The basics of a ketogenic diet meal plan
The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a strict, low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet plan that helps people lose weight, cleanse their bodies of extra sugars, and improve their overall health. The diet includes a carb content of between 5 and 10% of the total consumed calories, a fat content of around 60 to 80%, and 5% proteins.
The primary goal of a keto diet is to reduce carbs in your body and rely on fats as an energy source instead of glucose. This process is known as ketosis. Keto diets can decrease hunger, which may facilitate weight loss.
However, since the diet includes a high-fat content, it may also raise “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels in your body, which may increase the chances of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it’s better to consult a professional dietician before starting a keto diet.
Starting a ketogenic diet is pretty straightforward. You simply have to focus on curbing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat and protein content. The lower your carbohydrate consumption will be, the easier it will be for you to achieve your intended results.
A keto diet includes specific foods rich in fats and low in carbs. Following this strict routine is necessary to lose weight faster.
The best and most effective keto-friendly foods include:
- Avocados: Add mashed or whole avocados to any meal or snack.
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: Broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and all greens
- Meat: Beef, venison, organic meats, pork, and bison
- Fatty Fish: Salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel
- Poultry: Chicken, ducks, turkey, and geese
- Eggs: Organic, pastured, or normal
- Full-Fat Dairy: Butter, Unsweetened yogurt, and cream
- Full-Fat Cheese: Cheddar, mozzarella, goat cheese, brie, and cream cheese
- Oils Rich in Healthy Fats: Olive oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, canola oil, and sesame oil
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanuts, and flaxseeds
- Nut butter: Non-sugary peanuts, cashew butter, and almond butter
- Condiments: Vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon juice, spices, and fresh herbs
Foods to avoid
While planning your keto diet, you must also watch out for specific foods rich in carbohydrates and avoid them. If that’s difficult for you, you can limit their intake. Some foods to avoid include:
- Baked Items: Whole wheat bread, crackers, doughnuts, white bread, cookies, and rolls
- Sugary Foods: Maple syrup, ice cream, sugar, candy, coconut sugar, honey, and all sorts of sweets
- Pasta: Macaronis, spaghetti, and other noodles made of wheat
- Grain-related Products: Tortillas, rice, wheat, and breakfast cereals
- Starchy Items: Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, potatoes, peas, corn, and pumpkin
- Legumes: Black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans
- Fruit: Grapes, citrus fruits, bananas, and pineapple
- Sugary Beverages: Sweetened teas, sodas, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened juices
- Alcoholic Beverages: Beer and sugar-containing drinks
- Carb-rich Sauces: Honey mustard, barbecue sauce, sugary salad dressings, ketchup, and dipping sauces
You can include low glycemic fruits in your keto diet plan as long as you maintain the correct percentage of carbs, fats, and proteins. These fruits include strawberries, blueberries, oranges, tomatoes, apples, etc.
Make sure to replace all the processed foods from your pantry with whole foods.
Sugar is an essential part of various beverages, including coffee, juice, iced tea, and sodas. Since a keto diet plan is all about curbing carbs and sugar, though, you should avoid specific types of beverages.
You can opt for some delicious sugar and carbs-free options to make the most out of your keto diet plan. Some keto-friendly beverages include:
- Water: Everyone drinks water daily, but it’s better to consume it in higher amounts when on a keto diet.
- Sparkling Water: Sparkling water can be an excellent replacement if you want to have some soda.
- Unsweetened Green Tea: Green tea works to detox your body from pollutants and help you lose weight. It is a delicious alternative to soda and contains several health benefits.
- Non-sugary Coffee: Instead of adding heaps of sugar to your coffee, try using heavy cream to achieve just the right flavor.
- Keto Smoothie: These smoothies should be made with cocoa, coconut milk, and avocados.
What to eat in the first week of your keto diet
Your first week of the keto diet plan must contain the least amount of carbohydrates. It’s important to know, though, that every person has to put in different levels of effort to achieve ketosis.
The meal plan we have developed incorporates less than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily.
You can tweak this 1-week ketogenic diet plan based on your dietary needs.
Monday: 1st day
- Breakfast: You can fry two eggs in butter and serve them with sauteed greens of your choice.
- Lunch: Go with a bunless burger and top it with vegetables of your choice (mushrooms, tomatoes, or peppers) and some cheese and avocado.
- Dinner: Have some pork chops with sauteed spinach or beans. Don’t forget to use olive oil.
Tuesday: 2nd day
- Breakfast: You can turn eggs into something special, such as mushrooms or cheese omelets.
- Lunch: Opt for tuna salad and pair it with broccoli, celery, or tomato topped with greens of your choice.
- Dinner: Roast a chicken breast or whole chicken and serve it with cream sauce and sauteed beans or broccoli.
Wednesday: 3rd day
- Breakfast: You can have bell peppers filled with cheese and eggs.
- Lunch: Make a salad of your choice and add mashed hard-boiled eggs, avocado, turkey, and blue cheese.
- Dinner: Go for grilled salmon along with sauteed spinach. Remember to use olive or sesame oil.
Thursday: 4th day
- Breakfast: Opt for full-fat yogurt and top it with Keto granola.
- Lunch: You can have a steak bowl and add cauliflower rice, herbs, cheese, avocado, and spices of your choice.
- Dinner: Enjoy a bison steak and cheesy beans, broccoli, or peppers.
Friday: 5th day
- Breakfast: Bake avocado egg boats and pair them with roasted cauliflower.
- Lunch: Prepare a caesar salad with chicken and top it with your favorite veggies.
- Dinner: Serve pork chops with greens of your choice.
Saturday: 6th day
- Breakfast: Opt for cauliflower or spinach toast topped with cheese and avocado.
- Lunch: Take bunless salmon burgers and top them with pesto.
- Dinner: Prepare meatballs and top them over zucchini noodles and Parmesan cheese.
Sunday: 7th day
- Breakfast: Treat yourself to a pudding made of coconut milk and chia topped with coconut and walnuts.
- Lunch: Prepare a cobb salad with greens, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and turkey.
- Dinner: Dine on coconut chicken curry.
You can include and exclude meals of your choice depending on their total fat, carb, and protein contents. An ideal ketogenic diet plan contains both animal-based and vegetarian options, so experiment with your low-carb, high-fat meals.
Following a keto diet plan
If you like to snack, you can include some keto-friendly snacks in your first week of the keto diet plan. These can be unsweetened coconut, nuts, seeds, coconut chips, sliced salami, berries with whipped cream, fruit roll-ups, keto smoothies, etc.
It’s better to consult a nutritionist to get a diet plan with the proper nutrients and calories based on your daily activities, age, fitness goals, and gender. This will help you achieve your weight loss goals healthily.
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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss."
National Library of Medicine: "A Ketogenic Low-Carbohydrate High-Fat Diet Increases LDL Cholesterol in Healthy, Young, Normal-Weight Women: A Randomized Controlled Feeding Trial," "Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease," "Review of current evidence and clinical recommendations on the effects of low-carbohydrate and very-low-carbohydrate (including ketogenic) diets for the management of body weight and other cardiometabolic risk factors: A scientific statement from the National Lipid Association Nutrition and Lifestyle Task Force," "The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review."
Nutrition & Diabetes: "Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes incidence in Thai adults: results from an 8-year prospective study."
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