The keto diet has become increasingly popular for its potential to promote weight loss and improve health markers such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The diet involves cutting out most carbs and replacing them with fats, in order to put the body into a state of ketosis. If you’re interested in starting a keto diet but unsure of what types of food to eat, this guide is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from the science behind the diet to easy meal prep tips and delicious recipes to try.
The Science Behind the Keto Diet: Understanding How it Works and What to Eat
To understand how the keto diet works, it’s important to first understand ketosis. When the body doesn’t have enough glucose (from carbs) to use for energy, it starts breaking down fat instead. This produces ketones, which can fuel the body and also act as an appetite suppressant. In order to achieve ketosis, the keto diet involves eating a high fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet. Specifically, macronutrient ratios for the keto diet are 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
Foods that are allowed on the keto diet include:
- Meat (beef, pork, poultry, lamb)
- Fish and seafood
- Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, coconut)
- Dairy (cheese, butter, cream)
- Low-carb vegetables (leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers)
A Beginner’s Guide to Keto Diet: Best Foods to Eat and Avoid
If you’re new to the keto diet, it can be overwhelming to know which foods are best to eat and which to avoid. The key is to focus on foods that are high in healthy fats and low in carbs. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, and eggs. Healthy fats can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil. Low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, cauliflower, and broccoli can also be included in your diet. On the other hand, it’s important to avoid or reduce high-carb foods such as bread, rice, pasta, and sugar.
Here are some meal examples and snack ideas for the keto diet:
- Grilled chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts
- Salmon with a side of mashed cauliflower
- Zucchini noodles with a homemade pesto sauce
- Hard boiled eggs with a handful of almonds
- Cucumber slices with cream cheese and smoked salmon
- Green smoothie with avocado, spinach, and almond milk
10 Mouth-Watering Keto-Friendly Meals to Satisfy Your Cravings
Looking for some inspiration when it comes to meal ideas? Here are ten mouth-watering keto-friendly meals that are sure to satisfy your cravings:
- Bacon-wrapped chicken thighs with roasted asparagus
- Cauliflower crust pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni
- Spicy shrimp stir-fry with broccoli, bell peppers, and coconut aminos
- Keto lasagna with zucchini noodles, ground beef, and ricotta cheese
- Buffalo chicken salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, and avocado
- Steak with roasted mushrooms, onions, and garlic butter
- Chicken curry with cauliflower rice
- Zucchini fritters with sour cream dip
- Keto cheesecake with almond flour crust and berry topping
- Chocolate avocado mousse with whipped cream
Keto Meal Prepping: How to Plan and Prepare Your Meals for the Week
Meal prepping can be a game-changer when it comes to staying on track with the keto diet. By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you can save time, money, and prevent the temptation of reaching for high-carb convenience foods. Here are some tips for successful keto meal prep:
- Choose recipes that are easy to scale up or down based on the number of servings you need.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it to avoid overspending.
- Consider batch cooking proteins such as chicken or ground beef to use in multiple meals.
- Invest in storage containers that are leakproof and freezer-safe.
- Prep ingredients such as chopping vegetables in advance to save time during the week.
Here’s a sample keto meal prep plan for the week:
- Monday: Bacon and egg cups with a side of sautéed spinach
- Tuesday: Grilled salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts
- Wednesday: Chicken curry with cauliflower rice
- Thursday: Zucchini noodles with homemade pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes
- Friday: Steak with roasted mushrooms and onions
- Saturday: Buffalo chicken salad with mixed greens, blue cheese, and avocado
- Sunday: Leftovers or a meal out
The Ultimate Keto Shopping List: Top 20 Foods to Keep on Your Grocery List
To make keto meal prep easier, it’s helpful to keep a well-stocked pantry with essential keto-friendly ingredients. Here are twenty items you should always have on hand:
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, macadamias)
- Seeds (chia, hemp, flax)
- Heavy cream
- Coconut cream
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Chicken or beef broth
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula)
- Spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder)
For those with dietary restrictions, here are some alternatives:
- For nut allergies, try sunflower seed butter or tahini instead of nut butter.
- For dairy allergies, substitute coconut cream in recipes that call for heavy cream or cheese.
- For egg allergies, try chia or flaxseed eggs as a binding agent in recipes.
The keto diet may seem intimidating at first, but it’s a great way to reset your eating habits and improve your health. By choosing foods that are high in healthy fats and low in carbs, you can achieve ketosis and reap the benefits. From easy meal prep tips to delicious recipe ideas, this guide has everything you need to get started on your keto journey.