffed Chicken Breast (491 Cal, 43g Protein, 33g Fat, 3.5 Net Carbs)
Dessert: No Bake Chocolate Coconut Crack Bars (106 Cal, 2g Protein, 11g Fat, 1g Net Carb)
Breakfast: Low Carb Breakfast Casserole with Bacon – Make Ahead (475 Cal, 27g Protein, 37g Fat, 4g Carbs)
Snack: 1/2 Avocado with a pinch of Salt & Pepper (114 Cal, 1g Protein, 1 Net Carb)
Lunch: Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes (366 Cal, 14g Protein, 30g Fat, 4 Net Carbs)
Dinner: Easy Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops (348 Cal, 37g Protein, 21g Fat, 1 Carb)
Dessert: Low Carb Lemon Bars (197 Cal, 9g Protein, 14g Fat, 4g Net Carbs)
Breakfast: Low Carb Maple Almond Hot Cereal (525 Cal, 9g Protein, 51g Fat, 6 Net Carbs)
Snack:People’s Choice Beef Jerky – Available on Amazon Here – (90 Cal, 16g Protein, 0 Carbs)
Lunch: Keto Caesar Salad (727 Cal, 13g Protein, 38.75g Fat, 1.8 Net Carbs)
Dinner: Mississippi Keto Crockpot Pot Roast (316 Cal, 44g Protein, 13.7g Fat, 0.6 Carbs)
Dessert: Sugar-Free Low Carb Strawberry Freezer Pops (8 Cal, .2g Protein, .1g Fat, 1.6 Net Carbs)
Breakfast: Healthy Blueberry Chia Crisp (347 Cal, 11g Protein, 30.6 Fat, 5.5 Net Carbs)
Snack: Berries & Cream Fat Bombs (65 Cal, .8g Protein, 1.1 Net Carbs)
Lunch: Keto Cabbage Roll Soup (265 Cal, 19g Protein, 15g Fat, 6.5 Net Carbs)
Dinner: Low Carb Turkey Meatballs with Mashed Cauliflower (102 Cal, 6g Protein, 4.5g Fat, 6.5 Net Carbs)
Dessert: Keto Mocha Ice Cream (175 Cal, 2.5g Protein, 14.98g Fat, 6.62 Net Carbs)
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