So you’ve decided you want to try out the high-fat, low-carb diet, better-known as the fat-burning keto diet for weight loss. Whether it’s to lose weight, have more energy, or fuel workouts differently, going keto diet for weight loss is a popular choice right now. But figuring out a keto diet meal plan on your own is no easy feat, especially since eating a diet super high in fats doesn’t come naturally to many people who are accustomed to the traditionally carb-heavy American diet. (It’s especially hard if you’re vegan and want to try the keto diet for weight loss) But this should help: Keto experts explain how to set yourself up for success, plus provide ideas for exactly what keto foods to eat when you’re first getting started. (While you’re at it, check out these Low-Carb Keto drinks That Will Keep You in Ketosis.)
Keto Foods Meal Plan
While it will probably take a little bit of trial and error to figure out your go-to meals while doing keto, here’s a sample keto meal plan to get you started.
The ketogenic diet — or keto diet— is a very low-carb diet researchers are studying for its many health benefits, including weight loss, disease prevention, energy, and longevity. Early human studies suggest the keto diet may help fight obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease — even cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The short-term benefits of the keto diet are also significant. Fat loss, mental clarity, and higher energy levels are just a few of the benefits keto dieters report. If you’re ready to try it out for yourself, follow this detailed keto diet plan for beginners.
Have A Keto Diet Meal Plan For Weight Loss
When it comes to starting the keto diet for the weight loss (or any diet for that matter), there’s one thing all experts agree on. You *must* have a plan. “Never try to wing a keto diet,” says Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., a dietitian based in York, PA, who specializes in the keto diet for weight loss. “Set a start date and get prepared by reorganizing your pantry, planning out meal and snack options, and purchasing appropriate foods and dietary supplements,” she says.
“The biggest reason people have a hard time sticking with the keto diet for weight loss is that people don’t have enough interesting foods to turn to, and high-carb favorites win out over good intention. If you didn’t buy foods at the grocery store that fit the guidelines, there won’t be an easy option in the fridge when you really need it.”
What’s more, it’s especially important to make sure your keto diet for weight loss is well-planned when you’re eating keto-style, because the foods you can choose from are limited. In addition to checking in with a dietitian if you’re able, Stefanski recommends that you “talk to your doctor and make sure she or he is aware that you’ll be starting a diet that completely changes how your body metabolizes energy.” You might also want to check your most recent bloodwork levels for things such as cholesterol, vitamin D, and other indicators of health because these can change while on the keto diet for weight loss. That’s because, for some people, a prolonged keto diet can result in certain nutritional deficiencies or even high cholesterol. But most experts will tell you that the ketogenic diet is not a permanent lifestyle change (as could be the case for something like the 80/20 approach to eating or a Mediterranean eating style).
When And How Much To Eat
One thing many people love about keto diet meal plans for weight loss is that tracking your food is optional. “One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is that there’s no need to meticulously track your calories as you may in other diets,” notes Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. “Because you’re filling up on fat and protein, you’re more likely to feel satisfied and energized all day long, which causes you to naturally eat less.” This isn’t to say that food tracking on keto diet is discouraged. “Some people may find calorie counting a useful tool to be more mindful and aware of what they’re eating, but it’s not necessary on the ketogenic diet,” says Dr. Axe, but there’s no need to get too stressed about hitting a certain caloric goal, especially if you’re not trying to lose weight.
One area where food tracking can be especially helpful, though, is ensuring that you’re hitting the right ratios of macronutrients-protein, carbs, and fat. “The most researched version of the keto diet derives 70 percent of calories from healthy fats, 20 percent from protein, and only 10 percent from carbs,” explains Charles Passler, D.C., nutritionist, and founder of Pure Change. “In the ideal world, each keto diet meal plan and snack should have that same (70/20/10) ratio of macronutrients, but studies have shown that you’ll still achieve great results even if each meal varies slightly from that ratio, just as long as you don’t exceed 50 grams per day of carbs, or eat those carbs in one sitting,” says Passler.
How often you eat is also up to your personal preference. “For most people, I recommend three to four meals per day with a few healthy keto snacks in between,” says Dr. Axe. “This ensures that you’re getting a good mix of protein and fat all day long to keep you feeling energized and satisfied.” That being said, he encourages people to listen to their bodies and tune in to when they’re truly hungry. “If you find that you feel better eating five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day, do what works best for you.”
Lastly, if you’re active, you might need to make some adjustments to take that into account. “For the first one to two weeks, temporarily reducing your exercise load can be helpful as your body adjusts to being in ketosis,” he says. “Additionally, for those who have an intense workout schedule, carb cycling may be a good option.” Carb cycling essentially means you’ll increase your carb intake on the days you’re doing exercise, ideally just two to three days per week. “While low-carb days may be around 20 to 30 grams of net carbs daily, high-carb days can range all the way up to 100 grams, although it can vary based on your size and activity level,” says Dr. Axe.