If you’ve been curious about keto, but aren’t sure where to begin, this sample keto menu will get you started!
Many people who begin keto diets lose weight immediately, making it a popular diet to follow.
Eat a low-carb diet for long enough, and it will change how your body makes energy. When you choose a keto lifestyle, instead of burning glucose/carbs your body will burn fat.
Keto diets are high in fat for this reason—up to 60-75% in fact. That can be counterintuitive to what most people think of when they think “dieting.” But it’s true, keto diets are one of the fastest ways to lose weight and burn fat!
Keto diets have also been shown to provide many health benefits besides weight loss, too. Insulin resistance and mental stamina are both things that this diet will increase!
The following will help you to understand what a keto diet is (and isn’t). It will list foods to eat, and which to avoid. And, best of all, it will give you the meals to eat for the first 7 days!
What Exactly Is a “Keto” Diet?
Eating keto means following a low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet. It is the swapping of fat for carbs that pushes your body into using its alternate energy metabolism.
Because our diets are so carb-heavy in society, this diet can be intimidating to begin. The good news is that it’s becoming more mainstream! That means that there is tons of info on appropriate food choices—even sweets!
It takes following a keto diet 7 days before your body really gets going with ketosis. Once there, you’ll start producing ketones as a byproduct of this altered metabolism. This is a good thing because it means that fat is being burned around the clock!
When you begin, it’s best to have carbs account for only 5-10% of your daily intake. As you go along, you’ll find that your carb “sweet spot” is different from other people’s. For example, while some people can maintain ketosis on 40 grams of carbs per day, you might need to drop to 25 grams.
To get and stay in ketosis your keto macros should look something like this:
What Can You Eat on the Keto Diet?
The following is a framework for keto-approved foods. When you find brands that you love, make note of them for future use!
FATS — 60-75% of daily caloric intake, and your main source of energy!
- Dairy — Greek yogurt, cheese (especially goat cheese, cream cheese, or cottage cheese), and heavy cream.
- Nuts/Seeds — nut butter from almonds, cashews or non-GMO peanuts; pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, and peanuts; flax, pumpkin, and chia seeds.
- Oils — olive, sesame, avocado, and coconut oils.
- Animal Fats — meat fat from organic and pastured sources; fish oil.
- Plant Fats — coconuts, avocado, and olives.
PROTEIN — 15-30% of daily caloric intake, keeps metabolism on track.
- Eggs — go for organic, local, and pastured when possible.
- Poultry — turkey, and chicken are best.
- Fish — fattier species like herring, salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna; clams, shrimp, scallops, and lobster for shellfish.
- Meat — grass-fed bison and ground beef, organ meats, venison, and pork.
CARBOHYDRATES — 5-10% of daily caloric intake, when possible, go with fiber-rich and complex carbs.
- Veggies — peppers, leafy greens, mushrooms, broccoli, spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, and tomatoes.
- Fruit — Blackberries and raspberries, avocado, and tomatoes.
CONDIMENTS — fresh herbs and spices, salt and pepper, lemon juice and vinegar.
DRINKS — water is the clear keto drink of choice, but the following are also permitted:
- Water infused with citrus, cucumber, berries, peppers, or mint.
- Sparkling water, as long as it’s sugar-free.
- Black coffee, keto coffee, and/or bulletproof coffee
- Green, black, and herbal tea.
- Bone broth makes a great base for soups
Here’s a list to keep close:
- Dip low-carb veggies in guac
- Slice olives and salami
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Keto smoothie (try coconut milk, cocoa, and avocado)
- Almonds and cheddar cheese
- Kale chips
- Berries with heavy whipping cream
- Celery and peppers dipped in herbed cream cheese dip
- Half an avocado stuffed with chicken salad
- Coconut chips
- Cheese roll-ups
- Parmesan Crisps
- Greens and avocado with high-fat dressing
- Trail mix made (try unsweetened coconut, nuts, and seeds)
- Avocado cocoa mousse
- Macadamia nuts
Even though snacking is encouraged, keep an eye on your overall calories. Overeating is overeating, no matter where the calories come from. A good way to stay mindful of this is to keep a food journal!
What Can You Not Eat on a Keto Diet?
Almost as important as what you can eat, is what you can’t.
You’ll definitely want to avoid anything high in sugar or carbs. Definitely back away from anything that’s overly processed. Traditional bread and pasta, as well as cookies and other baked goods, need to go uneaten. For a comprehensive no-no list, keep the following handy:
- Grains — anything processed, like spaghetti, cereal, tortillas, wheat, oats, rice, and noodles.
- Sweets — all sugar, including coconut sugar; all syrups including agave, and maple syrup; ice cream and candy.
- Sugary Drinks — Juice, bottled teas, and sports drinks, and all soda.
- Starches — veggies like sweet and regular potatoes, butternut squash, corn, and peas.
- Beans/legumes — kidney and black beans, lentils and chickpeas.
- Fruit — steer clear of high-glycemic fruits, especially citrus, pineapple, bananas, and grapes.
- Condiments — any high sugar/carb sauces like BBQ, bottled salad dressings, and dipping sauces.
The NEVER List:
- Margarine, shortening, and vegetable oil (including canola and corn) are all unhealthy fats that should never be eaten!
- Avoid fast food, processed meats (hot dogs, for example), and any packaged foods.
7 Day Keto diet Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast – Avocado Baked Eggs
You may have heard eating eggs will raise cholesterol in your blood; this is simply not the case.
Eggs are healthy, nutrient-dense food packed with protein to help fill you up for hours.
Cut an avocado in half and remove the seed. Split an egg and place it in the seed hole, and bake in the oven until the egg has cooked through.
Lunch – Chicken and Hummus Lettuce Wraps
Having hummus on a ketogenic diet is fine. The combination of ingredients is an excellent ratio of macros for keto.
Get some shredded chicken (preferably the fatty cuts, e.g., chicken thighs) and mix with hummus while folding them in a wrap of lettuce of your choice for a simple low carb low-calorie lunch.
Dinner – Garlic and Bacon Brussels Sprouts
If you don’t like the taste of Brussel sprouts, then try combining with bacon and garlic.
Chop some bacon into bits, shred some Brussel sprouts and sautéed with garlic. You won’t be disappointed.
Breakfast – Spinach Omelette with Cheese
Spinach is a great source of magnesium and potassium. This classic spinach and cheese omelet recipe is an excellent source of protein, fats, and vitamins.
Heat Coconut Oil in a large pan which allows the eggs to spread thin while cooking and combine your eggs, spinach topped with grated cheese.
Lunch – Avocado and Veggies
Avocados are a perfect ration of fats, proteins, and carbs for keto.
Slice one up into cubes and mix with salad veggies such as lettuce, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.
Dinner – Grilled Salmon with Veggies
A delicious, simple salmon recipe with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, drizzled with Grass-Fed butter. An easy way to get more oily fish into your diet.
Breakfast – Bulletproof Coffee
While drinking Bulletproof Coffee doesn’t exactly make you “Bulletproof,” it will help kick-start you into ketosis.
Take a good quality coffee, and blend with 2 tbsp of grass-fed butter, 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil add some stevia if you need sweetening up or other zero-calorie sweeteners of your choice.
Lunch – Spinach Salad
Salads are your best friend when on a keto diet they’re only going to fill you up.
Grab some raw spinach and mix with some onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a small amount of meat or fish. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a heart-healthy lunch.
Dinner – Meatloaf
Get some quality ground beef 80% lean 20% fat and combine with veggies such as onions, garlic, and mushrooms to keep carbs low.
Dessert – Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothie
If you’re starting to get some sugar cravings, then this Almond Butter and blueberry smoothie will do help you out while also keeping you in ketosis.
Get a cup of almond milk, a handful of blueberries, almond butter, and chia seeds and blitz it all together in a blender for fat and protein-packed treat.
Breakfast – Avocado Baked Eggs
You’ll find that eggs are a staple for keto dieting since they can be used for a variety of quick, simple, healthy breakfasts.
Prepare some Avocado Baked Eggs that you previously had on Monday.
Lunch – BLT Salad and Mayo
Take a few cups of lettuce, mix in some diced cucumbers, tomato, and, of course, the chopped bacon with a big dollop of mayonnaise.
Full with fats to keep you satiated and super easy to prepare.
Dinner – Keto Cauliflower Pizza
If you haven’t had cauliflower pizza, you haven’t lived yet. Enjoy all the taste of pizza with a minimal amount of carbs.
The best thing about it is you almost can’t tell you’re eating a high carb or fathead pizza.
Breakfast – Bulletproof Coffee
Repeat your breakfast from Wednesday.
Lunch – Veggie Bean Salad with Avocado
Cook up some Black Turtle Beans, dice avocado into cubes and mix with lettuce drizzled with olive oil.
Remember to go easy on the beans since too much could kick you out of ketosis.
Dinner – Ribeye steak and Roasted Veggies
Ribeye is one of the fattiest cuts of meat to keep your fats high combined with roasted vegetables such as peppers or asparagus.
Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs and Bacon
A simple recipe that low carbers love. A couple of fried eggs and some bacon full of protein and fats to energize your morning.
You know how to make it, keep it simple this morning, it’s the weekend!
Lunch – Chicken and Hummus Lettuce Wraps
A repeat of Monday’s lunch.
Dinner – Roasted Salmon and Asparagus
Salmon is a type of food you can cook without much interference.
Wrap in foil with a tbs Grass-fed butter, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper, and roast with some asparagus for a fantastic low carb keto dinner.
Dessert – Fresh Strawberries and Heavy Cream
If you need another keto dessert for the week, then feel no guilt eating a bowl of strawberries topped with heavy cream.
The fats in the full fat cream will minimize any insulin spike.
Breakfast – Mixed Nuts and Seeds
No need to cook anything this morning. Just grab some pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, or whatever your favorite combination of nuts and seeds.
Lunch – Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps
Making a low carb tuna salad is quick and delightful.
Just open up a can of tuna and mix with salad veggies with some mayo or olive oil. Use romaine lettuce and make a boat placing your tuna salad inside and enjoy.
Dinner – Chicken Thighs with Roasted Veggies
Use any of your leftover chicken meat. If not roast up some chicken thighs marinated with your favourite seasonings and roast with onions broccoli and asparagus.